Two Highland communities to pilot Community Action Plans
Representatives of Stratherrick and Foyers Community Council and Strathglass Community Council are working with The Highland Council’s Community Services to trial the system, whereby they use GPS enabled mobile devices to record fault/concerns and forward to the Council for action and inclusion in a local repair and action plan. For communities this will mean better communication of when work will be done and should lead to better planning for the council to reduce duplication and costs of multiple visits where several issues can be dealt with at one visit.
William Gilfillan, Director of Community Services, said: “Our goal in Community Services is to be more customer-focused and responsive to community concerns about the “everyday” things that matter to communities, such as faulty street lights and potholes. We need to be better at consistently communicating with our communities and this pilot will help us do so. If the pilots prove to have the value that we anticipate to communities, then we would seek to roll this approach out across the Highlands. We had originally intended to use special equipment for the pilot but new developments in technology mean that we can now allow access through a range of mobile devices which should further reduce costs and extend the capacity of the community.”
Council Leader, Councillor Drew Hendry said: “This is an excellent example of how communities can work jointly with the Council to quickly and effectively remedy simple local issues. A growing number of communities are looking for local knowledge to be used in partnership with the council and are keen for a clearer indication of when they can expect things to be done. They are ready and willing to take a more active role in these types of local issues and we are very keen to help to pursue new ways to respond more quickly and give better value for every pound.”
By using an app on a smartphone, the Community Council volunteers record the location of the fault; take a photograph; give a description of the fault; and then send their record to the Council. Community Services will then respond by letting the community know what is to be done and when it will be sorted.
Mrs Heather Redmond, Secretary of Strathglass Community Council, said: “This is a great opportunity to make Community priorities known to the Council and should allow focused responses to defects when funds are under pressure.”