Chief Executive's Blog

April 2017

Hello everyone.

Farewell seems to have been one of the main themes of late, having just attended the final meeting of the current council and also the final meeting of the current community planning board.

Just earlier today I was also at RAF Lossiemouth as the station bid a final farewell to the Tornadoes which have been a familiar sight – and sound – in the skies over Moray for the past quarter of a century or so.

Along with the likes of the Shackleton, Buccaneer and Jaguar which went before it, the Tornado will always be fondly remembered by not only those inside the fence at Lossiemouth but also by the wider Moray community.

We have also had the last meeting of the cross-party transition board which has done a power of work over the past few months to pave the way for the incoming council following the May 4 elections.

Along with the corporate management team, the transition board has been instrumental in drawing up an induction programme for new councillors, of whom there will be quite a number.

With the considerable challenges that lie ahead and as the role of local government becomes increasingly complex, there will be a great deal for elected members to get to grips with and the induction programme will be tailored to reflect that.

It is always sad to part with councillors with whom you have worked closely over the years but I look forward to welcoming the new council and working with them for the future of Moray and its residents.

I was also saddened to hear over the past few days of the deaths of two former councillors – Jennifer Shaw, whose time as a councillor for the Lhanbryde area spanned both Moray District Council and Moray Council, and George Towns, who served as councillor for Burghsea from 1999 to 2003.

Elsewhere during the month I accompanied Malcolm Wright, the chief executive of NHS Grampian, and Supt Campbell Thomson, the Police Scotland divisional commander, to a meeting in Edinburgh with Mark McDonald, the minister for childcare and early years, to discuss the recent Care Inspectorate report into children’s services in Moray.

It was an extremely constructive and positive meeting at which we were able to reassure the minister that all the community planning partners were already working closely together to address the findings in the report.

For the council’s part, I would like to thank staff who have been working extremely hard and conscientiously since the inspectors’ visit and whose efforts enabled us to give the minister the assurances that he sought.

There have been several other highlights over the past few weeks, not least the visit of the Princess Royal to officially open the Castle to Cathedral to Cashmere project which celebrates Elgin history and heritage.

The following day we had the official opening of the Elgin flood scheme performed by Roseanna Cunningham, the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment and Climate Change, and the council convener.

Two other events underscored, yet again, the vital part that our young people play in the cultural life of Moray and the contribution they make to their local communities.

The annual Moray Young Citizen Awards ceremony was a celebration of the vast amount of selfless work that young people carry out every day across a wide spectrum of clubs, groups and organisations. They are a credit to their families, their schools but most of all to themselves and I congratulate each and every one of them.

I never cease to be amazed at the depth and breadth of the musical talent that Moray’s young people possess and there was no better example than the Easter concerts which the Moray Music Centre staged at Elgin Academy a couple of weeks ago.

The hall was packed and no one could fail to have been impressed by the varied programme and the superb performances by the young musicians.

Talking of Easter, the schools are off for the next two weeks and I am sure many of you will also be looking forward to a well-earned break and – hopefully – some nice weather. Enjoy.

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