Table of Contents
Chief Executive’s Update
Can you believe we’re half way through the year already? I don’t know where the last six months have gone but I for one am looking forward to taking some time off work soon to recharge my batteries. Covid restrictions mean we can’t travel where we’d perhaps like this summer, but there are so many beautiful places to explore right on our doorstep here in Argyll and Bute.
From stunning beaches and mountains, to historic castles and a wealth of delicious, locally produced food, Argyll and Bute has no shortage of offerings for a fantastic staycation.
I was in Cowal last week to meet with members of the Dunoon Project and I was blown away by the stunning views from the site of the proposed gondola and zip being planned by the project team. I’ve been to Cowal lots of times, and thought I knew the area pretty well, but that visit gave me a whole new perspective.
This is something I find happens a lot in Argyll and Bute – you think you’ve seen it all and then you discover something new.
I would urge you all to book a well-deserved break off work over the summer, if you haven’t already done so, but please remember to stay safe.
We’re not out of the woods yet with Covid and we still have to follow the Scottish Government’s advice. Remember though, if you do decide to have a staycation in Argyll and Bute, please tag #abplace2b in any photos you take!
Energy saving tips
We’re currently still working from home where possible.
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.
If you are in an office, or any other council-run building, her are some tips from Property Services Manager, Craig Houston, of things you can do to save energy and help us tackle climate change.
- Make sure any lights in un-used rooms/spaces are switched off.
- Check any non-essential equipment has been switched off.
- Ensure that when the heating, windows/external doors are closed.
Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs) should be at an appropriate setting e.g. set lower at between 1 and 2 during periods of closure and used appropriately particularly in late spring early summer where heating is on but weather is warmer. Heating makes the most use energy in a building.
Look out for portable heaters. They can overload electrical circuits and be a fire risk. Using them can be a sign there’s a problem with the main central heating. Electricity costs more than other central heating fuels, especially mains gas. Putting heaters near central heating temperature sensors can ‘confuse’ the controls into thinking the building is hot and can cut back the building central heating outputs.
If you notice any heating or lighting issues, or think energy is being used inefficiently, contact Property Services: http://intranet/property-services
These simple energy-saving tips can be used in all buildings such as schools, care facilities, depots etc.
The end of an unprecedented school year
As schools prepare for their summer break, teachers across Argyll and Bute will be sighing a sigh of relief after an unprecedented year.
Caroline Armour is the Head Teacher at Dalintober Primary and ELC and Glenbarr Primary, in Campbeltown. She said: “Nothing could have prepared any of us for the last year. While it has been challenging at times, it’s also brought our already tight knit school communities even closer.
“The staff, children and parents have been a credit not just to the school, but to the whole town. Pupils have shown an amazing resilience and they’re ‘let’s get on with it’ attitude has helped to spur everyone else on. I’ve always been proud to be a head teacher but none more so than in the last 15 months.
“The school holidays are almost upon us and I’d like to wish everyone, fellow teachers, pupils and parents, a safe and enjoyable break.”
Celebrating our Registrars
1 July is National Registrars’ Day.
It’s a day to celebrate and thank the people who are with us during some of the very best, and very worst, days of our lives. Registrars will also thank those people they work with –wedding venues, funeral directors etc.
Here in Argyll and Bute we have a great team right across the area. With such attention to detail, they help people plan their dream ceremony – weddings, naming children, civil partnerships. There’s a place and a part for everyone, even our pets. And when we lose someone we love, they’ll be there – with sympathy – to guide us through what needs to be done.
So, thanks to our fabulous registrars, for keeping us hatched, matched and dispatched with imagination and kindness. Our team will be celebrating by holding a quiz. Have fun – you deserve it.
Our new staff website www.mycouncilworks.scot is now live and accessible to all employees.
Find out more about your colleagues, catch up with the latest updates, post your news and celebrate achievements. New features include:
- 60 second interviews
- A noticeboard for you to post events, updates and messages
- Council Facebook/Instagram and Twitter feeds
- HR information with links to policies and the latest vacancies
- Wellbeing section
- Access to new training courses
Please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any ideas, news or updates you would like to add to the website. We would love to hear from you.
Microsoft Teams backdrops
If you use Microsoft Teams for meetings, find out about the corporate backdrops created for you to use and help promote Argyll and Bute as a great place to be: http://intranet.argyll-bute.gov.uk/communicating/teams-backgrounds
Well done to the talented employees whose photos feature among the various options to choose from!
Our Modern Workspace
Progress continues in modernising our office/home ways of working.
Our focus just now is on gathering information about the specific needs of individual teams. Shirley Johnstone, Project Manager for the Our Modern Workspace initiative, is discussing with Heads of Service / 3rd tier managers about different services’ requirements, so we can develop the spaces we all need to deliver our services.
We’ve been asked what the new working arrangements will be. We want our new ways of working to work for us all so we need details about specific team needs before we can establish specific plans.
At the moment we expect to move away from arrangements where employees are in an office Monday to Friday, with employees having their own desks that are not used when employees are absent.
With that in mind, we are developing an approach where desks are available to book for use by different employees as required, and possibly lockers for corporate (business related) and personal (employee belongings) use. Making a shared approach work will mean for example adopting a clear desk policy, so we are looking into requirements such as storage or confidential spaces.
You can help get things right for your team by thinking about these questions that we will ask managers to determine the next steps in each town.
- How often do you want/need to be in the office, and in what location?
- Do you need to work alongside others in your teams or in other departments?
- Meeting rooms for staff/visitors, reception area for visitors, storage for printed documents, locked storage, protected screen, specialist equipment – do you need these or any other specific arrangements?
If there are questions you would like to ask us about new ways of working, please see the Our Modern Workspace emblem on the intranet. Clicking on this will take you to answers to questions we have been asked.
We will update this information as more questions come up. You are welcome to raise questions via email@example.com
Elvis to the stage please
Our council staff have many talents and some even have talented pets.
Member Services Officer, Susie Sinclair, has done such a great job in training her dog Elvis, he’s become Argyll and Bute’s latest screen star, following in the footsteps of Deborah Kerr, Morven Christie and ex-Doctor Who, Sylvester McCoy.
He’s about to appear in a crime drama being filmed in Glasgow and Edinburgh. He’s playing the pooch of the lead suspect – but who’s to say he’s not the real brains in the operation.
It’s all top secret at the moment, and Elvis won’t be accepting any bribes or treats as a trade-off for details. He declined the offer of going to Hollywood as he loves Argyll and Bute too much. He will update his Instagram over the course of the next couple of months when more news can be revealed.