Agendas, reports and minutes

Highland Council

Date: Thursday, 13 May 2021

Agenda: Read the Agenda

A meeting of the Highland Council will be held REMOTELY on Thursday, 13 May 2021 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.

Yours faithfully,

Stewart Fraser 
Head of Corporate Governance


1. Calling of the Roll and Apologies for Absence
Gairm a’ Chlàir agus Leisgeulan

2. Declarations of Interest
Foillseachaidhean Com-pàirt

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.

3. 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 25 & 26 March 2021 (pp.200-232) as contained in the Volume which has been circulated separately.

4. 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 the Volume circulated separately as undernoted:-

Lochaber Area Committee (Special Meeting), 23 March
Isle of Skye & Raasay Committee    29 March, 
Audit & Scrutiny Committee, 31 March
Sutherland County Committee (Special Meeting), 1 April
Easter Ross Area Committee (Special Meeting), 7 April
Lochaber Area Committee, 19 April
Nairnshire Committee (Special Meeting), 20 April
Tourism Committee, 21 April    
*Caithness Committee – Starred Item
*Item 12 – Publication of the Common Good Asset Register for Wick, re-classification of the property included in the Register and creation of a Wick Common Good Fund.    22 April    271-280
City of Inverness Area Committee (Special Meeting), 22 April
Black Isle, Dingwall & Seaforth Committee, 26 April
Wester Ross, Strathpeffer & Lochalsh Committee, 26 April
Economy & Infrastructure Committee, 5 May - To Follow
Minutes of Meetings not included in the Volume as follows - 

(i)    Highland and Western Isles Valuation Joint Board – for noting – held on 20 November 2020 (approved by the Board on 19 March 2021). 

(ii)    Community Planning Board – for noting – held on 1 February 2021 (approved by the Board on 31 March 2021). 

(iii)    Brexit Working Group – for approval – held on 1 April 2021. 

(iv)    Recovery, Improvement and Transformation Board - for approval – held on 29 March 2021.

(v)    Redesign Board – for approval – held on 23 March 2021. 

Items 5 and 6 will be considered at 2.00pm

5. Question Time                                                                                         
Àm Ceiste      

The following Questions have been received by the Head of Corporate Governance – 

(i)    Mr C Fraser

To the Chair of the Housing & Property Committee

“How many ground-floor, wheelchair-accessible properties are in the Council estate?”  
The response is circulated (p.26).
Mr Fraser will be entitled to ask a supplementary question which will be answered by the Chair.
(ii)    Mr C Fraser
To the Chair of the Housing & Property Committee
“What is the waiting list for Highland residents who want ground-floor, wheelchair-accessible properties i.e. how many people are on the housing list and have high accessibility need points allocated to them?”
The response is circulated (p.27).
Mr Fraser will be entitled to ask a supplementary question which will be answered by the Chair.

6. Notices of Motion 
Brathan Gluasaid        
The following Notices of Motion have been received by the Head of Corporate Governance – 

(i)We, the members of Dingwall and Seaforth Ward 8 have, after due consideration, unanimously agreed that in the best interests of our constituents we need to be a standalone Area Committee. We are strongly of the view that for effective governance and local accountability, decision making has to be closest to the people for whom our decisions are so important.  As we move towards Recovery we will require to work even more closely with our Communities and Businesses and to have the ability to quickly take decisions working in partnership that will improve the outcomes for the people we represent. 

We ask Highland Council to agree to give Dingwall and Seaforth Ward the right to establish an Area Committee to enable local decisions to be in local hands.

Signed:   Mr A MacKinnon   Mr G MacKenzie   Mrs M Paterson   Mrs A MacLean

(ii)Highland Council calls for a fairer share of the income derived for the development of the Highlands natural resources.

At a time when massive profits are being made by private energy companies who use the abundant natural resources of wind and water in the Highlands, the basic road infrastructure that the communities of the Highlands rely upon is failing due to the lack of invest over a number of years.

Roads are just one example where the people and the overall environment of the Highlands would benefit from a reasonable share of the income being re-invested in the wider community. There are many other areas where the quality of life of Highland people would be enhanced from the re-investment of a share of the profits made from the development of the Highlands natural resources.

Asking for a share to invest back in the community for the overall benefit of the people of the Highlands is reasonable beyond challenge and the norm in many other countries across Europe. This initiative would be a major driver in improving infrastructure and communications the length and breadth of the largest local authority in the UK and a third of the land mass of Scotland.

Signed:    Mrs M Davidson    Mr J Gray

(iii)The Climate Change Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament as a direct response to the Paris Agreement which requires parties to increase action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while taking into account “the imperatives of a just transition of the workforce and the creation of decent work and quality jobs. In this regard, the Scottish Government formed a Just Transition Commission and they reported back last year with their findings - Advice for a Green Recovery. 

Some of the findings of note are as follows:-  

•    We have an opportunity to reset our progress towards a net-zero economy in a way that also actively tackles inequality and promotes regional cohesion; 
•    Young people are especially at risk;
•    Patterns of transport use have changed but there is great uncertainty about the permanence of these changes;
•    There is an accelerated transition unfolding in the Oil and Gas sectors; and 
•    Some rural sectors and regions are especially hard hit.

We propose that Officers involved with climate change and our poverty strategies bring forward a paper on how we can bring together our thinking on these issues and how our current policies may need to change.

Signed:   Mrs M Davidson       Mrs T Robertson    

7. Proposal and Update on Senior Leadership Redesign
Ath-dhealbhadh Structaran/Àrd-Cheannardais

There is circulated Report No. HC/11/21 dated 4 May 2021 by the Chief Executive.

The Council is invited to:-

(i)    approve one of the two options presented for the Deputy Chief Executive delivery model post set out in detail in section 5.1 as follows:

Option 1: Delete Chief Operating Officer/Depute Chief Executive post from Senior Leadership Team Structure and the Depute responsibilities would be included as additional duties within an existing ECO post. The appointed ECO would have deputising duties and their job title would be Executive Chief Officer/Designated Deputy Chief Executive. This appointment would attract an additional responsibility payment of £10,000 per year and the designation would be permanent to that ECO.


Option 2: Restructure the Senior Leadership Team to include a Deputy Chief Executive (DCE) post and reduce the number of ECOs from 8 to 7 permanent ECO posts.  The DCE post would have responsibility for major Council initiatives and strategies as well as deputising responsibilities for the Chief Executive.  This appointment will attract a salary of £122,812. 

(ii)    note the ECO remits as set out in Appendix 2 of the report and note that if option 2 goes ahead then the remit areas for the ECO Transformation will be allocated to the Deputy Chief Executive; 
(iii)    agree the Heads of Service structure as set out in section 5.2 and note the remits set out in Appendix 4a and 4b of the report; 
(iv)    note the Heads of Service implementation process as set out in section 7.5 and the timelines as set out in Appendix 6 of the report; and 
(v)    note that the Senior Leadership Redesign will contribute to the senior management savings of £0.500m approved by Council in March 2020 for the financial year 2021/2022; and that this saving will be fully implemented as the Strategic service reviews are completed within this financial year.

8. Living Wage Area Status for Highland
Tuarastal Bith-beò

There is circulated Report No. HC/12/21 dated 12 March 2021 by the Executive Chief Officer, Infrastructure and Environment. 

The Council is invited to agree:- 

(i)    the proposed next steps set out in this report; 
(ii)    that engagement is carried out with Living Wage Scotland and Dundee City Council to identify the opportunities and challenges in achieving Living Wage area status, and to engage fully with businesses to ensure buy-in;
(iii)    note that a bid for a dedicated project officer may be necessary to fully support this work; and
(iv)    that regular progress reports are brought back to Council.

9. Levelling Up Fund and Community Renewal Fund
Maoin Chothromachaidh

There is circulated Report No. HC/13/21 dated 12 March 2021 by the Executive Chief Officer, Infrastructure and Environment.

The Council is invited to agree:-

(i)    that the Council continues to lobby for a different methodology on the metrics to be used for the priority areas for the Shared Prosperity Fund, and that external analysis is carried out to strengthen the case in responding to the UK Government consultation proposed for later this year; 
(ii)    that bids are prepared for the Levelling Up Fund and the Community Renewal Fund, and that external support is brought in to support the bid writing process;
(iii)    the proposed content of bids being considered, as set out in Section 12 and 13 of this report, recognising the need for large scale projects that can be delivered within the spend period and that fit with the criteria set by the UK Government; 
(iv)    that officers continue with the preparation of the final bid submission, involving discussion with Area Chairs on an ongoing basis over the next month;
(v)    that an all Member workshop is set up prior to the bids being submitted, to report on progress and allow input to the detailed content of the bid submission; 
(vi)    that, recognising the very challenging timescales to submit bids, the final bids are agreed by the Chair and Vice Chair of the Economy and Infrastructure Committee, in consultation with the Executive Chief Officer Infrastructure and Environment; and 
(vii)    that a report on the final bid submission is brought back to Council meeting on 24 June 2021 for homologation.

10. 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 25/26 March 2021 is available on the Council’s Website.