Depute Chief Executives' Update: Issue 05/2021

Monday 15 March 2021

Dear All

Welcome to our latest fortnightly update – as always, we hope that you and your families are keeping safe and well. Whilst the stay at home restrictions remain in pace, there was some good news last week with the lessening of restrictions for some outdoor activities and the increase in the numbers of people that are now permitted to meet out of doors.

This past fortnight has seen the opening of a community asymptomatic testing centre in Auchinairn. These testing centres are being established throughout the NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Health Board area for those who do not have symptoms of Covid-19 in communities where there is a persistent higher prevalence of infection rate. You can find the full details, including a video of what to expect at the centre on our Community Asymptomatic Test Centre web page.

Now on to our regular news updates:

News from the Council…….

Fortnightly Service Updates

The latest fortnightly Service Update was issued to Elected Members on Friday 12 March.  As always, it covers all services and teams across the Council and the HSCP to highlight to Elected Members all of the work that's ongoing. You can find this latest edition on the Employee Zone on the Council's website:

Service Update - 12 March 2021

Covid-19 Latest Update

In the Scottish Government announcement last week (Tuesday 2 March), as we’ve mentioned, there was a lifting of some of the restrictions in place around the number of people that can meet outdoors and on some organised outdoor activities. All pupils have returned to our primary schools from today (Monday 15 March) and our secondary schools have confirmed arrangements locally for the extended return of pupils within the restrictions that remain in place. The Scottish Government website has a news release on their latest Covid-19 update and we’ll summarise any further changes from their next update which is due tomorrow (Tuesday 16 March). 

Parent Club Campaign – Returning to school and early learning and childcare

The Council is currently supporting Parent Club’s ‘Returning to school and early learning and childcare’ social media campaign which aims to ensure everyone stays safe in and around school and early years centres now they have started reopening to more children. You will see posts on our social media platforms (Twitter and Facebook) encouraging parents and carers to follow five important steps:
·    Please wear a face covering at drop off/pick up.
·    Make it easier to keep 2 metres apart from other adults by choosing one parent to do drop off/pick up.
·    Keep 2 metres apart from other adults whether you are waiting for your child, or walking to or from school or their childcare setting, and avoid gathering in groups with other parents.
·    Avoid car-sharing and limit use of public transport.
·    Self-isolate if anyone in your household has symptoms. Follow the Test and Protect guidance on self-isolation and testing.  
·    If you have children returning to school or early learning in childcare you can find support and advice on the Parent Club website 

Apprenticeship Programme will be back

During Scottish Apprenticeship Week (1-5 March), the Council re-affirmed its commitment to the Modern Apprenticeship Programme which has been running since 2013. More than 70 young people have been part of the Programme, with over half of them securing full-time jobs with the Council and many more going onto jobs elsewhere. Several of them have also excelled in their studies and achieved awards in their field.
Sadly, it has been interrupted by the pandemic and no new apprentices were recruited last year. However as soon as it is safe and practical to do so a new recruitment drive will be launched.

Work set to begin on new affordable homes in Kirkintilloch

Work is set to begin in April on a new affordable housing development, located on the site of the former Lairdsland Primary School in Kirkintilloch. The development will include social rented and shared equity apartments as well as amenity housing for older people.

Designed by Coltart Earley Architecture, the new development - which is part of the Kirkintilloch Town Centre Masterplan - will provide 38 homes with a mixture of two, three and four-storey buildings containing one and two-bedroomed flats. It will be constructed by Cruden Building and is due to be completed by Spring 2023. For more details, see the news release on our website.

Put on your thinking CAPs and talk climate!

East Dunbartonshire's Climate Conversation is now live until 2 May 2021 and colleagues are being invited to join the chat. The Council is required to set a corporate zero-emissions target and our Sustainability Policy Team is keen to hear your views on how we can make the necessary transition across all our functions - including buildings, fleet and day-to-day operations. You can join the conversation by visiting the Employee Zone where there is more information and an internal survey. Online sessions are also being held for the public on 22 March, 30 March and 22 April - visit the Climate Conversation webpage for details.

New era ahead for the Allander

Construction work is underway on the multi-million pound Allander Leisure and Day Care Centre. The Council is redeveloping the current Bearsden site as part of a £42.5 million investment - including a new, state-of-the-art sports and leisure complex, as well as a support centre for adults with learning disabilities. It will be a tandem-build construction, with work forecast to be completed by summer 2023. For more information and a video of how the facility will look, visit the News section of our website.

Plug into info about electric vehicles in East Dunbartonshire

People are being given the chance to find out more about electric vehicles following a surge in sales. The Council's online booklet - Electric Vehicles in East Dunbartonshire - gives current and prospective owners an opportunity to plug into information and links. Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders suggest more and more people are making the switch. For more information, visit the News section of our website.

Employee Wellbeing – Healthy Working Lives March News…….

We included all the Healthy Working Lives initiatives that are running throughout this month in last week’s Healthy Working Lives Employee News which you can find in the Employee Zone.
 
These include links to the from the NHS Every Mind Matters website and support to stop smoking which is available on the NHS Inform website and Quit Your Way Scotland webpage, tying in with the national No Smoking day last week (Wednesday 10 March).  

Other News…….

Douglas Academy celebrate international success at Debating Matters competition

A group of S5 and S6 debaters from Douglas Academy has won the GB-India Debating Matters Competition, defeating a team from Salt Lake, Kolkata in the final. The team impressed judges with their well-researched arguments and passionate delivery. 
The competition reinvented itself as a virtual event this year in response to the challenges of the pandemic, and featured young teams from across Great Britain and India.  The Douglas Academy team’s success builds on an impressive record of achievement for the school over the years at the more traditional Debating Matters competitions. Congratulations to the team and everyone involved – this is a fantastic achievement!  

Make sure you're registered to vote

Is everyone in your house, who is eligible to vote in the Scottish Parliament Elections on 6 May, registered? It's worth checking to make sure you can have your say, especially if you've moved house or someone will be voting for the first time. 

It just takes 5 minutes to register. The deadline is Monday 19 April but you can do it now online at https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

If you were registered to vote in the last election and your details have not changed, you don't need to do anything. However, if in doubt, you can contact the Electoral Registration Office on 0800 980 0471 or email ero-edc@dab-vjb.gov.uk.

Dates for your Diary…….

8 March – 2 May    Climate Action Plan – Climate Conversation
18 March        Next meeting of East Dunbartonshire Council
18 March         Global Recycling Day
20 March        First day of Spring

And finally…….

As always, our continued thanks to all of you - stay safe and keep well and we’ll be back in a fortnight (Monday 29 March) with the next DCE update.

Ann and Thomas