Monday 31 August 2020
It seems incredible to think that it has been over five and a half months since our last DCE update and since we went into lockdown! It is fair to say that it's been the most challenging five and a half months we've ever faced, with a pandemic which has impacted on every aspect of our personal and working lives.
We wanted to start this edition of our fortnightly update by thanking each and every one of you for all that you have been and are doing to ensure that the Council continues to deliver vital services to our communities, to keep them safe and well and provide the care and services they need. It's certainly not been easy! ........ with the challenges faced by those of you on the frontline and the different challenges for those of you that continue to work from home and for those that are now undertaking different roles due to COVID-19. We are incredibly proud of you all!
The speedy development and deployment of the use of digital platforms to support our remote service delivery over recent months with Cisco Webex and Microsoft Teams keeping us connected, has been hugely beneficial. We've also seen the use of online platforms for recent full Council meetings, Planning Board and other Boards, which have supported the Council's formal governance structures to continue through lockdown. We've also seen the successful introduction of a number of new digital services.
The successful return of our schools and early years centres earlier this month is a huge testament to the can-do attitude and team-working across the Council. From all Head Teachers and their management teams, to all teaching and school support staff, to all in FM & Assets, to the health & safety and procurement teams, to Shared Services and Corporate Communications, to legal and the greenspace teams (and the list goes on!) and to all teaching and non-teaching trades unions - thank you to you all! Your dedication and flexibility to work together to get our schools open safely, with all adaptations needed to suit each school environment has been phenomenal and it was certainly no mean feat! Both of us have also had the pleasure of visiting many of our schools over the past few weeks and we have found it uplifting and we feel important in continuing to strengthen links across education and the corporate teams.
In schools, we've been finding a high level of pupil absence with the usual colds and viruses which are common when schools reopen; but we also know there is a level of anxiety when a child or member of staff is unwell. There are clear procedures in place if someone displays symptoms of COVID-19 and outbreak management procedures with Public Health and Environmental Health if there is a positive case in a school or nursery. Advice has been provided by NHS to parents on the Test and Protect system and we will work with schools and centres to ensure a balanced approach to managing the usual childhood illnesses with the risks of COVID-19.
For everyone's awareness, a copy of the letter issued to parents by NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde on Thursday 27 August, together with a further letter from Education issued to parents on Friday 28 August, is available on COVID-19 Schools Update page on the Council's website.
News from the Council - Service Updates
Over the course of lockdown, we've been providing all Elected Members with very detailed fortnightly service updates, covering all services and teams across Education, People & Business and Place, Neighbourhood & Corporate Assets, to provide an insight to the Council's operational emergency response activities and how services have evolved and resumed as Scottish Government and Public Health Scotland guidance has allowed.
We had some feedback from some teams to say that it would be really helpful to share these updates with you all every fortnight, so that everyone is kept informed of developments and can see the good work that's going on around all of our services.
Our continued focus on recovery planning will allow us to work to reintroduce services safely and in line with government and public health guidance and we will see more services come on stream as we are able to do so. We are also working closely with EDLCT and the HSCP to support the next stages of their services recovery and re-start plans.
The Latest Service Update was issued to Elected Members on Friday (28 August) and you can find it on the Employee Zone on the Council's website:
Employee Zone on the Council's website – www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/employee-zone
Through the link above, any employee can access the Employee Zone on the Council's website - you don't need to have a Council laptop or a corporate email account - using this link you can access it externally, from anywhere through any device that has internet connection. The Employee Zone has a number of sections, including:
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) Advice for Employees
- Employee News
- Smart Working 2020
We've said it many times - your health, safety and wellbeing is absolutely paramount. We continue to follow the Government and NHS guidance in relation to protecting our workforce, so please be assured that if you are carrying out any activities that require PPE as defined in the latest guidance, we will ensure that you have it.
Whilst many of the lockdown restrictions have been relaxed by the Scottish Government and most of our services have resumed (albeit very differently for many services), we know that this continues to be a time when we will be thinking of our own wellbeing and that of others. The Employee Wellbeing pages of the Employee Zone have a range of areas dedicated to supporting employees with various aspects of social, emotional and financial wellbeing. These will continue to be enhanced on an ongoing basis. We would encourage you to use and share resources and links to signposted agencies with team mates, friends and family. If you have any suggestions to add to these pages please contact Shona Diack, Wellbeing Adviser at firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the last few weeks a number of guidance documents and protocols have been developed or updated:
- The development of the Homeworking Principles builds on the work we have done over many years on enhancing Smart Working. These protocols are available on the Employee Zone of the Council Website. We hope that these will be useful and give an opportunity for employees to not only reflect on their routines while working at home but will also encourage discussion and engagement between managers and their teams.
Annual Leave Arrangements 2020 & 2021
- We updated the guidance and protocols from April 2020 and we hope that these provide clear guidance to managers and employees at this time. This also includes information for anyone considering travelling to a country where quarantine is required following return to the UK. Again, you'll find this on the Employee Zone.
Dates for your diary over the next Fortnight.
999 Emergency Services Day
- A nationwide two minute silence will be held at 9 am on Wednesday 9 September (9th hour of the 9th day of the 9th month) to mark 999 Emergency Services Day. In its third year, this day of tribute is an opportunity for the nation to show its support and appreciation for the men and women who work and volunteer in the NHS and emergency services and to honour the more than 7,500 emergency service workers who have been killed as a result of their duties. This year, in light of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, it is even more important we recognise the vital role our emergency services colleagues play in keeping our families and communities safe. The Emergency Services flag will fly at Council HQ on 9 September as a symbol of the Council’s respect and gratitude and colleagues will be asked to observe the two minutes silence within their places of work and homes.
Walk a milestone!
- The 40th anniversary of the West Highland Way will be celebrated on 6 October 2020 and to mark the occasion an online exhibition is being compiled. Organisers are appealing for stories, memories, photographs, videos and/or artwork relating to the world-famous long-distance route. To get involved, visit www.westhighlandway.org/ and look out for more information coming soon. Meanwhile, for inspiration on how to keep active check out the Council website - www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/residents/sport-leisure-parks/parks-gardens-and-open-spaces/healthy-habits-and-walking
Making a splash ... virtually
- Surfing isn't usually part of Kirkintilloch Canal Festival, but it was part of a special online celebration recently. The 2020 event was cancelled due to the pandemic, but a Virtual Canal Festival was held - including fab videos, activities and stories. You can still access the fun resources - and help mark the 20th anniversary of the event - by visiting www.kirkintillochcanalfestival.org
Lenzie project in running for award
- Lenzie Station Improvement Project - which included a range of enhancements in the car park and Lenzie Cross area - has been shortlisted in the Excellence in Walking, Public Realm & Cycling category of the 2020 Scottish Transport Awards. The winners will be announced on 28 October. Well done to all involved and good luck!
Good news for book lovers
- We know how loved our library service is, and while EDLC have an extensive digital offering available, sometimes nothing beats holding a physical book. To help with this, EDLC has launched a new Connect and Collect library service which will allow customers to order a selection of books chosen by a member of staff. You're able to indicate your reading preferences through an online form at www.edlc.co.uk/libraries/connect-collect. You'll then be provided with a collection day and time slot. Collections points will initially be at Bearsden and William Patrick Libraries. The service will be available from Lennoxtown, Milngavie and Bishopbriggs libraries from the week beginning Monday 7 September with specific days and times to be confirmed. Access to the libraries will be restricted and strict safety measures will be in place to protect both employees and customers. Remember, EDLC also has an extensive digital library and cultural resources available which can be accessed any time by visiting https://www.edlc.co.uk/libraries/247-library
Volunteers praised for positive impact in the lives of young people in East Dunbartonshire
- Congratulations to Jeanette Baird, Elaine McCulloch and June Fraser who recently celebrated 10 years as volunteer Befrienders with the East Dunbartonshire Young Persons Befriending Scheme. The Scheme matches responsible adults who have the time to help with young people aged from eight to 18 who are experiencing difficulties in their lives. To mark the occasion Jeanette, Elaine and June were all presented with certificates and flowers by East Dunbartonshire Health & Social Care Partnership in recognition of their selfless work. Over 20 approved Befrienders already take part in the scheme, which has been running since 1998 and has helped numerous young people across East Dunbartonshire but the scheme always needs more volunteers. If you interested and would like to find out more about Befriending, please call 0141 777 3000 or email Sally.O'Donnell@eastdunbarton.gov.uk
And finally .......
We're delighted to be able to restart our fortnightly DCE updates and hope that you have found this edition helpful - please continue to send us through your highlights or things that you want to us to share. Remember, it's easy to contact us, just drop us an email!
Ann and Thomas