Priorities of Argyll and Bute Council 2017 - 2022

We are focused on creating and making the most of opportunities while continuing to deliver quality services. Like the communities we represent we are ambitious and we will always be accessible to our constituents and accountable to the people of Argyll and Bute.

We are committed to making Argyll and Bute a great place to live, work and do business and we will work hard to deliver better core services and improved support for communities.

Local residents know that all councils are facing difficult decisions. Where we can’t always provide, we’ll enable, support and work in partnership to achieve delivery.

OUR VISION FOR ARGYLL AND BUTE COUNCIL

A Council that grasps opportunities to transform how it delivers services, working in partnership with communities and other public and private sector organisations, with a “can do, will do” attitude, and a strong commitment to community power and to the delivery of first class local services:

  • An education service which enables all young people to achieve their potential;
  • Support for the local economy in partnership with local businesses
  • Homes for all, tackling poverty and building opportunity
  • Greener and cleaner communities
    • A determination to ensure that our diverse geographic location with remote, rural and island communities is fully taken into account and supported in the distribution of any new funding

OUR PRIORITIES FOR THE LIFE OF THE COUNCIL, 2017-2022

Education meets the needs of all our young people and their families:

  • Delivering improved results at all levels: aiming to build on existing achievements and to be in the top 25% in Scotland for SQA examination results and positive destinations; and improving overall levels of literacy and numeracy for all Argyll and Bute pupils
  • Make sure pupil equity funding reaches schools to increase attainment for all pupils and to close the gap that exists between children from poorer backgrounds and their classmates
  • Work to deliver access to flexible full-time childcare and early years’ education that meets the needs of parents and children
  • Support looked-after children get the most out of education, by developing best practice as the corporate parent
  • Use informal education, through community action, to raise attainment, especially for those young people from disadvantaged backgrounds
  • Evidence has shown that schools play only a part in educational attainment so we will work to ensure integrated children’s services are protected
  • Strengthen community links by promoting the use of school buildings and facilities outwith the school day

Making the most of our assets to build the local economy:

  • Champion economic development across the area, working in partnership with businesses and supporting targeted economic development within local areas as part of a strategic approach
  • Campaign for greater levels of infrastructure investment across Argyll and Bute:

o   Work to create a rural growth deal that benefits Argyll and Bute, Scotland and the UK by taking full advantage of the outstanding potential our area has

o   Prioritising future-proof digital and transport connectivity to maximise the long-term potential of the area; asking national agencies to look at Argyll and Bute as a whole and deliver transformational projects

  • Support the continuing regeneration of local town centres by – for example – using unused shops for employment training, cultural showcases or residential use
  • Lobby for Argyll and Bute to be served by a single Enterprise Agency, with HIE taking on responsibility for the whole of Argyll & Bute in order to simplify our relationships and provide better outcomes for the entire Council area
  • Ensure that SMEs continue to have access to the Council’s procurement processes, building on the good progress already made
  • Work with local and national partners to provide strategic support to key sectors, such as tourism where there is significant potential for continued growth

Supporting individual and community well-being:

  • Argyll& Bute Council will be a mental health champion, promoting good health and helping people back into employment when necessary
  • Make sure the local education service identifies young people with mental health problems and helps them get early support, and continues to help them as they transfer to adult services
  • Take seriously the health and well-being of carers, providing support and respite
  • Support our new Leisure & Library Trust – Live Argyll – as they take forward responsibility for delivering and improving these vital local services
  • Work with the Health & Social Care Partnership as they deliver services across our area to ensure local people have healthier, longer, and more independent lives
  • Make best use of our outstanding environment to support mental and physical wellbeing

Strengthening and empowering communities:

  • Make sure the council uses plain English to explain their plans, and that local people have more chance to be involved at an early stage in decisions that affect them or their local area
  • Recognising the outstanding levels of volunteering across Argyll and Bute we will support local community and voluntary organisations to build their capacity so they can do more in their areas – including running local facilities and becoming more involved in delivering and improving services currently run by the Council
  • Use the power of councils to bring different services and agencies together to serve local areas better, for example by shared service hubs
  • Help communities influence the local priorities of Police Scotland and other Community Planning Partners
  • Work with community groups to provide support to older or vulnerable people, strengthening the local community
  • Ensure that local democracy is effective and available to all - people have a right to locally elected representation and decisions made at the closest possible level
  • Investigate how to make the workings of the Council more transparent through improved communication at all levels – contact centre, website, social media and broadcasting Council meetings

Homes for all, tackling poverty and building opportunity

  • Work with partners and the Scottish Government to deliver new affordable homes across the Council area, and consider using the resources of pension funds or developer contributions whenever possible to increase numbers
  • Use the council’s negotiating and initiating clout to secure lower priced energy for local people to address the issue of fuel poverty that has a significant impact locally
  • Support the provision of fair and affordable banking, insurance and financial services, and the expansion of credit unions
  • Work with partners to provide advice, information and support at an early stage for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless

Greener and cleaner communities:

  • We want to see roads, footpaths and cycle ways in good repair and will make best use of our investment and resources, using the principle of right-first-time to improve the quality of repairs
  • Use the powers and influence of the Council to lobby for better integrated public transport links, and support communities to create local solutions such as car sharing
  • Support measures to make travel to school safer and more child-friendly and to reduce congestion at school gates
  • Work to find better solutions to the problems that bring down our communities such as harsher penalties for those who allow dog fouling
  • Support the Zero Waste Scotland approach to reduction, reuse and recycling of materials, and lobby for the funding necessary to enable this approach to be taken across our remote, rural and island areas

The Council is an employer of choice:

  • Recognise that our proactive, responsive and adaptable workforce is one of the greatest assets we have and ensure training allows employees to progress throughout their career
  • Make the most of technology and digital services to increase efficiency and reduce time/cost
  • We believe that local people need local services provided through local jobs, and will work to protect jobs and services within Argyll and Bute Council
  • Support good employment practice within the council and through contracts to support equality of opportunity, fair pay, equal pay, youth employment and local suppliers

Managing our Finances:

  • Prudently managing the Council’s borrowing costs to support further revenue spending on core services. Increased capital investment in core council assets and infrastructure, such as IT, transportation, buildings and roads may assist by reducing future revenue requirements