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Caithness Socio Economic Strategy Group
John Thurso MP, who chaired the group said: "Our remit was to create a strategy. This work is complete. The task now is to turn strategy into action and we have made a number of recommendations as to how that should happen. I would also like to thank all the members of the group for all the work they have done."
The key additions to the text are:
11. Conclusions from Consultation.
11.2 As part of their submission the Caithness Partnership included "The Caithness Community Plan". This plan has been prepared by the Partnership through engagement both with their partners and representatives of the wider community. This detailed plan aligns closely with this strategy, in particular with regard to public services. The strategy group has therefore adopted the Caithness Community Plan into this strategy insofar as it aligns with the strategy.
11.3 The Caithness Partnership also submitted "The Caithness Transport Vision" which was launched in August. This is a comprehensive transport vision for the area and is entirely in line with the aims set out in this strategy. The group has therefore adopted the transport vision into the strategy insofar as it aligns with the strategy.
11.4 The majority of the responses received contained suggestions relating to particular projects including the importance of the voluntary sector, the arts, heritage, tourism and a number of specific business concepts. The group believes there is merit in most of these ideas and suggestions and they should, where possible, be incorporated into the action plans which are required to take this strategy forward and prioritised.
11.5 At section 9.2 the group stated that to take this
strategy forward to an action plan, and to implement that action plan,
11.6 We recommend that this partnership approach be achieved by establishing a strategy group to provide strategic oversight and direction and to be accountable for monitoring the delivery of the strategy. The membership would be similar to that of the existing strategy group, should meet quarterly, and be responsible for strategic oversight
11.7 We further recommend that a ?project group? of agency officers be set up to co-ordinate the actions of each delivery agency. In particular we recommend that each project must be "owned" to ensure proper accountability of delivery.
11.8 We recommend that additional dedicated resources be recruited with specific skills and a demonstrable track record in economic regeneration to develop and implement the ultimate action plan.
11.9 The recommendations above are supported by the strategy group as a whole. There is not however consensus on how the resource identified in 11.8 above should best be deployed. Most of the group believe that there should be an individual specifically recruited to undertake the task who would be able to demonstrate the skills required and a proven track record. This individual would not be a member of any of the partner organisations but would report to and be owned by the partnership as a whole. It is important to recognise that this individual would not compete with any existing resource but compliment the actions of existing agencies. An alternative view is that the main delivery agencies should identify dedicated financial and staff resources to implement the recommendations and that their combined efforts should be mounted under the direction of the strategy group.
The critical issue is to ensure "ownership", so that both the process and individual projects are transparent and accountable. Strategic leadership and accountability for delivery of the programme are imperative. The first task for the agencies to which this strategy is presented is therefore to discuss this issue and agree, without delay, the implementation arrangements.
11.10 To present this strategy to Government a conference is being organised by members of the group together with members of the Caithness Partnership and members of the Dounreay Stakeholder Group. The details will be published once dates are confirmed by Ministers.
for Caithness and North Sutherland