Category Archives: Argyll & Bute

Register of Electors Annual Canvass

Argyll and Bute Council are currently conducting the annual canvass to update the electoral register. There have been some changes due to recent law changes.

Anyone aged 16 or over can now register to vote in all Scottish elections.

If you have recently moved or have any other reason to think you may not be registered, you can do so online via http://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

If you have any questions and need further advice, you can contact the Argyll & Bute local office at ero-abc@dab-vjb.gov.uk

Poster contains same information as article above

By-election Notice – nominations open Sept 9th 2020

Argyll and Bute Council have announced that the by-elections to community councils across the local authority area, postponed in the spring due to COVID-19, will now go ahead. The elections themselves will take place on November 5th, with nominations opening on Wednesday 9th September (coincidentally, the same day as our next meeting) and close on the 24th September.

What does this mean?

There are eight elected places on the Tiree Community Council. These are public elected offices, which all persons on the electoral roll for the island of Tiree may nominate to and vote for. At the last election, four people were elected (John Holliday, Phyl Meyer, Alison Clark and Gerard McGoogan).

Elected members are allowed to co-opt to fill vacancies temporarily, as well as invite others to participate on a non-voting “advisory” capacity to bring in needed skills/perspectives. TCC had brought two others in by these methods, and was working towards further co-options – but if a by-election is held any spots filled by co-option are offered up for election again.

For these reasons, this by-election will be for the four places on TCC not already filled by elected members. Previously co-opted members may of course stand for election.

How does it work and how do you put yourself forward?

Because this is a public role, there are formal procedures that have to be followed if you wish to be considered to join the community council.

  1. You must be eligible – meaning you must be (already, before this point) a registered elector on Tiree, 16 years old or above at the point of the election, and not excluded from holding public office (there are some types of job which include a prohibition against this). This effectively means you should be a “permanent resident” of Tiree, and this is the stated intent in the terms of the TCC constitution – anyone ceasing to be such would automatically be deemed to have resigned.
  2. You have to complete a Nomination Form, which two other registered electors from Tiree must sign to put you forward for election. The form is not too complicated, and assistance with completing it can be provided by existing members or by Council staff). The form must be submitted to Council staff by the deadline on September 24th.
  3. If nominated, and the number of nominations is less than or equal to the number of places – there is no actual election. Uncontested, valid candidates are simply deemed to be elected immediately following the close of nominations.
  4. If more candidates come forward than places, a vote will take place on November 5th. Due to COVID-19 this will be a postal ballot – every registered voter on Tiree will be sent a mail-in ballot to complete in advance of the election date where they can say which candidates they wish to be elected – you can vote for as many candidates as there are vacancies – in this case four. These must be returned by post before the election day.

Why should people stand?

Community Council is a vital layer of representation, with responsibility and rights to play a key role on matters such as planning policy and consultation, as well as identifying the needs and wishes of the local community and making representation to other bodies and levels of Government, etc. A strong, healthy community council can make a real difference in raising matters of concern to residents and driving forward positive changes and improvements to services, as well as supporting and promoting local culture, tourism and economy. On Tiree, we are fortunate to have organisations such as the Tiree Community Development Trust to take forward much of the practical development of work to build our community resources – it’s a huge help to them for us to be here to support good communication and representation of what people feel are priorities, and what they need, etc.

The recent pandemic has shone a powerful light on how important this function can be – TCC members played a big role in making representation to Calmac, MSPs, government ministers and others about the effect lockdown restrictions could have on our community and local economy.

Why should I stand? What could I contribute?

Many people don’t tend to think of themselves as being “political” or having the skills or expertise they think is needed to play a useful role on something like a community council – but the truth is that one of the biggest needs is for the community council to have a real breadth of voices on it, with a range of backgrounds and experiences, so that when the rest of the community look at who is supposed to be representing them what they see is reasonable reflective of themselves. The most important thing is that you have a real wish to see good done in your local community for all who call it home, and that you are willing to look at the information, ask questions and work with others to ensure that a fair reflection of the views of the community is heard, and where needed a fair decision reached on what we say or do about something.

As has been mentioned above, we can bring in additional people with expertise, skills, etc if we feel there are gaps in those which would be useful to fill – but don’t underestimate the value of the contribution you could make! A lot of what we deal with is just a matter of looking at the facts, looking at any existing rules or policies and applying a bit of common sense as to what will be good for people here on the island.

How much time does it involve? What work would I need to do?

There isn’t too much of a fixed expectation on this – it does vary. As you can imagine the existing members were all quite a bit busier with TCC business during the last several months with COVID-19 than we expected we would be!

The main expectation is that you be willing to participate in most meetings (it’s fine if you occasionally can’t make some!) – which we currently tend to hold monthly, with a gap usually in the summer and sometimes around Xmas or New Year. Since COVID-19 came along these have all been taking place as online video/phone conference calls, and this has proven to work well and be more convenient and accessible for many of us. At some point physical meetings are likely to resume, but we are keen to keep the digital option going as it is very helpful for some, especially those with care responsibilities or mobility/energy impairments.

Between meetings, there is usually a background level of emails that come in and are circulated to the members, such as the regular planning application lists and other news items and consultation requests from the Council. These can usually be dealt with in a very flexible way, as and when you can find the time, and the members can agree between themselves how tasks are split up. So for example if there was a particular task you didn’t feel able or willing to contribute to, you could say so. There might be something else you were especially keen on, and others might then bow out of that task – and so on. Ultimately this is a volunteer position, and it is always up to you – we are very keen as a group to help each other to not take on too much, and understanding of the occasional need to take a break, etc. If you are concerned about this – please do speak to one or more of the existing members.

What support and training are provided?

Argyll and Bute Council can offer induction training and guidance to newly elected councillors, and the existing members are all very keen to provide any support needed for anyone that joins us. There are often opportunities available to council members to take part in further training sessions, and to attend meetings on particular subjects where we might have a role to contribute. Being an active community councillor can be a great way of gaining transferable skills and knowledge for a current or future career, while doing something useful for your local community.

I’m not sure I could manage / accessibility:

If you are interested but are concerned about taking part in connection with caring responsibilities, or a health condition, physical, mental or sensory impairment – please get in touch to discuss. There are all sorts of things that could be done to make reasonable adjustments to ensure you have the option to be involved and take part fully – elected office should be open to everyone.

Where can I get more information?

The nomination pack is attached below, which contains some information, and there is an excellent website run nationally to support Community Councils which has a set of pages about what a community council is and what it involves for members:

http://www.communitycouncils.scot/what-is-a-community-council.html

We hope to see a good number of candidates come forward – Tiree has been complimented recently for the extent to which our Community Council has been organised and working, and it would be a great endorsement of how active and engaged we are as a community to see a contested election!

Contested election! That sounds scary!

Please don’t be put off by this possibility – it’s not that scary really! Your name goes on the ballot papers that go to everyone and they vote – if you are especially keen to be elected you can choose to campaign if you wish – but this can be as simple as asking for friends to vote for you, maybe doing a social media post – or nothing at all and leave it up to people who already know you if that’s what you prefer. Nobody will be dragging you on stage or putting you on TV or anything like that! The role is a form of public elected office so a democratic process is just part and parcel of that.

Getting in touch to ask questions, or for help with the process:

The current members are also keen to offer any assistance we can – if you would find it helpful to talk to one or more of us informally about what is involved, please contact us either by e-mail (you can reach the Secretary, Phyl Meyer, at phyl@tireecommunitycouncil.co.uk), via our Facebook page, or directly.

Nomination Pack 5 November 2020

Nomination Form only 5 Nov 2020 – this is the only bit you need to print if completing a nomination form – or you can ask for one via Rona at the Council office.

There is also a series of documents on the Argyll and Bute Council website, including training resources about being a CC member, and if you’d like to delve into the more technical documentation, you can also find the “Scheme of Establishment” which defines the rules and the default constitution of the TCC here: https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/council-and-government/community-councils – it is definitely not necessary to familiarise yourself with all of this to put yourself forward however!

Regarding recent staff visits to Tigh a Rhuda

At the request of several concerned members of the local community we sent the following letter to the Chair of the Health and Social Care Partnership for Argyll and Bute:

Good afternoon,

I write on behalf of the Tiree Community Council in connection with concerns expressed to us by a number of residents regarding the fact that two staff (senior social workers, we are told) have on two occasions now travelled from the mainland to the island, spending significant time in the care home over a couple of days, apparently for the purpose of carrying out meetings with other staff, dealing with paperwork and such. There is great concern being expressed at the risk that this poses in terms of possible transmission of COVID-19 to the island, and particularly to the home place of some of our most at-risk residents, and why these staff meetings and paperwork could not be accomplished via electronic means, telephone, web conference and such in order to avoid that risk.

A previous attempt to query this matter following complaints being made to us about it resulted in a response that seemed to rest solely on an assertion that this was a matter for managers to decide, but we were left without any satisfactory explanation as to why the work could not have been delivered in an alternative, remote, way, A new wave of complaints has now come to us following a further visit. We realise there may well be very good reasons why this work absolutely had to be carried out in person, but the people contacting us seem to be firmly of the impression that it wasn’t about providing key worker support to care residents that couldn’t have been provided locally or remotely, but rather about administrative staffing matters.

Many of us here on the island have had to adapt to working fully remotely, unable to travel back and forth, and have done so knowing that this helps keep our community (which faces particular challenges and risks compared to the mainland) safe – so you will understand the concern about this when there is a question of it being truly essential, and given the current climate of well-justified fear for the well-being of our older family members this has led to understandably strong feelings on the subject being expressed to us.

We would be grateful if you could look into this and help either find an explanation that would reassure our community, or prompt a review of the necessity of what seems a risky activity which may be avoidable.

Yours sincerely,

Phyl Meyer, Secretary

Tiree Community Council

 

We have received the following response from Kieron Green, Policy Lead for Health and Social Care:

“Careful consideration is given before mainland based Health and Social Care Partnership staff travel to islands, including Tiree, to conduct essential work. All appropriate precautions are then taken in terms of physical distancing, accommodation and minimising interactions on the island when not working. Additionally for further assurance, and as the individuals involved are entering a care environment, they are being tested on a weekly basis for COVID-19.”

“Travel in this instance has been necessary due to the requirement to maintain the safe operation of Health and Social Care Partnership facilities, ensure high levels of care quality for residents and users of services, and give staff appropriate levels of management supervision and support. It has not been possible to facilitate this on a remote basis due to the nature of the work involved, including the need to directly observe the environment which care is provided in.”

Kind Regards,

Kieron Green

Councillor, Oban North and Lorn

Review of Argyll and Bute Integration Scheme (Social Care)

We have received the following communication from Argyll and Bute Council and NHS Highland inviting members of the community to input to a consultation on social care provisions in the area:

*****

You are invited, as one of a range of key stakeholders across Argyll and Bute, to have your say on updating the document that outlines how health and social care functions and services are provided locally.

In 2016, Argyll and Bute Council and NHS Highland brought all health and social care services together to form the Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP). The main purpose of integrating these services was to improve the wellbeing of people who use them, particularly those whose needs are complex and involve support from health and social care at the same time.

A Scheme of Integration was subsequently agreed in 2016 which provides information about which health and social care functions and services will be delivered by the HSCP. By law this must be reviewed every five years and submitted to the Scottish Government for approval.

The current scheme has recently been updated by the Council and NHS Highland and it is important that we also jointly consult with the public and our stakeholders to seek their views on any proposed changes and to consider all views expressed.

The consultation will run for a period of six weeks from 9 December 2019 to 17 January 2020. A copy of the revised scheme, together with a summary of the proposed changes can be viewed at https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/consultations/integration-scheme-review. Hard copies are also available in your local Customer Contact Centre, or by calling 01546 604325.

If you have any questions or comments please contact us at: integrationschemereview@argyll-bute.gov.uk by Friday 17 January 2020.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Cleland Sneddon Iain Stewart
Chief Executive Chief Executive
Argyll and Bute Council NHS Highland

Image of a green landscape - caption "consultation"

Transient Visitor Levy consultation – a Tourist Tax for Tiree?

A consultation is currently open on the subject of giving Councils the power to implement a “Transient Visitor Levy” – i.e. a nominal charge/tax to be paid by visitors to an area for the purposes of tourism, etc, which could then be used to supplement finances to pay for local services and/or development of amenities. The measure is, among other things, intended as a possible way to address the fact that short term holiday lets result in additional load to civic services such as rubbish collection, water, sewerage etc while often not directly (or proportionately) contributing towards the funding of those services, but can also be used as a way to fund other development and improvements.

The TCC briefly discussed it at our meeting last night but there was insufficient time for a detailed analysis, although points that were made included the suggestion that provided such a scheme were implemented in a way which was not overly burdensome administratively to those operating holiday lets it could be of particular benefit to island communities such as Tiree by raising very useful additional funds.

The consultation closes on December 2nd – which means we will not be able to discuss it further at a future meeting before the deadline – therefore we are inviting members of the community to either submit their own responses in an individual capacity, or to e-mail our new Secretary with your views, and we will aim to submit a consolidated response on behalf of the Community Council that covers the input we receive.

The consultation can be found here:
https://consult.gov.scot/local-government-and-communities/visitor-levy/

Front cover of the Isle of Tiree Sustainable Design Guidance document

Time for an update? – Tiree’s sustainable design planning guidance

At our meeting last night there was discussion about the planning guidance available to local residents seeking to develop their homes or construct new buildings. The meeting agreed it would be helpful to draw to the community’s attention the existing guidance, to which planning decisions must have reference, which was published in 2007.

The document was held to be an excellent and most helpful piece of planning guidance that should be the envy of many other communities, but there was general agreement that there would be benefit in exploring the possibility of it being given an update (the previous consultation on it now being 12 years old) and that in particular it would be useful to develop more detail around the ways in which design of buildings could evolve in future.

Councillors and members of the public suggested that residents keen to explore use of new materials and construction methods might find it useful for the guidance to explore further how a balance could be struck between innovation and having regard for the distinctive look and feel of Tiree.

The TCC agreed to reach out to the Council Planning department to see what options might be available to explore this. The existing guidance can be found on the Argyll and Bute Council website here:

https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/sites/default/files/planning-and-environment/isle%20of%20tiree%20sustainable%20design%20guidance.pdf

Argyll Air Services Saved

A&BC made this announcement Fri 4th May

Interim contract agreed for Coll, Colonsay and Tiree air services

The subsidised air services from Oban to Coll, Colonsay and Tiree will continue after Argyll and Bute Council  agreed an interim contract with Hebridean Air.

Hebridean Air will continue to operate the flights from 16 May, while the council now undertakes the evaluation stage of the procurement process for a new four-year contract. The deadline for tenders being submitted for the second round of procurement passed on 2 May.

There had been concerns that services would be interrupted by strict funding legislation after an initial procurement process for the four-year contract failed to attract an acceptable bid.

However, council officers and staff at Hebridean Air worked hard behind the scenes to prevent that scenario, and we are pleased to be able to confirm that there will be no such interruption.

An update on the four-year contract will be provided in due course, once the outcome of the second procurement process has been fully assessed.

The interim service offers an amended number of flights, although flights for school pupils travelling to Oban have been secured as a priority.

Details on Hebridean Air’s current and interim services can be found here: http://bookhebridean.co.uk

AGENDA: Wednesday 8th May  2019 7.30 pm, An Talla

AGENDA: Wednesday 8th May  2019 7.30 pm, An Talla


1. Welcome and apologies

2. Declarations of interest

3. Correspondence

4.Minutes of last meeting and matters arising

5. Report of meeting with A&BC/HIE.

6. Tiree-Oban Air Service Tender Update

7. CalMac Community Board/Ferry Reliability Update

8. TCDT/TCC Joint Meeting Report

9. Phone Box Project

10. Scarinish Public Toilets

11. TCC Representation

12. Date of June meeting

13. AOCB

Note TCC’s meeting will report on its meeting earlier in the day with Fergus Murray, Head of Economic Development and Strategic Transport at Argyll and Bute Council. TCC’s hopes to report on the implications of the outcome of the Argyll Air tender which closed on Wed 2nd May .Also ,as Fergus Murray is A&BC’s man in charge of implementing the Islands Bill, TCC will report on exacly what A&BC has done , if anything , so far.