minutes – 6th June 2019 (adopted 04/07/19)

6th June 2019
Present –Iain Jenner (IJ), Colin Campbell (CC), Ann Marie Cameron (AM) , Dave Wrigglesworth (DW) Karl Spierling (KS)
Apologies –Lisa Glaze Stewart Livingston (SL) Cllr Andrew Baxter
Also present- Gordon MacIntyre Nicola Mair

Although NLCC have attempted to hold meetings in April and May, due to apologies a quorum was not in attendance at either meeting so minutes for April meeting were not adopted until this meeting

April minutes – proposed by CC and 2nd by AM

Old Cemetery – HC are prepared to transfer ownership to NLCA – this requires a change in constitution of NLCA – meeting has been arranged to discuss and hopefully adopt these changes.

Schools options- Agreement has now been reached for the 2+2 option. Next step will be appointing head teacher following Mrs MacDonald retirement and then classes will find out who their teacher is.

Bus Timetable – Oban/Fw – the timetables shown in bus shelter at Kinlochleven road end are wrong. Gordon had to stand for some time till the correct bus arrived. AM to as for updated timetables to be situated

Woodlands new build- no further info but septic tank may be needed.

CO-OPT NEW MEMBER – as we have a quorum IJ asked members to consider the adoption of KARL SPIERLING as a community councillor. Although elections will be held later in the year, following the resignations of both Nicola Mair and Jennifer Jarl, we need another face to keep us strong. SL due to work commitments offshore has to miss some meeting which is out of his hands. All Comm Cllrs present – DW-CC-AM – agreed unanimously for KS to join us and AM will update Highland Council and the website.

AGM – Am advises the financial paperwork is being audited and we will hold the AGM on Thursday 4th July – AM will put this in FB and contact press.

Elections – IJ gave a short presentation on the importance of NL maintaining it’s community council and feels that we need to have more parents involved, although we need 5 members to be solvent our max. Is 7. Proposing at next meeting – HOW TO PROMOTE NLCC MEMBERSHIP

Transport Scotland reply – DW has had reply re speed laminations and state of cycle path. Luminated signs rejected – not enough serious accidents from stats they use. Re cyclepath they (Bear) state they are not responsible for upkeep and we should pass to Highland Council BUT we are aware of paperwork stating that BEAR are responsible. NLCC to get copy of this information to pass on.

Bin at Cuilchenna junction – we are back to the issue of this bin overflowing and causing distress to residents. The bin was erected following representation about the amount of dog poo being left on the route to the shore and surrounding area. With the pin in position the problem was sorted. Last year and again this year, we have had complaints from residents as this bin is being used but tourists and when bin full bags are being left at the grass verge.
AM to contact HC Refuse and ask for a restricted lid and AM will make notices informing bin is for POO BAGS ONLY. – AM TO CONTACT REFUSE DEPT

CC review – Is ongoing

A82 Gollanfield junction – CC concerned re road surfacing – breaking up again

Onich Hotel – Am has been asked to raise concern re soil stretching to shore line. Concern that this will be washed into the bay at high tide. It appears SNH and Marine Scotland may already be involved as this area is a recognised SSSI.

Meeting closed .

NEXT MEETING – THURSDAY 4th July with agm

Minutes of a meeting held on 7 March 2019 – adopted 06/06/19

Present Iain Jenner, Colin Campbell, Ann Marie Cameron, Dave Wrigglesworth, Lisa Glaze (minute sec),

Also Nicola Mair, Andrew Baxter and Andy Martin (Manager of MOWI Leven Site)

Apologies Stewart Livingston ,

Minutes of last meeting be accepted proposed AMC Seconded DW

Matters Arising

Creag Mhòr cemetery
Dot Ferguson has confirmed HC own the cemetery.
IJ to contact SL to set up a meeting with her

Schools Reorganisation
Meeting rescheduled 13/3/19 7.30pm Kinlochleven HS
IJ to attend

Beach Clean
Rubbish not yet collected. HC will pick up hall piano if broken up

Water tank
IJ to send letter expressing community interest copies to AMC and GM

Cross cottage
IJ to send AB planning ref. number

Bus Timetables
IJ to buy picture frame for wall of Cuilcheanna bus stop

Sewage Connection
The date notified is 15 March. There will be a half road closure.

As yet HC has no Brexit policy

A82 photos
AMC to send to SL to coordinate
McIntyre Memorial Hut
The trustee has notified a problem with running water off the road undermining the building. The problem appeared when streams were diverted to build the new house at Creag Mhor. He has contacted SEPA, Transport Scotland and MSP.
IJ suggested he contact Lochaber Times and the P&J

Car parking at school
AB is to organise a site visit


1. Loch Leven Seafood Cafe has applied for a variation in their license to include changes to hours, capacity and off sales.

Cycle Bridge
Planning has gone through
IJ to speak to SUSTRANS
AB to arrange letter from HC stating sweeping of Cycleway is BEARS responsibility

1. Gollanfield road end is breaking up again after repair in November
2. Inchree Buyout Group is to hold an open day on the last Sunday in April after which IJ will notify HC and there will be an official ballot
3. Marine Harvest have changed their name to MOWI. Andy Martin (Manager of Leven site) attended to give an update. They have been using warm water, wrasse and lumpfish to keep the lice down to .5 per fish. They are hoping to go organic next year. He was asked about the underwater seal scared which is heard by wild swimmers in the Loch.
4. Abbeyfield AGM was held on 5/3/19. There was concern at the lack of notice to councillors and community councils
5. Calor Rural Community Fund is open. AMC to forward details to LG

Meeting closed at 8.15pm
Date of next meeting Thursday 4 April 7pm

Village Hall meeting 6.30

Nether Lochaber: proposed community purchase of land in Inchree.

March 2019
Nether Lochaber: proposed community purchase of land in Inchree.
The Inchree Subgroup of the Nether Lochaber Community Association has now been established to gather further ideas and suggestions for the proposal to purchase land on behalf of the local community in Inchree.
The Inchree Subgroup meetings are well attended by a group of Inchree residents and are now on a more formal setting with a chairperson, secretary and minute secretary having been appointed. At present, the meetings take place on the first Tuesday of the month, at which you would be very welcome. As part of the Community Association, the Subgroup then provides feedback to its monthly meeting.
The main focus of the Inchree Subgroup meetings so far, has been to look at ways to engage the community of Nether Lochaber in this proposed community purchase of land in Inchree. To this end, the Group has produced a leaflet about a ‘drop in’ day at the Nether Lochaber Village Hall on Sunday April 28th from 10.00 – 19.00. Watch out for the leaflet being delivered to your home very soon. The Subgroup hopes that on the day, you will come and share your thoughts, ideas and we would really like for you to get involved in any way you can.
If you would like to contact the Inchree Subgroup, you can at: inchreecommunitybuyout@gmail.com

Minutes of meeting 10th January 2019

Minutes of a meeting of Nether Lochaber Community Council held on 10 January 2019
Present Iain Jenner, Colin Campbell,, Jennifer Jarl, Ann Marie Cameron, Dave Wrigglesworth, Lisa Glaze (minute sec),
Also Nicola Mair, Andrew Baxter
Apologies Stewart Livingston , Stewart Livingston, Cllr McLean
Minutes of last meeting be accepted proposed CC Seconded AMC
Matters Arising
Creag Mhòr cemetery
Search fee has been paid
CC Review
The changes proposed at the review to be sent to HC on 17/1
Speed Limits
The speed limit at North Ballachulish is to drop to 30mph subject to approval at Area Committee meeting on 24/1
AB to ask Pauline Donaldson about costing gateway signage
Schools Reorganisation
There is a meeting at St Brides PS 16/1 AMC available to attend
Beach Clean
CC to remove rubbish from beach and email AMC to inform HC
A new officer has been appointed to Glencoe
Sgt A Cooper has sent a letter to confirm NM as liaison officer and explaining her role. There is now a CC vacancy as NM has stepped down due to conflict with liaison role.
Water tank
IJ to send letter expressing community interest
Cross cottage
IJ sent letter of objections on 29/10/18
Forestry Commission
Still no reply about fly tipping at Inchree
Barn beside sewage works
IJ to contact S MacMillan as site has not been cleared
£1040.50 with £24 cheque outstanding
1. Cycle path Harvey Caplan has replied. BEAR to deal with overgrown vegetation. Their operating companies should clear debris from collisions if informed by police. He believes HC responsible for sweeping (wrongly)
AB to take the reply to HC
2. Cllr McLean has asked for opinions on a bridge at Corran:
-Large bridge to cope with shipping and cruise ships
-Tunnel would be less intrusive
-AB has council approval for a STAG appraisal by Hi Trans for a fixed link crossing
-Barrage idea producing power from the tidal flow
-Tunnel or bridge to be sited at Fort William, not Corran
-Community buyout of ferry
LG to copy list to AMC for reply
3. AMC to contact HC again, bus timetables required for Cuilcheanna and defibrillator sign for shoreside bus shelter
1. ‘Scare’ children in use in other villages. To be discussed next month
2. High tides have scoured under concrete at Onich Bay
IIJ to take to CA
3. Sustrans liability for Cycleway only 99 years
4. SL has passed on the information from M Kinnear
AB to chase
5. Fort William 2040 meeting in Ballachulish. It was felt that planners had edited submissions including a tunnel at Rannoch. Consensus that transport needs to be prioritised before development. Water supply was also raised.
Meeting closed at 8.40pm
Date of next meeting Thursday 7 February 7pm
Village Hall meeting 6.30

Minutes meeting 7th February

Minutes of a meeting of Nether Lochaber Community Council held on 7 February 2019

Present Iain Jenner, Colin Campbell,, Jennifer Jarl, Ann Marie Cameron, Dave Wrigglesworth, Stewart Livingston, Lisa Glaze (minute sec),

Also , Andrew Baxter , Gordon MacIntyre

Apologies Nicola Mair

Minutes of last meeting be accepted proposed AMC Seconded IJ

Matters Arising

Creag Mhòr cemetery

CC to ask villagers for support and suggestions re community acquisition
NLCA to discuss liability insurance
SL to complete paperwork
GM to send SL SCIO number (Community Association)

Speed Limits

AMC to print off and put notices on public noticeboard at school and filling station

Schools Reorganisation
AMC attended the meeting and had minutes.
St Brides is to be partnered with Glencoe.
Next meeting 27 February AMC to attend

Beach Clean
AMC to inform HC rubbish awaiting collection

A new officer has been appointed to Glencoe and has now started

Water tank
GM to find address for IJ to send letter expressing community interest

Cross cottage
Planning in principle has been granted. There was some confusion as to location
IJ to send planning reference number to AB
Bus Timetables
Laura Carpenter will send copies to be laminated and put inside bus shelters. Posters are OK if removed and the go ahead was given for the defibrillater sign

Scare children
DW to ask where speed monitoring took place and why a VAZ sign is not being taken seriously when so many motorists were exceeding 40mph

AMC to send a letter to organisations who no longer receive a donation

1. BBC Alba are looking for community events and news

1. No date yet for road closure at Croft 5 to connect water/sewage
There is a strong smell of sewage in the burn crossing the beach at Onich Bay
2. CC asked if Highland Council had formulated a Brexit policy
3. Photos of the condition of the road have been collected and are to be put on the website and FB
4. Jennifer Jarl handed in her resignation as she is now on the Board of the Community Association . She was thanked for her contribution over the years by the chair. There are now two council vacancies.
5. Concern was noted about rubbish collecting on the Cycleway and water continuously running across it at Creag Mhor
6. Marlyn MacDonald was supportive of creating additional parking at the school from the end of the playing field.
AAB to follow up
IJ to write a letter with MMs consent
7. AMC to advertise the Priority Service Register on website
IJ to get pamphlets
8. Dial 105 is a little known service which logs your location and notify SSE in the event of a power failure.
9. The Community Service Criminal Justice team will build the new CC noticeboard s if given a template.
IJ to contact
CC to enquire about a discount on slates
10. IJ enquired as to expansion and parking at Innis na Bhuilin cemetery

Meeting closed at 8.30pm
Date of next meeting Thursday 7 March 7pm

Adopted 7th March

MINUTES – MEETING 6th December 2018

Minutes of a meeting of Nether Lochaber Community Council held on 6 December 2018

Present Iain Jenner, Colin Campbell,,Stewart Livingston , Nicola Mair , Ann Marie Cameron, Lisa Glaze (minute sec),

Also Gordon MacIntyre, Andrew Baxter

Apologies Jennifer Jarl

Minutes of last meeting be accepted proposed CC Seconded AMC

Matters Arising

Inchree Forum
Two members, Elaine Cameron and Jill Morrow have now joined the Community Association Board.

Creag Mhòr cemetery
Malcolm Kinnear has discovered a letter from the Church of Scotland trustees dated 1991, asking the council to take over the cemetery.
SL to chase Dot Ferguson now we have this

CC Review
IJ attended the area chairs meeting in Inverness on 15/11/18. The final consultation will be in May and any changes will take place after the next elections. No boundary changes are proposed. There will be some mergers where CCs have requested it. Youth member and a floating seat for other community groups were suggestions

Schools Reorganisation
Suggestions were a 3-18 campus In Kinlochleven and St Brides/Glencoe and Ballachulish/Duror with a head for each.

North Ballachulish
AB to ask Pauline Donaldson about the removal of the single white line as a traffic calming measure

Operation Cedar
NM gave a report on this traffic operation. 2 speeding offences and one no MOT occurred in Onich. Report appended

Beach clean
CC to move bag to picnic site and email AMC
AMC to notify council
Smaller bags, donated by HC, are now in village hall and will be easier to remove.

Police Officer
The post in Glencoe is being interviewed. Previous officers have found it hard to get accommodation

Water tank
IJ to write expressing community interest


Current balance £1123.94

1. Forest Enterprise Scotland are clear felling at Inchree. SSE has identified the power lines there as vulnerable. IJ will pass on tel.no Of Peter MacDonald if anyone has concerns

1. AMC enquired as to why the Police liaison was not a police officer. Nicola Mair, as special costable is acting as police liaison with the CC and St Brides PS
2. AB to check planning objection at Cross Cottage as owners are in dereliction
3. IJ to phone Peter MacDonald about fly tipping at Inchree
4. Debris is encroaching onto the Cycleway
5. Following lack of response to problems arising on the A82;itbwas decided to catalogue the problems through the village
SL Village Hall to his house
GM SL house to bridge
IJ and LG Village Hall to Cuilcheanna
AM Cuilcheanna to ferry
Photos to be collected at next meeting and put on social media, tagged Transport Scotland, BEAR, MSP and titled Neglect in Nether Lochaber, please share
6. The speed limit at North Ballachulish is to be dropped to 30mph. It should be in force by Easter and there will be step down signs on approach
7. There has been a visit to the MacFatridge site by the planning officer to inspect the encroachment of materials onto this agricultural land. He has written to the owner.
8. Parking at the school has again been raised at a PTA meeting. A suggestion was made to dig up the Community Orchard.
IJ to contact the headmistress with an alternative proposal using part of the playing field
9. The CA has formed a new board which includes Jennifer Jarl .This May lead to a CC vacancy.
10. IJ has taken a new job this may lead to no chair being available on occasion, if both IJ and SL are not available AMC to call the meeting and a chair to be appointed on the night.
11. AB was congratulated on his stand over car parking charges in Fort William.

Operation Cedar Report

Meeting closed at 8.30pm
Date of next meeting Thursday 10 January 7pm

Village Hall meeting at 6.30pm

Minutes – 8th November 2018 – adopted 06/12/18

Minutes of a meeting of Nether Lochaber Community Council held on 8 November 2018

Present Iain Jenner, Colin Campbell,, Jennifer Jarl, Ann Marie Cameron, Lisa Glaze (minute sec),

Also Gordon MacIntyre

Apologies Stewart Livingston

Minutes of last meeting be accepted proposed CC Seconded JJ

Matters Arising

Inchree Forum
The Inchree group are to join the Community Association and form a subgroup within that organisation

Hydro Inchree
IJ to send letter to Chris Tracey enquiring about community payback

Creag Mhòr cemetery
Maintenance may be HC responsibility
Community council to pay £20+VAT for the search to discover ownership.
AMC to email confirmation of church ownership
IJ to speak to minister about the Community Association maintaining the beds at the front and rebuilding the wall

Coronation Trees
To be put forward as a community Association activity

Cycleway Hedges
AMC to resend to P Devine and H Caplan cc Kate Forbes, Minister and M Mathewson

CC Review
This has been extended to the end of November. IJ to attend meeting in Inverness

Speed Limits
The results of the survey carried out from 26/9-6/10 have been received
DW to ask where the survey was conducted
There is a meeting 14/11/18 in Glencoe of the steering group. Representatives of each school in the cluster group to attend

Annual Grant of £324.91 has been received.
It was noted that this is greatly reduced.
Current balance £1423.94
Donations of £100 will be made to the children’s Christmas party, village hall and Senior citizens

1. From Planning for pods at Carness and change of use at Seannabhaile Old Town
2. Notification of roadworks at Gollanfield 25/6/7 November.
IJ has written in support of the road closure to BEAR and the A 82 partnership

1. LG suggested the removal of the single white line from outside the Old Folks houses at North Ballachulish might help slow down traffic.
2. NM informed that Operation Cedar would be from 12-18 November
Hi Vis patrols would be checking all aspects of motoring
3. FC is clearing rhododendron near Innis na Birlinn
4. AMC enquired on the number of police officers stationed at Glencoe. NM informed there are 3, one officer having moved to Mallaig because no housing was available
5. A ton bag of rubbish has been collected from the beach at North Ballachulish.
CC to move to picnic site for HC uplift. AMC to email HC. IJ to provide another bag
6. Remembrance Sunday service to be held at St Brides Church by the Salvation Army at 4pm to commemorate the centenary of Rev. Railtons idea for a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
7. IJ to ask the fishfarm about underwater noise in Loch Leven
8. IJ to register community interest in st Brides water tank with Scottish Water

Meeting closed at 8.40pm
Date of next meeting Thursday 6 December 7pm

Village Hall meeting at 6.30pm

Minutes – October meeting – adopted 08/11/18

Minutes of Nether Lochaber CCM, October 11th, 2018.

Present: Iain Jenner (IJ), Nicola Mair (NM), Dave Wrigglesworth (DW), Colin Campbell (CC), Jennifer Jarl (JJ)

Apologies: Anne Marie Cameron (AMC), Andrew Baxter (AB), Niall Maclean (NM), Lisa Glaze (LG), Stewart Livingston (SL)
Proposed: CC Seconded: JJ

Matters Arising:
Community Payback Team: ongoing, more timber requiring supplied and prototype board to be completed, SL & IJ in process
Bus timetable for Cuilcheanna: ongoing, AMC to follow up
Defib Signs for Onich Bustop: ongoing, AMC to follow up for HC permissions
Inchree Forum Group: preparing for leaflet drop and public engagement meeting, no date set as yet
Hydroplan at Inchree: no update from FCS, IJ to write to FCS and formally request prior notification of all future projects in our remit, and updates on forestry work activities
BT Works: ongoing, AMC to follow up
Creag Mhor graveyard: deed search has revealed ownership remains with Kirk, ongoing, SL to follow up
Coronation Trees: ongoing
Cycleway/Hedges: ongoing, AMC to follow up with David Devine (?), IJ to contact Iain Macinnes at BBC Scotland
Cross Cottage Planning: ongoing, IJ to follow up
CC Review: IJ to attend conference on November 15th at Glenurqhurt House, Inverness; online survey extended until end of November, all CC Members encouraged to submit a rsponse

Treasurer’s Report: £1099.03

Correspondence: DW received a response to his FOI re speed limit data; TS position appears based on a survey from 11th-19th December, 2008; DW to challenge the adequacy of this given subsequent changes to traffic volumes and road conditions (NCN 78), and continue to pursue VAS signage for Onich

AMC – change of signatory on flower show account to AMC & JJ (Morag Mackintosh no longer involved); proposed IJ, seconded NM
NM – debate over local schools cluster groupings & headteacher management structure to be hosted at Village Hall (date TBC); St.Brides reluctant to be grouped with Kinlochleven campus; concerns over salaries, quality of education; steering group of parents being established.

Minutes – Thursday 6th September – adopted 11.10/18

Present –Iain Jenner (IJ), Colin Campbell (CC), Ann Marie Cameron (AM) , Dave Wrigglesworth (DW) Nicola Mair (NM) Jennifer Jarl (JJ),
Apologies –Lisa Glaze Stewart Livingston (SL)
Also present- Marie Law & Anne MacKay-Boyd (NHS) Gordon MacIntyre

Minutes from July meeting – proposed by CC seconded by NM

COMMUNITY PAYBACK – IJ has been in touch with co-ordinator and they would be happy to build the notice boards over the winter.

KATE FORBES – attended the recent ASLCC meeting. Raised concern re community empowerment. Cllr MacLean suggested the Scottish Gov. Create an audit for feedback.

Highland Council- request for bus timetable to be erected at Cuilchenna – also chase up new bus stop at Old Town – AM – to follow up
DEFIB SIGNS – suggest they be erected on bus shelter at Onich Store – AM to contact Highland Council re permissions

TREASURER REPORT – £1164.42 – with 1 x cheque to clear for £65.39

FC response – no reply as yet

Inchree – ongoing

Website – info to come re upgrading

HYDRO PLAN INCHREE – no update – waiting got contact from FC – IJ/CC TO DEAL.

BT WORKS – IJ has a letter from BT re fiber optic works onging through village. Letter has been stuffed under door at hall. This is to be followed up. AM to get letter and follow up.

SL – Old Cemetery – continuing

Kate Ward – complaint re ‘new’ Old Town sign – AM followed this up and had the reply from David Devine of Transport Scotland. Although signs are not to be removed they are to be amendned

Coronation trees – Continuing.

Quayside lorries – Nm passed this enquiry to Police Scotland and there is no crime re the liquid expelled from the lorries

New Hospital – discussions.
Marie Law NHS Highland district manager Adult Services Lochaber and
Anne MacKay-Boyd Rural general hospital manager for the Belford Hospital were invited to join in this discussion and thanked for taking the time to come along.

Marie gave an outline of where this project is and the projected end date of 2020/22. Blue prints are available and link will be forwarded to NLCC and can be published on our website. Following the recent meeting there was good local representation and positivity. The site has been checked and considered v.good. Having to look at impact Liberty will have on area as well ie increase of population.

Anne – move still to be a 24/7 consultant lead hospital – challenging time ahead as trying to recruit but hoping that upcoming interviews will prove positive. It is costly covering with locums and what is needed is more General consultant instead of specialisms, but both necessary.

IJ asked if capacity would be same – answer was yes –trying to secure same number of beds.

NM – any paediatric services – NO unlikely – still Raigmore or Glasgow

Helipad- FW covered by dedicated trauma team from Aberdeen. IJ raised locating helip at FW to cover west due to road issues.

CC raised traffic management issues.
IJ also asked about patient transfers
Both Marie and Anne were thanks for all the information provided and they left the meeting.

Plaque at orchard – NM reports plaque gone poss grass cutters

Cylce way / hedges – DW raised concern re the shrubs and hedges protruding on to the path. IJ states this is responsibility of BEAR, as per 2014 agreement. AM to write –email to David Devine and others, cc IJ and Sustrans to email.

Cross Cottage planning – GM asked if NLCC would object as a matter of principle due to planning at this site for house. Waste of good croft land and entrance issues along with visibility. IJ to submit.

Community Council Review – IJ creating submission – (will distribute for checking prior to submission)

Meeting closed .


Community Council review 2018/19

Highland Community Councils
Scheme Review 2018/19
Initial Engagement

Why are we reviewing the Scheme?
Community Councils are created and governed through a Scheme of Establishment developed by each Local Authority. It is at the discretion of each Local Authority area what the content of any Scheme is however they must be periodically reviewed. The current Scheme commits the Council to a review within each Local Government electoral cycle.

It also appears timely to review the current Scheme when the role of Community Councils is being discussed more widely. The foundation of the Government’s and COSLA’s Governance Review is that it is often better for decisions about the issues that affect communities to be taken with more active involvement of those communities and asks how this may happen within communities.

A key question for this Review must be what is the role of Community Councils?

The Commission on Highland Democracy reported last December and highlighted that there were diverse views across Highland on the role and value of Community Councils, with some concerns that they do not represent the range of community views. It noted that many Community Councils found themselves in ‘no man’s land’ and that there was a need to focus on their role and function.

How can we involve and engage more people in Community Councils?
What is the role of Community Councils going forward?

We also know that many Community Councils are struggling in terms of sustainability. Communities have changed; some have grown but others have seen their populations falling. Just under a third of all Community Councils have populations of less than 500. Since the last full Community Council elections in November 2015 we have had 76 interim elections and it is estimated that Community Councils are only at around 60-70% elected membership level, leaving approximately 400 positions unfilled throughout Highland. This leaves Community Councils vulnerable to falling into abeyance and leaving communities without representation.

Can Community Councils continue to operate sustainably at their current size?

It is therefore important to consider how the Scheme in Highland could be amended to support the work, operation and sustainability of Community Councils. This initial phase of engagement is designed to stimulate discussion and thoughts and poses some challenging questions about potential new ways of working and operating to address some of the challenges currently facing Community Councils. Some of the thoughts and ideas that emerge may require legislative change and the Governance Review presents a good opportunity to bring this forward nationally.

It is important that you as Community Councils are involved in this and we welcome your views.

Process for the Review
The current Scheme of Establishment for Community Councils in Highland came into effect in 2011. The Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 (section 53) states that every Local Authority shall from time to time review the Schemes made and approved under this Act and shall involve Community Councils and the wider public to make representations regarding the proposals.

In order to review the scheme under section 53 of the 1973 Act the Council is required to undertake a two stage process.
• Stage one – the formal decision to review, and the outline proposals, needs to be passed by not less than two-thirds of members voting at a special meeting of the Council convened specifically for that purpose. Public notice is then given of the intention to review along with details of the proposals, with Community Councils and the public invited to make representations regarding the proposals.
• Stage 2 – the Council will consider any representations made and may amend the scheme in accordance with—
a) the notified proposals; or
b) those proposals as amended to take account of any such representations.
However, should the proposals be amended following representations received during stage 1, then further public notice shall be given and an opportunity for the public to comment on the amended proposals.

The final decision to amend the Scheme needs to be passed by not less than two-thirds of members voting at a special meeting of the Council convened for that purpose.

Before we proceed with stage 1 and publish any proposed amendments, we need to develop a proposed set of changes for the revised scheme. We are keen to do this along with Community Councils to ensure that the proposals put forward are shaped and reflective of what Community Councils identify as priorities.

Initial engagement with Community Councils will take place from August until end of September. This will be done in two ways:
• Through a survey which seeks views on several key areas. The survey has been designed to stimulate discussion and thoughts and poses some challenging questions about potential new ways of working and operating to address some of the issues currently facing Community Councils. It is organised into four key sections:
o Reviewing the Boundaries – considering the make-up of Community Councils
o Review of the Scheme – including role, elections, membership code of conduct and funding
o Scottish Government Scheme Review – posing the key questions from the review which can help inform our own Scheme review and be shared with the Scottish Government and COSLA.
o Your role as a Community Councillor – seeking views on your role.

• The second strand of engagement will be through a series of drop in sessions during September to enable Community Councils to come along and share their thoughts about potential areas for development. Details of these are being finalised and will be circulated shortly.

Following the initial engagement, a series of proposals will be developed to be considered by a special meeting of the Council on 25 October 2018. Should these be agreed, a three month public consultation would be held on the detailed proposals.

The initial survey is appended to this report to enable sharing and discussion amongst your Community Council. When you have agreed on a response, could you please respond online at: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/CC_Review_Engagement
In addition to any response agreed by the Community Council, individual Community Councillors are also welcome to respond and the feedback form enables you to do this. Should you have any additional comments please feel free to email: policy6@highland.gov.uk or to speak with your Ward Manager.

Thank you for your contributions.

Community Council Review 2018/19
Community Council’s Initial Engagement Survey


1. Name of Community Council:____________________________

2. I am responding as:
• An individual Community Councillor
• On behalf of the Community Council*
(*the response should have has been agreed by the Community Council)

Section 1: Review of boundaries of Community Councils

When reviewing the Community Council Scheme, this provides an opportunity to consider the boundaries of Community Councils. It is a chance to consider whether the boundaries that define your Community Council still make sense. Many communities have experienced changing populations caused by new developments or by population decrease. Does this now make your Community Council too large or too small?

However it is also an opportunity to consider the sustainability of Community Councils. Since the last full Community Council elections in November 2015, there have been 76 interim elections for Community Councils. Interim elections occur when the number of elected Community Councillors falls below half to the total membership. Although many of you have attempted to encourage wider involvement and to co-opt on additional members, we know that many of you are operating near to or just above your minimum level. This makes Community Councils very vulnerable to going into abeyance leaving communities without representation.
Part of this review needs to consider how we can make Community Councils more sustainable in different ways. Could a change in structure/boundary assist in helping to support the operation of your Community Council?

3. Are there boundary changes that your Community Council would like to be considered?

Please provide details.

4. Taking both population and geography into account, is the current size of your Community Council:
a. Too large
b. Too small
c. About right

Please say why?

5. Has your Community Council struggled to operate because of a lack of members?

6. Thinking about your response to questions 4 and 5, if your Community Council is too small or struggling with membership, would you consider enlarging your Community Council to create a larger pool of people to recruit from? This may be considering merger with one or more neighbouring Community Councils or about changing the existing boundaries?
(Note: with many Community Councils now with access to windfarm monies, it is important to emphasise that this should not be a barrier to any merger as the original community beneficiaries could be ring-fenced)

7. Thinking about your response to questions 4 and 5, if your Community Council is too large, would you want to consider changing the boundary in order to help it operate more successfully?

A third of Community Councils have populations of less than 500. This can make it challenging to attract membership when the number of people available locally is low.

8. Should there be a minimum population size set for each Community Council in Highland e.g. 2,000? What should this be?

9. To help align and strengthen the links between Community Councils and other local groups, should larger existing geographies such as Associated School Groups be used for Community Councils?

Section 2: Review of the Scheme of Community Councils

In addition to the question about the size of Community Councils, another way in which to increase the sustainability of Community Councils would be to consider current eligibility and membership of Community Councils.

At present only those who live in the Community Council area and are on the electoral role for that community are eligible to stand for the Community Council.

10. Given that many people now live and work in separate communities, should this be broadened to enable anyone who lives in the Local Authority area to be eligible for standing for a Community Council in Highland?

11. Do you have any other ideas about eligibility for Community Councils?

At present, members of the Community Council are either elected or co-opted. This makes up the total membership of the Community Council. In order to increase involvement and membership, the Scheme could be amended to make allowances for additional members from key community groups to be core members of the Community Council e.g. a member of the parent council, a member of the youth forum. This could be optional for Community Councils but would enable additional members to be brought on and strengthen Community Councils, particularly where numbers are low.

12. Do you think additional places, should be allowed for key community groups?
Yes, No, Don’t know

If yes, which groups would be important?

13. Do you think that existing places on the Community Council should be set aside for key local community groups e.g. parent council, youth forum?

14. In order to encourage youth representation, should youth membership be formalised by having an additional place for a youth member (14-18)?

15. Is the current membership number for your Community Council:
• Too low?
• Too high?
• About right?

Please explain why:

16. The current quorum for Community Councils is 4. Is this:
• Too low?
• Too high?
• About right?

Please explain why:

17. What else could the Council do to encourage participation and involvement in Community Councils?

18. What could you as a Community Council do to encourage participation and involvement in your Community Council?


Recent research has suggested that one way in which to encourage broader involvement in democratic bodies like Community Councils would be to annually select people at random to serve on the body for a set period. This encourages wider involvement from a boarder range of people within the community. This could not be introduced for Community Councils without a legislative change however it may be something that could be trialled in addition to existing membership.

19. Is this something that should be explored in Highland?
Yes, No, Don’t Know

Please explain why:

20. Would your Community Council be interested in trialling this approach?

21. Should the new Scheme consider adopting a method of electronic voting in order to increase participation in Community Council elections?

The Role of Community Councils
The formal role of Community Councils is set out within the 1973 Local Government (Scotland) Act. This states that in addition to any other purpose the Community Council wishes to purse, it is the role of Community Councils to ‘ascertain, co-ordinate and express….the views of the community which it represents.” This definition has not been reviewed and the Council has no formal powers to amend this, however Community Councils are now taking on a range of roles and as part of this review it would be helpful to understand what roles Community Councils feel should be articulated.

22. What roles/areas of work do you think should be defined as belonging to the Community Council?

23. Is your Community Council interested in taking on specific duties/new areas of work? If yes, what are you interested in?

24. To what extent, would you like to be involved in decision-making in your area?

25. To what extent would you be interested in taking part in community discussions about how local services are provided and making choices about these within our budget limits?

As part of the move to greater participatory democracy, work nationally has suggested that given their role within the community, Community Councils could provide a key role as facilitators of views within the community. At present Community Councils act as representatives however as facilitators this would involve running forums to produce ideas and solutions to support other community and public sector bodies.

26. What do you think of this as a potential role for Community Councils?

Code of Conduct
There is no basis within the legislation to impose sanctions upon Community Councils or Community Councillors should they not be operating effectively. However, it has been suggested that despite this, a formal complaints procedure to accompany the Scheme would support Community Councils in how best to manage complaints.

27. Would your Community Council be supportive of introducing a complaints procedure?
Yes, No, Don’t know

Please explain why:

28. What would the Community Council like this procedure to contain?

As all Community Councils will be aware, the administrative grants have been reduced as a result of the budget saving in February 2018. The existing formula was recalculated in order to meet the requirements in the Scheme but it seems appropriate to review whether this existing formula and approach is still suitable.

29. Should there be a defined list of what spend the administrative grant should pay for?

If yes, what should this include?

The existing formula sets a core amount per head, an additional amount for each rural Community Council and an amount per head of population. If a formula was going to continue to be used:

30. Should the core amount per head be the same for each Community Council?

31. Should there still be an amount to take account of population and geography?

An alternative to a formula, creating a standard grant for each Community Council, would be to retrospectively pay for spend up to a certain amount and only if Community Councils do not have funds in the bank. This would ensure all spend is appropriate and that large balances are not accrued. This is an approach which has been adopted in some other Local Authority areas.

32. Is retrospective payment something the Council should consider? Please give us your views.
Section 3: Scottish Government and COSLA – Local Governance Review

The Scottish Government are currently undertaking a review of Governance in Scotland. This follows a growing recognition that it is often better for decisions about the issues that affect communities to be taken with more active involvement of those communities.

The Government wants to hear directly from communities, hearing their local voice in a discussion about local communities deciding their own future. They want to know:
• do communities want to be in more control;
• does it mean communities having a stronger voice when decisions about them are taken;
• is it about having the powers and resources to use as they think best; and
• how could this be made to work locally?

When we in Highland are reviewing the Community Council Scheme with a key focus on making Community Councils more sustainable, it seems sensible to consider these questions as part of our review of the Community Council Scheme.

The following questions have been posed by the Scottish Government and COSLA as part of the review. We will share the feedback from the following questions with the Scottish Government to assist as part of the Governance Review. Please indicate if you agree to this information being shared:

33. I agree to this information being shared with the Scottish Government and COSLA as part of the Governance Review:

Many people will have experienced decision-making processes that affect their lives and the public services they rely upon – whether at a national or local level. How easy is it to get involved and have your say? We are keen to hear what can help you share your ideas for what can help your community to thrive. Some people may feel excluded from these decision-making processes. It is crucial we understand the barriers experienced.

34. Tell us about your experiences of getting involved in decision-making processes that affect your local community or community of interest.

People are also increasingly playing a more active role in ensuring that their voice is heard when decisions are made about the issues they care about most in local communities, and by taking decisions for themselves. This review is about identifying new approaches that will ensure these different ways of taking decisions that complement each other to best effect.

35. Would you like your local community or community of interest to have more control over some decisions? If yes, what sorts of issues would those decisions cover?

Through the Review we want to understand what types and sizes of community make most sense to people, and why. It’s a complicated issue, and we want to hear what you think would work.

36. When thinking about decision-making, ‘local’ could mean a large town, a village, or a neighbourhood. What does ‘local’ mean to you and your community?

We want to explore how all public services, councils and the Scottish Government can make this work. Existing groups that take action and are part of decision-making in communities include council area committees, area partnerships, community councils, development trusts, community based housing associations and community led groups and organisations. Perhaps all of these different structures and processes could be built on, or developed, to support greater levels of community decision-making across public services and to strengthen local democracy. That might include sharing powers or resources differently between the Scottish Government, councils and communities, a second, more local, layer of local government, or other potential ideas.

37. Are there existing forms of local level decision-making which could play a part in exercising new local powers? Are there new forms of local decision-making that could work well? What kinds of changes might be needed for this to work in practice?
(Local Note: is there a specific role for Community Councils in this and what might this be?)

This is a big topic and the questions we’ve asked you to consider here won’t have covered everything that will need to be explored. This will happen as people come forward with their ideas and the conversation builds. We’d like to take this opportunity to ask you to make any final points you feel are important, and invite you to ask any questions that will help you to remain part of the conversation.

38. Do you have any other comments, ideas or questions? Is there more you want to know?

Section 4: Your role as a Community Councillor

39. How satisfied are you (as an individual or as a Community Council) in your role on the Community Council?

Very Satisfied, Satisfied, Neither, Dissatisfied, Very Dissatisfied

Please explain why:

40. What frustrates you most (as an individual or as the Community Council) about your role on the Community Council?

41. What do you (as an individual or as the Community Council) enjoy most about your role on the Community Council?

42. Please provide any further comments you would like to make on areas of the Scheme that you would like to see amended or about the role and responsibilities of Community Councils.

Thank you for sharing your views