Introduction of the Care and Learning Service at The Highland Council
This fulfils the Council’s commitment to better integrating education, health and social care services to promote improved outcomes for children, families and communities. Health and social care services were brought together in 2012, and this integration will now include schools and education provision.
This also completes the Council’s plan to reduce the number of Services from seven to five, reducing management costs by £350,000 per year.
Care and Learning will be the biggest spending of the five Council Services, with a budget of £373 million, more than half of the Council’s annual spending. It will have 7,500 employees, which includes 2,700 teachers.
The Service will be responsible for a range of services to children and families, including schools, child health, social care and additional needs services. It will also have responsibility for mental health officers and criminal justice social work, as well as catering and cleaning across the Council. It will commission the adult social care service from NHS Highland, and also the culture and leisure service from High Life Highland.
The new Director of the Care and Learning Service is Bill Alexander, formerly Director of Health and Social Care.
Hugh Fraser, Director of Education Culture and Sport Service, has announced his intention to retire at the end of September, after more than 37 years service as a teacher and in education management.
Mr Fraser and Mr Alexander will continue working together over the coming months and until Mr. Fraser’s retirement, to ensure the success of the Service merger.
Mr Alexander said: “This is an exciting development, as we move forward with the integration of these valued services. There will be no obvious, immediate changes because of the creation of this new Service today. However, I am confident that this alignment of education, health and social care will provide better outcomes for children, families and communities in the years to come.
“The management team for the new Service is now in place, and over the coming months we will be fully integrating the two major services. We have already seen positive results from the integration of health and social care, with an excellent recent inspection of our children’s services. These new arrangements will enable our staff in schools, teams and units to continue to build on the very good services that we offer to Highland people.”
The Council has also changed the name of the strategic committee to which the new Service reports. It will be known as the Education, Children and Adult Services Committee (formerly Adult and Children’s Services Committee).
On 1 April, the Council established three new Services - Community Services, Corporate Development and Development and Infrastructure - which complement the Finance Service and the Chief Executive’s Office.