Agendas, reports and minutes
Date: Thursday, 12 March 2020
Agenda: Read the Agenda
A meeting of the Highland Council will be held in the Council Chamber, Council Headquarters, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness on Thursday, 12 March 2020 at 10.35am.
Webcast Notice: This meeting will be filmed and broadcast over the Internet on the Highland Council website and will be archived and available for viewing for 12 months thereafter.
You are invited to attend the meeting and a note of the business to be considered is attached.
Head of Corporate Governance
1. Calling of the Roll and Apologies for Absence
Gairm a’ Chlàir agus Leisgeulan
2. Declarations of Interest
Members are asked to consider whether they have an interest to declare in relation to any item on the agenda for this meeting. Any Member making a declaration of interest should indicate whether it is a financial or non-financial interest and include some information on the nature of the interest. Advice may be sought from Officers prior to the meeting taking place.
Item 3 below will be considered at 12.30pm.
3. Presentation - Microsoft
The Council is advised that a Presentation on Microsoft will be undertaken at the meeting.
4. Confirmation of Minutes
Daingneachadh a’ Gheàrr-chunntais
There are submitted for confirmation as a correct record the Minutes of Meeting of the Council held on 9 December 2019 and of the Special Meeting held on 13 February 2020 as contained in the Volume which has been circulated separately.
The Minutes of the Special Meeting to be held on 5 March will follow.
5. Minutes of Meetings of Committees
Geàrr-chunntasan Choinneamhan Chomataidhean
There are submitted for confirmation as correct records, for information as regards delegated business and for approval as appropriate, the Minutes of Meetings of Committees contained in Volume circulated separately as undernoted:-
Housing and Property Committee - 29 January 2020
Communities and Place Committee - 26 February 2020
*Economy and Infrastructure Committee - 6 February
*Starred Item - Stoer Primary School - Lochinver Primary School – agreed to recommend that education be discontinued at Stoer Primary School and its catchment transferred to that of Lochinver Primary School.
Badenoch and Strathspey Area Committee - 11 February 2020
Health, Social Care and Wellbeing Committee - 12 February 2020
Caithness Committee - 19 February 2020
Lochaber Committee - 19 February 2020
City of Inverness Area Committee - 20 February 2020
Sutherland County Committee - 24 February 2020
Corporate Resources Committee - 30 January 2020
*Education Committee - 27 February 2020 (To follow)
*Starred Item - Stromeferry Working Group – agreed to recommend that, in order to ensure consistency, the membership of the Working Group should continue unchanged as the Council moved forward with its new Committee Structure - Mr A Henderson, Mr H Morrison, Ms T Robertson, Mr A Mackinnon, Mr M Reiss, Ms I Campbell, Dr I Cockburn, Mr A MacInnes, Mr D MacLeod
Isle of Skye and Raasay Committee - 2 March 2020 (To follow)
6. Community Planning Board
Bòrd Dealbhadh Coimhearsnachd
There are circulated for noting Minutes of Meeting of the Community Planning Board held on Wednesday, 18 December 2019 (approved by the Board on 28 February 2020).
7. Climate Change Working Group
Buidheann-Obrach Atharrachadh na Gnàth-shìde
There are circulated for approval Minutes of Meeting of the Climate Change Working Group held on Friday, 28 February 2020.
8. Brexit Working Group
Buidhean Obrach Brexit
There are circulated for approval Minutes of Meetings of the Brexit Working Group held on Thursday, 23 January 2020.
9. Recruitment Panel – Executive Chief Officers
There are circulated for noting Minutes of Meetings of the Recruitment Panel held on 8 January and 14 February 2020.
10. Membership of Committees, etc
Ballarachd Chomataidhean, msaa
Highland Licensing Committee/Highland Licensing Board
The Council is advised that Mr B Thompson has confirmed his intention to step down from the Highland Licensing Committee and Highland Licensing Board with immediate effect.
On that basis, nominations are being sought from Wards 5, 8, 10, 11, 12, 20 and 21 for the vacant place and will be at the meeting.
Wellbeing Joint Sub Committee
The Council is asked to agree that the Wellbeing Joint Sub Committee should be a Sub Committee comprising 14 Members from some or all of the following Committees of the Council: Education; Health Wellbeing and Social Care; Communities and Place; and Housing and Property. In addition, Substitute Members should be allowed and the Sub-Committee itself should be politically balanced.
Redesign & Commercial Board
The Council is asked to agree that the new Redesign & Commercial Board should comprise 16 Members, along with the current 2 Trade Union representatives.
In addition, Substitute Members should be allowed and the Board itself should be politically balanced and appoint its own Chair and Vice Chair.
The Council is advised that the membership has now been confirmed as follows:-
Mr B Lobban, Mr J Gordon, Mr A Henderson, Mr D Macpherson, Mrs M Paterson, Mr H Morrison, Mr R Bremner, Mr C Fraser, Dr I Cockburn, Ms M Smith, Mr A Jarvie, Mr S Mackie, Mr G Adam and Mr D Rixson.
The Council is advised that the membership has now been confirmed as follows:-
Mr A MacKinnon, Mrs I Campbell, Mrs M Paterson, Mr A Henderson, Miss J Campbell, Mr J Gordon, Mr R Bremner, Mr A MacInnes, Ms E Roddick, Mr G MacKenzie, Mr D MacKay, Mr A Sinclair, Mr D Rixson and Mr G Adam.
Climate Change Working Group – the Independent Group Member to replace Mr M Finlayson will be confirmed at the meeting.
Items 11 and 12 below will be considered at 2.00pm
11. Question Time
The following Questions have been received by the Head of Corporate Governance –
Mr K Gowans
To the Leader of the Council
“As we now approach 3 years of the Independent/Lib Dem/Labour Administration of this Council, SNP Members still have no representation on external bodies where Members are appointed in this Chamber. Surely you acknowledge that the SNP group are the second largest group and the largest political group in this Council and as such should have representation on external bodies or boards in a way that reflects the membership of Highland Council. By disallowing SNP membership, the position undermines local democracy.
Will you consider this anomaly and bring forward a review of the Council’s representation on external bodies and boards to better reflect the democratic wishes of the Highland people?”
The response is circulated.
Mr Gowans will be entitled to ask a supplementary question which will be answered by the Leader.
12. Notices of Motion
The following Notices of Motion have been received by the Head of Corporate Governance –
(i) Council notes that during the 2019/20 budget setting, members agreed that a waste policy would be drafted to the following statement:
“There would be a restriction on vans, trailers and other large loads of waste containing construction and demolition wastes”.
This was due to a problem with specific type of waste being disposed of by some commercial operators at domestic recycling centres.
On 15 August 2019, the Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee agreed a policy in response to this. However, there has latterly been confusion and ambiguity around what was agreed. Section 5.2.2 of the report outlined the proposed restrictions on sizes of trailer, van and types of vehicle, anything over this would be prohibited from using any recycling centre regardless of the type of waste it contained. However, section 5.2.3 immediately after stated:
“Other household waste (e.g. household furniture, electrical appliances or garden waste) will not be affected by the quantity restrictions imposed on construction and demolition waste detailed above”
The ambiguity of this gave many people the impression that household waste, including garden waste, would not be affected by the restrictions.
The policy allows multiple trips with smaller quantities of waste, making any revenue saving by reducing to overall quantity of waste disposed of questionable. Furthermore, taking vehicle multiple journeys to dispose of a quantity of waste which could be disposed of in one, it is difficult to align this with Council’s declaration of a Climate Emergency.
Taking into consideration all of the above points. Along with the fact that in many areas of the Highlands, the Council is the only provider of waste services, this Council agrees with the policy’s original intent; to impose a restriction on vans, trailers and other large loads of waste containing construction and demolition wastes. However it proposes that there should be flexibility for oversize trailers belonging to private householders disposing of domestic waste such as household furniture, electrical appliances and garden waste. Individuals disposing of building waste should be restricted to the existing policy.
Signed: Mr A Jarvie Mr P Saggers Mrs C Caddick
In line with Standing Order 12 – the following financial impact has been identified by the Executive Chief Officer (Resources & Finance) in relation to the above Notice of Motion:- There would be a financial impact arising from this proposal. Within the timescale it has not been possible to accurately determine the value.
(ii) The Highland Council call upon CoSLA to set up a policy forum specifically related to developing policies and policy adjustments aimed at supporting serving and former members of the Armed Forces and their families in accordance with the commitments made by all Scottish Local Authorities in support of the Armed Forces Covenant.
Signed: Mr C Smith Mrs C Caddick Mrs M Davidson Ms E Roddick Mr R Balfour
In line with Standing Order 12 – the Executive Chief Officer (Resources & Finance) has confirmed that there is no financial impact in relation to the above Notice of Motion
(iii) Responding to the Climate Emergency, Highland Council agrees that all householders, except those in listed buildings and/or conservation areas, can replace existing glazing with double or triple glazing without having to apply for planning permission.
Signed: Mr D Louden Dr I Cockburn
In line with Standing Order 12 – the Executive Chief Officer (Resources & Finance) ias confirmed that there is no financial impact in relation to the above Notice of Motion.
(iv) Highland Council has declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency.
The Public expect Highland Council to follow that declaration with practical measures.
Highland Council manages a substantial Council House building program. Building in a Highland environment is expensive and all budgets are tightly controlled. Highland Council may prove reluctant to try new technology such as District Heating Systems because of their perceived risk.
Accordingly, Council directs the CEO and appropriate HC officers to prepare and make a submission for 50% costs towards a District Heating System under the ‘Heat Networks Early Adopter Challenge Fund’
Suggested first site: Phase 2 of HC’s proposed development on the Blar Mhor by Fort William since this will involve over 100 new houses with, eventually, a new hospital and a new UHI/WHC building.
Signed: Mr D Rixson Mrs T Robertson
In line with Standing Order 12 – the following financial impact has been identified by the Executive Chief Officer (Resources & Finance) in relation to the above Notice of Motion:- There would be a financial impact of 50% of the costs associated with this proposal. The overall costs are not available and it is therefore not possible to determine the cost to the Council.
(v) Women in Nuclear is an organisation that exists to improve diversity and gender balance within the nuclear industry which, like STEM disciplines overall, is significantly under-represented by women. An award winning branch (WiN UK Highland) has been established to represent the Dounreay and Vulcan sites and has recruited members from across the Highland Council area.
Given the importance of the nuclear industry to Caithness, North Sutherland and the wider region and the pressing need to improve the gender balance, the Highland Council therefore agrees to sign the Women in Nuclear (WiN) industry charter.
Signed: Mr S Mackie Ms L Munro Mr H Morrison
In line with Standing Order 12 – the Executive Chief Officer (Resources & Finance) has confirmed that there is no financial impact in relation to the above Notice of Motion from signing the charter unless of course the charter places a financial obligation on the Council.
13. The Highland Council, Best Value Assurance Report 2020
There is circulated Report No. HC/3/20 dated 27 February 2020 by the Chief Executive.
The Council is asked to:-
- consider the key findings of the report;
- approve the BVAR Improvement Plan provided as Appendix 2 to the report;
- note, as outlined in Section 8, the improvement actions that are already in place and being implemented to address the historic issues identified in the BVAR;
- note the relevance of the Accounts Commission report, How Councils Work, Safeguarding Public Money: Are You Getting It Right, in supporting Members’ scrutiny role in the context of Best Value (Appendix 3); and
- approve the Terms of Reference for the Community Planning Partnership at Paragraph 8.7 of the report as agreed by the CPP Board to strengthen governance, accountability and performance of the Board in order to improve outcomes.
14. Local & National Statutory Performance Indicators (SPIs) 2018/19
There is circulated Report No. HC/4/20 dated 25 February 2020 by the Chief Executive.
The Council is asked to:-
- scrutinise the performance of SPIs for 2018/19 against their targets and their national benchmark position;
- scrutinise the initial analysis of areas for improvement in Appendix 4 of the report and the commentary and planned improvement actions;
- note that Service Plans will be presented to Strategic Committees early in the new financial year and that Members should expect the opportunity to scrutinise plans in response to the information contained in this report at that time; and
- note the corporate improvement actions in place in response to the performance related findings of the Council’s BVAR which are outlined in Paragraphs 8.1 and 8.2 of the report.
15. Treasury Management Strategy Statement and Investment Statement 2020/21
There is circulated Report No. HC/5/20 dated 28 February 2020 by the Executive Chief Officer, Finance and Resources.
The Council is asked to approve the Treasury Management Strategy Statement and Investment Statement for 2020/21 and the Prudential Indicators as detailed in Appendix 1 to the report.
16. Bus Partnership Fund – Highland Opportunities
There is circulated Report No. HC/6/20 dated 3 March 2020 by the Executive Chief Officer, Infrastructure & Environment.
Members are asked to:-
- note the current position and the opportunity that is available with this significant funding commitment;
- note the work already underway; and
- agree to continued work with COSLA on ensuring that the fund has enough flexibility to support measures more relevant or practical to rural/remote areas.
17. Redesign Update
There is circulated Report No. HC/7/20 dated 20 March 2020 by the Chief Executive.
Members are asked to:-
- approve the Minutes of the last Redesign Board; and
- note progress on Council redesign work.
In this regard, there are circulated Minutes of Meeting of the Redesign Board held on 17 December 2019.
18. Governance Review
There is circulated Report No. HC/8/20 dated 2 March 2020 by the Executive Chief Officer, Performance & Governance.
Members are asked to agree:
- the minor adjustments to the Scheme of Delegation set out in Section 4;
- the Special Responsibility Allowances (SRAs) set out in Appendix 1;
- that a report will come back to Council in May 2020 with recommendations on the role of non-elected representatives on Council Committees;
- the changes to Standing Orders set out in Section 7; and
- the arrangements for the establishment of the Wellbeing Joint Sub-Committee in Section 8 and Appendix 2.
19. Scottish Crown Estate Net Revenues Allocation
There is circulated Report No. HC/9/20 dated 3 March 2020 by the Executive Chief Officer – Infrastructure & Environment.
The Council is asked to:-
- continue to work with COSLA and the Scottish Government regarding future allocations;
- roll forward the 19/20 Crown Estate Net Revenues Allocation to 20/21 using the current Scottish Government allocation formula to distribute to Council areas;
- agree to a Members’ workshop to determine the preferred funding management options; and
- agree that a finalised funding distribution model, details of the scheme eligibility, support services required for the administration of the fund and Governance arrangements will be reported to May 2020 Council for approval and immediate implementation.
20. Deeds Executed
Sgrìobhainnean Lagha a Bhuilicheadh
Members are asked to note that a list of deeds and other documents executed on behalf of the Council since the meeting held on 9 December 2019 is available in the Members’ Library and on the Council’s Website.
21. Exclusion of the Public
Às-dùnadh a’ Phobaill
The Council is asked to resolve that, under Section 50A(4) of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, the public should be excluded from the meeting for the following item on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 9 of Part 1 of Schedule 7A of the Act.
22. River Ness Hydro Scheme
There is circulated to Members only Report No. HC/10/20 dated 17 January 2020 by the Executive Chief Officer, Infrastructure & Environment.
Members are asked to agree the recommendations as detailed in the report.
- Volume of Minutes Report, 2.89 MB
- Volume of Minutes - Part 2 Report, 844.77 KB
- Item 6: Community Planning Board Minutes Report, 176.46 KB
- Item 7: Climate Change Working Group Minutes Report, 142.11 KB
- Item 8: Brexit Working Group Minutes Report, 104.39 KB
- Item 9: Recruitment Panel Minutes - 8 January 2020 Report, 93.08 KB
- Item 9: Recruitment Panel Minutes - 14 February 2020 Report, 92.33 KB
- Item 11: Question Time - Mr K Gowans Report, 95.36 KB
- Item 13: The Highland Council, Best Value Assurance Report 2020 Report, 1.75 MB
- Item 14: Local & National Statutory Performance Indicators (SPIs) 2018/19 Report, 870 KB
- Item 15: Treasury Management Strategy Statement and Investment Statement 2020/21 Report, 508.48 KB
- Item 16: Bus Partnership Fund – Highland Opportunities Report, 134.75 KB
- Item 17: Redesign Update Report, 154.25 KB
- Item 17: Redesign Board Minutes Report, 167.97 KB
- Item 18: Governance Review Report, 206.74 KB
- Item 19: Scottish Crown Estate Net Revenues Allocation Report, 150.93 KB
- Item 20: Deeds Executed Report, 46.02 KB