The Council’s annual performance report 2019/20 – ambitious, sustainable and connected

The Highland Council’s annual performance report was considered by Council yesterday (29 October) and shows 74% of Council’s performance framework is on or above target or within expected thresholds. 

Leader of the Council, Councillor Margaret Davidson, said: “I am delighted the Council has been able to achieve and stay on target for nearly three quarters of the Council’s framework. This shows that as a Council we are moving in the correct direction and will work to continue to do so as we face the ongoing challenges during the Coronavirus pandemic.”

She added: “I would like to thank our Council staff, our local communities, our Partners and all of our stakeholders across the region for their work in helping us step closer to achieving our ambitions, to help keep our Council sustainable, and to enable us to connect with our residents across Highland.”

The framework covers the Council’s Programme, Local Voices; Highland Choices along with the strategic, operational and improvement priorities of the Council which reflect the Council’s budget strategy and change programme ‘A Sustainable Highland’. All of which are set out along the relevant measures of success and targets in the Council’s Corporate Plan. 

This year’s report follows a new format with the Council’s Corporate Plan setting out the relevant statutory and key performance indicators (KPI) required to assess progress.  The Council in agreeing the Plan also agreed challenging targets for improvement.  This first annual report based on assessment against target shows encouraging progress against the Council’s vision to be ambitious, sustainable and connected.

Improvement is demonstrated across the Plan’s themes which include: a place to live, a place to thrive, a place to prosper and a welcoming place.

A Place to Live

To help us work towards the Council’s ambition to make the Highlands an even better place to live, the Council continues to engage with local communities, Elected Members, and Partners. An example of this is the Rate your Estate initiative which is a joint inspection of Council owned housing estates by Housing staff, Tenants and Elected Members where tenants can prioritise improvements to their estates. In 2019/2020 Rate your Estate inspections occurred in 32 locations across Highland. 126 tenants were involved and improvement works were carried out directly reflecting the priorities of the residents.

A Place to Thrive

The Council’s ambition is that no matter where they live or whatever their needs, all citizens are supported to be successful and Highland communities are helped to be safe, healthy, and nurturing places for all. The Placement Services Change Programme in Children’s Services was developed to return young people to Highland from costly Out of Area placements. From June 2018 to March 2020, 60 children returned or were able to remain in Highland avoiding costs of over £7m. The money saved has been invested in the development of services in Highland.

A Place to Prosper

The Council’s ambition is to maximise the economic potential of the Highlands. The Council, as a lead partner of the Inverness Townscape Heritage Project (ITHP), stimulated private sector investment to restore Rose Street Foundry (former home to Al Welders) which reopened as a bar and restaurant this year. The Council also stayed on target for 3 KPIs under this theme which were: the total direct spend with Highland small and medium sized enterprises, the number of businesses supported by Economic Development and Business Gateway, and the road network that should be considered for maintenance treatment.

A Welcoming Place

The Council’s ambition is to develop sustainable and connected communities. There are 2 KPIs for this theme which are the street cleanliness score and street lighting energy consumption and both have remained on target. The Council have also attracted over £3m of investment in electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure since 2012 and the Highland LEADER Programme, which supports bottom-up community development, has led to great successes for Highland communities.

The Council, in the light of Covid-19, will review its priorities through a review of the Council’s Programme, Local Voices; Highland Choices and this will be considered in December 2020 by Council with a focus on COVID recovery.

30 Oct 2020