I have read the literature from the other candidates in the North Isles by-election and I am disappointed by the apparent lack of knowledge about the functions and powers of the SIC.
They tend to fall into several categories and I will address them and hopefully dispel some of the confusion.
- Health and Social Care. Although the SIC employs social care staff it does not have a say in the management or policy making. This is now overseen by the Integrated Joint Board (IJB). The board is made up of three SIC councillors and three members of the health board plus various representatives from staff, user groups and the third sector. The only involvement that the council has is to approve the budget and fund its share.
- Various claims about support for the fishing fleet. The council cannot directly give support either monetary or in kind. The council are not able to provide things like discounted fuel.
- External transport links. The council can seek to influence and promote better outcomes. But it has no statutory powers and cannot effect changes to Scottish Government contracts with other public bodies and private organisations.
- Social Housing. If the other candidates have taken the time to visit their prospective ward, they will have seen that there is quite a lot over empty social housing throughout the North Isles. The issue is matching ‘places with faces’!
Some of the stock does need improvement, however it is often the suitability criteria that becomes a hurdle to occupancy and that is what needs to be addressed.
Independent candidate in the North Isles by-election