Agendas, reports and minutes

Highland Council

Date: Thursday, 28 June 2018

Minutes: Read the Minutes ( Items 14 - 21 )

14. Redesign of Highland Council   
Ath-dhealbhadh Chomhairle na Gaidhealtachd

(a) Progress Report and Forward Look

There had been circulated Report No. HC/21/18 dated 19 June by the Chief Executive.


Members NOTED:-

(i)    the Board’s activity since the Council meeting in May 2018 on the growing programme of peer and Lean and that two new types of reviews were to be introduced. Work continued on the communications plan and links were being made with workforce planning. Staff engagement continued through management briefings and the Board had been briefed on the take-up of participation requests and community asset transfers;
(ii)   the car parking review had concluded and the Board’s recommendations had been reported separately to the Council;
(iii)  further work was planned over the summer months on taking forward new reviews, holding the first annual Lean event for staff to enable more learning and acknowledge staff success and on planning the next round of staff engagement through local forums;
(iv)   the chronology of the Board’s activities over the past 12 months and its achievements and work still to do as summarised in Paragraphs 4.3 and 4.4; and
(v)    that redesign activity had not required the total budget allowance made for it.   

Members AGREED that the Board should continue to operate beyond June 2018, adapt to new challenges, learn from experience and connect to other change processes in the Council for redesign to achieve even more going forward.

Members also AGREED that redesign should be subject to annual review by the Board and by the Council and to resource redesign with a budget feed of up to £40k from July 2018 to the end of June 2019. These costs could expect to be recovered from savings, costs avoided and income generation and income achievement identified from redesign reviews.    

(b)  Redesign Review of Car Parking – Final Report

There had been circulated Report No. HC/22/18 dated 12 June 2018 by the Inverness City Area Manager (Review Team Leader).

Prior to discussion, the Convener confirmed that an additional recommendation was to be added to the proposals as follows – for the year 2018/19 only, any shortfall in area car parking income would be underwritten from the overall Community Services budget. 

Thereafter, and during discussion, Members raised the following issues:-

  • the additional recommendation which had now been put forward was welcomed, particularly in the Ross & Cromarty area where there had been concerns about potential penalties if proposed income levels had not been achieved;
  • it was hoped that local democracy and community engagement could be implemented in the months ahead;
  • there were however still serious concerns in the Dingwall area in particular as it was not considered that there was a traffic management problem in this location at present and local residents feared that the introduction of car parking charges would have a detrimental effect on local businesses;
  • it should be noted that there were areas where car parking charges had been implemented without public consultation beforehand and this was regretted;
  • there was also some concern about some of the statistics within previous reports (outwith the redesign process) in relation to the number of car parking spaces available in specific areas which had subsequently been found to be incorrect;
  • thanks should be conveyed to the team who had worked on this report as part of the redesign process and it was acknowledged that it would have been helpful to have concluded the review in advance of the decisions being made at the February budget meeting;
  • it had to be acknowledged that the Council faced unprecedented financial circumstances with some extremely difficult budget decisions having had to be made and for that reason a number of Members were in favour of the introduction of car parking charges in view of the limited options currently available in relation to increased income;
  • the consideration of this issue by the Redesign Board had been extremely thorough and this was welcomed, not least in terms of the proposal that a proportion of the income from charges could potentially be used for local purposes in future and that decisions in this regard would be made by Local Members; and
  • it should be noted that car parking charges had already been in operation in certain areas of the Highlands for a considerable period of time.

Thereafter, Mr B Lobban, seconded by Mr A Christie, MOVED the recommendations as detailed with the report – together with the additional recommendation which had been highlighted at the start of this item.

As an AMENDMENT, Mr G MacKenzie, seconded by Mrs L MacDonald, moved that an immediate impact assessment on the introduction of car parking charges should be carried out for each Ward in Ross & Cromarty and Nairn as stated in general terms on Page 45, Item 5.14, of the report and a communications plan actioned in keeping with the Highland Council’s pioneering policy on promoting local democracy and to consult fully with all stakeholders in each location, including local businesses, communities and Community Councils as highlighted on Page 17 of the report.

On a vote being taken, the MOTION received 37 votes and the AMENDMENT received 15 votes, with 1 abstention, and the MOTION was therefore CARRIED, the votes having been cast as follows:-

For the Motion
Mr D Macpherson, Mr R MacDonald, Mr R Balfour, Miss J Campbell, Mr G Ross, Ms K Stephen, Mrs I MacKenzie, Ms E Knox, Mrs C Wilson, Mr J Finlayson, Mr B Thompson, Mr L Fraser, Mrs A MacLean, Mr G Adam, Mr D Rixson, Ms L Munro, Mr I Ramon, Mr G Cruickshank, Mr M Finlayson, Mrs F Robertson, Mrs I Campbell, Mrs J Barclay, Mr A Graham, Mrs C Caddick, Mr A Jarvie, Mr S Mackie, Mr B Lobban, Mr R Laird, Mr A Henderson, Mrs H Carmichael, Mrs M Davidson, Mr A MacKinnon, Mr A Baxter, Mr A Christie, Mrs D MacKay, Mr R Bremner and Ms N Sinclair. 

For the Amendment
Mr K Rosie, Mrs P Munro, Mr B Allan, Mr K Gowans, Mr C MacLeod, Ms P Hadley, Mrs M Paterson, Mr R MacWilliam, Mr B Boyd, Mr D Louden, Mrs M Cockburn, Mr G MacKenzie, Dr I Cockburn, Mrs L MacDonald and Ms M Smith.

Mr A Sinclair                    


The Council NOTED the process involved in the Board’s review and in particular the opportunity the review had provided to hear a range of Member views in ten Board workshops and two formal meetings. The review had taken longer than expected but this had allowed for extensive deliberation and the opportunity to find some common ground.

The Council AGREED:-

(i) the vision for parking as described in Paragraph 5.1;
(ii) to devolve budget decisions on car parking to Local Committees through the extended local control budget option by including off-street parking in the disaggregated Community Services budget, providing a local Car Parking Budget for each Local Committee, noting current powers in the Scheme of Delegation relating to disaggregated budgets would apply to car parking if devolved and adding a new power for Local/City Committees as described in Paragraph 5.10;
(iii) to enable local benefit from car parking opportunities by reinvesting any surplus income locally i.e. income above the target set by Council in its budget setting process. This provided local choices on the disaggregated budget including improving or protecting other local Community Services provision or investing in other local priorities. Where a deficit occurred, Local Committees would decide where other service savings would be made, including an awareness of workforce implications. Local Committees would monitor budget in year and investment/divestment decisions would be made by the Local Committee for the year ahead based on actual out-turns in the previous year;
(iv) as part of the Council’s budget setting process for 2019/20 and subsequent years, rather than setting any single corporate target for off-street car parking, the Council would set a revenue target for Local Committees instead;
(v) to enable meaningful local engagement on local changes to car parking by introducing new ways of supporting Members to make local choices on their disaggregated budget, with proposals from Community Services being agreed and implemented for influencing the disaggregated budget for 2019 and engaging Local Members and communities in changes to car parking using a defined process as set out at Appendix 4. The Ward Management and Policy teams in the Chief Executive’s Office would support Members and the Service with their engagement process;
(vi) that, to support the shift to localism, proposals be developed by the Service to respond to the staff impacts expected around training, work load, priorities, staff roles and possibly structure;
(vii) dependent on the staff resourcing above, to implement the changes to align with budget setting for 2019/20, with local decisions on investment/divestment from 2020/21 and the first annual review after April 2021;
(viii) a revised policy for car parking to be considered at the Environment, Development & Infrastructure Committee as soon as practicable (earliest opportunity August 2018) and that it included the vision for car parking developed and agreed through the Board as set out at Paragraph 5.1, extended local control budget model, engagement process as set out in Appendix 4 and additional Board recommendations as set out in Appendix 5;
(ix) that the revised car parking policy be given a higher profile in the Community Services Service Plan;
(x) that other process improvement agreed by the Board as set out in Paragraphs 5.19 to 5.25 be noted as operational issues and be largely delegated to Officers in Community Services. These covered intelligence and opportunities around land for car parking, developing car parking data and financial management arrangements, processes to support investment in car parking infrastructure, marketing and promotion of car parking, workforce issues and continually learning from good practice; and
(xi) that, for 2018/19 only, any shortfall in area car parking income to be underwritten from the overall Community Services budget.

The Minutes of the Redesign Board meeting held on Tuesday, 12 June 2018 were also APPROVED.

15. Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal Update
Cùmhnant Baile Roinne

There had been circulated Report No. HC/23/18 dated 31 May 2018 by the Director of Development & Infrastructure.


The Council NOTED the progress to date as detailed in the report.

The Council also AGREED that clarity over the compatibility of the digital project with other Government digital initiatives should be undertaken to enable the business case to be finalised and that a monitoring and evaluation framework should be established to ensure the targets set in the City-Region deal could be scrutinised.

16. Single Use Plastics    
Plastaigean Aona Chleachdadh

There had been circulated Report No. HC/24/18 dated 24 May 2018 by the Director of Development & Infrastructure.


The Council AGREED that:-

(i) a strategy should be developed to ensure that the Council worked towards phasing out single use plastic from its sites and schools in an effort to exceed statutory requirements;
(ii) work with community planning partners should be undertaken to encourage the uptake of mutually-reinforcing strategies to reduce plastic pollution in a catering sundries context;
(iii) Commercial and Procurement Shared Services (C&PSS), Scotland Excel and Catering Managers should work together to incrementally phase out single use plastic in the procurement of catering sundries and consider introducing wider measures designed to reduce the plastic content of packaging;
(iv) communications be prepared and disseminated to inform Highland communities about the reasons the Council was phasing out single use plastic and to encourage them to switch to alternatives;
(v) a cross-party Highland Council Working Group should be created to provide input and recommendations for the overarching strategy and the phasing out of single use plastic with Cllr Trish Robertson as Chair; and
(vi) a cross-Service Highland Council Officers’ Group should be created to implement the recommendations and write the overall strategy.

17. Caithness and Sutherland Local Development Plan
Plana Leasachaidh Ionadail Ghallaibh agus Chataibh

There had been circulated Report No. HC/25/18 dated 13 June 2018 by the Director of Development & Infrastructure.


The Council AGREED that, following the expiration of the requisite period for consideration by Scottish Ministers, and unless directed by them otherwise, the final version of the Proposed Caithness and Sutherland Local Development Plan (i.e. the ‘Intention to Adopt’ version of the CaSPlan) would be adopted and constituted as part of the Development Plan.

18. High Life Highland – Amendment to Articles of Association
High Life na Gàidhealtachd – Atharrachadh do dh’Artaigilean Co-cheangail

Declarations of Interest –

Ms L Munro, Mr T Heggie, Mr D Macpherson and Mr A Jarvie declared non-financial interests in this item as Directors of High Life Highland but, having applied the test outlined in Paragraphs 5.2 and 5.3 of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct, concluded that their interests did not preclude them from taking part in the discussion.   

Mr K Gowans declared a non-financial interest in this item on the basis that a family member was employed by High Life Highland but, having applied the test outlined in Paragraphs 5.2 and 5.3 of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct, concluded that his interest did not preclude him from taking part in the discussion.   

Mr D Louden declared a non-financial interest in this item on the basis of being a Trustee of the Tain & District Museum which was part funded by High Life Highland but, having applied the test outlined in Paragraphs 5.2 and 5.3 of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct, concluded that his interest did not preclude him from taking part in the discussion.  

There had been circulated Report No. HC/26/18 dated 18 June 2018 by the Head of Corporate Governance.


The Council AGREED to amend Article 111, to insert Article 112A and to amend Article 113 of the Company’s Memorandum and Articles as detailed in Appendix A to the report.

19. Church Representative – Care, Learning & Housing Committee
Riochdaire Eaglaise – Comataidh a’ Chùraim, an Ionnsachaidh & an Taigheadais

It was noted that the Council was required, in terms of Section 31 of the Local Government etc (Scotland) Act 1994, to have a minimum of three Church representatives on the Care, Learning and Housing Committee, two of whom were to be appointed on direct nomination (by the Church of Scotland and the Roman Catholic Church) and the third involving discretionary procedures.

In this regard, and on the basis of the rota system previously agreed by the Council, The Very Reverend Sarah Murray had been nominated by the Scottish Episcopal Church as its representative to sit on the Committee.


The Council APPROVED the nomination of The Very Reverend Sarah Murray as detailed.

20. Deeds Executed
Sgrìobhainnean Lagha a Bhuilicheadh

It was NOTED that a list of deeds and other documents executed on behalf of the Council since the meeting held on 10 May 2018 was available in the Members’ Library and on the Council’s Website.

21. Recess Powers
Cumhachdan Fosaidh

It was AGREED that, during the recess period, powers should be granted to the Chief Executive, Depute Chief Executive/Director of Corporate Resources and Service Directors, in consultation with the Convener, Leader of the Council, Depute Leader of the Council, relevant Committee Chair and the Leader of the Opposition, to deal with issues arising during that time and that a report should be prepared for the first meeting of the Council or relevant Committee following the period where these powers had been exercised.

The meeting ended at 6.10pm.