Table of Contents
Chief Executive Update
As Pippa takes a well-deserved break, you have me for this issue of Cascade.
It’s great news that restrictions continue to ease and we can look forward to some degree of normality. We’re definitely moving in the right direction. Please continue to follow national guidance to make sure we stay open.
As domestic travel opens, we’re welcoming visitors back to Argyll and Bute. Being born and bred in Argyll, I’m possibly biased, but there really is nowhere nicer to live and visit.
In this edition of Cascade, we look at some of the measures being introduced and guidance for visitors moving around the area and travelling from other areas.
You can also read about the hidden talents of colleagues and learn more about how services are working to reduce our carbon footprint.
Be a great visitor
It’s great to see tourists returning to Argyll and Bute now that restrictions have eased. Tourism plays a vital role in our local economy with so many businesses depending on the industry.
A lot of hard work is going on behind the scenes, across all services to make sure people can travel safely and have all the information they need to plan ahead. We know it’s going to be busier than normal which is great news, but we want our visitors to behave responsibly.
We have created a new website https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/abplace2visit that includes advice and information on how to be a great visitor including where to stay, where to find public toilets and car parks and how to dispose of litter and waste.
We want everyone to have a great time and keep Argyll and Bute beautiful for everyone to enjoy it. A big thank you to everyone involved in preparing for the return of our visitors.
Head of Development and Economic Growth
Be cyber secure
At home, or at work, we all need to be really aware of our online security right now.
Public sector, partners like SEPA and the UHI, and international companies have been under attack by cyber criminals and there are dozens of different scams coming into our in-boxes and phone texts on a regular basis.
Here are some tips to keep yourself safe:
- Be wary of any message creating a sense of urgency to click on a link or download a file or threatens legal consequences. Don’t take any action without checking it thoroughly.
- You can check by calling the source of the email to ensure that they intended to send the email and that it is legitimate.
- Never enter your login credentials after clicking a link from an external email.
- Do the Stay Safe online training available on LEON.
- Forward suspicious work emails to: firstname.lastname@example.org
ICT Compliance & Security Officer
Meet your colleagues
Call the Midwife!
By day Sandra Black is our Performance Manager for Fleet Services and by night (and really early morning), she’s midwife to 90 cross bred ewes and 100 Blackface ewes.
Based in Campbeltown, Sandra has helped her neighbour on their hill farm with lambing season for the last 10 years.
Such is her care and dedication, she often takes new born lambs who need a little help, back home to sit in front of the Rayburn.
Pictured is just one of the lambs who was born on a frosty morning. After 2 hours of heat, he was back with his mum.
Being climate friendly
Well done to all services working hard to achieve climate change targets! Here are some examples.
- Commercial Services – wood is used to heat 12 of our buildings following the installation of biomass boilers.
- Education – 99 schools and nurseries across Argyll and Bute are registered with eco-schools and 47 have green flag status.
- Roads and Infrastructure – street lighting has been changed to LED lightbulbs and is expected to save more than 1,100 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year and we have also replaced 10% of the council fleet with electric or hybrid vehicles.
- Community Services – helping people make their homes more energy efficient through delivery of the Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland.
Home working survey- open till 14 May
What do you like about working from home? Is there anything you find difficult about it? Do you need or want to work in an office again some times?
These are the kind of questions we need your feedback on, so we can develop new ways of working that work for us all.
Covid-safe restrictions, and budget decisions that will see the council eventually use fewer buildings, mean changes for how we all use our office space.
If, because of covid restrictions you work from home instead of an office, please take a few minutes to let us know what would best suit you long term. The survey runs until 14 May –
We’ll keep you up-to-date with progress, and you’ll find answers to some questions we’ve been asked about work arrangements in the pages that follow. If you have any other queries, you are welcome to contact us at email@example.com
When can we return to offices?
The timetable for moving through covid restriction levels shows that even when we reach level 0 (just now expected at the end of June), working from home where possible will still be required. There is no date set for moving on from that.
With physical distancing measures expected to be long term, fewer people than before will be able to use offices at any one time. We will have to change how we share and use office space.
What’s happening about reducing the number of offices the council uses?
As part of setting its budget this year, the council decided to make £400,000 savings by cutting down on the number of offices we use. We have a huge portfolio of buildings, all of which incur maintenance and heating costs. We will be in a position to confirm which offices we’ll stop using once we have the results from the survey, and have identified how best we can all work together in the long term.
Some changes are happening now. Employees are preparing to move out of the Hill House Street office building in Dunoon for example, because the council secured funding to develop a new service from that building.
Overall though, we first need your feedback to develop new ways of working.
What if I need to go into an office now?
If you need to go into an office, please agree this with your manager and the relevant Site Premises Manager. A number of ‘hub’ offices are available – these have covid-safe measures in place. Please see below.
What could new ways of working mean?
This depends on feedback to the survey. Examples of what works in other organisations include touchdown zones, more hot desks, more break out areas for collaborative discussion, private spaces and meeting rooms, and fewer permanent offices and assigned desks.
While it’s good to learn from what works well for others, we want to develop arrangements tailored to the employees and services of Argyll and Bute Council – which is where this survey comes in.
How will the council decide about how we all work together?
We’ll listen to feedback to the survey, meet with Heads of Service to discuss the needs of individual services and take it from there. We’ll have to consider arrangements for everything from storage to meeting rooms or clearing out things we won’t need. We will update you again on progress. The first step is to ask you please to respond to the survey.
Who should answer the survey?
Council employees who would normally work in an office but are working from home because of covid restrictions
- If you are a council employee working for the HSCP, you are asked to complete this survey as well as the survey from the HSCP.
- If you are delivering a front line service, work in a school, resource centre or provide another service that can’t be done from home, please do not complete the survey. The survey is about looking at how we can re-configure our office space for people usually based there.
Jane Fowler and Ross McLaughlin lead the ‘Our Modern Workspace’ group that is progressing our new ways of working.
Make a difference – Shop Local
Well done to the Transformational Projects and Regeneration Team who are working hard with local businesses, to support our town centres, making them more attractive places to live, work and visit.
Under the Shopfront Improvement Grant Scheme, they have awarded over £150,000 to 75 businesses enabling owners to carry
out essential repairs and transform the look of their shopfronts.
The team has worked with communities to develop bespoke shop local messaging and free marketing materials for businesses. All the assets are on our website – https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/shop-local-messaging
Supporting our towns and high streets has never been more important and is making a huge difference. Please help show your support to businesses across Argyll and Bute by shopping local.
An example of one the bespoke shop local posters
Many of us continue to work from home and other colleagues don’t have access to emails or the Hub due to the nature of their work.
To help connect us better, we are launching a brand new staff website in May which will be publicly available for everyone to access.
The website features:
- 60 second staff interviews
- Staff news and achievements
- Noticeboards and latest news
- Access to Newsflash and Chief Executive updates
- Wellbeing updates and information
Are you registered on MyView?
MyView is where you can view and print your payslips, manage your employee details and submit claims for expenses, allowances and overtime.
Your latest P60 is now also available to view too.
To log on, click on the MyView icon on the Hub or search for MyView on the Council website.
If you have not yet requested a password for MyView please email firstname.lastname@example.org including your name, employee number and National Insurance number, and a password will be sent to you.
Sammy the seal
Thanks to Dougie Bouttell for sending in this lovely picture of Sammy the Sea, taken as he worked.
It’s a fantastic reminder why Argyll and Bute is a great place to work.
We would love to see the view from where you work or hear about other news you’d like to share.
Send your images and news to cascade@Argyll-bute.gov.uk