Chief Executive's Blog

November 2017

Having got to grips with the day to day workings of the new Council, emphasis is now on getting to grips with the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead over the next five years.

I am grateful to all of you who participated in the employee conferences. It is one of the ways in which myself and the Council Directors can listen to your thoughts on the very same challenges and opportunities.

That is why the theme of this year’s conference was ‘Transforming Together’

I have talked previously about the importance of the economy and how this has to be grown and diversified. As we all know the armed forces plays a substantial part in Moray’s economy and no more so than when 4 Scots exercised their Freedom of Moray - the resulting YouTube film receiving 29,000 hits.

The arts also have an important part to play and it was great to be at Findhorn in early October to see the latest production of Scottish Opera.

Tourism is worth £117m to Moray economy and Moray Speyside Tourism is looking to its long term future and how it can be sustained.  There have been a number of breakfast and other meetings one of which was held recently at Johnstons of Elgin and I was delighted to be able to participate in it.

It is equally important that whatever business anyone is in, whether it be tourism or not that those involved have the right skills.  I am therefore privileged to have been appointed to the UHI Court as the Chief Executives’ representative from the North and North-east of Scotland.

Not only does this allow me to have an overview of what is happening across the UHI which covers an area from Perth to Shetland but also to make sure that Moray’s views are heard.

To ensure that I continue to hear from staff and also to ensure that they have a clear understanding of what is being discussed at senior management level, there has been a further round of manager’s briefings and of the Leadership Forum.

I have highlighted in the past the importance of partnership working amongst the public services which operate in Moray which involves officers coming together on a regular basis along with Elected Members.

I mentioned in my last blog how we are continuing to make steady progress in response to a challenging inspection of our children’s services.

This has involved me meeting with members of the locality management groups in Elgin, Forres and Milnes/Speyside.

While there has quite rightly been an emphasis on getting around Moray as much as I can there was still time to attend along with the Council Leader, Convener and Leader of the main opposition group COSLA’s annual conference in Crieff with the theme of “Tomorrow’s World”.

This was the first conference under new president of Councillor Alison Evison of Aberdeenshire Council.

There was a ministerial address from John Swinney, Deputy First Minister of Scotland as well as some academic session involving current political environment and prediction for future of Local Government.

Contributions also came from the Leaders, Depute Leaders and Ministers from all of Scotland’s main political parties.

The conference also provided an opportunity to celebrate Local Government and showcase the initiatives and projects.

I am particularly pleased to say that the Moray Council picked up a bronze award for the work done on workforce culture and I will be covering more of this in my next blog when I go into some more detail about the employee survey results.

I mentioned earlier the importance of the economy and it was great to be at the new Forres Railway Station opening as well and the works completed to the rail line through Elgin all of which will ultimately mean more frequent and longer trains.

I am currently getting to grips with my role as a career ready mentor.

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