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Highland Life / Information Pack / Information Pack - English / Help & Advice

Help & Advice

Advice and Information Centre / Equal Opportunities and Human Rights / Highland Council Service Points/ Emergency Services / Highlands & Islands Fire & Rescue Service / Legal Advice & Information / Immigration Advice and Information / Your right to vote / Useful URLs

Advice and Information Centres

Independent advice agencies can provide free, confidential and impartial advice on employment, housing, welfare benefits, legal matters, immigration, debt and consumer issues. If needed, whilst they cannot recommend any particular solicitor, they can provide a list of solicitors for you to choose from. As well as having an area office, many of the advice centres provide outreach services on certain days in other towns and villages. Click on the links below for more information on opening hours and contact details.

To find your nearest CAB www.cas.org.uk/bureaux Further resources are the online Advice Guide provided by the Citizens Advice Bureau, as well as Citizens Advice Scotland.

Equal Opportunities and Human Rights

Equal Opportunities

The Equality Act 2010 provides people in Britain with protection from discrimination, harassment and victimisation on the basis of: Age; Disability; Gender reassignment; Marriage and civil partnership; Pregnancy and maternity; Race; Religion and belief; Sex; and Sexual orientation. Coverage of the Act includes protection from discrimination in employment, education, clubs and associations, and service provision. The Act also requires public authorities to take account of equality in all their work.

Human Rights

The Human Rights Act gives people in Scotland the opportunity to have their human rights legal case heard in a Scottish court. The Act contains the rights which are included in the European Convention on Human Rights. The Act makes it unlawful for a public authority (such as a local authority or a court) to act, or fail to act, in a way that is incompatible with a Convention right.

Further information is available from:

The Equality and Human Rights Commission
http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/

Scottish Human Rights Commission
http://scottishhumanrights.com/

The Equality Advisory Support Service
http://www.equalityadvisoryservice.com/

Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service)
http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1461

Advice Agencies
http://www.cas.org.uk/bureaux

SCVO’s Highlands & Islands Equality Forum (HIEF)

Provides support, networking, information and advice to organisations and community groups on issues of equality and human rights.

http://www.scvo.org.uk/about/scvo-equalities-human-rights/highlands-and-islands-equality-forum-hief/

Highland Council Service Points

The Highland Council is the local government authority which provides a range of essential services to people living in the Highlands, including housing, education, roads maintenance, refuse collection, leisure facilities, libraries, money advice, support for people with care needs and much more. The council collects a local Council Tax to pay for these services and has a network of one-stop advice and information centres called Service Points which provide local access to all its services.

Emergency Services

For emergency help from the Police, Fire Brigade, Ambulance Service for accident and emergency medical care, or Coastguard for emergencies at sea, telephone 999. All these services provide free emergency assistance for everyone.

Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service

Free Home Fire Safety Check

The Scottish Executive, working with the Scottish Fire Services, has developed "Don't Give Fire a Home" , a national fire safety campaign for Scotland.

Prevention is seen as the key to reducing fire deaths and injuries. Members of the public need to work with the fire service to deliver safer communities. Visit the website of the Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service and click on Community Safety Advice and Information for the 10 key safety points you should know to protect your family from fire.

Free Home Fire Safety Check
As part of our commitment to your safety at home, we are offering a FREE home fire safety check. This service is carried out by Community Firefighters from your area.

  • Visits will be by appointment only
  • All appointments will be pre-arranged with you
  • The firefighters calling will always be in uniform, use an agreed password and show an ID card
  • DO NOT let anyone into your home without identification

The total time to complete a Home Fire Safety Check will vary with each situation but normally would last around 30 – 45 minutes.

This safety check will look at all areas of accident and fire risk within your home. We will advise you on the installation and maintenance of smoke alarms and also give advice and information on how to stay safe from fire including kitchen hazards, safe disposal of smoking materials, candles, heaters, electric blankets and dangers from harmful substances.

In addition, we will help you to make an escape plan to help prepare you should a fire occur in your home.

To request your FREE Home Fire Safety Check contact us by telephone on 01463 227000.

ee the Law and Personal Safety section of this website.

Immigration advice and information

Registered immigration advisers

Immigration advice from Solicitors

Relocation Advisory Service

Registered immigration advisers

All immigration advisers must be registered with the Office of Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), or be an adviser with an organisation, such as the Citizens Advice Bureaux, which is exempt from registration.

Anyone who gives immigration advice and is neither registered nor exempt will be committing a criminal offence. Every registered or exempt advice agency should display a certificate issued by the OISC to show it meets the OISC standards.

A list of all registered and exempt advisers and advice organisations can be seen on the OISC website which also includes details of how to make a complaint about an immigration adviser, and has information translated into many languages.

Immigration advice from Solicitors

In addition to immigration advisers registered with the OISC, solicitors can register with the Law Society of Scotland to provide immigration advice. Their website has a search facility to find immigration solicitors nearest to where you live.

Relocation Advisory Service

The main aim of the Relocation Advisory Service is to provide information about practical matters such as immigration for people seeking to come and live in Scotland or for those wishing to remain.
If you have any questions, check www.talentscotland.com for information.

Your right to vote

If you are a citizen of any of the European Union member states (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden) and are staying in the UK for approximately six months or longer, you can register as an elector for local government, Scottish Parliamentary and European Parliamentary elections.

You are entitled to be registered in the register of local government electors for any electoral area if on the relevant date you

  • are resident in that area;
  • are not subject to any legal incapacity vote (age apart);
  • are a qualifying Commonwealth citizen, a citizen of the Republic of Ireland or a citizen of the European Union; and
  • are of voting age.

Voting age in Scotland is 18 years or over.

You are not entitled to vote as an elector

  • more than once in the same electoral area at any local government election; or
  • in more than one electoral area at an ordinary election for a local government area which is not a single electoral area.

If you are not registered as an elector already, print out an Application to Register form, fill it in, and send it to the Electoral Registration Officer at any of the addresses listed at the end of the form.

A Polish Application form is also available for download from the UK Electoral Commission website.

Once your local Electoral Registration Officer has received your Application to Register for local government and Scottish Parliamentary Elections, you will be sent a supplementary form that allows you to choose if you want to vote for European Parliamentary Elections in the UK or in your home country.

Useful URLs

Citizens Advice Scotland http:///www.cas.org.uk

Citizens Advice Bureau http://www.cab.org.uk

Highland Advice and Information Network

Advice Guide www.adviceguide.org.uk

"Don't Give Fire a Home" www.dontgivefireahome.com

Highland Council www.highland.gov.uk

Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service www.hifrs.org

Scottish Legal Aid Board http://www.slab.org.uk/

Office of Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) www.oisc.org.uk

Law Society of Scotland http://www.lawscot.org.uk/

Electoral Commission website http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/

© 2006 Highland Wellbeing Alliance.
Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG IIIB Northern Periphery Programme.