Sunday, October 30, 2016

Grass cutting coming back "in house" to Highland Council?

A document going before the Community Service Committee next Thursday (3rd November) will recommend that an in house set up is created for the grass cutting. The bold decision to put it out to the private sector several years ago has been roundly criticised since its inception and now the Council is set to reverse that policy. 

If it is accepted by the Council it will mean that they will have to recruit extra summer staff. The document reads:

"Bringing grass cutting in-house, if agreed, will require the recruitment of up to 90 seasonal employees between now and the end of March 2017. A new operational structure will also need to be implemented, both geographically and in terms of front-line management, to reflect the increase in the size of the workforce and the Council’s aspirations for the service. A training and development programme for both existing and new employees will need to be developed to address these issues. However, we are confident that an in-house grass cutting service can be established, operating to the required standard, by the end of March 2017."   

Is this the way then in this time of uncertainty?  

"The current financial climate for the Council is one of uncertainty, and it is acknowledged that this will continue for the foreseeable future. The Council must therefore have sufficient control over its resources to allow it to deliver its priorities whilst ensuring that financial efficiencies continue to be achieved."

The recommendations to the councillors in full are as follows:

"Members are invited to agree that: 

• the Director of Community Services establishes an in-house operation that can provide Amenity Services, including grass cutting, throughout the Highlands for Financial Year 2017 / 18 onwards; 

• a revised management structure within Amenity Services is prepared to position the service appropriately to respond dynamically, flexibly and positively to the changing National, Council and Service priorities; and 

• a new performance management system is identified and implemented to improve scrutiny and decision-making for Amenity Services throughout the Highlands."

There we go folks grass cutting is coming home? Perhaps just in time for the forthcoming Highland Council cuts apocalypse?  Gurnites can read the full paper going before the committee by going to this page here and clicking on item 7.


Anonymous said...

Death by a thousand cuts - at least our open spaces will be well maintained!

Adrian said...

Is the Gurn having a Wikileaks type moment today?

Baa humbug said...

As far as I know the council has no statutory duty to cut the grass so could it not just be left to grow and we could use the money for something else?

Establish grazing rights on the Links and folk can bring their sheep along for some free grass

The wheel turns said...

It's not that far into the dim and distant past when most of the grass cutting squads were seasonal and employed by the council. They were paid off at the end of the season with many of them coming back season after season but then someone, somewhere, decided that they would keep people on and find them things to do throughout the winter. What this often seemed to mean was that someone, somewhere, had to keep on coming up with 'projects' to justify the additional staff. All fair and well when there was plenty of money around but we're in a different era now. Hopefully any folk taken on will be based in Nairn and not just some centralised hit squad who turn up on an ad hoc basis.