Highlands & Islands

Communities could run services, Highland Council says

Leaf on grass
The council has also suggested changes to the frequency of grass cutting to save money

A local authority has asked for public views on its idea that some services could be better provided by the communities that use them.

The suggestion has been made on Highland Council's Budget Blog, which forms part of the authority's efforts to consult on spending cuts.

The blog asks which services could be taken over by locally run projects.

The council has already agreed to set up a £1m challenge fund to help finance community-run services.

Dave Fallows, chairman of the finance, housing and resources committee, heads up the blog.

Writing on the blog, he said: "There are some circumstances where a community initiative - even at a very local level - can provide the same or better services than the council can, and at lower cost.

"We have agreed to provide a £1m challenge fund to be available to get good ideas for provision of services going in local communities.

"Do you think that we should be encouraging communities to take on the running of some services for themselves, and if so, which?"

Highland Council has already suggested greater community involvement in other areas of its work.

Parents and local sports clubs will be asked to help make sure Highland schools meet targets for PE, according to an officers' report earlier this month.

In his blog, Mr Fallows has also sought views on whether the council should reduce the frequency of street cleaning and grass cutting to save money, or if such action would be damaging in terms of tourism.

Highland Council spends £2.8m a year on grounds maintenance and £3.1m on cleaning streets and picking up litter.

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