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.

January & February 2018

The period since my last blog has been one of intense activity working with senior Councillors to prepare budget proposals to reduce our budget by as much as we can in 2018/19 to bridge the financial gap as we look to the longer term to balance the Council’s budget.

As you already know it’s not getting any easier as we now look to that longer term financial plan and how we can target improving outcomes; reduce spending and look to what we can do differently to reduce costs.   More about this later on.

Meantime new projects and initiatives have continued at pace.  I recently met with the new Station Commander at RAF Lossiemouth when we discussed the major developments at RAF Lossiemouth which have now been widely publicised in the local press and will bring significant investment and jobs to Moray.

Another area of growth is the expansion of early years childcare.  The representative from the Scottish Government charged with overseeing this expansion across Scotland visited Moray and was extremely pleased with the progress we are making and highlighted Moray as an exemplar of how to go about such projects.

As well as keeping in touch with senior figures in the Scottish Government, it is also important that I keep in touch with staff at all levels. I chaired a number of management briefings when I met with managers from across a number of services to discuss issues of mutual interest and concern.

It is also good for me to get out and about and I would like to thank all the staff I met along with my colleague Rhona Gunn at Brumley Brae, Elgin and I look forward to a return visit in the summer.

Although Moray is a comparatively safe place to live and work, we must always be vigilant.  Accordingly, senior managements Annual Emergency Planning Exercise had the theme of counter terrorism and what actions we would need to take to respond were an incident to take place in Moray.

As comprehensively covered in Connect, our annual Star Awards and Long Service Awards ceremonies highlighted yet again the dedication and commitment of so many staff in ensuring that services we provide for in communities are the best they can be.

By the time you have read this Moray will have celebrated Carers Day
Please look out for what is happening in Moray to celebrate 2018 the year of young people.

The Council now has a Corporate Plan which sets out the priorities of the future.  This is an important document to ensure scarce and reducing funds are invested appropriately.

In budget terms our current running costs continue to be more that our annual budget and we will continue to use Council reserves to pay our way until the end of March 2019.  Inflation costs and service pressures will add to this situation so that by 31 March 2019 we will need to be in a balanced position, budget wise.

The plan is to do this by a programme looking at different ways to deliver services, being more commercial in our approach, working in partnership with other organisations and our communities whilst all the time making sure we are as efficient as possible in our processes.

From now to May 2018 senior councillors and senior officers will be working on the programme of options and proposals.  This will include considering protecting and redirecting resources for the priorities in the Corporate Plan.

It is planned to review progress in June to determine the detailed next steps.  Depending on progress made, this the earliest point that consultation and engagement on longer term proposals is likely to emerge.

So for us all this means that we will continue to face the prospect of significant change to services and jobs for a number of years.  

I would reiterate what I have said in previous blogs that change will undoubtedly continue to be a feature of our working lives and I appreciate how difficult it is to live with the uncertainty that this creates.    I would again reiterate that as this unfolds I will try to make sure updates and information are made available.  If you have any questions please put these to your line manager to feedback.  For example, please ask about the Corporate Plan and look out for the programme to balance the Council’s budget.

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