Public contribution to Localism debate welcomed by Highland Council Leader

Leader of The Highland Council, Councillor Margaret Davidson has welcomed the level of public engagement that is helping the local authority plan to deliver its services through more localised decision making.

The Highland Council approved a localism action plan at its meeting of the full Council on 29 October 2015 that will start to map out how to deliver decentralised decision making powers to local communities.

The Council agreed to replace two Area Committees with four new local arrangements for the Council’s decision making. The Council is working with its Community Planning Partners to find new ways of engaging with community bodies locally.

Councillor Davidson said: “I would like to thank everyone for their contributions to the debate on a new Council. However, this is not something we can deal with instantly and it requires legislation.

“Highland Council is however, devolving democracy back to the Areas and there is a huge opportunity, to devolve more powers back to local communities.”

New agreements are already in place for Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, Caithness and Sutherland and Skye and some of the new arrangements are being designed to start in the New Year.

Local Members have agreed to use some of their Ward Discretionary Fund for Participatory Budgeting in some areas and so far this has happened in Lochaber, with Caithness next followed by Nairn and Badenoch and Strathspey. This will mean that local communities will be involved in identifying and deciding how Ward Discretionary Funding should be spent.

Lochaber Community Planning Partnership is holding a public meeting on Monday 16 November in Fort William to discuss what the important priorities for the area are and in Caithness the public are being asked to join a public vote on Saturday 21 November at the Pulteneytown People's Project in Wick.
13 Nov 2015
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