Highland Councillors have been told the authority is making “excellent progress” in helping the region recover from the Covid-19 crisis.
Scotland’s largest local authority established a recovery board in May to help steer the Highland’s emergence from lockdown, forming an action plan to get back up and running again.
At a meeting yesterday, councillors were told of the “excellent progress” that has been made against the recovery action plan since last month.
Good progress was reported against major areas of work, including service redesign, workforce planning and a workforce data project.
The report before members yesterday highlighted that these initiatives continue to make significant progress as ‘critical enablers’ for the council to move forward into recovery.
Recovery board chairman Alasdair Christie said: “The council continues to deliver against the extensive recovery action plan while supporting resilience requirements and dealing with the effects of the pandemic in parallel.
“This is a difficult task and I would like to thank all staff, partner agencies and community volunteers who are supporting the recovery plans.”
A report presented at the meeting also provided an update on the aspiration to provide councillors with ‘real-time’ reporting via existing IT systems.
It was reported that Performance and Risk Management System was almost complete and would allow instant information and updates on the progress the council is making.
Mr Christie added: “The workstreams we are working within include: supporting the Highland economy, the Brexit working group, tourism committee, and leadership, culture and performance.
“The agenda includes updates on workforce planning, Brexit, buildings and economic recovery.
“These are all massive pieces of work but dealing with them all at the same time whilst challenging is being carried out extremely well and is well on track.”
In terms of the completed tasks the report highlighted the restoration of political governance, the completion of the financial recovery strategy, a task around workforce planning and development, one on service redesign and another on IT transformation.
Tasks which are ongoing and on track include lockdown agility (including schools re-opening), supporting the recovery of the Highland economy, community empowerment, digital transformation and leadership, culture and performance.
Members also noted that council services which support communities and deliver vital services across the Highlands, continue to receive and are able to access the necessary supplies of PPE.
The recovery board was established to help the Highlands live with the ‘new normal’, as the world deals with the aftermath of the pandemic and the financial challenges it has brought.
It has already been described as “the most difficult challenge the council has ever faced”.
An agile and flexible workforce will be central to recovery, the authority says, and enhanced IT and skills development will be fundamental.
The board will aim to provide oversight and direction for the council’s various partnerships to support the region’s ‘return to well-being, prosperity and economic success’.