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Highland Life / News / Highland Council News / Highland Council updates Multi Agency Action Plan for Gypsy/Travellers in the Highlands

Highland Council updates Multi Agency Action Plan for Gypsy/Travellers in the Highlands

Issued: 20 May 2010

Members of The Highland Council's Housing and Social Work Committee have welcomed progress on the implementation of a Multi Agency Action Plan for Gypsy/Travellers in the Highlands.

Members also agreed to a new set of actions for inclusion in the plan and revisions to the Unauthorised Encampment Policy and Procedures.

The Multi Agency Action Plan for Gypsy/Travellers in the Highlands was developed by a range of public sector agencies in Highland to promote equality and provide a consistent partnership approach to Gypsy/Traveller issues. The key agencies include The Highland Council; NHS Highland; Highlands and Islands Enterprise; Northern Constabulary; and Highland Fire and Rescue Services.

Councillor Margaret Davidson, Chairman of The Highland Council's Housing and Social Work Committee said: "These policies set a balance between the rights of Gypsy/Travellers with the rights of the settled community. Travellers need to understand the needs of the communities and the local community needs to understand the requirements of travellers. I welcome and support the work that staff across all agencies are carrying out to support Gypsy/Travellers.

"There are many unauthorised encampments each year in the Highlands and the policy on unauthorised encampments is intended to ensure effective coordination between the services, agencies, landowners and communities involved. We aim to take a coordinated and proportionate response to encampments based on what can be a complex legal framework."

New actions proposed for the Action Plan and approved by members were to:

  • produce a Welcome pack for schools;
  • support health and well being education for children not attending mainstream school;
  • promote pre-school access to mainstream early years activities;
  • resource support and training events within education;
  • produce a Planning Policy for the Highland wide Local Development Plan;
  • review independent advice and information services including a Handbook for permanent site residents;
  • monitor reported hate incidents;
  • map wider geographic outreach services;
  • explore and support a Gypsy/Traveller representative group, including a Youth Forum;
  • deliver training and awareness raising briefings including a focus on Unauthorised Encampments; and
  • to further continuous improvement of waste and refuse management at unauthorised encampment locations.

The previous policy and guidelines on managing unauthorised encampments in Highland was agreed by the Council's Housing and Social Work Committee in March 2002.

A Member briefing session led by Dr Ian Taggart of The University of Aberdeen will be held at the Council Chamber, Inverness on Thursday 10 June 2010.

Copies of the revised Multi Agency Action Plan 2010/11 for Gypsy/Travellers in the Highlands and Unauthorised Encampment Policy and Procedures will be available on the Council's website at www.highland.gov.uk/gypsytravellers

© 2010 Highland Public Services Partnership.
Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG IIIB Northern Periphery Programme