A. Local Democracy and Empowerment
A1 Establish locality planning bodies with delegated powers across the Hebrides. The intention being to work at including representation from other statutory agencies, Community Councils, Community Land Trusts, other local voluntary and community groups, local businesses and other private bodies;
A2 Develop Local Outcome Improvement Plans in each locality planning area, linked to our service planning processes;
A3 Identify senior lead officers (within the Comhairle) who will be required to work with their locality planning body to advance a Locality’s aims and objectives.
A4 Set a council target of at least 1 per cent of the Comhairle’s budget to be determined by locality planning groups, subject to participatory budgeting;
A5 Survey 5% of the Islands’ population which will be age, gender, and location balanced and include this with the Council’s annual Tax notices on the basis that this proposal will be fully costed and included in the Council’s Revenue Budget for 2018/19;
A6 Put in place arrangements to provide for female representation, drawn from Community Councils for appointment to the Council’s Standing Committees as co-opted members on the basis that Community councils are the primary democratic authority in our localities and, where there are no Community Councils that female representation will be drawn from Resident Associations and Youth Groups.
B. Council Services, Management and Employees -
The Comhairle will: -
B1 Undertake a base-line review of the Council’s Revenue and Capital spend including monies held in balances to release funds to protect local services;
B2 Conduct, with support from the Improvement Service, a transformational review of the Council’s Management and structures as part of the Council’s budget process for 2019/20 taking cognisance of the feedback on consultation on the proposed Local Governance Bill;
B3 Undertake a review of the Comhairle’s Governance regime, supported by the Improvement Service and Internal Audit, and taking cognisance of the outcomes from B2 above, to further open-up decision-making and make it more inclusive and transparent and easier for Members to engage and scrutinise etc. (including Council and Committee Structures, the Scheme of Delegation, Standing Orders, Financial Regulations and Contract Standing Orders).
B4 Introduce a bi-annual performance review process for the Chief Executive and Directors (or their equivalent) which will require to be approved by Council and which will include 360-degree feedback involving input by elected members, employees and key Community Planning agencies (Head of HR, in consultation with the relevant Trade Unions as appropriate);
B5 Require the Chief Executive and Members of the Senior Management Team to prepare a quarterly, standardised and public report on their achievements and activities including time spent off-island on non-Council activities on the basis that this will be trialled internally to incorporate feedback from Members (Head of HR in consultation with the relevant Trade Unions as appropriate);
B6 Establish new arrangements to ensure that all employees have an opportunity toformally feed-back on how Managers might better support and lead their Team/s and how we might better support individual employees to improve performance (Head of HR in consultation with the relevant Trade Unions as appropriate);
B7 Introduce the widest possible flexible and home-working arrangements to meet the needs of the Comhairle, balanced with our employees’ changing lifestyle patterns, the needs of an increasingly aging workforce, and the need to reduce absence.
That the following Key Actions/Outputs be included in the Strategy/Council Business Plans as appropriate, in support of the Strategy’s objectives to grow the Economy: -
C1 The Comhairle will work actively through locality planning arrangements (see A above) to support the aspirations of Trusts as the potential economic drivers of local Hebridean economies;
C2 As the strategic Housing and planning authority, the Comhairle will agree to delegate decisions on some local planning matters (through Locality Planning Bodies) and especially where this will contribute to securing the building of more affordable housing across the Hebrides and particularly in our rural communities as articulated in our Local Housing Strategy;
C3 The Comhairle will encourage and support the development of ‘hospitality and tourism training’ and the introduction of an Island’s specific ‘quality service standard’;(and press for this to be included in the appropriate LOIP action plan in terms of how the secondary drivers of the LOIP will be delivered);
C4 The Comhairle will work with Partners to achieve the relocation of some government administration functions to the Outer Hebrides.
That the following Key Actions/Outputs be included in the Strategy/Council Business Plans as appropriate, in support of the Strategy’s objectives to improve Energy efficiency: -
D1 The Comhairle will work with Partners to set a target to bring at least 80MW of commercial wind energy into Islands’ ownership;
D2 The Comhairle will support and encourage existing and new community-owned generation through consortium arrangements to link into the Scottish Government’s proposed, state owned Electricity Company and so facilitate lower electricity costs that can be equally shared by all islanders and contribute to the eradication of fuel poverty across our Islands;
D3 The Comhairle will use any new powers available to it to ensure that all local island communities benefit from, and can guide the investment of locally raised Crown Estate revenues based on a policy promoting fairness for all whilst ensuring that Crown Estate revenues are not used by the Comhairle to (in-directly) fund services which the Comhairle is already funded to provide.
That the following Key Actions/Outputs be included in the Strategy/Council Business Plans as appropriate, in support of the Strategy’s objectives to improve connectivity: -
E1 The Comhairle will make every effort to strengthen internal transport links between all the islands of the Hebrides and pursue, as the number one priority, through the Our Islands Our Future negotiations (and/or by all other available means), the re-newal and revitalisation of the Butt to Barra Spinal Route with the objective of dualing the road by 2021/22;
E2 The Comhairle will re-appraise the its existing feasibility study of building a road link from Harris to Berneray to act as a further stimulant to inter-island connectivityand economic growth through the Our Islands Our Future negotiations and/or by all other available means;
E3 The Comhairle will continue enhancement to Concessionary Fares on the Sounds of Harris and Barra on the basis that this proposal will be fully costed and included in the Council’s Revenue Budget for 2018/19;
E4 The Comhairle will establish regular air flights between Stornoway and the Islands of Uist & Benbecula and Barra on the basis that this proposal will be fully costed and included in the Council’s Revenue Budget for 2018/19;
E5 The Comhairle will, in consultation with others, examine the feasibility of a Mainland fixed link.
F. Tackling Poverty
That the following Key Actions/Outputs be included in the Strategy/Council Business Plans as appropriate, in support of the Strategy’s objectives to tackle poverty: -
F1 The Comhairle will work with Partners to determine a % figure for a reduction in fuel poverty over the plan period (and press for this to be included in the appropriate LOIP action plan in terms of how the secondary drivers of the LOIP will be delivered);
F2 The Comhairle will actively promote the payment of the local living wage amongst all private and third sector bodies across the Hebrides;
F3 The Comhairle will determine action to condone and mitigate the impact of UK welfare reforms locally that risk more of our children being pushed into poverty;
F4 The Comhairle will look to work in partnership with HHP to develop new, more dynamic and more rent arrangements aimed at low income families;
F5 The Comhairle will work more closely with other agencies in jointly collecting data and increasing engagement with other organisations to support vulnerable homeless people;
F6 The Comhairle will work with the Scottish Government to pilot a scheme to make it easier to acquire/dispose of land so that it has more freedom to facilitate affordable housing supply.
G. Health & Social Care
That the following Key Actions/Outputs be included in the Strategy/Council Business Plans as appropriate, in support of the Strategy’s objective’s in relation to Health & Social Care: -
G1 The Comhairle will promote a healthy environment and encourage preventative life-style choices within the Comhairle;
G2 The Comhairle will actively encourage and support the IJB to make appropriate representations to the Scottish Government where legislative provisions as between Health Board and the Comhairle are inhibiting progress;
G3 The Comhairle will further examine the budget contribution made by the Comhairle to the IJB and ensure that any further, additional Government funding made available to the Comhairle is passed on to the IJB and not retained against balances or for any other purposes;
G4 The Comhairle will work to become a ‘Carer Positive’ employer (i.e. through the Government sponsored award system - ensuring that the Comhairle actively supports carers to manage the difficult job of balancing work with caring responsibilities so assisting in the retention of experienced members of staff, reducing absence, and cutting down on avoidable recruitment costs);
G5 The Comhairle will explore the means to make sure that our services are easier to use for people with mental health conditions;
H. Children & Young People
That the following Key Actions/Outputs be included in the Strategy/Council Business Plans as appropriate, in support of the Strategy’s objectives for Children & Young People: -
H1 The Comhairle will approach, and work with, UHI to investigate the creation of a research hub based around energy and engineering;
H2 The Comhairle will ensure no cuts to the Comhairle’s Special Needs provision; and examine the means to reduce Shared Headships where this is community driven; and grow our young people’s learning and cultural experiences through, for example, the re-introduction of provision for itinerant music/art teachers;
H3 The Comhairle will examine ways to reduce its carbon footprint by, for example, a target reduction in Officer travel to the mainland where new technologies can facilitate meetings etc;
H4 The Comhairle will proactively work with others to determine a % reduction in landfill tax paid to Scottish Government by continuing investment in recycling and waste management;
H5 The Comhairle will work proactively to enable all lifeline ferry service ports to be aligned with the ferries plan
I. Third Sector
That the following Key Actions/Outputs be included in the Strategy/Council Business Plans as appropriate, in support of the Strategy’s objectives in relation to the Voluntary Sector: -
I1 The Comhairle will facilitate more effective and regular engagement with the Third Sector Interface-Western Isles to ensure that third sector organisations feel better connected and can influence and contribute effectively to the design and delivery of services;
I2The Comhairle will work with the Third Sector to draw up new partnership agreements which clearly set out the purpose of, and the expectations of, each partner (i.e. including the Comhairle);
I3The Comhairle will examine the potential to co-produce and support the delivery of a local programme of leadership development for senior Third Sector employees;
I4The Comhairle will examine the potential to establish civic awards for our wonderful community volunteers.