Since May 2001
Running web sites including -
- 1958 - 1970
Brought Up In
- 1960 - 1964
Post Office (Left School aged 15 with no
Civil Service Entrance Exams
Scottish Widows Life Assurance Co
of Commerce, Edinburgh (Nights)
Civil Service Executive Officer Examinations
with Inland Revenue (Edinburgh)
to Glasgow With Inland Revenue
to Wick With Inland Revenue
Covering Caithness, Sutherland, Orkney & Shetland
Caithness Volunteer Link
Distance Learning using Lotus Notes – studying
Social Firms – pilot project to evaluate course in this new topic.
Highland Volunteer Development Agency
Organised of a series of public meeting
regarding the changes in the Health Service in the North of
To look at emerging Social Firm ideas for the disabled
and other disadvantaged groups.
funding sources – Trusts, Local Authority and European etc
Community Web Site started
Started new training courses for web site Development
in Voluntary Sector in Caithness.
Stood as Independent candidate - Lost by 18 votes to
Churchill Memorial Trust
Awarded Travelling Fellowship to go to United States
to study small businesses for disabled people. February 2000
Link paid work came to an end so decided to concentrate on
Caithness.org full time or at least between the other activities.
as a team leader for the 2001 Census in Caithness covering the Ord
to Wick. Temporary post till June 2001.
Citizen Of The Year
Started - a business to take forward Caithness.org and other Internet services after looking at various
- May 2003
Elected To Highland Council
Appointed Director of Highland Prospect
Appointed Director of Caithness And Sutherland Enterprise - now ceased
Radioactive Particles In The Environment BPEO - Steering Group
representing local community.
Press Officer for North Action
Group fighting to save consultant led services at Caithness General
- Re-elected to represent the newly enlarge ward of Wick (there are
three councillors for the Wick Ward)
September 2007 -
Appointed to be chair of Education
Culture and Sport committee of Highland Council
- Member Parents Teacher Association
- Wick Town Improvements Association
- Scout Hall Committee
- Wick Amateur Swimming Club
- Qualified Life Saver
- Swimming Teacher
Health Council member for East Caithness Until September 2000
Committee - Member
Rural Forum – Action Network -
Supported Employment Partnership
Community Care Forum
Highland Community Care Forum -
Network of Community Businesses
Parent Families Scotland
Round Table - Wick
- Highland Housing & Community
Care Trust -
- Fund Raising for Marie Curie
in the Wick area during Daffodil Week the annual fund raiser -
HomeStart Caithness -
Bill Chairman in September 2008 - 2013
- and is also a
- North Highland Connections
Director 2008 - 2011
An arts group - part of the North Highland Initiative
- Laurandy Day Care Centre
- HomeStart Caithness
Also currently a member of:
- Caithness Field Club
- Rotary Club - Wick -
Ceased May 2008 due to pressure or
council work and being away on meeting nights.
- Caithness Voluntary Group
Previous Directorships - Unpaid
- Highland Prospect - Director -
From May 2003 -
Ceased when company was absorbed by
and Bill became director of that company
until June 2008.
Caithness And Sutherland Enterprise
From October 2003 - Ceased May 2007
Highland Opportunity Ltd - Director to date
Bill And St Kilda
In the course of many
of the above activities Bill attended training courses for both work
and many of the voluntary sector groups. Over the years he also
attended a range of conferences and seminars in many parts of Scotland
to gain experience of the sectors of interest pertaining to the
particular groups or organisations. He has taken a particular
interest in small businesses and particular forms of social
enterprises. Connected to that has been looking into training
and employment for people with disabilities. Working for while
in the voluntary sector he ran recruitment programmes in Caithness and
gained experience of a number of committees at local and Highland area
Blended into all of this has been the
development of Caithness.org and associated web sites that started as
a voluntary exercise to assist Caithness from a number of viewpoints -
information exchange, encouraging the use of the internet with the
possibilities for small businesses if they could grasp the
opportunities. The ability to reach many people and promote the
area for tourism and for local people and the wider population in
Scotland to see what is not too far from them. In order to keep
this all happening Scorrie Internet Services was created to make the
future of the operations more secure based on profits and not on state
funding or charitable grants. So far it has proved very
successful. the business does not make much money as yet.
It has paid wages to one employee Bill's son Niall who is the techy
behind the whole set up. He along with a friend Colin have been
instrumental in bringing in all the scripting and html etc necessary
to make the web sites work the way they do.
The Caithness.org web
site has been very successful and way beyond the initial
thoughts. Visitor numbers on the web site have continued
to grow year on year and show no sign of stopping with 2005 forecast
looking to head for 1.75 million based on January 2005 stats.
The site started off to present information on the local Caithness
voluntary groups - the who where when and had a small band of
volunteers who were trained in the basics by Niall. That was
quickly achieved and they moved onto put details for some of the
groups on to the pages. Over the first year volunteers gradually
left for jobs and education and it was felt that as the whole
enterprise was growing it was no longer sustainable suing volunteers.
Scorrie Internet Services was set up and Bill and Niall threw
themselves into the project full time (Often working up to 100 hours
week for many months) This pace has slackened but still requires
full time input from Niall on all the other web sites whilst Bill who
runs Caithness.org fits it in at all sorts of unusual hours between
council and other meetings - in evenings and at the weekends.
Caithness.org won two
Awards in October 2001 for Best Community Web Site in the UK and
Best Web site in all categories overall. Caithness.org has grown
massively since that time and now has over 25,000 photographs covering
many aspects of local life on over 30,000 pages with more added almost
every day. Changes to the web site with regard to
improvements are ongoing and while Bill looks at content Niall is
working on upgrades constantly - the latest being innovative new
methods for building the
Index With the new set up working and tested the way was
opened up to add other areas and
Sutherland Business Index is now on the same system and growing.
This cheap and effective way to advertise a local business is free to
all businesses in the area but has the possibility of additional
banner advertising and a place to find all of the business web sites.
It is a service to businesses and the area helping to ensure the
businesses can be found by potential customers. The FREE entries
ensure every business can join making it useful for the wider
community and available even to small cash strapped or new businesses
from the outset.
What about the future?
Well the future is change and improve constantly.
Caithness.org has been
included in several pieces of research by academics and written about
in many places around the world adding to the audience and helped by
the fact that by 2005 the site was linked to by at least 5000 other
it is the cooperation of local groups and individuals who now send in
information, photographs and data that helps keep pushing it all
forward making it more successful. It has become part of the
local lingo and people in the area often refer just to it as "THE ORG"
rather than its whole name. The success is part of the dynamic
and cooperative community that Caithness really is.
Sub Groups and
In addition to the main committees above Bill sits on a range of
sub groups and committees dealing with specific aspects of the work of
the main committees.
Audit and Scrutiny Committee
Ceased 7 September 2007
Bill became chairman of Education Culture and Sport and under the
council rules chairmen of major committees are not allowed to sit on
the Audit and Scrutiny committee to ensure scrutiny is independent..
Joined the Audit and Scrutitny committee once again in 2012 as
Planning, Environment and Development
Ceased 7 September 2007
Council Owned Companies
Highland Opportunities Limited
Bill Fernie became a director and chairman of the company
on 29th June 2007. Ceased to be Chairman October 2007 following becoming chairman
of the Education, Culture and Sport Committee - left the
committee in June 2008 in the reorganisation following
change of administration. Became a director once again in 2012 following the Council elections.
The company is wholly owned by Highland Council.
The company also manages a project
Radioactive Particles In The Environment (BPEO) -
Ceased 2008 as the work of the group had been completed and a report
was published by UKAEA.
Following the May 2007 election Bill Fernie continued to be chairman.
He became chairman of Steering Group
representing the local community.
Bill joined the group in November 2003 and became chairman in February
2004. The group tries to ensure that public participation is
open and fair in this highly technical public consultation over the
next two years. Due to the many changes going on at
Dounreay there no meetings after Feb 2004. All notes of meetings will be added
to the UKAEA web site. Other independent members of the group
include John Thurso MP and Iain Baikie of KP Technology Ltd based in
Wick. The majority of those attending the meetings are technical
experts in a range of capacities from nuclear safety and scientific
experts and independent consultants assisting the process to ensure
the public can give their views on this highly complex topic. -
Completed Work Early 2008
Community Health Partnership (CHP)
Bill was selected to represent
the council and has sat on the group since 2004. He continues in
that role from being re-elected in May 2007. Councilllor David
Flear (Caithness Landward) also sits on the CHP for the Highland
Caithness Health Forum
A local watchdog group which
by the late George Bruce MBE. Since his death in 2009 the forum
has not met. George was the main driving force behind the
forum in recent years and it remains to be seen whether it will meet
North Action Group
Formed to fight the
downgrading of the maternity unit at Caithness General Hospital, Wick.
Bill Fernie acted as press officer for group the as well as being a
committed member. The threat to remove obstetricians and change
to mid-wife only unit was successfully resisted after a two year
campaign of action by way of the media, marches, demonstrations and
lobbying. North Action Group (NAG) continues to stay in
existence with watching brief as the Health Board has returned three
times in the past 6 years with downgrading agenda. the public
rallied round to support the campaign with both physical and financial
support. The committee agreed to retain most of the funds still
in hand to fight any future downgrading suggested in the future by NHS
Highland. The late George Bruce (died 2009) was chairman of NAG and
did a magnificent job along with the committee and the help of
Highland Council, HIE, Local Trade Unions and others to retain an
obstetrician led service in Caithness.
May 2003 - 6 May 2007
Highland Councillor representing Wick West
Became a councillor in May 2003
Caithness Area Chair Housing and Social Work
All area committees in Caithness including -
Housing & Social Work
Education, Culture & Sport
Planning & Tourism
Other Highland Council committees -
Audit & Standards
Social Work - Main Committee
Social Work Portfolio Holders Group
Children's Panel Area Committee (CPAC)
Disability Sport - Highland
Wick Project Committee
Health Service Strategic Redesign Group
Children & Families Resource Group
Deputy - Northern Police Board
Trustee - Wick Harbour Trust
Children's Champion - Caithness
Ceased May 2007
All areas of Highland Council have selected a councillor to be a
Children's Champion to take a closer interest in changes particularly
in Social Work and Education in respect of Highland's children.
From 2004 Bill therefor attends the Joint Committee On Children And
Young People that is a partnership of Highland Council and NHS
Memberships Of Non Council
Wick Youth Club - Ceased May 2007
Home-Start - charity helping families
Wick High School - Board Member - Ceased June 2007
Laurandy Day Care Centre - Laurandy Day Care is registered
charity offers day care services for the elderly in the Wick area.
It receives some grant funding from Social Work department but also
fund raises to ensure it can pay its way. It has paid staff and
volunteers. Bill is still a director of Laurandy Day Care Centre as at
8 January 2010.
Directorships - Unpaid
Bill is director and committee member of Homestart
Bill became chairman of the group at the 2008 AGM.
Laurandy Day Care Centre
Bill is a director and committee member of The Laurandy Daycare
Highland Housing and Community Care Trust - Charity
Bill has been a director of this charity since it was set up in 1998. Building houses
for people with disabilities and frail elderly. HHCCT has built
houses in several parts of Highland for disabled and elderly people.
houses were given to local housing associations in 2006 in order to
ensure a more efficient management et up. the agencies already
managed the properties on behalf of the trust. HHCCT continues
to take on work in respect of social housing. The trust
meets three or four times a year and has part time worker. Many
issues are now agreed by email or telephone. Amongst other
things work has been carried out in the past 18 months on A Rent
Deposit Scheme for people who cannot obtain accommodation due to lack
of funds to pay a deposit. The company ceased in 2012 and handed over al its houses to housing associations.
Caithness And Sutherland Enterprise
Attending regular board meeting to
approve the ongoing work of the company. Bill ceased to
be a director in 2007 when local enterprise companies including
Caithness and Sutherland enterprise were abolished and united under
the Highlands and Islands Enterprise company.
Highland Prospect Ltd - Owned By Highland Council
This company made soft loans to enterprises who may not be supported
by banks and other traditional funders. In 2005 it was amalgamated with
Highland Opportunity Ltd another Highland council venture company.
Bill became a stand-in director of Highland Opportunity and attends
meetings when there is shortage of directors for any reason.
Bill ceased this activity in 2007 when he took over the very time
consuming role as chairman of the Education, Culture and sport
committee of Highland council - see above. Bil became a director again in 2012.
Radioactive Particles In The Environment (BPEO)
Chairman of Steering Group
representing the local community.
Bill joined the group in November 2003 and became chairman in February
Wick Harbour Trust 2003 - 2005
Bill was a trustee representing Highland council on the Trust and
was keen to take things forward after the new revision order was finally
agreed (It has been under negotiation for three years with the
Scottish Executive) and a new business plan being funded by CASE are
in place hopefully by April/ May 2005
The New Wick Harbour Authority came into being in July 2005.
bill did not stand for this new body due to many other commitments and
he felt that the new body needed to have as many new faces as
North Action Group Member
See Eye On
Nov 2003 - Dec 2005 (Main period) Still in existence to be ready to
start if maternity unit threatened again.
Bill Fernie is a member of this action group fighting to defend
maternity services at the Caithness General Hospital. Bill acts
as press officer for the group. Press Releases are posted on the
Group web site at time of issue to the media.
Formed in February 2004 to pursue the retention of a consultant
led maternity service in Caithness perceived by people in the county
to be under threat with the third review in six years.
Success for the Maternity Campaign
On 6 December 2005 Bill Fernie (who acts as press officer), George
Bruce (chair) and Mollie Baikie (committee member) attended the NHS
highland board meeting on 6 December 2005 to hear them say they were
no longer looking to downgrade the maternity unit and would be seeking
to appoint three full time obstetricians. After more than two years of
campaigning at meetings and out on the streets and a long string of
papers to politicians, media and many others the NAG committee were
elated by the news but decided to remain in business for a few months
longer to oversee the process and make sure it actually happens.
the group raised around £10,000 donated by many individuals and groups
and the balance will be donated to the Caithness General Hospital via
the League of Friends who first asked for public support to save the
unit. Many of the NAG committee had been to Inverness, Edinburgh and
many many meetings in the two years of the campaign.
1 January 2007
North Action Group had intended to disband but on reflection decided
to stay in existence and keep a watching brief on the maternity issue
for some time to come and be in a position to tackle any future
threats to the unit.
Caithness And Sutherland Maternity Action Team
Bill Fernie will join the new group set up to find a solution to
the Maternity question at Caithness General Hospital
Community Health Partnership CHP
Bill Fernie & David Flear the area convenor were appointed to be
the Highland Council representatives on the newly created North
Highland CHP in the last quarter of 2004 following steering group
meetings. The new group consists of Health and, social work
staff and both council officials and elected representatives together
with the voluntary sector are represented.
Alternative Business Models
Over the last few years Bill visited Finland and the United States
looking at different solutions for employment and business. He
also visited many businesses in Scotland trying to develop employment
opportunities for people with disabilities.
Bill has attended meetings of the new group formed in 2004 to look
at ways of improving tourism in Caithness.
Finland - Looking at small business models and places for people with
mental health problems - in 1999 whilst working in the
Yell.com Awards - London
Bill has travelled to a number of places
abroad before joining the council mainly in the United States including
New York, Philadelphia and Florida (He never had time to visit
Disneyland). Whilst in these places he was looking at businesses and
places of employment for people with mental health problems and learning
Dounreay Particles BPEO Stakeholders
Bill Is Chairman
Friday 13 February 2004 - Pdf doc.
In addition to the above Bill attends many
seminars, conferences, training sessions and other meetings to learn about
a huge range of topics affecting Caithness and the Highlands. He
meets regularly with managers in Housing and Social Work as he is the area
chairman covering those departments in Caithness.
Wick Community Council
Although not a member of the Wick Community Council Bill attends most
of that group's meetings to give the community councillors updates on any
thing affecting Wick that the Highland Council might be doing and to
answer any questions they might have. The community council meets
once a month in Assembly Rooms , Wick.