Latest Cascade

Campbeltown by Claire Tromans

In this issue

Campbeltown by Claire Tromans
Campbeltown by Claire Tromans
  • International Women’s Day
  • National Registrars Day
  • Better journeys photo competition 
  • Free bikes for Mid-Argyll
  • Council golf day
  • New training for managers
  • Children’s rights in Scotland 
  • ICT Acceptable Use Policy
  • Jim’s healing garden 

Pippa's intro

Pippa Milne

International Women’s Day takes place next week, so in this month’s Cascade we talk to two inspiring women who are leading the way in positions that people traditionally think of as male roles.

We also look at what our Senior Economic Growth Officer gets up to in his spare time to help the environment and promote positive health and well-being, and we pay tribute to our dedicated team of registrars for National Registrars Day.

Pippa Milne

Chief Executive

Argyll and Bute Council

International Women's Day

Jane Fowler, Head of Customer Support Services
Jane Fowler

International Women’s Day takes place on 8 March and is a global event celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.

This year the theme is Inspire Inclusion. The council’s Head of HR, Jane Fowler, explains what action the council is taking to achieve this:

“It’s important that women feel a sense of belonging in the community, at work, and beyond. Women shouldn’t feel discriminated against because of their sex, and recruiting, retaining, and developing female talent is a priority for us. As an employer, we are proud to have many strong, independent women in our workforce, and we continue to work hard to ensure our female employees feel empowered and equal.

“Our hybrid and flexible working policy provides employees the opportunity to adjust their working hours, which is especially beneficial for parents with childcare needs, while we also offer fantastic maternity, paternity, share parental and adoption leave. I’m also extremely proud to say that almost 60% of our senior leadership team is female. Here’s to all the fantastic women working at Argyll and Bute. We’ll also be celebrating International Men’s Day in November.”

The council predominantly employs women but we’re keen to encourage more women into positions that have been traditionally seen as male roles.


aerial view of Oban harbour

Vicki McKenzie is Argyll and Bute’s only female Harbour Master.

Based in Oban, Vicki has been with the council since 2011, having moved to the West Coast from the Assistant Harbour Master’s post in Grangemouth. Before that, she had 15 years of experience skippering vessels at sea.

Vicki says: “I absolutely love my job and wouldn’t change it for the world. It is hard work but it is very interesting and I work in close partnership with a huge network of very knowledgeable people, including three other harbour masters in Argyll and Bute, my colleagues in the council’s Marine Operations Team, and the many, many contacts I have already made throughout my career from various organisations.

“No two days are ever the same in my role and there is never a quiet moment. We see a lot of activity at the North Pier, from visiting cruise ships to commercial vessels. The new pontoons keep us very busy too, particularly during the summer months.

“The salt stocks for Argyll and Bute’s roads also come into the North Pier via boat from Ireland, and we have recently started to export timber from Oban to save it being transported via our roads. The best bit is I work with such a great team and we all get on really well together. I would definitely recommend it as career.

Katrina Duncan
Katrina Duncan

Another woman thriving in a male-dominated role is the council’s ICT Project and Liaison Manager Katrina Duncan.

She said: “I joined the public sector in 1992 as a computer programmer. Local authorities provide such a diverse range of services that I can’t imagine a more interesting environment to learn about technology provision. I’ve had a front row seat in the incredible explosion of technology in local government that was originally focused on finance related systems but is now immersed in every area of council service delivery.

“People still see ICT, however, as a domain more suited to men for whatever reason.  I was one of five young women joining my computing course of 25 in 1985 and sadly current representation of women in the tech workforce across all sectors, hasn’t increased by much since then. There seems to be a preconception that to work in ICT you need to be a bit geeky but ICT is so much more. Success in many ICT roles requires strong communication skills, the ability to analyse processes and human behaviours, to make sense of data and information and the curiosity to find out how technology can better support people in the jobs that they do.

To encourage greater interest in ICT as a career choice for women, we need to nurture our girls from an early stage of the education system. Development of good tech foundations is fundamental for easier access to career opportunities in ICT that I’m sure would appeal to many girls if presented in the right way.”

National Registrars Day

Collage of registrars

Thursday 29 February is National Registrars Day – a day dedicated to celebrating the amazing work done by registrars across the country.

Our registrars in Argyll and Bute love the job they do. They get to play a vital role in the most important parts of people’s lives and, with so many stunning locations to get married in Argyll and Bute, they get to visit some beautiful places.

Here’s to celebrating our registrar team. Find out more about the work they do.

Better Journeys photo competition

Our Better Journeys campaign is all about making small changes that lead to big differences for you, your purse and the planet.

Thanks to everyone for entering our Better Journeys photo competition for the chance to win a £50 Argyll and Bute Gift Card. Here are just a few of the entries received. 

The competition closes today (29 February) We’ll announce the winners on 8 March. 

Snowdrops at Saddell by Julie-Ann Flaws
red bike leaning on stand beside loch
Highland coo by Kerry Gillespie
John Mcluckie on his regular lunchtime or post-work cycle on Beinn-Lora above Benderloch

Free bike scheme for Mid-Argyll

A family of four cycling

Did you know that ACT (Argyll and the Isles Coast and Countryside Trust) provide a free bike service to Mid Argyll residents?

reCycle is a scheme which takes donated bikes, reconditions them and then residents can apply for a free bike.

The main aim of the scheme is to encourage people to cycle as part of their everyday short journeys and help support individuals and families and promote cycling to all ages and abilities.

Apply to reCycle for a bike 

reCycle is constantly looking for donations to meet the demand for bicycles. If you have a bicycle or bicycle parts you wish to donate, they would love to hear from you. In most instances they can collect from your home or place of work. Please contact Jamie ( if you have any donations. 

Inaugural council golf day

School Services Support Manager, Susan Tyre, is organising an inaugural Council Golf Day on Monday 6 May (a public holiday).

The event will take place at Dunaverty Golf Club in Southend, Campbeltown, and the day will consist of:

  • Filled roll on arrival with tea/coffee
  • 18 holes of golf
  • Two course meal

The cost for all of the above will be £55 per person (£5 will go towards prizes for the day).

The format for the day has yet to be agreed but it is looking likely that it will be a ‘Texas scramble’ to accommodate all abilities. If you don’t have a handicap, don’t worry – you will be allocated one on the day.

If you are interested in taking part in this event, please call Susan on 01369 708509 or email susan.tyre@argyll-bute . The last date for entries is 12 April 2024.

Golder lining up to putt

New training for managers


Communication Skills

This half-day course will help managers understand the different communication styles and how they can be adapted.  You will develop and practice effective strategies for managing challenging conversations, ensuring professionalism and respect even in sensitive situations.

21 March: 9.30am-1pm

25 March: 1.30pm-5pm

2 April: 9.30am-1pm

Managing a Hybrid Workforce

This half-day course will help managers manage a hybrid team, including how to manage a work-life balance and how to spot signs of potential wellbeing implications of hybrid working.

14 March: 9.30am-1pm

19 March: 1pm-4.30pm

22 March: 9.30am-1pm

Both these courses are available to book through MyView.

Children's rights in Scotland

Child at bottom of play slide

Here’s something many of us will need to know about in our work.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) covers a range of civil, political, economic, social, cultural rights and humanitarian law.

In December, Scottish Government passed the UNCRC (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill meaning that this will be incorporated into Scots law, as far as possible.

It gives children the power to enforce their rights in domestic courts and hold public authorities accountable should there be a violation of rights.  The bill grants all people under the age of 18 a comprehensive set of rights. This include the rights to:

  • Health
  • Education
  • Family life
  • Play and recreation
  • Protection from abuse and harm

You can find out more information about the Bill, what it means for the council, and learning resources on MyCouncilWorks. 

Sign your updated ICT Acceptable Use Policy

Images shows a speech bubble on a yellow background with the words don't forget

Don’t forget to complete the updated ICT Acceptable Use Policy

Cyber Security is important and we all have a role in protecting the council and its customers.

As part of our ongoing ICT improvements to keep everyone secure online, we’ve updated our ICT Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) and automated the form to make it faster and more efficient for you to complete.

As the AUP has been changed, we’re asking all corporate users (not education) to read the new AUP and then confirm by signing that you have read and agreed to comply with it. You can view this here. It will only take a minute to do and will help ensure that we keep our working environment safe and secure.

Please contact if you have any questions.

Tarbert Community Healing garden

Tarbert Community Healing Garden

Jim Paterson, Senior Economic Growth Officer is a regular volunteer at Tarbert Community Healing Garden, in the ground of the medical practice.

Jim explains more about the garden and how you can get involved:

“The simplicity of the garden is that volunteers can come and do as much or as little as they want. Some have specialised in composting, beekeeping or growing tomatoes.

“Every volunteer is allocated one or more raised beds (according to requirements) to grow their produce and in return, we ask for some help with the wider garden if they are able to do so. 

Tarbert Community Healing Garden

We hold regular volunteering events, every Saturday during the growing season so that we can help people produce their own fruit and vegetables in our twelve raised beds and polytunnel on site. 

We provide free seeds and all equipment, which we fund through donations. In addition to this, I cook a simple, free, hot lunch, in the potting shed for everyone who attends the volunteer days.

There’s no fixed membership, but we regularly have between five and eight volunteers each week who work from 10am to 12 noon. We have been very successful to date and have helped many volunteers go on to grow their vegetables at home. After eighteen years, we are still going strong and maintain a strong core volunteer group. After each session in the garden, we eat together. Lunch provides a great space for discussion, sharing recipes, produce and planning for the future.

We share any surplus produce at the end of volunteer events or put it on the donations table for anyone to come along and buy.  We’re always looking for volunteers, if you’re interested in coming along to see what we do, simply pop in any Saturday between 10-12 from the start of March (weather dependent). You can also email me at for more details.

More staff news

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Helen pictured with Oban Lifeboat coxswain Ally Cerexhe

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