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Highland Council establishes a 'recovery board' to lead fight back from pandemic


By Gavin Musgrove

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A Highland Council 'recovery board' has been established to lead and plan the local authority’s emergence from lockdown.

The group will also co-ordinate a recovery action plan for council services and will provide oversight and direction for the authority’s partnership with communities and others to aid the journey back.

The board will be chaired by the council’s depute leader Councillor Alasdair Christie and will also report and make recommendations for the Highland Council to determine the progress.

2019 Council Budget, Highland Council HQ..Depute Leader Councillor Alasdair Christie...Picture: Callum Mackay. Image No. 043189.
2019 Council Budget, Highland Council HQ..Depute Leader Councillor Alasdair Christie...Picture: Callum Mackay. Image No. 043189.

Early priorities for the board to consider will be restoring council governance to normal – the local authority has been accused of taking decisions behind closed doors despite regularly webcasting meetings prior to the pandemic.

Members will also look how to safely return the workforce, prioritising of services and a focus on budget and resource.

Councillor Christie said: “This is perhaps the most difficult, complex and important challenge that the council has ever had to address. The extent of the damage caused by coronavirus in the Highlands will take us a very long time to recover from.

"The board will work with individuals, groups, businesses and partners to ensure we have a dedicated team established to take on board views and ideas, as we set about starting this mammoth task."

He added: “The assessment of impact on our staff, on partners and on our communities will also be an important part of what guides us in decision making.”

A council spokesperson said: "An agile, flexible workforce is central to recovery and enhanced IT and skills development will be fundamental to moving the council to a new normal."

The recovery board will present its draft plan and seek ratification at the next meeting of Highland Council planned for next month.

The composition of the board will be on the basis of political balance in the council chamber.


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