Latest Cascade

Alison Ralston and her son Duncan
Alison Ralston and her son Duncan, making a better journey.

In this issue: 

  • Win £50 with better journeys
  • Surprising questions
  • Help@hand for employees
  • Calling all photographers 
  • New training 
  • Quality conversations
  • License to copy 

Pippa's intro

Pippa Milne

I can’t quite believe it’s time for another edition of Cascade – what a fast month it’s been.

This month we look at our new Better Journeys Campaign. Everyone travels, whether it’s commuting to work, going to the shops, or taking the kids to school, and there are many things we could all do differently to help the planet, our purse, and our health. This fantastic campaign focuses on making small changes for a large impact.

Part of Connect for Success is about connecting people through technology and in this edition, you can also find out how to manage data to make your work easier, including information about a new course on LEON that can help.

Pippa Milne

Chief Executive

Argyll and Bute Council

Duncan’s making a better journey, are you?

Images shows a small child in a bike seat with his helmet on pointing at the camera.

Did you know that around 60% of journeys we take, between one and two miles are by car? Choosing to use the car less, even just once a week, can make a big difference to your health, purse and the planet.

The Communications Team is working with Strategic Transport to deliver a campaign encouraging more people to mix and match the way they travel, where you can, when you can. Better Journeys is all about making those small changes that lead to a big difference. Find out more on our website on how you can mix and match journeys to make a big difference.  


Alison Ralston, a Customer Service agent shares what she is doing to make a better journey by leaving the car at home some of the week:

“My 17 month old son Duncan and I cycle 3 mornings a week to his childminders house, we’ve been cycling since he was 11 months old. He absolutely loves being on the bike and seeing everything that is going on, he watches out for the local plane going over and says hi to all the people, dogs and cats we meet on our route. It’s a great fresh air start to both our days.

Douglas Grierson, Sustainable Transport Coordinator explains more about the campaign:

“We know that many of us are doing our bit for the planet. The fact remains that transport is Scotland’s biggest contributor to climate change. If everyone made the decision to travel in a sustainable way, just once a week, it would make a major difference.


I live just outside Lochgilphead and enjoy cycling into town for shopping or to attend meetings for work. Not only do I save on fuel, I feel better for it. It’s not always possible to leave the car at home all the time but there are lots of ways you can make a better journey, and also feel better for it.”


Win a £50 Argyll and Bute gift card

Are you mix and matching the way you travel? Do you lift share or take the bus to work? Are you walking to school with the kids in the morning? We would love to hear from you about your better journeys.

Take a photo when you’re out and about and enter our photo competition where you could win a gift card. To enter, upload your photo to the website.

Surprising questions

Many of us talk to people every day as part of our jobs. Sometimes, the conversation is a little unexpected. Here are just a few that made us smile. 

Dalintober Primary School

Pupil:  How do you get your hair like that?

Teacher: Like what?

Pupil: With that black line down the middle? (roots!)

  • Do you have Santa’s mobile number?


Customer Contact Centre

  • A few years ago, a customer phoned in to say that a dog jumped over the garden fence to get to her dog and she wanted the council to pay for the pregnancy test at the vets.

Communications Team

  • Tracking people down – the Comms team were asked to get a  message out at Nepal Airport on the tannoy to track down a passenger. 
  • A member of the press asked if the council was considering giving  local seagulls contraception so they would stop breeding.

If you have any stories, we would love to hear them. Contact us via 

Help@Hand - a new Employee Assist programme

Hand holding a phone with help at hand app open

Did you know there is a new Employee Assist programme available? 

  Help@Hand offers a range of support including: 
  • Total health and wellbeing, all in one easy-to-use app. 
  • Unlimited mental health support (for mild to moderate issues) from qualified mental healthcare professionals.
  • 24/7, unlimited remote GP appointments – so you can get fast access to a doctor at a time convenient to you
  • A fully integrated Employee Assistance Programme, including a 24/7 helpline for emotional and practical support, as well as financial and legal support and advice for managers
  • 360 Wellbeing Score — take just four short assessments to get your score and unlock six 1-2-1 lifestyle coaching sessions per year
  • Physiotherapy — eight sessions a year shared between you and your partner
  • Medical second opinions
  • Savings and discounts for savings on weekly costs
  • On-demand wellness content, plus a Wellbeing Calendar, which is packed with podcasts, articles, webinars and more to help manage your wellbeing. 
Getting started help at hand

All you need to do is follow these easy steps to get started:

  • Go to the App Store or Google Play and download the Help@hand app.
  • Log in using the unique Argyll and Bute Council PIN code (as above).


Snap happy

We’re always looking for images and short videos of Argyll and Bute to use to help promote the area and council to people as a great place to live and work. The images can be landscape shots or include outdoor activities or wildlife. We would love to hear from you.

Please send any footage/images to


The Comms Team

Training opportunities

Connect for Success

Managing data to make your work easier

Part of Connect for Success is sharing knowledge, effort and resources to do the best job possible for and with our communities. This includes how we use data to help inform decision-making in the council.  

We all deal with data every day at work. This can include everything from customer contact information to health and safety regulations to allergy lists for school kitchens and recycling statistics. It’s essential that the information we use is reliable.

A new course on LEON is now available to help you understand the importance of managing data.

‘Getting started with data’ is a one-hour course that introduces you to data in all its forms and gives you tips on storing, sharing and using data. The course covers:

  • The importance of information
  • Trusting your data
  • What do we mean by good data?
  • How data can end up bad
  • Caring for data

David Murdoch, Data Programme Manager explains the importance of reliable data:

“It’s important that we’re able to trust our information sources and that we collect high quality data. Having accurate information we can rely on makes our day-to-day work easier. Any bad or misleading data can have a negative impact on services and our customers, so it’s essential the information we hold is correct.

We all have a responsibility in preventing or fixing errors, even if it’s just reporting them to the right people. The course covers how to report any errors.

The more improvement we see with our data, the more we can be confident that the council continues to be a trusted source of information, and that our customers’ experience of council services is not harmed by the consequences of bad data.”

Start planning for retirement – online course

Image shows a notebook open with the words retirement plan above a bar chart. On the desk is also a calculator and coloured pencils

Are your retirement savings on track? Do you know how much income your pension savings may provide? Have you thought about how much income you might need when you retire? 

Financial education specialists ‘Affinity Connect’ would like to invite you to attend an interactive 2 hour 30 minute online course around the key aspects of planning for a financially secure future. 

Retirement might be up to 10 years away but it’s never too soon to start planning. This course is perfect for anyone thinking about retirement or already at the planning stages.  

More information on the course including dates and how to book your place are available on MyCouncilWorks 

Consultation toolkit

Did you know there is a new handy toolkit available for anyone thinking about launching a public consultation?

It provides tips and advice on planning, designing and developing effective consultations.

It draws on lessons learned from previous council consultations so we can all do more of what works well.

It also draws from best practice set out in the National Standards for Community Engagement.

Access the toolkit

If you have any question, please get in touch with the Comms Team at

How are your quality conversations going?

two women having a conversation across table

Based on feedback, you told us that PRDs were not working in the way you would like. You asked for a less formal more continuous approach to personal development. As a result, last year, we introduced Quality Conversations between managers and employees. Our new approach enables you to have time with your manager to discuss your work objectives, look at ways we can support you to carry out your job and identify career development opportunities.


We are keen to hear how the new approach is going and if there is anything, we can improve. Look out in February, as we are issuing a short five-minute survey to everyone. This will be available on LEON. For non-networked colleagues, a paper copy will go to your place of work or depot.


We would really appreciate your feedback.

Read more about Quality Conversations

Sharon Atkinson
OD project Officer



License to copy?

Warning sign

A reminder about copying print or digital newspaper or magazine articles.

The council does not have a licence to copy and share newspaper or magazine articles. The licence would cost several thousand pounds.

You may well be aware of this. This is just a reminder not to copy and share articles on council networks.

If you have any questions, you are welcome to contact the Communications Team at

A post it note with 'contact us' written on it

If you have an article you would like to include in the next Cascade, we would love to hear from you. 

Get in touch with us by emailing

The Comms Team