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Highland Council ward management changes will be 'as community focused as possible'

By Gordon Calder

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CHANGES to the ward management structure in Highland Council will be "as community focused as possible."

That was said by Helen Ross, the local authority's senior community development manager, when she addressed a meeting of the Association of Caithness Community Councils in Thurso.

She outlined the re-organisation which has resulted in Caithness ward manager, Mac Sutherland, moving to a post in the roads department in Skye as well as a number of other changes.

Ms Ross explained that she will be supported by two community development managers, Phil Tomalin and Fiona Richardson and community support officer, Liam Clancy. Mr Clancy and Mr Tomalin were also present at last week's meeting in the Pentland Hotel.

The ward changes were outlined at an Association of Caithness Community Councils meeting in Thurso. Photo: Mel Roger
The ward changes were outlined at an Association of Caithness Community Councils meeting in Thurso. Photo: Mel Roger

She acknowledged the "excellent" work done by Mr Sutherland and said Mr Clancy will be the initial contact for the area.

"We will be as community focused as possible," said Ms Ross who pointed out that the team will work in Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross.

Association chairman, Alastair Ferrier, praised the work done by Mr Sutherland and his links with community councils.

Ms Ross said: "We will continue to have these links."

The changes were discussed at a full Highland Council meeting last year but the discussion was held in private.

A Highland Council spokesman said: "A new structure, along with roles and responsibilities, was agreed for the Community Support and Engagement Team in October by members of full council. The changes were required in order to respond to changes in council priorities and duties under the Community Empowerment Act. The North and East areas now have a Senior Community Development Manager (Helen Ross), supported by two Community Development Managers (Phil Tomalin and Fiona Richardson) and a Community Support Officer (Liam Clancy), all of whom will work across the Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross area."

Asked if it was possible to access background papers on the debate, the spokesman added: "We aren’t able to provide this report because it was considered by members in private and is therefore confidential."

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