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21 March 2014
Update from Highland Council on Service Points

Roddy Murray, Chairman of the SCC has received the following email from Michelle Morris, Depute Chief Executive of Highland Council regarding the recent events concerning the Customer Services Review of Service Points.

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Dear Mr Murray

I write further to my email dated 5 March 2014, in connection with the above. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to address your concerns about the Customer Service Review.

The review of Customer Services has been carried out following a decision made by Highland Council in February 2013, as part of the budget setting process. The review has now been completed and a proposal was submitted to the Finance, Housing and Resources Committee on 26 February 2014. As you are aware, a Notice of Amendment was subsequently submitted and the matter was then required to be considered at the meeting of Highland Council on Thursday, 13 March 2014.

The decision of Highland Council was that the Council:-

(i) Noted the work undertaken as part of the Customer Service Review 2

(ii) Agreed that the Strategic Change & Development Fund financed, up to £68,500, for 2014-15 the enhancements to the Website as detailed in Section 15.1, the Service Centre as detailed in Section 15.2 and Quality and Performance improvement as detailed in Section 16.4;

(iii) Agreed to establish, for the next 15 months, a cross-group Customer Services Board of 10 Members with delegated powers to -

(a) Undertake a rolling consultation of Members, staff, partner agencies and the public on the future of the Service Point network;
(b) Consider customer service provision in each of the 23 communities with a Service Point not designated a Community Hub; and
(c) Agree a future service delivery model for each such community on the basis of a business case which takes into account the impact on service users and the Council’s commitment to remote and rural communities.

(iv) Agreed that a report be submitted to the Resources Committee on achieving the savings of £355,200, as detailed in Section 19.1, should the decisions of the Board leave the saving unmet.

The next step will therefore be for the Customer Services Board to agree how it wishes to undertake this consultation and how the Council will engage with communities about the proposals and future options for service delivery.

I hope that you have found this information helpful.

Kind regards

Michelle Morris
Depute Chief Executive

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