Freedom Of Information (Scotland) Act 2002
Section 2 : About Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is a unitary island authority serving a population of around 26,300. It is an island chain (often known as the Outer Hebrides) off the west coast of Scotland, with the Comhairle’s administrative centre in the main town of Stornoway. The area has historically been a very strong Gaelic speaking area.
Key Functions and Services
The Council delivers a wide range of functions and services to the community, many through statutory obligations. The Local Government in Scotland Act 2003 places a legal duty on councils to lead community planning in their area, and also provides them with the statutory power to advance wellbeing – in other words, councils may undertake and/or support any activity in the interests of their local community, subject to certain limiting provisions.
These services include:
• Social Services
• Roads and Transportation
• Environmental Services
• Leisure and Recreation
• Corporate Services, including registration of births, deaths and marriages
Decision Making Structure
The Comhairle comprises thirty one elected members: four elected members are affiliated to the Scottish National Party; two elected members are affiliated with the Labour Party; whilst the remaining elected members are independents. The Comhairle’s decision making process follows the traditional pattern of a number of committees, each with a remit covering a specific subject area, which either take decisions themselves, or which make recommendations to Meetings of the Council.
The Head of the Comhairle’s paid service is the Chief Executive. The Convener of the Comhairle is the civic head of the Authority and is responsible for civic leadership, including chairing meetings of the Comhairle, representing the Comhairle in civic and ceremonial functions, communicating the ethos of the Comhairle externally, and supporting high standards of conduct, values and partnerships both within the Comhairle and externally.
The Leader of the Comhairle has specific responsibility for strategic leadership and direction, acting as the Comhairle’s principal representative on Local Government bodies, and the Outer Hebrides Community Planning Partnership. The Leader is automatically Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee which has principal responsibility for the Comhairle’s policy direction and its finances.
The Council aims to achieve a significant, measurable and demonstrable improvement in the quality of life of its citizens by delivering or facilitating excellent, customer-focussed services. The Council is committed to providing members of the public with information on its performance to enable it to determine how well their Council is performing. In 2008, the Council signed up to its first Single Outcome Agreement with the Scottish Government. This agreement, which will be refreshed and published annually, explicitly sets out the outcomes which the Council is seeking to achieve with its community planning partners. The Council has to make an annual report to the Government on its progress towards these outcomes.
Other examples of service and financial performance information which will help people determine how well their Council is serving them include: statutory public performance reporting (for example, school inspections), community plans, external audit reports and customer feedback surveys. We are committed to publishing as much information as possible, and information on performance reporting is available under Information Class 1.13 or can be found at Performance Reporting
Some local government activities are delivered by organisations associated with the Council. Some of these organisations are wholly owned by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, or are separate public bodies which are governed by one or more council. These bodies are also covered by FOISA and must adopt their own publication scheme.
At the present time Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has no wholly owned organisations as defined in Section 6 of FOISA.
Western Isles Licensing Board is associated with the Council but is listed separately under Part 3 of Schedule 1 of FOISA and therefore has its own scheme.
Western Isles Licensing Board Publication Scheme
For details on the Western Isles Licensing Board Publication Scheme please contact:Licensing Office
Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar
Isle of Lewis
Tel: 01851 709211
Freedom of Information Co-ordinator
Northern Constabulary Headquarters
Old Perth Road
Telephone: 01463 720519
Fax: 01463 720518
Assessor for the Highland and Western Isles Joint Valuation Board
16-18 Bank Street
INVERNESS IV1 1QY
Tel. (01463) 703316
Fax. (01463) 703301
Other organisations deliver Council services or work alongside the Council but are not wholly owned by the council, or by a group of councils. Examples include local leisure companies, charitable trusts, or public private partnerships. These organisations are not covered by FOISA. Hebridean Housing Partnership who are a charitable, not-for-profit housing association, took control of the Comhairle’s housing stock in a transfer in 2006. They are not covered by FOISA.
Hebridean Housing Partnership
Gleann Seileach Business Park
Tel: 0845 603 9180
Fax: 01851 707 948