As part of Stress Awareness Month, two webinars have been arranged which will highlight the causes and effects of stress, and equip participants with simple strategies to help reduce or manage our stress levels.
The first will be held on Monday 26th April on the topic of managing stress mindfully, and the second will be held on Tuesday 11th May on the topic of looking after ourselves in stressful times. Microsoft Teams links to follow.
For more information and other resources that could help in identifying the causes of stress and some useful coping strategies, check out our Stress Awareness Month page.
As many of you will be aware, Melanie Moore's husband Cailean sadly passed away last week following an unexpected illness. Lindsay Thomson has created a paypal link if anyone would like to contribute to a collection. Here is the link https://www.paypal.com/pools/c/8yvuMXviJ9.
Lindsay has asked that if anyone who wants to make any contributions could they do it by close of business on Wednesday 28 April. If you know anyone else who might want to contribute, please feel free to share.
The money will be passed to Melanie so she can then decide the best use of any collection.
MCR Pathways in partnership with Education invite you to join us at our short virtual info session on Wednesday 28th April at 12 noon. To join this Zoom session, please use the following link, ID etc:
Together we hope to reach more young people whose circumstances or experiences have made it harder for them to focus in school or build aspirations for the future. We want to support more young people with a mentor who’s there just for them.
Mentors meet with their young person weekly during school term for one hour a week, over a year or more. With lockdown restrictions still in place, meetings have been taking place virtually but, when it’s safe to do so, mentoring will resume in school. The consistent support and encouragement of a mentor helps young people ensure that their futures are determined by their talents and never by their circumstances.
MCR’s Young Clackmannanshire Talent programme currently operates in Alva Academy, Lornshill Academy, Alloa Academy and Secondary Support School Service and we are keen to support staff to get involved.
If you can't attend but want to find out more, please register your interest via the MCR Pathways website. There are stories and stats that demonstrate the impact of MCR Pathways on young people, mentors and Scotland.
Clackmannanshire Council is one of the eight local authorities who make up the statutory South East of Scotland Regional Transport Partnership. (SEStran).
SEStran is developing a new Regional Transport Strategy (RTS). The RTS will set out a clear framework for how transport will be provided, developed and improved to meet the needs and aspirations for a sustainable, economically active region over the next 10 years.
Whether you walk, wheel, cycle, use public transport or drive, you can share your travel story and help shape the future of transport and travel by completing the short survey
Survey closes at midnight Monday 19 April.
Clackmannanshire residents are being encouraged to give their views on current and future leisure and wellbeing provision as part of a review being carried out by the Clackmannanshire Alliance.
The online survey is part of the Sport and Active Living Framework Vision and Ambition for Clackmannanshire. This is focused on delivering modern and sustainable leisure and wellbeing facilities in Clackmannanshire, including an option for a modern swimming pool.
The Employers Liability Insurance Certificate for 2021/22 is available via Connect. This certificate can be printed off/distributed for display in all council buildings.
Connect navigation: Home page -> Documents & Forms -> News -> Employers Liability Certificate 2021/22
The HR and Payroll deadlines for 2021/22 are available via Connect.
(Connect navigation: Home page -> Documents & Forms -> Service Areas -> Payroll -> HR & Payroll Deadlines 2021/22)
From 1st April we will be moving to a new way of reporting accidents, near misses and violence and aggression. This is the first step in a wider transformation of all our Health & Safety processes.
There are 5 types of submissions which can be made:
These replace the paper forms currently in use. If you have any questions about the new system, please contact the H&S team on x2225.
The 2021/22 Post Budget Cascade from Lindsay Sim, Chief Finance Officer is available via the link given.
Consolidation of the Scottish Government Living Wage - Joint Statement Council and Trade Unions
As staff will recall, over a number of months, senior officers and Trade Unions have been consulting on the consolidation of the Living Wage into our pay structure. Our discussions have focused on the proposal that:
We are pleased to advise that following positive and constructive engagement we have reached agreement on the proposal and this will take effect from 01 April 2021. Our payroll and HR sections will now work on updating their systems to ensure these changes are reflected in the April salary payment.
In addition, as staff may be aware, negotiations are taking place, at a National Level, on the proposed pay award for 2021/2022. As these discussions are ongoing we are aware that the Real Living Wage has been increased to £9.50.
We are pleased to advise that the Senior Leadership Group have agreed, that from 01 April 2021 they will uplift Grade 1 to £9.50 to reflect this change. Any changes to the Scottish Local Government Living Wage will be reflected/backdated when pay negotiations for this year are concluded.
Our new salary scales (pay award pending) are available via Connect.
(Connect navigation: Home page -> Documents & Forms -> HR folder -> Benefits & Allowances -> Salary Scales 2018-21)
Should staff have any queries on the consolidation of the living wage they should contact their HR Business Partner or Trade Union representative.
There will be some changes to our complaints handling procedure (CHP) from 1st April. This is to ensure that we continue to comply with the Model CHP provided by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO).
Most of the process is the same as before, with the following more significant changes:
New guides for staff and customers are available to refer to.
The annual Statement of Accounts has to be submitted to Council and the External Auditors by 30 June.
For the 2020/21 Statement of Accounts, the Year End Timetable (via Connect) gives the final dates for completion of tasks and the required information to be provided to Accountancy including, order processing, goods receipting, invoicing, service accruals, stock, bank reconciliations, Council Tax and NDR processes etc.
Adherence with these deadlines will ensure that all necessary work is undertaken and all accounting information is properly recorded and included in the Statement of Accounts.
If you have any questions or if you foresee any difficulties in meeting the set deadlines please contact your Accountancy support.
As always I am very appreciative of your support in this task.
Chief Finance Officer
(Connect navigation: Documents & Forms -> Service Areas -> Finance -> Year End Timetable)
The Shielding section of the Staff FAQs has been updated with the latest information and advice from the Chief Medical Officer which includes information about staff members on the shielding list continung to work from home if they can when all areas move to level 3 from 26th April.
If you were/are on the shielding list, you will have received a letter from the Chief Medical Officer with this information. You can read more in the Shielding section of our Staff FAQs.
The deadline to apply to the EUSS is 30 June 2021.
If you are an EU citizen or you have service users who are EU citizens and may not have applied to the EUSS yet, you can find more information on where to get help and support on our Brexit - information for employees page on Connect, the link to which can also be found on the home page.
Covid-19 is the most significant public health emergency that the UK has faced in a generation. We have played a critical role in seeking to mitigate the impacts of Covid-19 at a local level.
We have worked collaboratively with our partners to protect and support the most vulnerable in our communities in line with Scottish Government and Public Health (Scotland) advice.
We are due to consider our Budget for 2021/22 on 24 March 2021. The full paper is available by following the link.
The Covid-19 pandemic and our role in supporting the response and recovery is the context in which our budget is being set for 2021/22.
Just as it has significantly influenced how the Council has delivered services to our communities over the last 12 months, the pandemic has also significantly influenced the policy priorities embedded within our budget for 2021/22 onwards.
Our budget meeting has been scheduled later to allow for both the UK and Scottish Governments' Budget announcements to be ratified.
To facilitate this later date, and in order to comply with statutory timescales in respect of housing rent and council tax setting, we separated these decisions from the full budget and set our housing rent and council tax levels at Council meetings held on the 11 February and 4 March respectively. At both meetings, it was agreed to freeze housing rent and Council tax levels for 2020/21. This means Council Tax for a Band D property will remain at £1,304.63.
Budget setting remains a challenge for all public sector bodies particularly within the context of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic alongside already increasing needs, demand and demographic pressures as well as new responsibilities.
In Clackmannanshire, the Council has already approved £51m of savings since 2011.
The 2021/22 budget builds on the significant work over the last three years, both politically and managerially, in respect of our financial planning and service delivery approaches.
This budget aims to implement additional capacity agreed by Council in the lead up to the budget and sets out ambitious plans for transformation
The consultation process for Budget setting for 2021/22 was streamlined. The general consultation focussed on potential for a 2% increase in the rate of fees and charges under the direct influence of the Council.
More targeted consultation is now taken forward with affected stakeholders and communities of interest on a year round basis.
Engagement with trade union representatives has continued on similar lines to previous years and mirrors the engagement with elected members.
The proposed Budget is balanced (this is a legal requirement) and focuses on key themes of Wellbeing and economic recovery.
It proposes savings of £2.126m which are made up of management efficiencies (£1.799m) and policy savings (£0.038m) as well as savings as a result of previously approved transformation projects (£0.289m).
The Budget also provides funding to support the investment required to deliver our planned Transformation set out in our Be the Future (BtF) Programme which covers General Fund, Housing Revenue Account and the Health and Social Care Partnership.
You will be able to read more about our bold and ambitious BtF Programme in Appendix A of the Council report. It is a 10 year plan linked to capital investment, City Region Deal proposals and sets an innovative direction for delivery of public services in the future.
Priority will be placed on collaborative approaches both with other public sector partners and also with national and local governments and agencies.
It also provides investment in additional capacity to embed Community Wealth Building in the Council’s culture and processes.
Significant work has been undertaken with respect of the Council’s Capital programme which sets out £255 million of capital investment over the next 20 years, with investment accelerated in the first half of the Programme to stimulate economic recovery locally and regionally
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on 30 November 2020 a one-off £500 pro rata payment for health and social care staff on the frontline throughout the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
It is a thank you to staff employed in adult social care and children’s residential care. Scottish Government Ministers wish to recognise the extraordinary effort that health and social care staff have made during the pandemic.
Further information on the payment is available via our Social Services Updates page.
The Fleet service schedule for April is available via Connect home page under Latest News.
The Scottish Parliamentary elections take place on 6th May and the pre-election period begins today (Monday 15th March).
There are certain responsibilities Council staff have in terms of maintaining neutrality at work generally, but particularly in the lead up to an election.
Full guidance can be found on CONNECT . If you have any queries, you should discuss these with your line manager in the first instance.
Following the success of last year's programme, we are pleased to announce the return of our Promoting Good Conversations Programme, with cohorts beginning in late April 2021.
Designed to upskill managers in new ways of working, the Promoting Good Conversations Programme is a management development programme created in collaboration with Forth Valley College. Hosted virtually, you will learn about how to communicate effectively with staff, use technology to get the most from your work, and look after your staff’s mental and physical wellbeing during these challenging times.
The Promoting Good Conversations Programme is open to all those with management responsibilities including Chargehands, Supervisors and first line management (and above). All sessions will be hosted virtually via MS Teams or Zoom, so please make sure you have access to these before signing up.
Cohort dates can be found on Connect intranet, and please don’t delay in signing up as places last year went incredibly quickly. All bookings, or enquiries, can be made by emailing email@example.com.
(Navigation from Connect home page -> Human Resources -> Learning & Development -> Leadership & Management)
This is an exciting opportunity to learn more about how to manage effectively in our new working environment, so don’t delay in getting involved.
It's 3 years since the introduction of GDPR, the EU legislation for data protection, when all drivers had to complete the new D906 fair processing form.
All drivers using council vehicles will now be required to extend permission held by Fleet to check their licence status for a further 3 years.
Fleet Services are required by law to check all authorised drivers’ licences, therefore, a GDPR form will be emailed to staff for completion one month prior to the expiry date of the current permission date.
For staff with no access to email, a form will be sent to their line manager to arrange completion. All completed forms should be returned to Fleet Services.
If you have any queries regarding this process, please contact Janice Manson (X 6929) or Kevin Philliben (X 6936).
The Council has pledged to make ‘The Promise’ to ensure that our families in the care system are listened to and experience a less fractured and bureaucratic system during some of the most difficult times of their lives.
Teams in the People Directorate have begun the work to assess the current position, consider where changes need to be made, and how these might be implemented. This will include listening to our families, staff and partners, and will be carried out with the support of the The Promise team. This work will be ongoing over the months and years ahead, and progress will be reported to the People committee. Our press release is also available to refer to.
Pool and other petrol vehicle users requiring petrol should report to Fleet Services between 8am and 3.30pm, Monday to Thursday and 8am to 12 noon on a Friday.
A Fuel card will be issued for use at a local petrol station eg Tesco, and returned to Fleet Services with the receipt.
Users require to provide the mileage and vehicle registration when refuelling.
This is a short term arrangement during Covid and further details regarding Fuel cards will be advised in due course.
If you have any queries regarding this, please contact Janice Manson (extn 6929) or Kevin Philliben (extn 6936).
Over the next few months we are looking at services increasing/reopening as national guidance allows us to do more. This will be the first time that this has happened since the new variants of Covid-19 have been in place, so it is very important that we ensure that all measures which have been put in place are reinforced to keep us all safe.
The main method of keeping people safe is to keep as much distance as possible between people - we recognise that in some cases this is not always possible, but we should still strive to do this as much as possible.
Where people do need to be closer it is important to keep the numbers mixing as low as possible. Outside the risk is lower, but there is still a need to maintain distance between people.
The other main mitigation will be self isolation of those who are symptomatic or who have tested positive to prevent further spread. For those members of staff who are part of the LFD testing regime, this does not do away with the need to self isolate and get and NHS test if they start to show symptoms. In either type of test, a negative test only proves that the person did not have it in their system at the time they were tested - people still need to follow the other measures in place.
Vaccinations will also help prevent serious illness, however, again this does not mean that all other measures can be ignored. Remember that staff should be emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to advise of their appointment dates.
Beyond this the FACTS guidance should be followed:
If we all follow this guidance, the end of these restrictions will come sooner as cases numbers will drop.
Sports Development run a number of online fitness classes for staff which are listed in our Wellbeing pages.
With many staff continuing to work from home, we would like to remind staff again about our Data Protection obligations in all areas of our work. Please follow the link to our Working from Home section.
To allow for the timely payment of members pension benefits, SPPA must receive applications with a retiral date between May and September 2021, no later than three months prior to the date of retiral. This will allow SPPA the necessary time to check records, calculate and authorise the award application in order to put the pension into payment by the due date.
Staff who are intending to retire should ensure they complete the application form online.
Members looking for an estimate of their benefits should access the SPPA secure Online Services.
Senior Manager - HR and Workforce Development
Guidance for preparation of the 2021/22 service business plans is available via Connect home page.
Guidance and template documents are stored in this folder: Connect -> Documents & Forms -> Strategy & Policy
Legal & Governance
We have a strict process to follow when employees wish to change their bank account details. To minimise the risk of fraud, we do not accept emails or phone calls regarding changes.
The two ways you can change your bank details are:
If you are a member of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS), you can now access a Shared Cost Additional Voluntary Contribution (AVC) scheme, facilitated by our partners AVC Wise.
What is a Shared Cost AVC scheme?
This is an 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 be reinvested into your Shared Cost AVC pot. This pot of money will be invested according to your investment choices and could therefore grow as time goes on.
By topping up your pension pot, this means you could potentially retire early or with more money.
You find out how much your Shared Cost AVC could be worth at retirement by using AVC Wise's new calculator tool at https://www.avcwise.co.uk/calculator.
You can find out more information about the Shared Cost AVC scheme in the short video above.
To contact AVC Wise, you can email email@example.com, call 01259 784546 or visit their website at https://www.avcwise.co.uk/ to use the live chat service.
A number of staff groups are starting to fall within the Scottish Government's programme of Lateral Flow Testing for Coronavirus and more are likely to follow in the coming weeks and months.
Please see below important information that our colleagues in NHS Forth Valley's Public Health Team have asked us to share regarding these tests.
7 key messages about Asymptomatic (no symptoms) Covid-19 Lateral Flow Tests (LFTs) rapid testing:
Parental Employment Support (PES) supports those with parental responsibilities who are already in the workplace to increase their household income or support those looking to get back into the workplace through Key Worker support provided by the Clackmannanshire Works team.
You can find out more about PES and if your are eligible on the Parental Employment Support (PES) section of Keeping Staff Connected.
Some of our staff are included in the groups who are receiving their vaccination. In order that we have an accurate picture across Council services, if you are in one of those groups please can you email firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm the date of vaccination and the date you are due to get your second dose. This will be recorded on iTrent.
We would also ask all staff to ensure that their contact details on iTrent are up to date. There have been situations where we have had to provide lists of staff to take up vaccine supplies at short notice which may otherwise have gone to waste and in this case. For this to be effective, we will need to contact staff so it is important that all contact details are correct on iTrent. This is also important to allow effective track and trace should any positive cases be identified in any of our workplaces.
Thank you for your ongoing co-operation.
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.
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.
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):
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.
A reminder to staff about expectations in relation to Coronavirus is available by following the link.
For instructions on how to set up your phone at home, please refer to the setting up your equipment page.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com 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.