It has been another incredibly difficult fortnight for everyone and we want to start by sending our warmest wishes to you and your families. We also want to thank you all, once again, for your amazing efforts to ensure services continue to be delivered during times we hope no-one will ever need to cope with again in future.
So much has happened over the past days, weeks and months that it's hard to believe that Christmas is on the near horizon, with more and more trees appearing in windows across East Dunbartonshire and beyond. Like so much of this year, the festivities will be impacted by coronavirus, but by continuing to pull together we can make them as safe and enjoyable as possible.
As you know, East Dunbartonshire has been placed in Level 4 of the Scottish Government’s COVID-19: Scotland’s Strategic Framework for three weeks (as of Friday 20 November at 6pm).
That is going to magnify the difficulties and challenges faced by us all. Please remember that you are not alone. If you need support or advice, speak to your line manager. You can also visit the Employee Zone of our website - https://www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/employee-zone - which has a number of useful links. For information on Council services, visit https://www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/residents/council-democracy/coronavirus-covid-19
News from the Council - Service Updates
Our fortnightly Service Updates cover all services and teams across the Council and the HSCP to highlight to Elected Members all of the work that's ongoing. The Latest Service Update was issued to Elected Members on Friday 20 November and you can find it on the Employee Zone on the Council's website:
Good Performance recognised in Annual Audit Report 2019/20
- On Thursday 19 November, Audit Scotland presented their Annual Audit Report to the Special Meeting of the full Council. The Annual Report includes consideration of the Council’s Best Value arrangements regarding governance and transparency, performance, as well as fairness and equality. The report highlights positive aspects within each but notes that further work is needed within the Council’s Public Sector Equality duty to ensure the Council continues to meet its duties under the Equalities Act 2010. Some of the key messages are:
- The 2019/20 financial statements received an unqualified auditor's report.
- Financial management is effective with a budget setting process focused on priorities.
- The Council has effective leadership and a clear strategic direction. Officers and elected members work well together in the interests of the residents of East Dunbartonshire.
- The Council has effective governance arrangements in place that support good governance and accountability.
- The Council demonstrates a commitment to transparency in the way it conducts its main business.
- The Council makes good use of local government benchmarking data to evaluate its performance and identify improvement areas.
- 63% of the Council’s 2018/19 performance indicators are in the top two quartiles of Scottish Councils (58% in the prior year). Performance has improved in 64% of indicators. Education services are performing particularly well even in the most deprived areas.
Showing true grit as Jack Frost clocks in
- Our gritters have been out and about as winter 2020 begins to make its icy presence felt. We're sure you'll see a lot of them over the next few months, but hopefully not too much! Fingers crossed for a mild winter. If you want to read about how we will respond to all cold weather conditions over the winter period, visit https://www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/news/winter-service-policy-2020-launched for full info.
Still time to help tally the cost of coronavirus
- More than 200 businesses, workers and residents have already given their views on the economic impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and East Dunbartonshire's recovery. Visit https://www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/covid-19-economic-impact-survey before 30 November to get involved.
Deliver your views on LDP2
- In more consultation news, people are being invited to view and comment on a vital document which - when adopted - will guide the future use of land in East Dunbartonshire. The Proposed Local Development Plan 2 (LDP2) sets out a new long-term land-use strategy - including policies and sites for development - which will be used to determine planning applications. Online sessions have been taking place. To find out more and have a say, visit https://www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/proposed-local-development-plan-2 and https://www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/news/planning-future-east-dunbartonshire
News from the Trust
- The move to Level 4 restrictions has had a huge impact on services provided by EDLC Trust, but our teams continue to use online channels to keep bodies and minds active. There are online videos, classes, resources and more. Check them out on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/EDLCLeisure & https://www.facebook.com/EDLCCulture - and Twitter - @EDLC_Culture & @EDLC_Leisure
- Explore Your Archive Week 2020 is taking place from 21-29 November. It’s an opportunity for anyone interested in archives to share their favourite photos, records and stories. Look out for themed posts via the EDLC Culture accounts. And visit EDLC Leisure's accounts for exercise classes to help keep you ticking over while our leisure centres are closed.
Looking out for others
- 2020 has been a difficult year for us all, but for vulnerable people there have been additional challenges. This could mean struggles with mental health issues, loneliness, increased reliance on alcohol and drugs or experience of physical or mental abuse. The Council, through various services, has been working hard throughout the pandemic to support vulnerable people living in East Dunbartonshire and is keen to ensure that people continue to get the support they need.
- As we move into winter and into Level 4 restrictions, we are supporting the Scottish Government's Ready Scotland campaign to help make communities more resilient in the face of emergencies and bring people together to help and look out for each other.
- If you know anyone who is in need of help, please point them to the range of support services on the Council's special COVID pages https://www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/residents/council-democracy/covid-19-community-support and the East Dunbartonshire Health & Social Care Partnership website: https://www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/health-and-social-care
- Our employees are at the heart of everything we do. As mentioned above, if you need support or advice, speak to your line manager. You can also visit the Employee Zone of our website - https://www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/employee-zone - which has a number of useful links.
Legal & Democratic - Annual Christmas Beauty Advent Calendar Raffle
- It's the time of year Legal & Democratic Services traditionally ask you for money in return for the chance to win a Beauty Advent Calendar full of the current beauty must haves. Given that pampering and self-care is needed more than ever this year, we are not prepared to let COVID-19 get in the way and so have come up with a slightly different approach to the usual sale of tickets in the office.
- This year's advent calendar is from LooksFantastic and contains 25 products worth over £400 - the flyer below includes a picture. It would make the perfect pre-Christmas pick-me-up for yourself or for your lovie dovie! The closing date is noon on Friday 27 November which will allow the raffle to be drawn and the prize posted to the winner in time for the first drawer to be opened on 1 December.
- The focus of this year's raffle is food poverty which is a very real and increasing problem across all communities, particularly as the continuing impacts of COVID-19 hit more and more families. We are asking for your help to support these families and have tried to make it as easy as possible to participate.
- In order to enter the raffle, we are asking you to make a donation to a foodbank - any foodbank will do - or to an organisation which helps to support those experiencing food poverty.
- Donations can be made:
- The donation can be money, food, toiletries, basic winter essentials (socks, gloves, hats) or even your time volunteering to help the work that these amazing organisations do. Most foodbanks will be happy to send you a list of products that are in short supply and so you may wish to make contact in advance of donating.
- For information: If you donate a tin, packet, box or jar at Tesco stores from 19-21 November, then Tesco will top up your donation by an extra 20%.
- Once you have made a donation then all that is left to do is email email@example.com Your email should include the words "Beauty Advent Calendar Raffle" in the subject bar, confirm that you have made a donation (no need to say where, when or how much) and provide a contact number so that we can get in touch with the winner!
- The details are set out in the flyer below. If any of your family or friends wish to participate but don’t work for the Council then again we will accept an email from you but please make it clear that it’s a second (or third....) entry and provide a name and contact for the friend or family member who has made a donation.
Festive lights and free parking
- No Christmas lights switch-on events are being supported this year as they are not possible under the current restrictions, however, keep an eye out as we will be powering up Christmas lights in local communities over the next fortnight. Only essential retail can remain open in Level 4 areas, provided they follow and have implemented Scottish Government guidance to ensure the safety of customers and staff. The message to anyone who needs to venture out is to stay safe and stay local.
- Parking charges will be suspended in all of the Council's fee-levying car parks for each of the three Saturdays in the run-up to Christmas - December 5, 12 and 19 - tying in with the Scotland Loves Local campaign. East Dunbartonshire shops and outlets have also been rising to the challenge by adapting to incorporate online ordering, delivery and more. See our website and https://lovelocal.scot/ for more info.
- Kirkintilloch Community Hub/William Patrick Library, Milngavie Town Hall and Bearsden Community Hub will be illuminated in orange on Wednesday 25 November to mark the first day of the United Nation's 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence Campaign. Visit https://www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/gender-based-violence for more info.
- Men are being urged to grow a beard and help save lives. Decembeard is the annual campaign to raise awareness and funds for the fight against bowel cancer. There are lots of ways to get involved - even if you already have a beard or are beardly-challenged! Visit https://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/support-us
Dates for Your Diary
- 25 November - First of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence. Key buildings will be lit orange (see Other News above) and you can find out more by visiting https://16daysofaction.co.uk/
- 30 November - St Andrew's Day
- 1 December - World AIDS Day provides an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. Visit https://www.worldaidsday.org/
- 1 December - First day of Decembeard - see Other News (above) and visit https://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk/support-us/
Our continued thanks to all of you for your incredible efforts - stay safe and take care
Ann and Thomas
23 November 2020