Council agrees Redesign Board recommendations
The Highland Council has agreed all the recommendations made by the Redesign Board.
The Board proposes a significant shift to localism. More council business would be decided locally, with closer connections between the Local Committees and the communities they serve. The Board recommends changes to governance, with fewer strategic committees and more decision making at local level.
The Board also endorses a more commercial approach for the Council, raising income to help sustain jobs and services across the region. It recommends a new Commercial Board is established for the Council and new practice is put in place to increase commercial opportunities and a more business-like approach.
Having listened to the views of community bodies, the Board is keen to work with partners to find a way of supporting community groups. It recommends that the council should explore with them the development of the Community Gateway idea which came from community bodies themselves to operate as a one-stop shop for advice and support to encourage further community involvement.
The Council has also agreed the Board’s recommendation that the Chief Executive should make restructuring proposals to the new Council to support the recommended governance arrangements.
A number of recommendations from early reviews were agreed. These include recommendations from reviews into Services for Looked After Children, Additional Support for Learning, Waste Services, Transport, Street Lighting, Street Cleansing and Administration in Schools.
Notably, members agreed that officers should progress the identification and acquisition of waste transfer stations in Aviemore and Lochaber and the identification of capacity for mechanical treatment of residual waste and refuse derived fuel. A business case for long term waste disposal in the region will also be finalised.
Members agreed that the financial support for contracted and non-commercial services and community transport should be sustained without further budget reductions during the contract periods to enable review work to continue.
It is proposed that redesign will continue as part of the Council’s business and staff will be central to and involved in the ongoing redesign process, utilising the methods tested by the Board. This will include in peer reviews, which has proven a very successful approach, demonstrating the talent and openness of staff to identify change.
Convener of the Highland Council, Cllr Isobel McCallum said: “I would like to give my thanks staff and members for their participation in the extensive redesign work which has been carried out to date. Their experience and views are central to a successful redesign process.
“The Redesign Board has provided an opportunity for Members to work closely with officers and staff, whilst acknowledging the principle of decisions being made in public. This style of business has worked really well and I would commend it for the future.”
Vice Chair of the Redesign Board and Vice Convener Bill Lobban said: “Today’s report is the culmination of 11mths work and we have genuinely shown that we are open to ideas and fresh thinking.
“We have a workforce which is second to none and we have begun to break down the barriers between staff and members and the public. The peer review method has taken us out of our comfort zone and has worked really well. We have an opportunity to use these methods in the future to shape services in a much better way.”
The recommendations will be taken to the new Council after 5 May to consider.
The report is published on our website at: