Chief Executive's introduction
Welcome to the May issue of Cascade. This month, find out more about how technology is helping us manage visitor access when offices are open more widely to the public and we congratulate Port Ellen Primary School on winning a very special award. If you love vintage cars and planes, you don’t want to miss Oban Airport’s open day, coming soon.
We continue our commitment to become a net zero carbon emissions organisation by 2045 and help create a climate friendly Argyll and Bute. With 28 existing electric vehicle-charging sites, read more about our public consultation that considers possible new sites.
With summer just around the corner, make the most of the lighter and hopefully warmer days. We’re lucky to have some of the most spectacular walking and cycling routes here in Argyll and Bute. In this issue, find out about a colleague’s love of cycling.
Congratulations to Port Ellen Primary on Islay on receiving a silver award in the Pearson National Teaching Awards for ‘Making a Difference – Primary School of the Year’.
The awards celebrate excellence in education and recognise the life-changing impact that an inspirational teacher can have on the lives of the young people they work with.
Maureen Macdonald, Head Teacher at Port Ellen Primary School, said: “I feel so privileged to work alongside passionate, conscientious staff and so proud of everyone within the school community who collectively support our children to be the best they can be and to realise their potential. That’s what makes the difference!”
Congratulations also go to the Argyll and Bute teachers and head teachers who received top marks after completing Education Scotland’s national ‘In Headship’ and ‘Into Headship’ qualifications.
Linda MacBeath from Rhu, Karen Wheatley from St Mun’s, and Pauline Walsh from Colgrain all took part in the In Headship postgraduate programme.
The following teachers completed the ‘Into Headship’ programme: Shona Guthrie from Lochgilphead Joint Campus, Caroline Lamond from John Logie Baird (on secondment to Early Years Team), Roseanne MacKay of Hermitage Academy (on secondment to central team), Leonie McMurdo from Craignish and Kate Petrie of Bunessan).
Escape on two wheels
Living in Argyll and Bute certainly has its benefits, and having the option to get out and about on your bike and enjoy the area’s spectacular scenery is just one of them.
Organisational Development Officer Rebecca Guy likes nothing better than hitting the tarmac after a long day at work.
“I started cycling when I signed up to train for the local triathlon,” she said. “I’m not a serious cyclist, and there is often a coffee and cake stop planned into my routes, however living in Lochgilphead, I am so lucky to have loads of great cycle routes on my door step.
“We have miles of forestry roads and the canal where I can take my mountain bike away from traffic and just enjoy the fresh air and the scenery. We also have so many quiet country roads, which are brilliant for the road bike – you are never short of a cycle route in Argyll. I enjoy the social aspect too, catching up with others in the fresh air, or the thinking time it gives me when I am on my own.”
Did you know the council has a range of walking and cycling maps on the website? The pocket-sized maps include walking times to key destinations and details of longer routes.
What activities do you get up to in your spare time? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
Oban Airport open day
To celebrate Oban Airport’s 14th anniversary, we are holding an open day on 25 June, 10am to 6pm. We have something for everyone. For those of you who like vintage cars, there’s a display by the Oban District Classic Car Club.
There’s a special appearance from the PBY Catalina, a firm favourite amongst enthusiasts and historians. This iconic aircraft is the same type that operated out of Oban in 1944/5 and took part in various wartime missions. We’re hoping people can see inside the aircraft on the day.
Weather permitting; you may be able to take to the skies for a short scenic flight in our resident scheduled aircraft, the BN2 Islander.
We’ll also have music, market stalls and food on the day. We hope you can join us.
Children go free.
Senior Airport Fire Officer
A digital welcome
A self-service ‘Digital Receptionist’ is now up and running at The Helensburgh and Lomond Civic Centre as part of an innovative two-year trial.
The Digital Receptionist has many benefits:
- It allows you to sign in and out of the building electronically, meaning that a digital, real-time fire evacuation list is available at all times.
- When you send an email inviting people to attend a meeting in the Civic Centre it will include a unique QR code that visitors can present at the Digital Receptionist scanner. The QR code allows them to complete a fast track sign-in. You will receive an automatic Outlook message to notify you that your visitor has arrived, once they scan the QR code.
- Anyone attending a meeting by alternative contact, other than Outlook, will still be able to trigger a visitor notification. The Digital Receptionist will ask the visitor to type the name of the employee they are visiting and a list similar to Skype will appear. They will then be able to select the correct employee and you will receive an instant notification that your visitor has arrived (with name and photo included).
- Procedures are in place in the event that mandatory building entry registrations are required, such as track and trace.
Visitors are only be asked to sign in if they require access to non-public areas.
The Helensburgh and Lomond Civic Centre is the first of two locations selected for the trial, with Kilmory next on the list.
The Hub contains useful training guides to ensure you gain the maximum benefit from the new devices. If the Civic Centre is your base, or you visit frequently, please ensure you read Digital Receptionist – How to use Quick Scan Devices
Make Teams work for you
Over the last few months, we have been promoting the benefits of using Teams as part of the Microsoft 365 suite of tools. It offers a range of features designed to help us work smarter together.
The Business Gateway team started to use Teams during lockdown. Here, they share their experience about how it helped them work better together.
We started using Teams as a way to keep in touch with each other during lockdown. It soon became an invaluable tool in communicating and keeping up to date with COVID regulations for businesses, having to make rapid changes. It also helped as we continued to administer various COVID business funding streams.
To help keep important documents in one place, enable the team to access, and input them easily, we created channels. This helped massively with day-to-day operations. Here, the team picked up assigned applications to review or approve.
As we continued to work from home, it was important to have a social aspect to bring people together and have a chat. In Teams, we created a watercooler channel for the team to post anything non-work related – everything from saying good morning to asking what people did at the weekend. It really helped us keep in touch and provided that chat many of us miss from the office.
As we have moved back to our ‘normal’ day to day jobs, we have progressed to include the tasks function in teams. This allows us to assign tasks to team members. It offers an oversight of where team wide tasks are and approval sign off, without the need to send numerous emails and documents. It has improved our workflow and approval process. Using teams has also made it easier to provide and track feedback on projects rather than collating individual emails from everyone involved.
As we haven’t been able to offer face-to-face meetings with clients, we have used teams to organise virtual meetings with clients. We have found that using video calls for client meetings rather than traditional telephone calls can help build which can sometimes be more difficult to do over the phone.
Overall, using teams has significantly cut down on email volume for us all.
Top tips for Teams
Here’s a reminder of some of the great features in Teams that help everyday working and collaboration with colleagues. You can find more information about all the features on MyCouncilWorks.
New to Teams?
If you are new to Teams, it can be a little overwhelming knowing where to start. This handy film gives you a basic guide to Teams and introduces some of the features designed to make working life easier.
This handy feature enables you to create new plans, assign tasks and share files with others. It helps you organise teamwork and collaborate on projects in a simple, visual way. You can choose how and when you want notifying when tasks are completed, assigned and commented on.
If you need to have focussed, private conversations with people in your team, you can create private channels in Teams.
Sometimes your message to colleagues needs to cut through the noise and stand out. In Teams, you have options to include a headline and image.
It can sometimes be hard to have open discussions and meaningful exchange of ideas in meetings with large numbers of participants. Did you know the breakout feature in Teams enables smaller groups to get together take part in informal chats and brainstorming sessions?
In Teams, you can add whiteboards to meetings – they are a great way to brainstorm, share ideas and sketches with team members. Think of them as digital flipcharts.
Did you know you can create a quick poll in Teams? It’s easy and quick to post surveys or questions and get instant responses from your team members.
Electric charging sites
Where would we put additional Electric Vehicle Charging (EVC) in Argyll and Bute if funding became available to expand the scheme?
There are currently 28 EVC sites situated across Argyll and Bute, however, we’re consulting on a draft list of possible new sites as part of a medium to long-term future strategy for EVC infrastructure in the area.
Any possible expansion will be strictly dependent on sourcing additional external funding. Take part in the consultation on the Council website.
Thanks to everyone who has sent in their fantastic photos celebrating all that Argyll and Bute has to offer. We’ll soon start to share the photos on Instagram and on MyCouncilWorks.
Keep sending them in – we’re looking for both scenic shots and activities including walking, swimming, cycling or climbing. We’re also suckers for pet photos so if you have images of your dog taken out and about in Argyll and Bute, we would love to hear from you.
Thanks to Nicole Docherty for this stunning picture of Campbeltown.
Please send your images to email@example.com
First aid training
First Aid training courses
New First Aid course events have been organised and are now available to book through MyView.
Please note there is a requirement to have a First Aid at Work certificate to undertake the requalification
First Aid Requalification
6th – 7th September
4th – 5th October
15th -16th November
First Aid at Work
20th – 22nd September
1st – 3rd November
29th November – 1st December
A reminder that Friday is a bank holiday. Whatever you’re doing, we hope you have a lovely time.