N E W S F E E D S >>>
Caithness Partnership Index

Caithness Partnership Newsletter Index

The Caithness Partnership
July 2006

Caithness Partnership – eBulletin July 2006
Welcome to another edition of the Caithness Partnership ebulletin. The bulletin both circulates information that has come in to the Partnership office, and is a tool for the Partners to share information. If you have anything you want included in the next issue please get in touch. If you have difficulty accessing any of the web links we can get you a paper copy. Please forward the bulletin within your organisation if appropriate.

Inside this issue:
A Strategy for Caithness & North Sutherland
A Review of Community Planning
Highland Council Beyond 2007
The Scottish Consumer Council,
The Highland Tourism Awards
SCVO and the Carnegie Commission for Rural Community Development
SEPA Update
Envirowise - FastTrack Visits
The Waste Minimisation Initiative
Reducing Scotlands Ecological Footprint
Highland Energy Forum
Enquiry into Energy Issues in Scotland
· Futurebuilders Learning Fund
· Loan Action Scotland
· Healthy Highland 2007 Training
· Strategic Campaigning Training Events
· Getting from A to B – Scotland’s Trasnport Infrastructure

A Strategy for Caithness & North Sutherland – for anyone who has not yet got their hands on a copy of the Strategy Document find it on www.hie.co.uk/cns-strategy-consultation.pdf  and remember that the closing date for responses is 18 August 2006.

A Review of Community Planning
Audit Scotland has produced an initial review of community planning in Scotland and has found it wanting in a number of areas, for example:

  •  “the quality of community plans varies and the links between community plans and partner organisations’ corporate plans are generally weak”
  • “all CPPs operate in a complex policy and organizational environment. Some demonstrate real commitment and willing ness to work around the problems, but in others these difficulties seem to impede progress”

Audit Scotland recommends that “In order to help community planning achieve the potential envisaged in the legislation partner organisations and the Scottish Executive need to agree priorities for community planning.”

On a more positive note the review found that “joint working amongst the organisations that deliver services in Scotland is well-established and widespread – where they work well together there can be real benefits to service users, communities and the organisations themselves”. See the link below for the full report:
Highland Council beyond 2007 - This report circulated by Highland Council Chief Executive Arthur McCourt was recently discussed by members and reported widely in the press. It considers key issues likely to influence the management and staffing arrangements of the Council over the next few years. The report recommends that the Council considers organising service delivery around the multi-member ward that will be put in place following the 2007 election, that there should also be three operational management areas for more strategic services and that the number of services should be reduced to six.

Start-a-business is an online support page on the Highlands & Islands Enterprise website for people thinking about starting up a new business. It carries a range of advice to ensure that new entrepreneurs get their business off to the best possible start. See it at http://www.hie.co.uk/start-a-business

The Scottish Consumer Council, as part of its new forward workplan, is due to launch new national award for the food service sector. Funded by the Scottish executive and managed by SCC the Award will work with the food service industry across Scotland to make it easier for people eating out to know where to go for healthier food, rewarding establishments which are committed to providing and supporting healthier eating. To view the SCC website go to http://www.scotconsumer.org.uk/
Interestingly, Consumer Direct, which provides direct help and advice for consumers across the UK is based in Shawbost in the Western Isles providing jobs for 36 people –
see http://www.work-global.com/benefits/studies/cd.php

The Highland Tourism Awards, the BAFTAs of the Highlands & Islands hospitality and tourism industry have been launched for the second year. Billed as the most exciting and prestigious awards event in the North the 2006 competition is open to all tourism businesses and individuals across the Highlands and Islands. From first-class customer care to promoting and preserving the region’s outstanding natural environment as well as its unique visitor attractions and indigenous produce, the awards seek to recognise industry players at the top of their game across a range of distinct categories. More information and application forms can be found at http://www.highland-tourism-awards.co.uk/

SCVO and the Carnegie Commission for Rural Community Development are working together to explore the views of people living in rural Scotland on a wide range of issues. They are currently gathering information to assist the Carnegie Commission in its aim of advocating for more effective public policies and programmes that strengthen the voice and sustainability of rural communities. Similar research has taken place in other parts of the United Kingdom. As part of this research, there is a short survey on the rural Gateway website. Everyone who responds can enter a prize draw with a prize
of £100. To take part, click the following link:

SEPA Update is a weekly email service containing information about :
· website updates
· consultations
· news lreleases
· vacancies
· events
· publications and campaigns
To subscribe go to http://www.sepa.org.uk/update/index.htm

Envirowise - FastTrack Visits Envirowise is a government-funded programme that offers free practical advice on waste minimisation advice and support. The programme offers a free and confidential one-day on-site waste review for small businesses with less than 250 employees. Carefully selected independent consultants work with companies for a day to identify waste minimisation opportunities. See http://www.sepa.org.uk/wastemin/freeinfo/sites.htm

The Waste Minimisation Initiative involves the systematic identification and prevention / reduction of a company's waste streams. All companies produce waste of one form or another, and much of this can be reduced, re-used or recycled. As it becomes more expensive to landfill such wastes, it becomes highly significant to the company's bottom line profits to adopt waste minimisation techniques. The BEP offer free waste minimisation audits, including, but not restricted to:
· Solid and liquid wastes
· Energy
· Water use and effluent production / disposal
· Packaging use
A waste minimisation audit will identify the sources and costs of waste to your company. The BEP will work with the company to develop and implement practical waste reduction recommendations. See http://www.thebep.org.uk/category.asp?TopCatID=11&sessCharSize=

Reducing Scotland’s Ecological Footprint is one of the aims of Scottish Executive. An estimated £1.3 billion is lost to the Scottish economy every year through energy wastage. Scottish Executive feel there is huge scope for improvement in Scotland and is encouraging business and householders to do what they can to reduce the country’s ecological footprint. The Executive encourages businesses to take action to improve their productivity and competitiveness by using resources more efficiently. http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/News-Extras/footprint

Highland Energy Forum has been launched as soaring prices have pushed energy into the front line of public debate. Three questions are coming to the fore: how to save energy, how to help those who can’t afford it, and how to find new sources. To help provide information and encourage discussion, the Highland Energy Efficiency Advice Centre has opened up a new Highland Energy Forum, which they’re hosting on Think-Net. Check it out at the following link: http://www.think-net.org/forums.asp?ForumID=21

The Royal Society of Edinburgh has recently published an Inquiry into Energy Issues for Scotland which highlights the growing demand for energy, the need for energy efficiency and the potential for research and development in this country. Find the report on the bulletin board of the following site http://www.odac-info.org/ . See also Scottish Executive’s reponse to UK Energy Review published last month. http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/129622/0030898.pdf

Loan Action Scotland provides interest free loans of between £5,000 and £50,000 for companies that want to make energy savings. For more information see

The Futurebuilders Learning Fund will close to new applications on 31 August 2006. The guidance for the fund has now changed so that some additional types of organisations – Community Interest Companies (CICs), Credit Unions and some Co-operatives – can now apply to the fund. The change enables these types of organisations, which previously were ineligible as they are technically able to distribute some profits, to apply where limited profit distribution takes place. Applications must be for training or learning that will directly help the organisation to deliver more or better services. You must provide evidence for how the learning will help your organisation to generate income by selling your services. All applications will have clear, measurable, learning outcomes that fit with your learning and development plan.

Healthy Highland 2007 is a week long celebration of the Highlands as a healthy and vibrant place to live and will take place on 15 and 21 January 2007. It will provide an opportunity for health improvement groups or those carrying out health improvement activities in their communities to get publicity and to promote their activities. A small grant may be available from the Wellbeing Alliance to cover the cost of holding an event. For more information email manager@pfw.org.uk  or phone 01643729997.

Scottish Centre for Regeneration is providing a taster session in Strategic Campaigning Training on 11-12 September in Inverness. Billed as a unique opportunity to learn tools and techniques on: strategic thinking, communications, and campaigning methods; from Michelle Sheather, Greenpeace International training consultant for past 20 years.

Do you need:
* To create a change?
* To positively influence something or someone?
* To re-focus and be more effective in what you’re doing?
This sector bespoke 2 day course is aimed at: project and organisation managers, campaigners and activists in NGO’s, charities, trade unions, local government service providers and consultants delivering services to the Social Enterprise sector: http://www.senscot.net/srch_events.php?SK=abff9b8ca9b93384b78a041f7c100338&W21ID=102

Getting From A to B - Scotland’s Transport Infrastructure
12th September 2006, Edinburgh , Keynote Speaker: Iain Coucher, Deputy Chief Executive, Network Rail , Chaired by Christian Wolmar, transport journalist and author.
Holyrood Events is bringing together parties from across the transport, engineering and professional services sectors to examine the importance of transport infrastructure, the effects of these changes and how the future face of Scotland’s transport network will look. This will be the definitive conference on transport infrastructure in Scotland this year. http://www.holyrood.com/conference.asp