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Online fitness classes for staff

Created: 15/1/21

A new virtual wellbeing class for staff is held weekly on Wednesdays, 12.30-1pm. Please refer to our online fitness classes page for full details.

Our Healthy Working Lives group is also looking to start a weekly half hour walking group at 12 noon from Tuesday 2nd February. If interested in joining this, please email kcook@clacks.gov.uk.

Travel Insurance Policy

Created: 7/1/21

Our Travel Insurance Policy is due for renewal on 1st April 2021 and we require details of this year's travel arrangements so that we can provide an estimate for 2021/22.

Any employee/school pupil that has been on an overnight trip from 1st April 2020 until today's date, please supply full details ie UK, Europe, USA or Worldwide (please give country name), number of employees/pupils on trip and duration of this trip.

If any member of staff has planned an overnight trip that they will take before 31st March 2021, please also include these trip details.

Any trip details for insurance purposes should be emailed to gbrown@clacks.gov.uk by Wednesday 13th January.

Updated supplementary guidance regarding children of key workers

Created: 6/1/21

Following the First Minister’s statement on 4 January regarding further lockdown measures and the closure of schools, we have, this afternoon (6 January 2021), received updated supplementary guidance from the Scottish Government which makes it clear that that number of children taking up key worker places during this strict lockdown should be kept to the absolute minimum necessary. 

Exceptional arrangements are having to be put in place to ensure limited numbers of staff and children attend educational or Early Learning Centres (ELCs). These measures are intended to prevent  community transmission of the new strain of the virus so if it is possible for children to remain at home during this period then they should do this.

As staff will be aware, we previously advised that most employees of the Council would be considered as key workers and would therefore be considered as being able to access a place at our Schools.

However the updated guidance says that whole workforce or entire groups of staff should not be designated as key workers. Therefore staff who would like their children to be considered for a space in either a school or ELC must meet the criteria below:

  • only key workers who are physically attending their workplace or who cannot fulfil their crucial functions when they are working remotely from home may qualify for places
  • where alternative options are available eg childcare, a non-key worker parent or carer who is able to work from home - these should be used instead of children attending in person

We would ask that you speak directly to your line manager to discuss individual circumstances around your role.

Head teachers will contact relevant staff (Teaching and School Support Staff e.g. Learning Assistants) who will not be required to attend for work on 7 and 8 January . Further discussions will take place with staff on requirements going forward.

Catering, cleaning and janitorial staff  will have been contacted separately by their own service regarding their working requirements.

We would like to remind staff that all Council premises are COVID secure and staff who are having to attend for work should ensure they follow all the relevant H&S guidance in place.

If you have any queries or concerns, please contact your line manager. 

Professional Indemnity Insurance cover

Created: 6/1/21

Please provide information on all work undertaken by your service that will require Professional indemnity Insurance cover for year 21-22.

Professional Indemnity Insurance covers the Council if your service is alleged to have provided inadequate advice, services or designs to a client whilst taking a fee. The insurance provides cover for the legal costs and expenses in defending the claim, as well as compensation payable to your client to rectify the mistake.  

The deadline for this information is Friday 15th January 2021 in order for cover to be in place for policy renewal on 1st April 2021.

Gillian Brown
Insurance Officer
e: gbrown@clacks.gov.uk

Update for Staff from SLG on new lockdown announcement

Created: 04/01/21

The First Minister has announced that from Tuesday 5 January, mainland Scotland will move to a temporary lockdown with new guidance to stay at home except for essential purposes.

The SLG will be working on the detail of arrangements over the coming days, but current guidance for staff is that:

  • If you have been working from home, you should continue to do so.
  • School and ELC staff (which includes teaching and school support staff) with the exception of those previously shielding should report for work at their establishment on 7 January (5 January for some ELC staff as already notified)  for in school childcare of key workers and vulnerable children and so that plans can be developed for learning provision.
  • If you have previously been advised that you are on the Shielding List, you should not come to work.  If you are not already working from home, please speak to your manager.
  • Staff who were previously considered as high risk and who are required to attend for work should ensure they follow the advice and adjustments within their individual risk assessments. 
  • A number of  Council staff will be required to attend  work to provide essential services, such as waste, roads, land services, fleet services, education support, social care or other staff previously confirmed as requiring to be present, and should report for work as usual. If you are unsure about whether you should attend for work please contact your line manager.

We understand that this is a worrying time for everyone, as these new rules come into force to help contain the spread of the virus.  We appreciate your commitment to providing essential services to our residents during this time.  Please look out for further staff information updates on the website in the coming days.

Alternative ways of keeping in touch with colleagues 

Created: 23/12/20

For those of us who have been working remotely, Teams, email and Messenger have been a good way to keep in touch with colleagues.

However if there are any issues with Citrix or Teams, there are other methods you can use to keep in touch with team members using either a Smart Phone, tablet or laptop.

You should:

  • Ensure you connect to Wi-Fi (Clacks Guest or your home Wi-Fi) before you do this to save your data plan and get a better quality connection.
  • Check team members phone numbers are correctly recorded in your smartphone.
  • NEVER file share documents across these services that are sensitive or contain private personal data. 
  • If you have older equipment, you may still be able to use these services with some reduced features.  
  • Always make use of waiting-room features to bring people into a meeting.
  • Always make use of meeting room passwords.
  • Don’t use client names to describe meeting topics.  Keep the subject obscure/generic for example ‘Catch-up’.

Below are links to the "how to" guides for the most common chat services.

ZOOM - Unlimited 1:1 chat, 40 minutes for group of 3 to 100 participants.

WhatsApp - Group Calling allows up to 4 participants using video calling.

Google Hangout - Group Calling allows up to 10/25 participants using video calling.

Apple Facetime - Group Calling allows up to 32 participants using video calling.

Skype - Group Calling allows up to 50 participants using video calling.

Facebook Messenger - Group Calling allows up to 50 participants using video calling.

Amazon Alexa / Echo Show One to One chat - particularly useful with people who have difficulty using technology. See 'Drop In'

You should review what works best for you and your colleagues.

A handy guide for how to work remotely and use video chat effectively can be found in this guide Remote Working Tips.

There has been an increase in the number of scam or "phishing" emails that are being sent out. Click on the link to find top tips for staying safe and recognising phishing emails.

You can also find advice on how to keep you and your family safe this holiday season on the National Cyber Security Alliance website.

Flexi sheets

Create: 21/12/20

A reminder that annual flexi sheets are available to make use of via Connect.

Connect Home page -> Staff Information -> Annual flexi sheet

Safeguarding through Rapid Intervention (STRIVE)

Created: 21/12/20

An update on the STRIVE project is available by following the link given.

Changes to period of self-isolation 

Created: 11/12/20

The Scottish Government announced today (Friday) that they will be reducing the period of self-isolation for people who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.

From Monday 14th December the self-isolation period will be 10 days instead of the current 14 days. This also applies to people who are returning home from overseas or arriving in the country.

The change has been made following a review of the latest evidence and discussions between the 4 UK Chief Medical Officers.  

From Monday (14 December):

  • anyone who has been contacted through Test and Protect – including by the Protect Scotland app – or their Local Health Board and have been notified to self-isolate, should do so for 10 days.
  • anyone who is required to quarantine following arrival into Scotland from overseas, should self-isolate for a period of 10 days.
  • anyone who was previously instructed to self-isolate will, from 14 December, be able to stop self-isolating ten days from when they were first notified to do so.

You can find out more information on the Scottish Government website. If you have any further queries or concerns, please contact your direct line manager in the first instance.

The Scottish Government website contains further information on how contact tracing works and on international travel and quarantine rules.

Councillors and Wards poster

Created: 9/12/20

The updated Councillors and Wards poster is available via Connect.

Connect home page -> Documents and Forms -> Council and Committee Information -> Councillors and Wards poster

SLG message about rollout of Covid vaccination programme for staff 

Created: 8/12/20

This week's SLG message is about the roll-out of the Covid vaccination programme.

The first phase of the programme prioritises health and social care staff who are caring for the most vulernable people in our community. This includes staff and residents in Care Homes and our Care at Home staff.

Last date for IT orders 2020/2021

Created: 7/12/20

The last date IT Services will accept requests for IT kit/licences etc for the financial year 2020/2021 will be Friday, 5 February 2021. This is to allow time to obtain prices, place orders, receive goods and process the resulting invoices in time for the financial cut-off date in April 2021.

Any requests for items after this date will be accepted but will not be processed/invoiced in this accounting year. There will be no exceptions.

e: it@clacks.gov.uk

Covid responsibilities

Created: 30/11/20

A reminder to staff about expectations in relation to Coronavirus is available by following the link. 

Support from staff who are recovering or have recovered from Covid-19

Created: 25/11/20

If you have had Covid-19 and have recovered or are recovering we now have information on where to go for support and advice on our Wellbeing page.

What the different protection levels mean for Council Services

Created: 5/11/20

The Scottish Government Covid protection levels or tiers for our area have an impact on council services and we have brought these together in the following document: Impact of Transition between Levels on Council Services

More information on the Covid local protection levels are available via the Scottish Government website.

Phones

Created: 2/11/20

For instructions on how to set up your phone at home, please refer to the setting up your equipment page.

Flu Vaccination Programme

Created: 30/10/20

The Council has now managed to procure 500 vaccines which will be delivered through clinics in Kilncraigs from mid-November.

In order to ensure most efficient use of our resources, it is important that these are directed to those who cannot access the national flu vaccination programme run through the NHS/GPs and local pharmacies.  The national programme covers

  • those aged 55 and above (those aged 55-64 may not have received letters yet, but these will be issued shortly)
  • those who have an underlying health condition
  • those who undertake a social care role, who should already have received a separate letter.

The cost for each vaccination will be £12.50 which will be charged to the relevant service budget.

Please highlight this information to relevant staff within your team. Bookings will not open until noon on Tuesday 3rd November.

More information, how to make an appointment and a health questionnaire is available via the link below:

Leave Buy Back 2021/22

Created: 30/10/20

The Scheme of Enhanced Leave (holiday buy back) along with the application form for 2021/22 is available on our Annual Leave page.

New Covid Regulations and what they mean to you

Created: 29/10/20

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced new Covid restrictions today in a bid to try and slow the spread of the virus which has been increasing steadily over the past few weeks.

The new Strategic Framework is comprised of five protection levels – from level 0 to 4 – and Clackmannanshire has been placed in Level 3.

The new restrictions come into force at 6am on Monday 2nd November. For more information on what Level 3 means for you please follow the link to the Scottish Government website.

Information on restrictions in other local authority areas is also available via the Scottish Government website.

Our staff FAQs are also available to refer to.

Sports Development online fitness classes

Created: 29/10/20

Our Sports Development staff run free online classes. Follow the link for details.

New Guidance on wearing masks

Created: 9/10/20

From Monday 12th October it will be mandatory to wear a face covering in all communal areas of workplaces.  This will affect all Council buildings regardless of the setting.  

In open plan offices you should wear a face covering while moving about the building - even if it is just popping to the photocopier.  There is no requirement at this stage to wear one while sitting at your desk, but staff are welcome to wear one if they wish.  

For those staff undertaking roles such as  janitors, cleaners, and tradespeople you will be required  to wear a face covering at all times while other people are nearby when you are in any Council premises.  Face coverings will also be required in all kitchen and rest areas, but can be removed once seated to consume food or drink. 

Those who are unable to wear a face covering for health reasons will be exempt.  In Primary schools we are expecting that pupils will be exempt, but are awaiting clarification of this. 

Staff should use their own re-useable face coverings where possible to minimise waste. If you do happen to forget, a face covering can be made available by contacting your Line Manager, or nominated contact prior to entry. Please do not enter any council facility without a face covering as this may be regarded and recorded as a failure to comply with health and safety regulations.

For more information on other new regulations and how they affect you, visit our Staff FAQ section.

National Fraud Initiative 2020/21

Created: 1/10/20

On behalf of the Accounts Commission, Audit Scotland appoints auditors to examine the council's accounts. Audit Scotland also assists appointed auditors by conducting a National Fraud Initiative. This initiative promotes the proper use of public money. More information is available via our NFI page.

Clacks Guest Wi-Fi access

Created: 30/9/20

A guest access Wi-Fi system is operational at Kilncraigs and we are working our way through other locations. The Clacks Guest internet service is only intended for providing guest internet access on the personal devices of council staff, guests and external users.

For more information, please refer to the Connect Clacks Guest article dated 14 August 2020. If the link doesn't work for you, please visit Connect -> Home -> Announcements -> Clacks Guest Wi-Fi update.

e: it@clacks.gov.uk

Kickstart

Created: 23/9/20

Kickstart is part of the Government’s plan for jobs tackling some of the impact of COVID 19 and aims to create large numbers of fully funded positions. The first placements are likely to be available from November 2020 and the scheme will run for 18 months.

If your service has any job placement opportunities that could be offered to a young person please email cworks@clacks.gov.uk.

Latest information for staff who were previously required to Shield

Created: 16/09/20

At the start of the pandemic the Scottish Government asked those members of the public who were deemed to be at most risk of Covid-19 to Shield. 

The restrictions on Shielding were eased a the end of July, however with rates of infection increasing once again further guidance has been issued by the Scottish Government. Key points to note are:

  • The Government continue to monitor Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection rates across Scotland carefully.
  • There has been a small rise in the number of cases however generally the rates of infection are low.
  • As infection rates are low the chances of catching the virus are low and as such Government are asking those who previously needed to shield to follow the same guidance as everyone else in Scotland right now.
  • There is no need for individuals to start shielding again during these outbreaks. This is because quick actions are being taken to manage these, contain the spread of the virus and keep everyone safe.
  • If individuals are required to shield this will be advised immediately by Government.
  • It is recognised that shielding can, and has had, mental and physical health impacts and as such there needs to be a balance of these harms against the risk that the virus poses to staff previously required to Shield.
  • The First Minister will announce any changes to restrictions or guidance.
  • Any changes to guidance will also be advised by text message if those who previously shielded have joined the text messaging service.

If you have any concerns about your safety please speak to your line manager, a member of our health and safety team of your trade union representative.

Additional information and support to help those staff previously shielding

  • Protect Scotland app
    • The free Protect Scotland app is available to download on the Apple and Google Play stores. The app sends alerts to people who have been in close contact with someone else using the app who has tested positive. Being "in close contact with someone" means being less than 2 metres away from them for at least 15 minutes. The alert will ask you to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • Case numbers in an area
    • Information on the number of COVID-19 cases in an area can be found on the mygov.scot website.
  • Text messaging service
    • Many people on the shielding list have joined the text messaging service from the Scottish Government. This is so they can receive alerts and updates straight to their mobile phones. Any member of staff previously shielding who would like to join should send a text from their mobile phone with their Community Health Index (CHI) number to 07860 064525.
  • National helpline
    • For those staff who cannot join the text messaging service, or need to ask a question about shielding, they can call the free national helpline number on 0800 111 4000. The helpline is open Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm, and will put you in touch with someone from your local council.
  • Help with money
    • Those who have been shielding and who are worried about money can get help and support online, through the Money Talk Team, or on 0800 085 7145.

Mental health and wellbeing

  • Breathing Space
    • 0800 83 85 87
    • Phone lines open Monday to Thursday: 6pm – 2am; Friday to Monday: 6pm – 6am
  • Samaritans
    • 116 123
    • Phones lines open 24 hours a day
  • British Red Cross
    • 0808 196 3651
    • Phone lines open every day: 10am – 6pm

You can also book GP appointments for support. Help is available online too from the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH).

Mental health awareness video - Don't Stay on Mute

Created 15/9/20

COSLA has joined forces with Trade Union colleagues to launch a mental health awareness video.   With many people still working from home or away from their colleagues six months into lockdown, it is important that we reach out and make sure that those who need a bit of support know where to find it.

‘Don’t Stay on Mute’ aims to reassure people who are suffering from anxiety or uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic that they are not alone and that a variety of support is available.  You can view the video here https://youtu.be/x0-DH6nOw5w

There is information for staff on Wellbeing on our web pages, including our employee assistance programme.

NHS Scotland launches contact tracing app

Created: 11/09/20

A new NHS Scotland contact tracing App – Protect Scotland - has been launched and can be downloaded for free onto Smartphones from the Apple and Google Play stores.

The App uses Bluetooth technology to anonymously alert you if you have been in close contact with another App user who tests positive for coronavirus. And if you test positive, it can help in determining contacts that you may have otherwise missed while keeping your information private and anonymous.

Using the Protect Scotland App, along with sticking to current public health measures, will help us to stay safe when we meet up, socialise, work or travel.

As we see the rate of infection start to rise, it is important that we download and use the Protect Scotland App to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

Covid-19 advice for planned surgical procedures

Created: 11/09/20

As NHS surgical procedures recommence, if you are due to have planned surgery it may be that you will be required to self-isolate for a period before and after any surgery. This can be between 3 and 14 days and the exact requirements will vary from case to case. The length of time any self-isolation will be required will be determined by NHS Scotland who will also advise if members of your household will also need to self-isolate.

If you existing sickness absence leading up to surgery, this should continue as it is unlikely that you would be fit to carry out any work. 

If you are not on existing sickness absnece and have upcoming surgery that requires you to isolate or you have been asked to self isolate as a household member of someone who has upcoming surgery, you should provide your manager with a copy of any NHS correspondence relating to this.  

If you are able to work from home, then this should continue.

If you are not able to work from home, then this period will be regarded as special leave.

If you have any queries about this, please contact your HR Business Partner.

Be the Future Update report 

Created: 10/09/20

Dear colleagues

Seven priorities projects which will form part of the Council’s Be the Future transformation programme have been agreed following a special council meeting today.

The Be the Future update report was a follow-up to the Respond, Recover and Renew paper agreed by Council in June which looked at the impact of the pandemic on the Council’s plans and what this might mean for staff, residents and communities.

We have a critical role to play in minimising as much as we can the impacts both locally and regionally from the Covid-19 pandemic. We have been doing this by  working collaboratively with ourpartners to protect and support the most vulnerable people in our communities.

Today’s paper to Council outlined how we will be reprioritising the activity which was set out in our Be the Future programme, our Organisational Redesign Plan and our Recovery Plan to enable us to continue to support our community. Since une we have been working with iESe again to help us ensure that our own and our partner resources can be targeted to best effect.

We know that this will have an impact on staff and we have carried out an exercise across each service portfolio to identify immediate and medium term resourcing needs. 

We continue to encourage our staff, where possible and in discussion with managers, to work from home.  We are also developing approaches to provide a more sustainable and blended pattern of attendance in the workplace for staff and elected members which minimises risk and ensures that we continue to meet health and safety requirements. As well as this, we will continue to develop our communication methods to ensure that officers and elected members stay connected with colleagues across the Council.

The seven priority projects are:

People and Place Hub pilot: to address the development of a "localism" or place based approach, work had already commenced to develop a programme of related projects under the People and Place Hub pilot initiative. Work to date has been between Council and HSCP officers but includes the strategy for engaging a wide range of local and national stakeholders, including Strathclyde University, Alliance partners, communities, Columba 1400, Stirling University, Scottish Government and the Hunter Foundation, in both the development and delivery of proposals. Work is currently being taken forward with the University of Strathclyde to develop workshops for delivery in late September, the output from which will be used to engage with potential partners and funders.

City Region Deal, Scotland’s International Environment Centre and Sustainable Ageing proposals: to address issues relating to economic recovery and economic development both locally and from regional and national perspectives. This range of activity includes work to provide employment opportunities,  support families and provide skills development capacity locally, as well as to provide a stronger economic footprint for the area within the Forth Valley Region and nationally. There has been significant recent activity to expedite the refinement of the original proposals in the economic context of the pandemic.

STRIVE pilot: this is well underway with the pilot being extended from six to twelve months to facilitate the further development of partnership learning and to maximise the opportunity to consider how the redesign of multi agency service delivery can be developed to capitalise on the earlier intervention, prevention and improved outcomes the pilot is suggesting have the potential to be secured.

Income maximisation: this aspect is focussed on minimising the impacts of poverty as well as ensuring the financial sustainability of the Council as an organisation. The reprioritisation activity will include additional activity to ensure that a transparent programme of related activity is in place through the Be the Future Programme.

Digital strategy as an enabler: Work has already been progressed as part of the Be the Future Programme with the agreement of the Digital Strategy in April 2019. Activity levels and the importance of this aspect has been highlighted significantly during the Council’s Covid-19 response phase which has provided a positive and catalytic effect on taking forward potentially significant changes in how services are delivered, how we engage both internally and externally and how our staff are deployed. The importance of the potential for digital exclusion and the need for blended models has also been highlighted.

Workforce: the Council was updated in June on a significant range of issues that require to be addressed to further develop sustainable employment models, employment policy and procedures and the associated and significant culture change that this represents. This has also been highlighted as a priority area in the feedback from the iESE discussions. The Council’s experience of the Covid-19 response phase also suggests a need to prioritise how we maximise the opportunity for staff empowerment through effective and streamlined governance arrangements and better sustain supports for employee wellbeing within the new operating context.

Communicate Values: The planned work to embed and communicate the Be the Future ambitions and the Council vision and values will be prioritised as this is critical to establishing a sense of common purpose.

Programme and project specifications will now developed for each of these areas of work. I plan to update staff on progress regularly.

Nikki Bridle

Chief Executive

Digital Strategy Update 

Created: 10/09/20

Staff will be aware that the global pandemic has been the catalyst for a more rapid shift to digital within the Council than was previously envisaged.

At today's Council meeting, expenditure on several key digital projects was approved to ensure ongoing business efficiency continuity in the face of continuing uncertainty.

Virtual meetings, video conferencing and paperless working has become the norm for many staff and a report to Council today set out the need to update our operating system with a fair degree of urgency.

Councillors have agreed to implement Microsoft 365 in a plan to modernise the workplace and support the wider digital transformation agenda. A programme of investment in new IT equipment has also been agreed. 

One of the benefits of Microsoft 365 is that applications that can be accessed from any device and from any location with an internet connection which enables remote, home and flexible working.

This improvement fits with the Council's Be the Future transformation programme and represents significant investment in our workforce to allow us all to be able to do our jobs efficiently and effectively in a post-Covid world.

Look out for further updates on the roll out of Microsoft 365.

Cherie Jarvie

Senior Manager – Partnership and Transformation

Armed Forces Covenant training modules available through Clacks Academy

Created: 7/9/20

As a Council, we strengthened our support for former and serving members of our armed forces in Clackmannanshire by signing the Armed Forces Covenant earlier this year.  This means that we will endeavour in our business dealings to uphold the key principles of the Covenant which are:

  • No member of the Armed Forces Community should face disadvantage in the provision of public and commercial services compared to any other citizen.
  • In some circumstances special treatment may be appropriate especially for the injured or bereaved. 

We now have a programme of e-learning modules on Clacks Academy for staff who will be working with members of the Armed Forces in the community. The modules focus on particular audiences and needs including:

  • The Armed Forces Covenant for Frontline Staff
  • Housing, Homelessness and the Armed Forces Covenant

(If the link to Clacks Academy doesn't work for you the link is available via the home page of Connect).

The Armed Forces Covenant for Frontline Staff

This is aimed at front-line staff who engage with individuals and families on a regular basis. The training provides an overview of the unique challenges of Service life and how staff can help support the Armed Forces Community.  It will help staff understand and apply the principles of the Covenant at a local level. It includes sources of further information and support.

It includes sections on:

  • What the Covenant is
  • Who the Armed Forces Community are and what challenges they face
  • How the Covenant is applied in real life scenarios

The aim is that it will help staff understand and apply the principles of the Covenant with confidence.

Housing, Homelessness and the Armed Forces Covenant

This module looks at the Armed Forces Covenant and how it applies to housing and homelessness. It explains through case studies some of the specific needs of, and issues experienced by, current and former service personnel and their families, and how they can be supported.  It also includes information on legislation, sources of support and housing agencies who work with those who are ex-armed forces.

For further information, contact training@clacks.gov.uk.

Forces in Mind toolkit

The Forces in Mind Trust is a charitable organisation that aims to enable ex-service personnel and their families to lead successful civilian lives. The Trust frequently commissions research and has produced a report on effective delivery of the Covenant within communities. The report is available on the Forces in Mind Trust website.

The report includes a toolkit for councils to help implement the Covenant which is based on a review of successful councils and how they help deliver the Covenant in their area. The toolkit begins on page 42 of the report. Armed Forces Covenant partnership have developed a programme of e-learning modules focused on particular audiences and needs.  There are 2 modules applicable to Local Authorities which are:

  • The Armed Forces Covenant for Frontline Staff
  • Housing, Homelessness and the Armed Forces Covenant
Connected, Issue 12

Created: 3/9/20

The last few months have been unlike any we have ever known and our staff have had to work at unprecedented levels to ensure that we continued to provide vital services to the most vulnerable members of our community.

The latest edition of Connected is a special Covid edition which provides a snapshot of all the hard work which has been carried out across the Council's services. 

You can also read about maintenance operatives Mark Allan and Stephen Lamb who helped to save a man's life while out on a routine work call and our emergency resilience officer Karen Kirkwood who was chosen to feature in a key worker local hero portrait exhibition at Forth Valley Royal.

We hope you enjoy this edition of Connected and on behalf of the Senior Leadership Group, thank you for all your efforts.

Expired driving licences automatically extended by 11 months

Created: 3/9/20

Photocard licences or entitlement to drive that expires between 1 February and 31 December 2020 have been extended for 11 months from the date of expiry.

Under the changes, drivers whose photocard driving licence or entitlement to drive runs out between 1 February 2020 and 31 December 2020 will have their entitlement automatically extended from the expiry date, for a period of 11 months. Drivers do not need to apply to renew their licence until they receive a reminder before their extension expires.

The initial extension expired at the end of August. This has now been further extended to the end of the year under temporary changes announced by DVLA as of 1 September.

The temporary extension is automatic, and drivers do not need to do anything. Drivers who have already applied to renew their photocard driving licence or entitlement to drive can usually carry on driving while we process their application, providing they have not been told by their doctor or optician that they should not drive.

Please visit the GOV.UK website for more information.

Janice Manson
Fleet Administrator
e: jmanson2@clacks.gov.uk

Capital Credit Union

Created: 3/9/20

A reminder that information and application forms are available via Connect on Capital Credit Union which is one of the largest credit unions in the UK. Offering a range of ethical and fair financial services, membership is open to Clackmannanshire Council employees. You can arrange for savings to be deducted from your pay.

Visitors to council buildings: Test and Protect contact tracing

Created: 1/9/20

We have developed a QR code for each facility to ensure compliance with Test and Protect information for contact tracing.

Visitors should scan the QR code with their phone and fill in the requested details - name, home postcode and contact number this is then automatically transferred to a centralised database should we require the information. All details are automatically deleted after 21 days.

If any of your visitors do not have a phone please take a note of their name, home postcode and contact number and email this to emergencyplanning@clacks.gov.uk on the same day they were in your facility and we will manually add to the database.

Visitors who are just coming into a facility to pay a bill or drop something off do not require to give us this information however if they are coming in to meet with someone, browse library books, or are in the building for 10 minutes or more they should leave their details.

Staff do not need to use this we have their details on the Paxton swipe system.

Due to the quick turnaround on this, paper copies will go to reception areas in the first instance until we receive the delivery of the wipeable plastic signs.

All QR codes have been tested all are working. Any queries or further information please call Karen Kirkwood on X 2537.

You could retire early or with more money, come and find out how

Created: 30/7/20

As a member of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS), you have access to a valuable new staff benefit.

Clackmannanshire Council is now offering LGPS members access to a Shared Cost Additional Voluntary Contribution (Shared Cost AVC) scheme, facilitated by our partners AVC Wise.

Shared Cost AVCs are a cost-efficient way to top up your pension pot, providing both Income Tax and National Insurance contributions (NIC) relief. The extra NIC savings you make can either be re-invested into your Shared Cost AVC pot, or you can choose to receive it as part of your take home pay.

A £100 contribution will actually cost a basic rate taxpayer just £68.12!

The key benefits of a Shared Cost AVC facilitated by AVC Wise are:

  • Income Tax and NICs relief when you pay into a Shared Cost AVC
  • Potentially 100% tax free withdrawal at retirement (Dependent on the combined value of other LGPS benefits)
  • Flexible access from age 55 allowing you to potentially retire early

If you have any questions, please email support@AVCWise.co.uk or call 01252 784 546.

Covid 19 – Following the new Health and Safety measures

Created: 17/7/20

For the past few months, managers and trade unions have been working together towards the implementation of Health and Safety measures for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the safety of our staff.

All Clackmannanshire Council workplaces have now been risk assessed based on national guidelines and plans have been put in place to keep our buildings and working environments 'Covid Secure'. Now that the plans are in place we must ensure that all staff are aware of the measures for their places of work and that they are following them. Failure to follow guidance such as the minimum distancing rules, wearing the appropriate PPE or following the correct cleaning processes could put colleagues and service users at risk of infection and as such may constitute a breach of our health and safety policies and procedures.

Any breach of the Covid 19 measures must be recorded and documented using the Health and Safety incident and near miss form. These incidents will be reviewed by the Health and Safety team and will allow us to provide further guidance to those involved in any incidents, help us to monitor how effective our measures are and to improve them where necessary. Should we have a situation where someone within one of our working environments is confirmed to have Covid 19, it will allow us to provide those operating the track and trace service with the information they require to contact anyone who may have been exposed.

Like any situation where there is a breach of our Health and Safety procedures failure to adhere to them may result in disciplinary action should an investigation find that someone was deliberately ignoring our agreed procedures or had put others at serious risk of harm. In situations where a less serious breach had taken place such as someone forgetting to maintain social distancing the first step will always be an informal discussion with those involved to ensure that everyone is aware of the procedures in place and emphasise the importance of following them.  

We fully understand that these measures seem unfamiliar and that we are all learning to adapt to the changes being introduced however it is imperative that we all take all possible steps to protect our colleagues, their families and our service users from unnecessary exposure to the Covid 19 virus.

Managers are responsible for ensuring that every member of staff has seen the up to date risk assessment/building guidance and the list of safety measures for their places of work.

If any member of staff has any concerns around the safety measures in place at their place of work we would ask that they contact their line manager, a member of the health and safety team (hands@clacks.gov.uk) or their trade union for further advice and guidance.

Further information regarding changes to Health and Safety can be found on the staff information pages on the Council Website. An e-learning course entitled "Revised Ways of Working" is also available on ClacksAcademy.

Working from home self assessment

Created: 17/7/20

A large number of people have been issued with IT equipment to work from home over recent months.  

The normal expectation is that a full Display Screen Equipment (DSE) assessment should be undertaken for every employee who is working from home but due to the speed at which this was required to happen, this was not possible.  We are now asking all managers to ensure that staff who are working from home (whether constantly or periodically) complete a self-assessment form to help identify anyone who may be experiencing difficulties and help us prioritise the full assessments which need to happen.

You can access the form here

HR Information on Off-Payroll Workers

Created: 13/7/20

HR has published new information on Connect about procedures for dealing with Off-Payroll Workers. You need access to Connect to read these documents or contact HR for more information.

You can find this information by visiting Connect -> Home -> HR -> Recruitment -> IR35 (off-payroll workers)

Our equalities duties

Created: 2/7/20

Throughout the current crisis and as we move into the recovery phase, it is vital that we keep in mind that the requirements of the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) remain in force.

It is important to ensure that we consider the needs and disadvantages faced by people with different protected characteristics as we respond to Coronavirus.

We must assess the equality impact of new or revised policies and practices against the three needs in the PSED. Equality impact assessments are an important tool to help you ensure you don’t unintentionally discriminate or deepen existing inequalities in our communities, and that you consider the ways you can advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations.

More information on assessing equality and poverty impacts can be found on the Equality and Diversity pages including our impact assessment framework, guidance and previously published impact assessments.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published guidance on assessing equality impact and having due regard to the PSED during coronavirus.

Information for young people and families

Created: 18/6/20

NHS CAMHS have collated lots of useful information and resources for young people and families who may be feeling anxious or worried about their child's mental health.

Meeting Room Capacity at Kilncraigs

Created: 18/6/20

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic meeting room capacities have been reduced to comply with the current 2m social distancing rules.

All meeting rooms are equipped with cleaning materials and it is the chairperson's responsibility to ensure the meeting area/space is wiped down prior to and after the meeting. Please only use a room that you have booked. 

MR2.01 is currently being used as the Incident Management Room and can accommodate eight people sitting at desks. If you require to use it, you must email emergencyplanning@clacks.gov.uk in advance outlining the proposed use and numbers.

Rooms not listed below have a capacity of 2 people.

  • MR0.01
    • Not applicable (N/A) - bookings disabled
  • MR0.20 Council Chambers 
    • 8 people sitting at the desks
    • If you require it for any other purpose please email emergencyplanning@clacks.gov.uk outlining the proposed use and a specific capacity will be worked out Covid19 Compliant
  • MR 1.05 
    • 2 people - Covid19 compliant
  • MR1.07 
    • 2 people - Covid19 compliant
  • MR2.02 
    • 4 people - Covid19 compliant
  • MR2.03 
    • N/A - bookings disabled
  • MR3.01 
    • 4 people - Covid19 compliant
  • MR3.02 
    • 2 people - Covid19&nbs