Chief Executive's Blog
We now know the make-up of the new council and I am looking forward to getting to know the 26 elected members who will serve the people of Moray for the next five years.
There are quite a number of new faces among them and, like any new job, they will take time to settle into their surroundings as they get to grips with the challenges that lie ahead.
I have been involved in preparing an induction programme which will hopefully help them adapt to their new role and I am sure that all staff will also be eager and willing to do everything possible to assist new members as they familiarise themselves with the workings of the council.
In all there were 12 councillors, among them several long-serving members, who did not seek re-election. They included the council leader and the convener who, along with the SNP group leader, served for two terms. I enjoyed a good working relationship with all three, as I did with Councillor Pearl Paul, who has also stood down after a local government career stretching back to the days of Grampian Regional Council.
It is always sad to say goodbye to people you have worked closely with and I would like to extend my thanks and best wishes to all those who will not be returning to the council chambers.
As is usual in the run-up to the elections, there has been something of a lull in council business, although the past couple of weeks has seen the publication of the community planning partnership’s three-year children’s services plan which has been prepared following the Care Commission’s recent inspection report.
A great deal of work has gone into the plan which outline the steps the various partners are taking to improve outcomes for our children in Moray.
The leadership forum, made up of directors, heads of service and managers, has also met to continue its work of ensuring that everyone is on the same page as far as the council’s priorities are concerned, and I have also been involved in a couple of listening meetings with managers.
I was glad to see such a good turnout at Elgin Town Hall for a seminar organised jointly by the council and Business Gateway at which local groups and organisations were able to get information and advice about sourcing funding for their particular projects.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the St Giles Theatre Group’s production of Fame, again at the town hall, but perhaps the highlight of the past few weeks was the very moving ceremony at the Cooper Park to mark the centenary of the Battle of Arras during which some 250 servicemen from this corner of the country lost their lives. It was particularly touching to witness pupils from our local secondary schools take part in the ceremony by planting a poppy cross in honour of each of those brave men.
Mention of secondary schools reminds me that we are about to enter exams season and that many pupils will be working hard in preparation. It is a stressful time for them and their parents and one I can relate to, with my daughter just about to sit her history and politics exams at Aberdeen University as she nears the end of her first year.