Review of Highland Scheme of Establishment of Community Councils – 2018/19

Notes for Nairn River Community Council members January 23rd 2019

Process – 2018/2019

Proposals for Revision

1/ Boundary Changes – minor revisions in a few areas

Nairn and Nairnshire not affected so still 5 Community Councils – population and membership below

Community Council

No of members

Total population

area

Popn density

Per sq km

Nairn River

12

5505

7.1 sq km

775

Nairn West and Suburban

11

4495

3.3 sq km

1362

Cawdor and W Nairnshire

9

1193

200 sq km

6

Auldearn

8

1086

34.1 sq km

32

East Nairnshire

8

588

173.7 sq km

3.4

Total Nairnshire popn

12867

Membership

2/Moving Outwith the Area – members who move can retain membership till next election

3/Coopted Members and Abeyance-  if numbers of elected members falls below half CC can still continue with coopted members as long as there is a quorum( 4)  

NRCC currently has 2 vacancies from 12 and 6 elected and 4 coopted members

4/Increasing Cooption – CC’s can coopt up to 4 members, previously a third of members  

NRCC is already at this maximum, but 10 members including cooptions is well above the minimum of 6 members so no interim election necessary  before Nov 19.  

5/Associate Members – after Nov elections CCs to consider which local groups to offer associate (non voting) membership to (this is additional to core membership – what do members think?)

6/Youth Membership – from Nov 19 CC’s have the option for 2 additional places for Youth Members 14-18 yrs old- to serve up to 2 years.  Youth members can be identified through schools and Highlife

Elections

7/ The next elections Nov 19 to offer electronic ballot option if technology is available by then

Code of Conduct/Complaints

8/ current Code of Conduct to be retained particularly in relation to Declaration of Interests which should be part of Standing Orders ( NRCC has this already as part of standing agenda)

No new Complaints process with sanctions proposed as CC recommendations to have this process independent of Highland Council is not possible under current legislative framework. It has been referred as suggestion to Local Governance Review to explore further (see below)

Finance

9/Financial Formula – in future all CCs to get a core grant, with an additional amount for rural CCs – further engagement with CCs to firm up this amount in 2019  with no change expected till Apr 2020. After 2018/19 cuts of over 50% the total budget for all Highland CC’s is 88,000 – an average of just over £500 per year each for more than 150 CC’s. This is incredible value for money to run at least 6 meetings per year, and as many CCs have fed back not viable with rising costs of hall hire, publicity, travel, and admin. Recent cuts do not communicate that the level of volunteer effort is valued at all

Role of Community Councils

No proposals for change yet but further exploration proposed on a number of suggestions from CCs

Local Governance Review (COSLA for Scottish Government) covers the following issues

Most Highland CCs who responded to the 2018 survey  noted that

Other suggestions to be fed back to national Local Governance Review for further exploration