Delivering Better Public Services in the Highlands

A plan of action to deliver better public services in the Highlands,  in keeping with the priorities of the Scottish Government, was launched today (Tuesday).

The Single Outcome Agreement (SOA) sets out how the Council and its community planning partners will address the 15 national outcomes, detailing what can be expected locally. The outcomes cover the environment, enterprise, education,  services for young and older people,  health and community safety.

The SOA was launched at Sabhal Mor Ostaig, the Gaelic College in Sleat, Skye, today (Tuesday) when the Scottish Cabinet held the fourth and final summer meeting outwith Edinburgh there.

The SOA identifies a range of  better outcomes for the people of the Highlands and Scotland through specific commitments made by the Council, its community planning partners and the Scottish Government. More partners and voluntary organisation will be brought into the agreement later this year.

Partners include Highlands and Islands Enterprise, NHS Highland, Northern Constabulary, Highland and Islands Fire and Rescue Service, UHI Millennium Institute, the Northern Community Justice Authority; Job Centre+; Skills Development Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning,  said: “Single outcome agreements enable a new, more effective working relationship between central and local government. They put local authorities and their partners at the heart of local democracy, making elected representatives more directly accountable to people they serve. They also allow monitoring and reporting burdens to be reduced, giving councils greater freedom to more effectively deliver the services that people want and need.
 “I’m delighted to be signing the Highland Single Outcome Agreement on behalf of the Scottish Government. It is an excellent example of how central government, local government and community planning partners can work together to improve the delivery of public services to local people and local communities.”

Councillor Sandy Park, Convener of The Highland Council , said: “The Single Outcome Agreement provides the new framework for community planning in the Highlands. It gives us the chance to refocus partnership effort on the local outcomes and it will provide a formal channel for dialogue with the Scottish Government on improvement public services in the Highlands.”

Willie Roe, Chairman of Highlands and Islands Enterprise said: “HIE’s always enjoyed close working relationships with colleagues in local authorities. The Single Outcome Agreement opens a new chapter in that relationship which fully meets our shared objectives for the benefit of the people of the Highland Council area.”

Garry Coutts, Chairman of NHS Highland, said: “The Single Outcome Agreement is an important vehicle for partnership working to improve public services in Highland and we look forward to developing it even further over the coming months.”

Ian Latimer, Chief Constable, said: ““The Highlands and Islands are one of the safest places to live in the UK, with low crime and a strong sense of community. This agreement is an excellent focus to work together with those communities to ensure a safe and prosperous future for the region.”

Note: The 15 national outcomes are: -
1. We live in a Scotland that is the most attractive place to do business in Europe.
2. We realise our full economic potential with more and better employment opportunities for our people.
3. We are better educated, more skilled and more successful, renowned for our research and innovation.
4. Our young people are successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens.
5. Our children have the best start in life and are ready to succeed.
6. We live longer, healthier lives.
7. We have tackled the significant inequalities in Scottish society.
8. We have improved the life chances for children, young people and families at risk
9. We live our lives safe from crime, disorder and danger
10.  We live in well designed, sustainable places where we are able to access the amenities and services we need.
11. We have strong, resilient and supportive communities where people responsibility for their own actions and how they affect others.
12. We value and enjoy our built and natural environment and protect it and enhance it for future generations.
13. We take pride in a strong fair and inclusive national identity.
14. We reduce the local and global environment impact of our consumption and production.
15. Our public services are high quality, continually improving, efficient and responsive to local people’s needs.

26 Aug 2008