Headlines: August 14th, 2003

A network of 36 one stop shops across the Highlands are serving the community with a wider range of services. The ‘Service Points’ allow the payment of council bills, including rent, council tax and rates. Additional services are now being included such as banking, doctor’s surgery and a reporting centre for Scottish Water. In a number of locations the Service Point has become the focal point for the local community providing access for libraries registration and tourist information.The services are financed by the Scottish Executive’s Modernizing Government Fund. The projects were launched in 2000 with a 26 million pound budget some of which was spent on development of the Digital Highland initiative to improve the telecommunication infrastructure and power supplies to provide a greater digital network. The 15 million pound budget for the current year, which is double the original prediction, is committed to promoting a citizen-focused approach to modernizing the delivery of public services in Scotland across several key areas. . The Fund aims to take forward projects involving the innovative provision of improved public services, focusing on the citizen’s needs, and contributing to the development of 21st Century Government for Scotland.