Chief Executive's Blog

Each month our Chief Executive, Roddy Burns, writes a blog to keep us up-to-date on what he's been up to over the past few weeks, and what he's got scheduled for the month ahead. From meetings with cabinet ministers, to attending local art or music shows, it gives us an insight into the work and personal life of our Chief Executive.

Read the most current blog below, or choose a month from the menu to read a previous entry.

December 2017

It will come as no surprise that the current issues being tackled by myself and the Corporate Management Team include how the council plans to respond to Universal Credit which will roll out in Moray next year, and future financial forecasting and budget savings.

I have mentioned before the importance of growing and diversifying Moray’s economy and the Growth Deal is very much part of that.  The Council has been encouraged by the Scottish and UK governments to get the backing of Moray businesses.  It has been my pleasure to assist Rhona Gunn, Corporate Director (Economic Development and Infrastructure) in this task and meeting a number of key businesses to canvass their support.

It is particularly pleasing to see work has started on the business park at Barmuckity to the east of Elgin.  

Tourism is an important and growing aspect of our economy and a conference was held recently in Moray of tourism businesses and operators.  Some idea of the sorts of issues discussed can be found at the following link.

Much work continues to be done at pace to address the issues raised by the children’s services Inspection.  I took time out to visit Dundee to observe the workings of their chief officers.  It is important that we constantly benchmark ourselves against other Councils so that we can improve.

There was also a welcome opportunity to catch up with Richard Lochhead MSP on a number of constituency issues.

One of my lesser known roles is Clerk to the Lord Lieutenancy of Moray.  For those who are unfamiliar with this please look on their website. Like any group or organisation they are always looking for ways to improve what they do and as Clerk I participated in a development event with the Lord Lieutenant and members of the Lieutenancy.

As well as travelling to Dundee there have been the usual rounds of meetings of Chief Executives in Edinburgh to coincide with the monthly meetings of Council Leaders at COSLA.  As Honorary Secretary of the Chief Executives Group I also had the opportunity whilst in Edinburgh to meet with senior civil servants responsible for local government.

The Council Leader, Cllr George Alexander and myself travelled to Oban to a meeting of the Convention of Highlands and Islands, chaired by John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary.  Discussions at the meeting focussed on Brexit, the rural economy and broadband provision.
Incidentally, this important meeting will be coming to Moray this time next year.  

October saw the publication of the results of the 2017 employee opinion survey.

This is a sixth whole workforce survey and it was undertaken in June of this year.

This year’s survey received an overall response rate of 42%, the highest response rate in the history of our staff surveys.  I am particularly pleased in the significant increase in responses within sections of Direct Services.

It is encouraging to note the trend of more positive results seen in the 2015 surveys continuing across the vast majority of areas considered within the surveys.

You can find more about the employee survey here.

While it is clear that the 2017 results are generally positive, and responses that indicate that progress is being made along the culture of the council beginning to change, it is evident that there are still areas that require significant improvement. Work will continue to take place in the specific areas of the council that are flagged up as having less positive results.

Finally on this topic, I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who took the time to complete the survey.

Closer to home I was fortunate to be a guest of the organisers of the Colours of Cluny event in Forres.  This is a really inspiring event showcasing just what a community can do when everyone works together.

November of course saw the annual Remembrance Day and in a private capacity I was present at the ceremony on the Plainstones in Elgin.

It was good to meet up with the Moray Trade Union Council, an annual event which allows for useful exchange of information and views on matters of mutual interest and concern.

As I mentioned before I am delighted to be a mentor for the Career Ready scheme. Having visited my mentee at Speyside High School, his place of study, it was my turn to show him my world when he spent a day at headquarters experiencing my working day and those of colleagues.

I am looking forward to meeting the new station commander at RAF Lossiemouth shortly, and to attending a children and young people’s event in Glasgow.

By the time you read this the last meetings of COSLA for the calendar year will have taken place.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank David Rout, LSO Aberdeenshire and Moray, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service for his valued service to Moray and to wish him well for the future.

Myself, directors and heads of service will be undertaking our annual emergency planning exercise in November, this year looking at scenarios’s with a terrorism element.

As you know I always look forward to getting out and about and  will be up at the crack of dawn to visit staff at our Brumley Brae depot.

Final thought – Moray has many great winter festival events at this time of year, make sure you support them and have some fun at the same time.  Hopefully you will all get a chance to have a break over the festive period.

I look forward to catching up again in my next blog, and in particular my thoughts about our magnificent STAR Award winners.

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