Agendas, reports and minutes

Highland Council

Date: Thursday, 10 September 2020

Agenda: Read the Agenda (Supplementary Agenda 2)

In relation to the agenda and papers circulated for the above Meeting of the Highland Council, please find attached the undernoted:-


Minutes of Meetings of Committees                                   

City of Inverness and Area Committee, 27 August
Isle of Skye and Raasay Committee, 31 August 


Membership of Committees, etc

The Council is asked to agree the following - 

Housing and Property Committee – Vice Chair – Mr L Fraser   
Pension Board – Mrs M Paterson


Question Time (Public)

The following questions have been received by the Head of Corporate Governance from members of the public in terms of Standing Order 11a and will be considered at 2:00pm.

(i) Ms B Irvine 

To the Chair of the Education Committee

“Many schools before COVID struck didn’t have their full allocation of staff with some requiring 5 teachers in various subjects across the board.

Now with the impact of COVID on education and learning the Deputy First Minister John Swinney has stated -

“Extra staff as schools re-open. Funding of £50 million will be ring-fenced for the recruitment of approximately 850 extra teachers and around 200 additional support staff as local authorities plan for the re-opening of schools”.

Announced on 4 September 2018, The Scottish Government is investing over £60 million in additional school counselling services across all of Scotland. £12 million will go to local authorities for 2019/20, rising to £16 million a year thereafter.

The Scottish government announced in Sept 2019 £15m to recruit 1,000 classroom assistants to work with children who have additional support needs (ASN).

Can the Highland Council therefore provide information as to what allocation of those funds mentioned above they received and also what recruitment has been carried out as per above?” 

Of the £50m fund for additional teachers and support staff, Highland Council has received a formal grant offer letter for a total of £2.205m over academic year 20/21 (financial years 20/21 and 21/22). This funding takes the form of ring fenced grant funding which must be spent to meet the terms of the grant award.
The funding for school counselling and additional support needs forms part of the Council’s core revenue funding settlement from Government to help deliver shared aims in both of those areas. In financial year 2019/20 the Council received £0.754m in relation to Counselling and £0.667m in relation to additional support for learning. In 2020/21 the Council will receive £1.016m in relation to Counselling. The funding relating to Additional Support for Learning cannot be separately distinguished as part of the 20/21 funding settlement, however the overall funding for ‘school non-teaching costs including property’ for all local authorities has increased by £15m, with Highland’s share roughly £0.667m.
The Council has recruited 14 FTE currently for additional teachers and support staff and we are currently collaborating with headteachers to finalise recruitment of additional 21 FTE of staffing to support the recovery of education.  

We have met with head teacher groups and will delegate some funds to ASG level to enable local decisions to be taken about where this new resource is most effectively directed.  For example, some schools may already have arrangements in place with local third sector providers to provide counselling services or targeted and specialist services; whereas others may choose to enhance the hours for staff they already have in schools.  The key is to enable responsive solutions to be developed with schools being empowered to deliver outcomes in a way that is most suited to their needs and local arrangements.

Ms Irvine will be entitled to ask a supplementary question which will be answered by the Chair of the Education Committee.

(ii) Ms J Matheson 

To the Leader of the Council 

“Since Roseanna Cunningham MSP announced that the new Crown Estates funding arrangement would see “100% of revenue generated” going to coastal communities to enable them to fund local projects, and “more decisions …. taken at a local level”, how can Highland Council justify its proposal to disregard Scottish Governments method of funding allocation when coastal communities are in desperate need of funding to support the ongoing increase in tourism.”

There is a report on the Council’s agenda seeking consideration and approval for the distribution formula.  This issue will consequently be determined by the Council and will be an all-Member decision.

Ms Matheson will be entitled to ask a supplementary question which will be answered by the Leader of the Council. 

(iii) Mr D Ogg

To the Leader of the Council 

“In view of the fact that coastal communities have an ongoing lack of adequate job opportunities, does the Council not consider that it would be more appropriate for any administration of the Crown Estates fund to be undertaken by people located in those communities rather than simply handing the job to “competent officers (currently) running the LEADER/FLAG programmes which are nearing closure”.

There is a report on the Council’s agenda seeking consideration and approval for the distribution formula.  This issue will consequently be determined by the Council and will be an all-Member decision.

Mr Ogg will be entitled to ask a supplementary question which will be answered by the Leader of the Council.


Financial Impact Statements - Notices of Motion 

Please find attached Financial Impact Statements from the Executive Chief Officer, Resources & Finance, for each of the Notices of Motion contained on the Agenda. 


Education Recovery - Early Learning and Childcare

There is circulated additional Report No. HC/30/20 dated 6 September 2020 by the Executive Chief Officer, Education. 

The Council is asked to:-

(i)   agree that funds can be released to enable circa 30 settings to provide 1140 hours of ELC as soon as possible, with some prior to the October holidays where safe and practical to do so, and overall no later than January 2021;
(ii)  note that the additional costs of moving settings will be in the region of £250k  and that updated costs will be reported to the Corporate Resources Committee and the Education Committee; and
(iii) note that the Education Committee on 30th September will receive a detailed report on the review of 1140 hours provision, and information relating to individual settings.


Amendments to the Council’s Scheme of Delegation – Covid-19

On 28 August 2020, the Scottish Government introduced further regulations to control risks from Covid19, the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Directions by Local Authorities) (Scotland) Regulations 2020. 

The Council are asked to approve the following amendments (as circulated) to the Scheme of Delegation to include the new Regulations and make minor amendments to clarify existing delegations related to Public Health and Covid19:

Page 140 Environmental Health 

Page 74 Trading Standards 


Compensation Payments for SJC Casual Workers

There is circulated Report No. HC/31/20 dated 7 September 2020 by the Head of Human Resources. 

The Council is asked to:- 

(i)   agree Option 3 as outlined in section 4 of the report. To compensate all Casual Workers affected ie casual workers who have received some or no payment for work undertaken, however less than they would normally receive due to COVID and bring their earnings up to the average of the previous 3 pay periods.  This could amount to c£136,000; and
(ii)  approve the period for payment should cover 3 months only.  

Yours faithfully

Stewart Fraser
Head of Corporate Governance