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5 June 07
The Highland Council Beyond 2007 
The move to 22 multi-member wards from the May elections, allied to changes to planning and licensing legislation, has prompted the Council to reshape the way it takes decisions and delivers services. A map of the new multi member wards and a resume of the changes, including the three new operational management areas will help you better follow the changes

19 September 06
Executive plans to provide a severance package for councillors took a step forward when regulations were laid in the Scottish Parliament on 15th September.

The package will be available to councillors with at least four years service who stand down at the next local government elections in May 2007. The package was put in place by the Executive following the Local Governance (Scotland) Act 2004 and a review of councillors' allowances by the Scottish Local Authorities Remuneration Committee (SLARC) earlier this year.

Councillors can now apply for the severance package through their local authority and the closing date for applications is October 20.

Minister for Finance and Public Service Reform Tom McCabe said: "The introduction of this severance package is a positive way of recognising the invaluable service which councillors have provided to the local people they have served over the years.

"These new regulations propose a simple scheme with three levels of payment linked to length of service. The maximum payment available has been capped at 20,000 pounds for councillors with the longest service, to provide an affordable severance package.

"The severance package forms part of the Executive's ongoing commitment to renew local democracy and fits in with our wider reforms that aim to encourage a new generation of high calibre councillor candidates."

The three levels of severance package to be met by the Executive have been set at:
* 10,000 pounds for councillors with at least four years and up to 10 years service
* 15,000 pounds for councillors with more than 10 but less than 15 years
* 20,000 pounds for councillors with 15 years or more service

Following the SLARC report's recommendations, the Executive will also modernise the whole system of councillors' allowances and allow councillors to contribute to a pension scheme for the first time.

Both continuous and cumulative years of service by councillors will be considered to meet the required levels of service for the three packages.

This is a 'one-off' severance package which is part of a set of measures being put in place as part of the introduction of proportional representation for the next local authority elections in May 2007.

Councillors who opt to take the severance package must declare they do not intend to stand for election in the future to any local authority in Scotland.

The deadline for applications is October 20, 2006. However, there are some council areas where the new electoral wards are yet to be finalised. From the date of the making of the order which confirms the new boundaries, councillors in these local authority areas will have four weeks in which to decide whether or not to apply for the severance package, if this four-week period ends after October 20. But regardless of the ward boundary review, all applications will have to be submitted by the absolute deadline of December 15.

Councillors in special circumstances due to the terminal illness or death of a close family member (i.e spouse, cohabitee, civil partner or dependent) would also have an extended timescale to apply for the severance package no later than March 22, 2007.

Regulations to put in place the new salary, allowance and pension schemes for councillors will be brought forward in due course, so they are in place from the 2007 elections onwards.

Multi Member Council Wards Are Coming
This site gives details of the proposals for muti member wards due to come into operation in 2007

New Council Wards 2007

Highland Council Elections 2007 - The New System

Highland Council Beyond 2007

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18 March 05
Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland
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