Skip to main content | Skip to section menu | Access keys.

Clackmannanshire Council Online

SLG Messages

SLG Messages

Kilncraigs staffing numbers

Created: 2/2/22

As you know, following the FM statement last week on a staged move to hybrid working, the Senior Leadership Group announced that the status quo position will prevail in our workplaces until at least the 1 April - that is, all staff should work from home if they can.

This position is supported by TU colleagues who, like us, are thoughtful that any change needs to be gradual, planned and well communicated to staff who may feel understandably anxious.

Despite this, over the course of the last week, more colleagues are coming forward to raise concerns about  noticable increasing staff numbers within Kilncraigs.  Further spot checks of numbers appear to confirm anecdotal concerns.

In the interests of health and safety, please remind all supervisors, that staff should not be coming to work unless they have to.  We will provide further information as soon as we can but for now, please be aware that rates of community transmission remain high, and we are by no means out the woods with this pandemic.

Please keep our colleagues safe.

New Year Message from Chief Executive 

Created 06/01/22

Colleagues

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Very Happy New Year. I hope that 2022 proves to be positive in all our professional and personal experiences.

I know that many managed to take a very well deserved break over the Festive Period. Welcome back and and I hope that you will /have returned refreshed and ready for 2022.

However there are a number of staff who have continued to work throughout the Festive period, providing vital supports and services to our communities. This work is very much appreciated and I would like to say a huge Thank You on behalf of the Senior Leadership Group for your continuing commitment to Clackmannanshire and ensuring services continue to be delivered against this very challenging background of the pandemic. Your work is invaluable and provides much needed supports to some very vulnerable individuals and communities.

Best wishes for the year ahead, 

Nikki 
 

Message from SLG – Covid update

Created 20/09/21

Dear Colleagues

In every part of Scotland, local leadership and delivery has helped change the course of the pandemic over the last 18 months, saving lives, supporting the NHS and helping vulnerable people and communities.

Staff will however be aware that the number of cases across Scotland has increased and it is important we continue to  take every effort we can, especially as winter approaches,   to mitigate the risk of Government having to re-impose or introduce protective measures again. 

The Scottish Government, COSLA and SOLACE Scotland are calling on all sectors in Scotland to do all they can to promote safe behaviours and follow baseline measures, guidance and regulations. As a Local Authority we have a key role to support these efforts and it is important that we continue to provide visible leadership to our local communities to continue to follow the remaining public health measures.

Role Modelling

We are encouraging all our staff to lead by example by: ,

  • continuing to follow Covid safety measures and behaviours
  • getting fully vaccinated when eligible and able to do so
  • self isolating when required to do so
  • taking LFT tests regularly when asymptomatic and a PCR test when symptomatic

Working from Home

In previous messages we outlined  that working from home where you can would continue until at least the end of September this year.  Given the very high prevalence rates, and the pressures already being experienced by NHS, HCSP and council services and colleagues prior to the onset of winter, all public authorities and businesses are being encouraged to continue with home working and virtual meetings, where possible.

As a result of this, we will be asking those staff who are currently working from home to continue to do so until at least the beginning of January. We will continue to monitor and review the situation and if the timescale is likely to be extended beyond January, we will update as soon as we can. In the meantime, we also have a working group which is currently looking at our working practices in the longer term. 

We recognise and are aware of the impact the continuing Pandemic and remote working may be having on the mental wellbeing of our staff. We would like to remind you that we have a number of support measures in place with advice and guidance on how you can look after yourself and your mental wellbeing. You can find more information on the Wellbeing section of our Keeping Staff Connected pages.  

For those staff who will be coming in to the work place, either through business need or for mental wellbeing purposes, we would ask you to  please continue to maintain measures such as physical distancing, wearing of face coverings, and adhere to signage one-way systems and protocols to ensure we keep one another safe.

We appreciate that the past 18 months has been a difficult time for everybody, but with the current pressures on services, and the possibility of a challenging winter ahead,  we hope that all staff will understand the need to continue the good work to date and stay with it to protect each other, services users and our loved ones at home.

We cannot say it often enough but we want to thank again all our staff for their hard work,  dedication, support and tremendous efforts in helping us continue to maintain and provide services for the people of Clackmannanshire.

Kind regards

Nikki, Stuart, Fiona, Lorraine and Pete

Senior Leadership Group  

Message from SLG - Future Ways of Working and staff benefits scheme

Created 26/08/21

Dear Colleagues

This week the First Minister reiterated again the Scottish Government’s advice that if you have been working from home, you should continue to do so.

As an organisation, we continue to follow this guidance. The health and safety of our staff is one of our main priorities and as such, we will continue to take a cautious approach which means that current working practices in your service area will remain the same into October and possibly beyond. If you have been working from home, you should, , unless there is a service requirement which has been agreed by SLG, continue to do so. For those staff who have been coming in to council premises either full time or working a hybrid model please continue to be vigilant, follow the one way systems in place and wear your masks when you are not at your desk.

While current working practices remain the same in the short term, we have set up a cross service working group, including TU members,  to look at future ways of working in the medium and longer term as part of our Be the Future programme. At a meeting this week, the group discussed various methods of hybrid working adopted by other organisations and how the hybrid model could benefit not only staff but the communities we serve in Clackmannanshire.

The working group will help us inform what could be the single biggest change to working practices the Council has ever undertaken. This will include reviewing where, when and how work is undertaken and how we can become a more agile workforce.

Going forward we will be focussing on how these changes will help our organisation transform into a Council fit for the future.

We will continue to keep you informed of the progress and any future changes to working patterns.

Next month we will be launching an exciting new staff benefits scheme through Edenred which will give you access to a wide range of benefits and discounts either through pay deductions or direct with suppliers at a great discount. You can find out more information about the Edenred scheme in the Staff Benefits section. We would enourage you all to take time to visit the page.

Finally while our Covid rates in Clackmannanshire continue to rise it’s important we all play our part in minimising the risk of catching Coronavirus and help to keep not only ourselves but colleagues safe.

Best wishes

Nikki, Fiona, Lorraine, Stuart and Pete

Senior Leadership Group

Message from SLG - 18 August 

Dear Colleagues 

Recently we have been able to enjoy more freedoms than we have done in more than a year after the Scottish Government lifted most of the remaining Covid restrictions.

We hope that you have been able to enjoy these changes while still being cautious and following the latest advice and guidance available on the Scottish Government's website. Today we take another step forward as children and young adults return to our schools and ELCs after the summer holidays.

The safety of pupils and our staff continues to be our main priority and our Education Team has been working hard to ensure this is the case with support from our Health and Safety Team as well as our cleaning and catering staff. We wish everyone returning tomorrow a safe and peaceful term ahead.

As we move forward with our recovery, our Be the Future transformation programme is picking up pace. The Be the Future Programme Management Office (PMO) will have oversight of the Be the Future projects which will transform and shape the way we work as a Council and deliver our services.

One of the projects which has been identified as a priority is the new Wellbeing Hub for Alloa. Work is continuing at pace and we have carried out both an online survey as well as live action days throughout Clackmannanshire to gauge residents’ views on future provision of wellbeing in the County. The response to the survey and live action days has been great with around 3000 people and groups taking part. More activity is planned for the coming months and we will continue to update you on the progress.

Elsewhere ALLOA'S Wimpy Park has been selected to appear on BBC’s Beechgrove Garden show for a special DIY SOS. Members of our Community Learning and Development Team as well as Trades and Grounds Maintenance Teams will be joining volunteers to help with the work. The BBC will start filming the exciting project later next week.

We would like to remind staff that for the time being, current working practices remain the same. If you have been working from home, you should continue to do so. For those staff who have been coming in to council premises either full time or working a hybrid model, please continue to be vigilant. Our rates in Clackmannanshire have risen by 179% in the last week so it’s important we all play our part in minimising the risk of catching Coronavirus and help to keep not only ourselves but colleagues safe. Restrictions in council premises such as one way systems and two metre distancing are still in place. Masks should also continue to be worn while moving about council premises and no new or increased work related activity should take place without prior agreement from SLG.

As a Council we will be looking at our longer term working practices as part of our Be the Future programme. This will include reviewing where, when and how work is undertaken and how we can become a more agile workforce.

If you have any concerns or questions, we would ask that you speak to your line manager in the first instance. The wellbeing pages on Keeping Staff Connected also have a number of measures aimed at supporting all our staff at this time. We would encourage everyone to visit these pages

Finally our thoughts are with the people of Plymouth following the tragic events in the city last week. Our colleagues at Plymouth City Council led a minute’s silence as a mark of respect for those who lost their lives.  Plymouth City Council have also organised an online book of condolence that can be found on their https://www.plymouth.gov.uk/onlinebookcondolence.

As ever, we would like to thank you for your continued hard work and commitment. 

Best wishes

Nikki, Stuart, Lorraine, Fiona, Pete 
Senior Leadership Group

 

Message from SLG - 15 July

Dear Colleagues

This week we got welcome news from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that we will be moving from Level 2 to Level 0 on Monday 19th July.
While this means the lifting of many restrictions in our social and family lives, once again we would like to remind you that if you have been working from home you should continue to do so.

As we said in our message last month, current arrangements should continue until September 2021 to allow a full review of working arrangements across the organisation. This review will consider the feedback received via the Future Ways of Working online survey as well as initiatives such a new IT system to regulate staff numbers within buildings. This work will ensure any gradual return to offices will be as safe as possible, while also in line with Scottish Government guidance.

If you are coming into a council building to work, please ensure that you continue to follow all the protocols which have been put in place to help keep everyone safe. This includes wearing a face covering when you are not at your desk, maintaining a safe social distance from colleagues and following the one way systems that have been put in place.

Individual members of staff and managers should not be making changes to working styles just now. There will be a corporate approach to ensure a managed return to the office in a controlled and safe manner.

The Scottish Government guidance on what we can and can’t do in Level O is available on their website.

We would like to thank you all for your continued hard work and commitment and hope that you are all getting a chance to enjoy the warm, sunny weather. 

Best wishes

Nikki, Lorraine, Fiona, Stuart and Pete
Senior Leadership Group

Message from SLG - 13 May 

Dear Colleagues

This week we got welcome news from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that we will soon be able to enjoy more freedoms as more restrictions are lifted.

From Monday 17th May, we will be moving from Level 3 to Level 2 along with most of mainland Scotland. We will also be able to have up to 6 people in our homes from 3 different households but perhaps the best news of all is the relaxation of social distancing rules during our meetings with friend or family indoors or in private gardens. We will now be able to hug them which is something we have all been waiting what seems like a long time for!

For us as a Council, it means that we will be able to reopen some of the services which have been closed. This includes leisure facilities at our secondary schools and our library services. Some of those will initially be open on reduced hours as staff members continue to support  NHS Forth Valley’s vaccination programme. We will be able to provide updates on changes to this in due course.

The Scottish Government guidance on what we can and can’t do in Level 2 is available on their website. While we welcome this week’s news from the First Minister, we are very aware of the extra work this brings to staff across the council. Again, we would like to thank you for your continued hard work and dedication. We know it’s been a difficult time but the easing of restrictions brings us hope for brighter times ahead.

We would once again like to remind you that despite the fact we are moving to Level 2, if you have been working from home you should continue to do this in line with Scottish Government guidance. As we mentioned in our last message, the Senior Leadership Group have set up a working group to consider and discuss our working practices in the longer term and this work in ongoing.  This is part of our Be the Future programme to transform the way we work as a Council.

However if you are coming into Council buildings, in agreement with your line manager, please ensure that you continue to follow all the protocols which have been put in place to help keep everyone safe. This includes wearing a mask when you are not at your desk, maintaining a safe social distance from colleagues and following the one way systems that have been put in place in Kilncraigs and other council buildings.

The Scottish Parliamentary elections were held on Thursday May 6th.   Whilst delivering an election is a separate legal responsibility from Council duties, a significant number and range of Council services were involved to ensure that the election was delivered safely and accurately. This was a particularly challenging event to deliver given the operating restrictions relating the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Council services worked with key partners such as Police Scotland, IDOX, the Electoral Registration Officer and his team, local residents and community groups, Public Health Scotland and with national bodies such as the Electoral Commission and the Electoral Management Board. A significant partnership endeavour!

Our core elections teams - Evelyn Paterson and Dana Scjalokaite – did a power of work in difficult circumstances with support from a number of Council staff in various teams including Finance and Legal and Governance, IT, Emergency Planning, Health & Safety and Communications and staff from Kelliebank, who designed and produced our own protective screens. The commitment and combined contributions of Council staff, residents and partners ensured the smooth running of Postal vote processes, Polling Day and the Count which, for these elections, went over two days at a new venue at Lornshill Academy.

Nikki acted in her capacity as Constituency Returning Officer, supported by Deputy Returning Officers Lindsay Thomson, Evelyn Paterson and Gillian Taylor. She praised all staff and partners involved and extends her thanks and gratitude to all those who helped delivery a safe and successful Scottish Parliamentary Election. It is a real testament to the commitment and local pride of our officers and partners. It was a huge undertaking by everyone across the Council.

To put it into context, we saw around 23,000 people safely in polling stations in our communities to vote, received more than 12,000 postal votes and then counted over 35,000 thousand  votes over the course of 3 days – all while still in a pandemic. A phenomenal piece of work.

Finally, we would like to wish you all a well earned and restful weekend.

Here’s a reminder of the FACTS guidance we must follow for a safer Scotland:

Face Coverings, Avoid Crowded Places, Clean your Hands Regularly, Two Metre Distance, Self Isolate and Book a Test if you have Symptoms.

Best wishes

Nikki, Stuart, Pete, Lorraine and Fiona

Message from SLG - 30 April 

Dear Colleagues

In our last message, we talked about the easing of restrictions and the fact that we are now able to enjoy more freedoms. With these easing of restrictions, we know that you will be wondering what this means for you in terms of working practices.

Over the past year, we have seen the single biggest change to our working practices than ever before. We have staff  who have been working remotely for over a year while others have been redeployed into other roles to help the Council fulfil its role supporting the most vulnerable members of the community.

We know that it has been a difficult and challenging time both personally and professionally for many of our staff and some may be anxious at the thought of more changes to working practice.

We would like to emphasise that we are asking most staff who are working remotely to continue to do this until at least the end of June in line with current Scottish Government guidance. There may be some exceptional situations where staff are required to physically attend work and this will be agreed at individual and line manager level. 

The pandemic has brought everything into sharp focus and we have had to change the way we do things at a quicker pace than we had anticipated. The Senior Leadership Group will be setting up a working group to consider and discuss our working practices in the longer term. This is part of our Be the Future programme to transform the way we work as a Council to ensure we are working better and smarter to benefit not only our residents but also our staff. As a member of staff, you are our main asset and without your hard work and dedication we would not be able to provide the services that are so essential to so many people.

We recently published a link to the results of our staff survey on our Keeping Staff Connected page and on Connect http://connect/index.php/announcements/585-/5208-.  It is an invaluable tool in gauging how our staff are feeling and it was heartening to see that staff engagement had improved on the previous year’s survey and that over 80% of those responding were aware of our vision and values.

Feedback was also positive when it came to staff feeling a sense of achievement for the work they were undertaking, being treated with dignity and respect, making decisions, and receiving support from managers.

However we also have to recognise that the survey picked up on areas where improvement is needed. The survey highlighted that mental wellbeing of staff continues to be an area of focus for us, whilst 50% of staff who responded noted their mental health as being good or very good, a similar amount described their wellbeing and mental health as 'fair' or 'poor'.

Our Healthy Working Lives group have put a lot of time and effort into developing mental health support for staff and held a virtual wellbeing week at the end of January which was followed up with a wellbeing toolkit. They have also organised webinars for Stress Awareness Month. Other events are planned for the coming months and support is also available through line managers, union reps,  HR colleagues or PAM assist. You can find more information on the Wellbeing section of our Keeping Staff Connected page https://www.clacks.gov.uk/coronavirus/wellbeing/.

A working group, which will include Trade Union colleagues, will look at the full results of the staff survey and the comments and further information will follow. The approach we take going forward will be a collaborative one with staff and Trade Unions.

There will also be a focus on staff engagement and internal communications over the coming months and we are looking at new and innovative ways to engage with staff, including trialing video messages from SLG. In the meantime, we would encourage you to make sure you are keeping up to date with the latest information and what support is available to you through our Keeping Staff Connected page on our website https://www.clacks.gov.uk/coronavirus/staffinformation/.

Finally, once again we would like to thank you for your commitment and wish you a restful weekend.

Here’s a reminder of the FACTS guidance we must follow for a safer Scotland:

Face Coverings, Avoid Crowded Places, Clean your Hands Regularly, Two Metre Distance, Self Isolate and Book a Test if you have Symptoms.

Best wishes

Nikki, Stuart, Pete, Lorraine and Fiona

Message from SLG - Staff should continue to work from home where possible

Created: 22/4/21

Dear Colleagues

We are all now starting to enjoy the easing of restrictions which began on 16th April with the lifting of the travel ban outwith local authority areas. We are now allowed to travel across Scotland for day trips as well as being allowed to meet in groups of up to six adults from six households in outdoor settings.

From Monday, 26th April we will see even more restrictions being lifted including the opening of non essential shops and indoor gyms for individual exercise as well as pubs, bars, cafés and restaurants who will be able to serve people outdoors in groups of up to six from six households until 10pm.

There will also be a partial resumption of indoor hospitality with food and non-alcoholic drinks allowed to be served until 8pm for groups of up to six people from no more than two households.

This is welcome news and signals a positive step forward in the fight against Coronavirus. However we would like to emphasise again that staff who can and have been working at home as a result of the pandemic should continue to do so.  For most staff this will be the case until at least the end of June in line with guidance from the Scottish Government. We will be issuing guidance in due course on more staff returning to office based locations, however, we need to ensure that we do so in a way that is Covid safe.  We are keen to engage with staff and trade unions on guidance before issuing it, particularly in the context of the longer term position on remote, workplace and blended working based on workstyle and choice.  We have seen an increase in staff who previously worked at home, coming into the office over the past week and we would discourage this unless it is necessary for youto attend a Council building for work purposes. 

We will, over the coming weeks, be looking at longer term working arrangements for staff and will issue further guidance soon.

Here’s a reminder of the FACTS guidance we must follow for a safer Scotland:

Face Coverings, Avoid Crowded Places, Clean your Hands Regularly, Two Metre Distance, Self Isolate and Book a Test if you have Symptoms.

Best wishes

Nikki, Stuart, Pete, Lorraine and Fiona

Message from SLG - 28 January 

Dear Colleagues

We have all felt the impact of the Covid pandemic over the past 10 months. It has seemed unrelenting, particularly during the long cold, dark winter months.

You and your colleagues are part of a critical workforce and everyones hard work, commitment and dedication throughout these months has been immensely valued by managers, SLG, elected members and our partners. No ones working day or personal life has been left untouched by the pandemic but you have continued to work at pace through complex, challenging and difficult times, creating new ways of working and helping to make a real difference to  how we as a Council deliver our services and support our most vulnerable.

But we know this can take it a toll so looking after your mental and physical wellbeing is important. This week we have been holding our first ever Virtual Wellbeing Week which began on Monday with Lorraine joining a “Virtual Cuppa Morning” with staff.

The session was facilitated by Alastair Hair from Workforce Development and Lorraine was delighted to see so many members of staff in the “virtual room” take part in a conversation about looking after yourself and your colleagues, being kind to each other and how you share, and continue to share, the load during tough times. Everyone has layers to deal  with and Lorraine was able to share some of her own tips and advice.

The Wellbeing week, which was organised by our Healthy Working Lives Team,  has been a collaborative effort with sessions hosted by colleagues in Health and Safety, Sports Development, Educational Psychology, and external partners such as the Samaritans and the Optima Winter Health Expo.

There have been winter wellness, mindfulness and self-care sessions along with virtual yoga and fitness classes. We hope that you managed to take part in at least some of the sessions on offer and felt some benefit from them. This is something which we are looking at running again in the coming months. In the meantime we will be sending out a Wellbeing Toolkit to staff by email, which will also be available on the Keeping Staff Connected pages, to help and support you to look after yourself.

Our staff continue to support the Covid vaccination programme. The majority of our residents over the age of 80 have now received the first does of the vaccine. The vaccination process for those who are over the age of 70 or who are at clinical risk is due to begin next week with those over 65 being invited for vaccines by mid February.

For other groups, the Covid vaccination route map sets out the following timescales:

  • Over 16s at clinical risk – beginning of March
  • Over 50s- beginning of April

This route map is welcome as it means we are on the road to recovery but we all still have a lot of work to do to ensure we contain the virus. This week a Mobile Testing Unit (MTU) was set up in Sauchie following an increase in positive cases and this is a reminder of the importance of continuing to follow the rules and stay at home as much as possible. There are still too many people catching Covid and as we heard from the First Minister on Wednesday, too many people have sadly died. 

Thank you for all you are doing and the sacrifices you are making to stay at home and help save lives. We know that it is not easy, particularly if you are juggling this with caring responsibilities. As we said in our message last week, we will get through this if we all take the time to support and look out for each other.

We continue our work to support our staff as much as possible and this week we have created a new section on our Keeping Staff Connected page which provides information on support for staff who have parental responsibilities through the Parental Employment Support fund. You can find out more about it and if you are eligible here.

Finally, we would like to wish you and your family a restful weekend ahead.

Here’s a reminder of the FACTS guidance we must follow for a safer Scotland:

Face Coverings, Avoid Crowded Places, Clean your Hands Regularly, Two Metre Distance, Self Isolate and Book a Test if you have Symptoms.

Best wishes

Nikki, Stuart, Pete and Lorraine

Message from SLG - 21 January 

Dear Colleagues

This week we heard that the current lockdown measures are to be extended until at least the middle of February with the First Minister saying that Scotland still remained in a "very precarious position".

We know that this will be disheartening news for those who have been making sacrifices to help keep our communities safe however your efforts ARE having an effect. The First Minister said that there are signs that the lockdown is "beginning to have an impact" on the number of new infections so it is more important than ever to continue to continue to follow the rules and stay at home as much as possible.

Another glimmer of hope on the road to normality is the continued rollout of the vaccine programme. A number of our staff in Health and Social Care, Children's Services and Criminal Justice, as well as care home residents have already been given the first does of the vaccine and more staff will be part of this rollout programme in the coming weeks. The roll out to communities got underway in earnest at GP surgeries and Alloa Town Hall this week.

There have also been occasions recently where we have been asked to provide lists of staff who may be able to be contacted to be vaccinated at short notice to ensure all supplies of vaccines are being used. When this happens, we need to be able to get in touch with staff so it is important that your contact details on iTrent are as up to date as possible. We would urge you to check your details over the coming days and make any necessary changes.

As a Council, our role as a Category 1 Responder is to ensure that we are supporting the most vulnerable people in our communities. The ongoing pandemic continues to put pressure on a number of areas, in particular health and social care. Our Services are reviewing their capacity and what, if any and where appropriate, staff could be redeployed to help support other essential services.

In our message last week, we talked about the importance of looking after your mental wellbeing, particularly during the month of January which can often be a difficult time of the year for many people with this year being even more challenging with new lockdown measures. To help support you through this period, we will be holding our first ever Virtual Wellbeing Week next week.

The programme of our events starts on Monday 25th with a virtual coffee morning with one of us starting at 10am for an hour which will include an update on staff wellbeing as well as an introduction to our staff Wellbeing portal followed by a "listen and learn" presentation from Falkirk Samaritans.

Each day follows a different theme:

  • Winter Wellness Monday
  • Mindfulness Tuesday
  • Active Wednesday
  • Health & Self-care Thursday
  • Fun Friday

There will be a variety of activities each day all available through Zoom. Our health and safety team have done a fantastic job pulling the event together and an ECCO message has gone out this week with the full programme of events as well as details on how you can join in sessions through Zoom. Managers have also been asked to cascade joining instructions for the Zoom sessons to their teams. You will also be able to find more information on the Latest News section of our Keeping Staff Connected page on our internet. Please go on and have a look at the variety of sessions available throughout the week.

In addition, our Sports Development Team is running a new virtual wellbeing class for staff on Wednesdays from 12.30-1pm. You can find more details of this at our online fitness classes page. Our very own version of Joe Wicks!

It's heartening to see that during a difficult period, our staff are doing everything they can not only to support our communities but also to help and support each other. We will get through this by working together and looking out for each other.

Finally, we would like to thank you again for your continued efforts.

Once again, here’s a reminder of the FACTS guidance we must follow for a safer Scotland:

Face Coverings, Avoid Crowded Places, Clean your Hands Regularly, Two Metre Distance, Self Isolate and Book a Test if you have Symptoms.

Best wishes

Nikki, Stuart, Pete and Lorraine

Message from SLG - 14 January

Dear Colleagues

We are now in our second week of new lockdown measures and on Wednesday, the First Minister announced that she was tightening these measures further because of the current pressures on our health service.

The new measures take effect on Saturday (16 January) and include changes to click and collect services which will be restricted to shops selling essential items such as clothing, footwear, homewear and baby equipment and takeaways will no longer be allowed to have customers indoors and must instead operate from a hatch or doorway. You can read more about the Scottish Government’s stay at home guidance.

Statutory guidance will also be published for employers to support staff working from home. As a local authority, we are a Category 1 responder and have a number of statutory services that we must provide while working with our partners. Our services have identified essential staff who should continue to come in to the workplace but the majority of our staff remain working from home where possible.

The message from the First Minister is clear…this is a critical time for our NHS. It is now more important than ever that we all follow the rules, as difficult as we may find them, and stay at home as much as possible to help save lives.

There is however hope with more news this week about the rollout of the vaccination programme. Our health and social care staff have already started to be vaccinated and vaccinations for our residents who are over the age of 80 will begin on Monday 18th January. These will take place at a number of locations throughout Clackmannanshire including GP practices and Alloa Town Hall as well as at home for those who are housebound.

This week we also saw a return to remote learning and our education staff, children and young people have been busy accessing learning through the national Glow platform. They have been making excellent use of Glow along with Google G Suite and the Microsoft O365 platforms to support learning and teaching.

On Monday (11th January) there were 1,419 active Google classrooms while Google Meet has already seen 12,430 attendees using the platform to check in from a range of devices including the recently acquired Scottish Government digital inclusion Chromebooks. While Covid-19 has presented many challenges, our education staff and support staff including janitors and cleaners as well as catering are more than rising to the challenge.

The recent spate of icy weather has increased the workload for our Roads teams, supported by land services, and they are out day and night ensure the county’s main routes and pathyways are clear and safe to use.

Meanwhile our health and social care staff and social work teams continue to work tirelessly during the lockdown to keep people safe and cared for.

With so many changes and for some who are juggling work demands with home life it is can be easy to feel overwhelmed. We are putting together a Welfare Toolkit which we will be sending out to all staff next week with advice and guidance on how you can look after your mental wellbeing. In the meantime, you can find more information on this on the wellbeing section of our Keeping Staff Connected page.

Once again, here’s a reminder of the FACTS guidance we must follow for a safer Scotland:

Face Coverings, Avoid Crowded Places, Clean your Hands Regularly, Two Metre Distance, Self Isolate and Book a Test if you have Symptoms.

Best wishes

Nikki, Stuart, Pete and Lorraine

Message from SLG - 8 January 

Dear Colleagues

We would like to wish you all  a Happy New Year as we look forward to the year ahead.

As you know, the start of 2021 has arrived with a new set of challenges, but ones which we are taking forward positively with your assistance, input and support. We are also working very closely with Trade Union representatives to ensure any concerns and queries you are raising with them are being addressed and/or clarified as necessary.

Earlier this week the First Minister announced a further tightening of restrictions as mainland Scotland moved from Level 4 status, which had come into effect on Boxing Day, into "strict lockdown" which is due to last until the end of January.

This will impact further on the services we are able to offer. Our schools and Early Learning Centres will move to remote learning and on Wednesday (6th January) the Scottish Government issued supplementary updated guidance regarding places at schools for the children of key workers and vulnerable children.

It is clear from this guidance that the number of children who attend schools should be limited. As a result, we are having to put in place exceptional arrangements to ensure we are following this new guidance. You can read more about this on the Latest News page of Keeping Staff Connected.

We know that with yet more changes to the restrictions it can be confusing and you may have questions on what this will mean for you not just in how you carry out your role at work but what it means for you and your family outside the workplace.

We have updated our Staff FAQ page on Keeping Staff Connected to try and allay any concerns you may have and have also added a section with information for staff members who were previously shielding. We would also urge you to speak to your manager if you feel you still have questions.

We would like to say thank you to all the staff who worked hard throughout the festive period to support residents in Tillicoultry following a power outage that affected 295 houses in the town on Christmas Eve morning.

This resulted in a multi-agency emergency response over a period of several days to get electricity and heating back to residents as quickly as possible. The sheer volume of work that was carried out was incredible and we would like to thank all staff involved from a range of Council services including emergency planning, housing repairs, housing, social work, IT and communications. Their efforts were very much appreciated and this is yet another example of the dedication and resilience which has been shown by our staff throughout the most difficult of times in the past year.  The great partnership working also attracted praise from our colleagues in SPN, who themselves demonstrated significant flexibility in delivering our collective response to the incident.

2020 was definitely a most unusal year for all of us, both professionally and personally and it’s fair to say that 2021 has not, as yet,delivered the significant positive change that we were all hoping for. The next couple of months will be tough for us all so it  is more important than ever to make sure that you are looking after your mental health and wellbeing - particularly where you might be working from home, or are feeling isolated from your colleagues, friends or loved ones.

Managing your mental health and wellbeing during January can be tricky; particularly when the dark hours are long, and having the enthusiasm to go out into the cold makes getting exercise and vitamin D more difficult so we will be sending out a mental health toolkit shortly to help and support you through this time. This will also be available on the wellbeing page of Keeping Staff Connected. Please take the time and read through the information.

Finally, while we know that another lockdown and more restrictions means more separation from loved ones and friends for another period of time, we would urge you all continue to follow the rules and the latest Government guidance to stay at home as much as possible as help the NHS to save lives. 

There is hope for a brighter future with the roll-out of not just one, but two vaccines. But we just need to get through this tough period first and we all have a part to play in making sure we do this as safely as possible. You can find more information on how to do this on the Scottish Government website.

Once again, thank you for all your work over the past year. Here’s a reminder of the FACTS guidance we must follow for a safer Scotland:

Face Coverings, Avoid Crowded Places, Clean your Hands Regularly, Two Metre Distance, Self Isolate and Book a Test if you have Symptoms.

Best wishes

Nikki, Stuart, Pete and Lorraine

Related Publications & Documents