Argyll and Bute Council News Round up - January 2014

We are keen to keep you up-to-date with information on the work of the council. Here you will find information including links to news from the council, a ‘Did you Know’ update and other news.

We launch our weekly Round Up with a welcome from the Leader of Argyll and Bute Council.

Welcome from Leader of the Council

Councillor Dick Walsh, Leader of Argyll and Bute Council said:

“In challenging times it is important to remain focused on what matters most in achieving progress. Argyll and Bute Council is focused on delivering a number of ambitious targets, for our economy, our people and our communities.

We have a job to do for Argyll and Bute with our community planning partners, such as health and emergency services.  As a council we also have a responsibility to the people of Argyll and Bute to deliver effective local government services.

As members of the public will be aware, an investigation by Audit Scotland and report from the Accounts Commission identified the need for action primarily to establish strategic political leadership. We have taken action.

This council is now working with a stable political administration, councillor Policy Leads to support progress in different areas of our work, and a new committee structure to be considered at the council meeting on 23 January. Our focus is on building a sustainable future for our area.

Argyll and Bute Council benefits from a skilled and hardworking workforce. The Accounts Commission highlighted that our frontline services had not been affected by political instability. This is thanks to the considerable, day-to-day efforts of our employees who are working in different ways to support and improve the lives of people across Argyll and Bute.

The council’s response to the recent bad weather (see below) is one example of this. Our award in the developing renewables sector is another. Our CHORD projects are an example of investing in the future of our local economies.  The announcement of Heritage Lottery Funding for Hermitage Park in Helensburgh shows what can be achieved through partnership working.  News from Oban Library or the warning about a potentially poisonous plant show the huge variety in the services our staff are delivering. These are just a few examples of work the council is doing across Argyll and Bute.

The facts are that we have dedicated employees we can be proud of, who are working with Councillors and I to benefit our people, our communities and our area.

To deliver the services people need now and into the future we must move on from challenges of the past that have been addressed, and focus on meeting the challenges that lie ahead.

Setting our budget for 2013/2014 is an immediate priority. With significantly reduced funding predicted for 2016 onwards, we have created time over the next two years to develop a long term financial strategy that will identify not only where we need to make efficiencies but also how we can ensure we make best possible use of the resources we have. By taking a long term view, we can best match how we invest our funding to meeting the targets that will secure a prosperous, sustainable future for Argyll and Bute.

We would like to work with you in this and so would welcome your views on the questions raised in our budget consultation. The consultation runs until 24 January so there’s still time if you haven’t yet had the chance to respond to our online survey. Thank you.”

News from the council

Weather

Our response to the recent challenging weather has been of interest to many.  The council has plans in place, with our partners, to reduce where possible the impact of severe weather and when needed to get help as quickly and efficiently as possible to our communities.

Some facts:

  • The council had over 80 Roads and Amenity staff working over the weekend of 4/5 January to keep roads safe and useable.
  • Over 650 man hours were dedicated to keeping the road network open.
  • Over 2,000 sandbags were made available in locations at risk of flooding across the area.
  • The clean-up operation is underway. Below is an example of the challenge we face – the C18 Road in Southend.
    C18 Road in Southend

Here are some websites you may find useful in being prepared for bad weather:

www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/service-disruptions - latest information on disruption to council services (including schools, roads, ferries, bin collections)

www.metoffice.gov.uk  - for weather forecasts

www.sepa.org.uk/flooding  - for flood warnings

www.readyscotland.org  – for information on preparing for emergencies

If you use Facebook, please see the council’s argyllandbutecouncil – weatheringthestorm page where we post information about on-going severe weather.

Here is a summary of recent news.

Work begins on the second phase of the Helensburgh CHORD project
This phase will see the transformation of Colquhoun Square, the keystone part of the public realm improvement works

Budget communication and consultation - Ask the Leader
The Leader of Argyll and Bute Council will answer questions on council budget and services in an on-line conversation at 7pm on Thursday 16 January.

Residents of Argyll and Bute to receive energy efficiency help
Hundreds of residents could receive help to make their home more energy efficient thanks to a successful funding bid by Argyll and Bute Council.

February deadline for Third Sector Grants applications
Community groups and organisations are being encouraged to apply for Argyll and Bute Council’s Third Sector Grants for 2014/15.

For more information please see our website: www.argyll-bute.gov.uk

Did you know?

Weddings: If you’re planning your big day, there is information on our website on planning a civil marriage in Argyll and Bute. Our Registrars help couples enjoy the happiest day of their lives in venues across the area. Please see our civil marriage guide  for more information.

Wedding gallery: to help celebrate the marriages of our couples, we publish a wedding gallery with photos of our newlyweds

Request it: reserve a library book, get a duplicate birth certificate, apply for a council tax discount – you can do this and more via the ‘Request it’ page on our website: www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/request-it

Planning a journey: you can find links on our website that could help you  plan your journey by bus, ferry, train and plane.

Next edition

Our next News Round Up will be issued on Friday 24 January 2014. If you have any comments or questions on the News Round Up please contact press@argyll-bute.gov.uk