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.