The final conference for this year came to a close in Elgin on Tuesday 25th September with conferences also being held in Buckie and Forres earlier in the month.
This year” The Power of You” was our main theme, focusing on ourselves as employees. This theme encouraged attendees to consider how we continue to transform services to deliver our priorities outlined in the Corporate Plan and to determine what role we play as colleagues in addressing the challenges ahead in delivering them.
In his keynote speech, Chief Executive, Roddy Burns thanked everyone for their hard work and commitment over what has been a very challenging year. Roddy added that he was aware that we all recognise by now that the Council has to continue to change how it delivers services in order to be able to achieve our outcomes and priorities whilst also achieving a balanced budget. He added he was confident we can continue to work together to achieve our latest corporate and service ambitions and that the council was moving into a period of transformation and modernisation.
Delegates were then involved in 2 discussion groups with the first session involving the group using ‘Morayopoly’ as a tool. This session involved consideration of the impact of a reducing budget on council services and the workforceand a discussion on what services should be protected, what needed to change and what thinks the group thought the council needed to stop and their rationale for doing so.
In the second discussion group, attendees had the opportunity, using a ‘spidergram’ to consider the employee perspective on how we engage ‘the power of you’. The focus of this session was to consider what employees needed to be the best they can be during this period of transformational change. This involved discussion around health and wellbeing, resilience, the working environment and communications. The groups discussed where we are now and considered what actions needed to be put in place to enable employees to be supported during this period of transformational change.
Stands providing information on health and wellbeing were available during the breaks and many attendees sought advice from our Occupational Health Provider on stress management and had the opportunity to have a Blood Pressure check. The NHS Health point was also available providing advice and literature on health related matters and there were information points on health eating, exercise and signposting mental health services.
Bringing the morning to its conclusion, three of our colleagues made short films to share their experiences. Angela Keegan (Day Services Manager) talked about her service’s experience following a review; including the service improvements, benefits & efficiencies. Mark Bruce, Sport & Leisure Supervisor talked about how he and his team have continued to provide a robust service to the community, how they continue to do so in challenging times and shares their approach with us in delivering best practice in a period of transformational change. Finally Mary Ross, last year’s winner of the Chief Executive’s Award for Excellence (STAR Awards) told us about the work that she did which resulted in her Award, some of the practices within the service and her experience of having this work recognised. Mary was employed as a School Crossing Patroller at the time of her award however is now working as a Clerical Assistant.
Council Convener, Shonagh Morrison and Leader, Graham Leadbitter, opened and closed the conferences between them, commenting that the events had sped by and they had enjoyed hearing everyone’s thoughts and taking part in the discussions that had taken place.
Thanks to all those who attended and took part in the event. Feedback from the conferences will be published on the interchange as soon as it’s ready.