New Sutherland County Committee meets for the first time

The first meeting of the new Sutherland County Committee took place yesterday (Tuesday 9 February) at Drummuie Council Offices in Golspie. 

Committee members are Councillors George Farlow, Hugh Morrison, Linda Munro, Deirdre Mackay, Jim McGillivray and Graham Phillips.    

At the start of the meeting Councillor Graham Phillips was elected Chair of the Committee and Councillor Hugh Morrison was appointed Vice Chair. 

The Highland Council’s new Scheme of Delegation re-organises former powers and includes new powers for all of the new local committees. 

The new powers include: 

  • Establishing appropriate links between the Committee and local community planning partnerships

  • Taking forward the localism action plan in the locality

  • Agreeing local community engagement approaches

  • Ensuring productive working relationships with Community Councils

  • Purchasing and disposing of Common Good Trust assets up to 10% of the value of the Common Good Fund: and

  • Using participatory budgeting for any funds decided by the Local Committee

Further devolution of powers are planned during 2016 subject to Council approval next month. Work is also underway to establish community planning arrangements in Sutherland, especially given new legal duties and Members will be involved in discussions with partners and community bodies in taking this area of work forward over the next 12 months. 

Chair of the new Committee, Councillor Graham Phillips said: “I am honoured to have been nominated by colleagues, and will do my utmost to repay their confidence. My fellow Councillors and I are determined this will not be a pencil counting Committee, because there is much to do for Sutherland. Of course we will be making sure that local services are delivered as effectively as we can, especially in a tight financial climate. But the Scottish Government's Localism agenda is backed by the new Community Empowerment Act. This gives us potential to regenerate the Sutherland economy, increase population and combat the inequalities faced by people living in rural areas. Over the next few weeks I will be meeting partners to talk about how we might go about it."

10 Feb 2016
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