Coronavirus: Message to staff
You’ll be aware that the Scottish Government has given an update on the change to covid-19 restrictions from Monday 9 August onwards. It’s really positive to see the efforts everyone has made paying off but it’s not time to relax just yet. We’re still to wear face coverings indoors, to try to maintain our distance where we can and to meet outdoors if possible.
For those who work in offices, home working is still advised for now but, as mentioned in the last staff update, a return to the workplace plan is being drawn up. Depending on the guidance emerging this is expected to be phased in from September at the earliest and you may be asked by your line manager to attend your workplace to tidy-up desks and drawers in the meantime. Desks may be shared in future, with sanitisation procedures in place, and you may not be returning to the same one you used pre-pandemic.
There will be a gradual approach to any return to offices and to implementing a hybrid model of working, for those who are able to. Please follow the guidance set out by your line manager and don’t return to your workplace until asked to do so.
The message continues that good hygiene, vaccination and regular testing is still the best way to protect ourselves and others from coronavirus. If you are attending work, please consider ordering free lateral flow tests or pick them up from your chemist and do a test twice a week.
This may be the biggest re-opening milestone yet in the pandemic and, while covid-19 is still a considerable threat, will feel a lot more like how we remember ‘normal’ life. However, the phased return to workplaces will feel strange for many of us and anxiety around this is completely understandable. Please speak with your line manager to discuss any concerns and please also respect our colleagues who may take a bit of time to adjust to the new ways of working.
In common with other public and private sector employers, we're taking the opportunity to review the way we work in light of learning and developments during the pandemic; this includes a review of the offices and workplaces many of our colleagues would normally work from (pre-pandemic). We're aiming for more flexibility in how we use office accommodation in future so that we can remain responsive and resilient to meet future requirements, make the most of the changes in our use of ICT and be ready to respond to any changes in government guidance that may emerge around the pandemic. The review will also give the opportunity to take account of individual experiences, preference and circumstances so that we can consider how that fits with service requirements and the rest of the team for the longer term. Managers and supervisors will be speaking with you about this much more in the weeks and months ahead.
In the short-term, any return to the workplace will be carefully managed to ensure necessary ICT issues and practical arrangements are addressed and to provide time for re-introduction to the office environment for those who have been working from home for an extended period. There will be a planned timetable for return over a number of weeks and we don’t expect this to begin before early September, so please stick with your current working arrangements until a discussion with your manager has taken place. In the meantime, your manager may be in touch to give the opportunity to come to your normal workplace to collect, tidy or organise personal work items in your workspace as we are likely to move to a more flexible shared use of workstations in some of our buildings to maximise the use of ICT equipment.
It's important to be aware that our ICT profiles have been changed to enable homeworking and it will not be possible simply to return to the office and use fixed PCs and workstations. This could cause difficulties in accessing your normal files and systems and we are keen to ensure that ICT colleagues are not diverted from their planned work to enable unexpected returns to workplaces. Therefore, please wait to be advised that a workstation is ready for you.
For those returning, there'll be a reorientation - it's been a long time since many of us were in our 'normal' workplace, and for new colleagues they may have never visited a council office or building. It'll take time to adjust to the protection measures in place, too.
Immediate next steps will be:
- Services in buildings where there will be desk sharing will lead actions to provide clear workstations that can be used by multiple staff on rota
- ICT will work on providing flexible workstation equipment to enable return
- Organisation of space in the HQ campus will be reviewed
- Review of facilities arrangements (e.g. cleaning, access to kitchens, ventilation protocols) and any necessary adjustments
- Preparation of re-orientation for employees
- Employees to continue current arrangements until contacted by manager
Message issued on behalf of the Corporate Management Team.
Yesterday the First Minister set out the Scottish Government’s plans for the routemap out of the pandemic, and confirmed that a move to Level 0 for Moray will not happen next week.
It’s hoped that Level 0 restrictions will take effect from 19 July, meantime please stick with the rules for Level 1.
Cases of Coronavirus are rising in Scotland, and although numbers remain low in Moray, we know from the recent outbreak how quickly cases can escalate out of control and the impact this has on our communities and businesses. Worryingly, the Scottish Government has said as cases rise we can expect to see more deaths in the coming weeks, and this is a reminder that the harms of the virus have not gone away.
It’s encouraging to hear though that vaccinations are reducing both the incidences of hospitalisations, and the length of time those are admitted for. And it’s hoped the link between cases, hospitalisations and deaths will continue to weaken.
So let’s continue to play our part. When you’re invited for the second dose of your vaccination, please go. Keep getting tested regularly, self-isolate if you test positive, maintain physical distancing, regular hand washing and wearing face coverings unless exempt.
The next target is the move to Level 0 on 19 July but we’re looking beyond that, to the possibility of the remainder of legal restrictions being lifted on 9 August, which the First Minister said could signal a return to almost complete normality in our day-to-day lives.
Work is ongoing to plan a safe and controlled return to the workplace for those who have been working remotely, and it will be guided by any confirmed reduction in physical distancing requirements. We’ll set out shortly what a return to the workplace could look like for you and your colleagues but, as set out in Parliament yesterday, the advice remains to phase workers back into offices and workplaces, so there will be no immediate changes to your current working arrangements. If you’ve not already, please fill out the mental health and wellbeing survey, in which we ask for your thoughts about the future of the workplace.
Thank you to all staff, whether working remotely, in the workplace or community, who are continuing to follow the regulations, protecting themselves, families and communities. A special mention to our education colleagues who will shortly be finishing up for a well-earned break, and those in services which support schools, through what has been another challenging academic year.
I hope you’ve some time off to come over the summer; we’ll continue to keep you updated on Scottish Government level changes, and what this means for your working lives. Take care, enjoy the sunshine and holiday responsibly so our progress isn’t compromised.
It’s hugely welcome news that Moray moves to Level 2 of restrictions from midnight tonight, and I hope you thoroughly enjoy your indoor reunions this weekend – it’s certainly the weather for it.
Thank you to all of you who’ve played your part: self-isolating if you’ve symptoms, a positive result or been identified as a close contact; following FACTS; getting tested regularly; rolling up your sleeve for your vaccination; working from home if you can; following guidance for safe working in the community if you can’t work from home.
Just because we’re moving to Level 2 doesn’t mean we stop any of this, in fact it makes it more important so we stay on track to move to Level 1 next month. A reminder that there’s no change to your current working arrangements as we move levels.
There are too many services to thank individually for their efforts during the outbreak, but I’d like to make a special mention of Environmental Health colleagues for delivering increased community testing and their support of businesses; health and social care staff involved in the accelerated vaccination programme; all those working in our schools who ensured they were safe spaces with no in-school transmission; and our teams delivering lifeline funds to businesses and self-isolation support grants to allow people to help stop the spread.
As you may have seen in yesterday’s briefing by the First Minister, the Scottish Government has said it’s “highly probable” that Moray will remain in Level 3 of restrictions from next week, as the rest of mainland Scotland moves to Level 2.
This will be disheartening for many, and it’ll be really hard to see our friends and family in other parts of the country gaining more freedoms than us. But there’s been a huge community response to testing, vaccinations and to championing compliance, so let’s do all we can to ensure a move to Level 2 as soon as possible.
- I encourage you all to make continued and regular use of testing available locally. If you’ve classic Covid symptoms, or even what the NHS call ‘mild or extended’ symptoms (general weakness; sore throat; shortness of breath; diarrhoea; headache; chills; muscle pain runny nose; dry or productive cough), self-isolate and book a PCR test. Self-isolation is critical in stopping the spread, and financial and practical support is available.
- If you’ve no symptoms you should still take part in regular testing twice a week: you can order lateral flow tests for delivery to your door; collect them from our community testing sites; or visit a site for a test. You’ll get results within 30-45 minutes.
- If you’re coming in to work it’s even more important to do a lateral flow test. If you prefer not to order online, asymptomatic testing is available at the drop in centre at 30/32 High Street, Elgin or at our mobile testing sites.
- This week has seen a huge uptake in vaccinations as the NHS has accelerated the vaccination programme to 18-39 year-olds. If you’re invited for a vaccination, please roll up your sleeve. If it’s during work time, speak with your line manager to make arrangements to attend. The Moray vaccination team aim to have offered all adults (age 18 and above) their first vaccination by 20 May.
- Stick with the rules on gatherings; these were set out in a previous update. Please don’t be tempted to enter homes for socialising or gather in large groups – we can’t risk an increase in transmission.
- Please continue with your current working arrangements, only coming in to work if it is essential because you cannot work from home – there are no imminent changes planned and we’ll keep you posted as guidance emerges.
From having so few cases last year this will feel a hugely challenging and frightening situation we find ourselves in. Your health and wellbeing is a priority, so take care of yourself and your mental health, and check in regularly with colleagues and loved ones.
Keep in mind though, that although it’s difficult we’re focussing on a move to Level 2 – that’s our first target. We’ve already heard from businesses and the tourism sector in Moray that they’re seeing the impact of us having such high Covid case numbers compared to the rest of Scotland – we owe it to them, our NHS colleagues, and our friends and family, to take responsibility for our own actions and do as we’re asked.
A short update from me following confirmation from the Scottish Government that Moray, along with the rest of mainland Scotland, will move to Level 3 of restrictions from Monday (26 April).
What it means is set out fully on the Government’s website, and includes the resumption of non-essential informal childcare, a phased return of hospitality, re-opening of non-essential retail, and more.
This is a welcome return of many freedoms we’ve not had for months, but individually we must take steps to continue to suppress the virus. FACTS should be part of our daily lives; making use of asymptomatic testing centres run by our colleagues; following advice and guidance when in cafes, beer gardens, retail or public buildings.
We are getting there. Last week saw the return of secondary pupils to full-time in-school learning; next week our libraries and leisure services re-open – thanks to all involved in the planning and preparation for this, and to all those who have been delivering services across the council during the last year, in the face of difficult restrictions.
We’ve a team discussing and scoping out what a safe and controlled return to the workplace for those still working from home might look like, when following consideration of government guidance, this is possible for council services. This is likely to be a short to medium-term solution, while we explore – with your input – how we can best use our workspaces in the future.
We’ll keep you informed as these plans progress but in the meantime, you should continue with your current working arrangements – this change in levels does not mean you should return to the office or workplace. If you’ve any questions, please contact your line manager in the first instance.
Thanks, and stay safe.
Tomorrow marks one year since the start of the first lockdown and what a year it’s been. ‘Thank you’ barely seems enough to express my gratitude for the tremendous effort put in by all staff across the council over the last year. At home, in schools, depots and offices round the region I know how hard it has been at times and how much our working day has changed. The way everyone has adapted so readily to the challenges we’ve faced is a credit to yourselves, your service and your teams.
While we’re not over all the covid-19 hurdles yet it definitely feels as though we’re forging ahead with a spring in our step now we’re seeing more people being vaccinated and have a renewed route-map out of lockdown.
Let’s stick with the safety measures, roll up our sleeves, push on with our service recovery and enjoy our long weekend next week.
It’s a good opportunity to look after our own health and wellbeing as well as looking out for those around us. To those working over the holiday weekend, we thank you for taking up the reins and hope you get some downtime as well.
P.S. Don’t forget to move your clocks forward this weekend!
Yesterday the Scottish Government set out indicative dates for easing of lockdown restrictions. It’s a big document, but you can read the updated strategic framework on the Scottish Government’s website.
Vaccines and community testing are vital to reducing the spread of the virus so please roll up your sleeve when your appointment comes in and speak to your line manager if you need time off work to attend. Community testing is under way in Moray with mobile testing venues confirmed so please encourage friends and family to use this new service to help with early detection and stop the spread of the virus - read more about community testing on our online newsdesk.
Lockdown restrictions, as they currently stand, will remain in place until 5 April when it’s the Scottish Government’s hope and expectation to lift the ‘stay at home’ rule. The priority remains the return of learners to schools so, before that, on 15 March it’s anticipated that the remainder of primary pupils can return, as well as some more senior phase pupils – for at least part of their learning. There are other changes anticipated during March such as relaxing care home visiting restrictions, increasing the limit on outdoor mixing, and resuming outdoor non-contact sports for certain age groups.
Importantly, the Scottish Government set out that local authority areas in Scotland will move back to the levels system from 26 April. It’s expected that council areas will move from level 4 to level 3 initially, with regular reviews.
Of course the last time this happened, levels of the virus in Moray were low enough for us to be granted Protection Level 1, therefore enjoying greater freedoms than other areas in higher protection levels. We must – individually and collectively – do all we can to make sure we are in the best position to exit lockdown with as much freedom as possible this time around. Right now our situation makes for sombre reading: Moray has recorded the highest level of infections per 100k population in Grampian for the third week in a row, with our infection rate 132% and 200% higher than Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City respectively.
For much of last year, Moray had the third lowest infection rate of any Scottish local authority and typically recorded 6 – 8 cases per week, per 100k of population. This has accelerated; Moray now sits in 18th place out of 32 Scottish councils, recording 72 cases per week, per 100k population.
We can and we must do more to suppress the virus; there’s no room for complacency. I’m grateful to all of you who continue to follow the rules and FACTS, who are working to deliver vital public services either in the community or from home. Your current working arrangements will continue until you’re informed otherwise by your line manager, who you should ask if you’ve any questions about how this latest news may affect you or your work.
We can expect more detail from the Scottish Government mid-March on the potential for further reopening of society in April and May. Meantime, take care of yourselves and your loved ones, and thank you for your hard work.
It’s been confirmed that Moray will move into Protection Level 1 of Coronavirus measures from 6am on Monday 2 November.
What this means is set out in the Scottish Government’s Strategic Framework, with explanations of what measures are in place for different sectors at each level. This includes socialising, travel, transport, shopping, hospitality and more.
It’s thanks to the hard work and compliance of you, and all our residents, that Moray is able to enter the framework with among the most lenient restrictions in place in the whole of Scotland.
I know that the continuation of no socialising in our homes will be difficult, but hopefully with continued efforts to keep the virus at bay in Moray, we could see changes in the coming weeks that we all hope would allow us to responsibly start to spend more time with our families, friends and loved ones, as the cold weather and the dark nights draw in.
However, even at Level 1, there’s a continuing need for those who can work at home to do so, in turn allowing those who can’t work from home to be exposed to less risk.
We can’t be complacent; we want to keep Moray in Level 1 – and as close as normality as we’ll see for some time.
If you’re struggling with loneliness or isolation, support is available and we’ve details of this on the interchange. Meantime, we will see some positive changes come in with the move to Level 1.
My thanks again for your continued hard work, and please carry on looking after yourselves, and looking out for others.
Remember FACTS for a safer Scotland:
F - Face coverings
A - Avoid crowded places
C - Clean your hands regularly
T - Two metre distance
S - Self-isolate and book a test if you have symptoms
The Recovery and Renewal Management team, who are leading the council’s recovery from the pandemic, met earlier this week to discuss how we can continue to support those working from home, and those still at home waiting to return to work.
It’s an understatement to say there have been many uncertainties this year, but I have found that the way everyone in Moray Council has responded to this fast-moving crisis inspiring.
Following our discussion I want to provide you with some more clarity on the situation. In line with the national picture it is now the case that it is very unlikely that we will ask those who are home-working to return to their normal workplace this year.
Please continue to work from home, keeping in regular contact with your line manager and colleagues. We will keep the situation under review and in rare cases there may be a change in circumstances or guidance which means staff may be asked to return to the office.
These cases, however, will be considered through Senior Management Team meetings and will only be approved where office access is essential.
If anyone is still waiting instruction to return to work, please get in touch with your line manager so that we can consider alternative ways to provide you with access to meaningful work-related activity.
Many of us have found the last few months difficult, but if you are struggling at home due to isolation or other concerns I urge you to make contact with your line manager. All managers are there to help, and can explore what support mechanisms can be put in place for you.
Following this week’s announcement by the First Minister and the introduction of tighter restrictions, it seems fitting to message you all, as I’ve done previously after the review of national lockdown measures.
My sincere thanks to everyone who has continued to comply with the regulations, tough as they are. Thank you to all who are continuing to physically distance in the workplace following Covid-19 safe working procedures, and the many who remain working from home in an effort to suppress the virus. This allows those in essential services who can’t work from home to return to the workplace as safely as possible. These measures are likely to continue for some time, and I will endeavour to keep you all updated on how the latest government advice and rules affect you.
Living with restrictions can take its toll on our mental and physical health and wellbeing, and I would encourage you to prioritise your health. Simple measures such eating and sleeping well, keeping active, and connected to family, friends and loved ones helps enormously. Check out the wellbeing section of the interchange for hints and tips, and make full use of our leisure services resuming.
As well as supporting our workforce, thanks to the hard work of you all we have the mechanisms in place to support our communities as we play our part in fighting the virus. Six months on from the initial lockdown measures, this remains an ever-changing picture and our response will continue to be agile and adapt to the needs of the Moray community.
Our recovery plan is out for public consultation until the end of the week, and will shape our response here in Moray. Please take some time to read it and feed back your comments.
Finally, I urge you all to continue to remember FACTS:
- Face coverings
- Avoid crowded places
- Clean your hands regularly
- Two metre distance
- Self-isolate and book a test if you have symptoms
At the end of last year and into the first months of 2020, the council was inspected by auditors from the Accounts Commission.
This is a regular occurrence for all councils, who generally have an inspection every five years. The resulting report, the Best Value Assurance Report (BVAR), highlights areas where it considers the council needs to improve.
Similarly it can welcome examples of good practice. The Commission makes a number of recommendations based on the audit.
A copy of the report and the Commission's newsletter is available or you can go to the Accounts Commission website.
The press release issued by the Commission is critical of the council, and the BVAR will likely feature in press reports tomorrow (Thursday 27). Whilst it makes difficult reading, the council welcomes the report and commission findings, which acknowledge the good work already underway in the areas highlighted by inspectors.
The report and findings provide a sharpened focus on the challenges we face, and officers have begun work on a plan to address these over the next 18 months.
Delivering the committed and decisive leadership called for by the Accounts Commission requires acceptance of change in the way the council works, at both officer and councillor level.
Vital to this will be greater collaboration to pave the way for transformation at strategic level in both our school estate and the delivery of our services to the Moray community.
Our continuing experience dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic has thrown the need for strong partnership working and collaboration into sharp relief and the council will do all in its power to ensure that lessons will be learned from this.
To deliver transformation, over £3m has been earmarked from council reserves to address issues highlighted in the report - including pace and capacity. We are confident this will ensure that Moray is best equipped for the challenges ahead.
We are all working hard to provide the services so vital to our community in extremely difficult and financially challenging circumstances. The auditors recognised this, and reports that green shoots of progress are emerging.
Our job is to continue their cultivation.
Today has seen the First Minister confirm that we are moving to Phase 2 of the Scottish Government’s route map out of the pandemic.
We’re continuing to reinstate services where we’re able to do so safely. Phase 2, for example, will see the re-opening of playparks, and changes to the registration service from 29 June. We’ll also be relaxing some of the restrictions in our recycling centres. Construction activity at Lossiemouth High School and Linkwood Primary School has resumed.
While it’s promising to see a level of ‘normality’ creeping back, we must remember that the virus is still out there, and take all the necessary precautions to protect ourselves and others. Washing hands, binning tissues after using them, social distancing and wearing a face covering in places where it’s hard to distance remain the most effective ways of doing this.
I must confirm at this point that there are no immediate changes to current working arrangements for the majority of staff. Your line manager will be in touch if there are any that applies to you. Until you hear from them, please don’t change your current arrangements.
Learners will return to schools from Wednesday 12 August. Monday 10 and Tuesday 11 August will be in-service days.
The amount of physical time spent in schools will vary between schools, in line with Scottish Government guidance. We are working towards the blended model of dividing time in school and at home.
Our recovery models for each individual school are impacted on by issues such as school role, size, space available in each school and workforce issues. Each school will communicate their specific plan with families.
Schools will issue full information to all parents and pupils prior to the term starting, so they are aware of the need for physical distancing. Classrooms are being reconfigured to allow physical distancing, and signage is being installed in and around all schools to that effect.
Our Bee Safe in Moray social media campaign will be aimed at parents and pupils, with details of safety measures in place. There is a report with information on re-opening schools going to our Emergency Cabinet on 24 June which might be of interest to staff who have children at our schools.
Recovery and Renewal
Recovery and renewal planning is continuing and still largely focussing on how we continue with reduced numbers of colleagues in the workplace for some time yet.
Thanks to all who have adapted to new ways of working, most noticeably home-working. We continue our efforts to provide additional technology to allow more colleagues to work from home.
We’re considering how this flexible working could continue in the future, in a way which benefits service delivery and colleagues, and we’ll keep you updated on how these plans develop.
Our regular staff updates are being published on the interchange and distributed in hard-copy to depots. I’d encourage you to read these each week for the latest developments. So far they’ve been viewed 20,000 times. I feel they’re an excellent source of up-to-date information for staff.
Meantime, please continue to follow the latest government guidance, continue with your current work arrangements and look after yourselves.
With the publication of the Scottish Government’s route map out of the pandemic and the confirmed easing of some of the lockdown measures from this Friday (29 May), we thought it would be helpful to clarify how this relates to you.
For the council, this means that we are beginning to consider where there need to be changes to current arrangements, for example recycling centres are scheduled to open and kerbside glass collection will re-commence in June and our environmental health team are supporting delivery of the new test and protect service.
However, any changes to current arrangements require careful consideration and planning and so unless you have been advised of a specific change by your manager there will be no immediate changes and you are not expected to change your current working arrangements. The largest change that is currently being planned relates to schools.
The Scottish Government has announced that all schools in Scotland will return on 11 August with a blended approach to education through a mix of attendance at school and remote learning at home. The government has also said that school staff can return during June to prepare for the August return and to support particular groups of learners.
This is at the discretion of individual councils.
The situation in Moray is that schools will open on 11 August but on a restricted basis. Work is underway on the complex planning and arrangements necessary for this to happen taking account of all of the distancing and hygiene requirements related to COVID-19. Staff and pupil safety will be at the core of this planning.
In June the focus will be on preparing pupils, staff, buildings and learning materials for the new term while continuing with our current remote learning. Head teachers and line managers will let staff know when they can access buildings over the next few weeks for these purposes if they need to. In August we will start welcoming groups of pupils back to school.
Until then, school staff should continue to do what you have been doing whether that is supporting the virtual learning environment, the childcare hubs or waiting for a recall.
Recovery and Renewal
We also talked in our last message about the council’s recovery and renewal planning. This is largely about how we continue with significantly reduced numbers of colleagues attending the workplace in the foreseeable future. As part of this, all managers are considering what elements of their services should re-start, how and when.
Although this is a complex and dynamic process which is likely to be phased over several months, it will help us to set the priorities and timescales which we will use to update you.
In the meantime, please continue with your current work arrangements, look after your own health and wellbeing and continue to follow government advice on measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
A message from the Leader and Convener to Moray Council staff
We find ourselves in the most challenging, anxious and worrying times for our society in our lifetimes as we tackle the Coronavirus pandemic.
But tackle it we are and we want to thank all of the Moray Council staff for their commitment to public service throughout this emergency.
The last few weeks have been a high speed roller-coaster of responses, as social distancing and lockdown measures came into force. The public sector have rallied round to put in place measures that have taken pressure off the the NHS ahead of the predicted peak demand on medical services.
From front-line service delivery through to our corporate management team, the work put in has been and continues to be incredible. The way services have changed so significantly in that short time has been quite a phenomenal feat by everyone involved.
We also want to thank other councillors of all political groups in the council for their pragmatism and support in putting in place emergency governance arrangements. Councillors of all parties and none, are working to help people access the support they need and put them in contact with the right services that can help them.
This is going to be an unprecedented challenge for an extended period of time. We know that it will therefore require some challenging thinking and decisions in terms of what we need to do and the way in which we organise ourselves as a council. There will be long-term implications for working arrangements to enable social distancing, and measures to support home-working. These will need to be implemented while minimising the risk to public-facing services that are vital to the overall wellbeing of our communities across Moray.
We are committed to supporting you, council staff who deliver these vital services. Everyone across the council is doing an amazing job with many examples of you going above and beyond. Whether that is in offices taking calls, supporting ICT provision, managing finances or out and about caring, educating, collecting waste, maintaining council houses and the fleet of vehicles needed to deliver these services, and the many, many other critical services that the council operates.
There will, of course, be things that don’t go quite right or that cause problems for us simply because we are operating at such a high pace and doing things in different and unusual ways.
Your commitment, feedback, ideas, innovation and perseverance is what makes all of this work. We cannot take effective decisions without the experience and knowledge that is fed back from you through your teams.
Thank you and stay safe.
Graham Leadbitter Shona Morrison
Council Leader Council Convener
Thank you for your outstanding work thus far during the pandemic. To those who are well and are at work, my sincere thanks to you as you are all now carrying out an essential role. I know there are of lots of examples of staff going the extra mile to keep the community functioning and safe.
This includes of course those on the front line such as our own care-at-home staff who look after our vulnerable elderly, and those responsible to ensure that our most vulnerable children are protected as well as teams of refuse collectors all of whom are working above and beyond the call of duty during these initial stages of the pandemic.
It was also great to see our school-based hubs up and running so quickly, delivering essential childcare so that key workers can continue contributing to the area’s vital functions. I and all those benefitting from this rapidly-established service are particularly grateful to those that gave up their Spring break to staff the hubs.
I also want to thank those working hard behind the scenes for example in education and additional support needs, payroll, ICT and HR, payments and other less visible but crucial in supporting the council’s critical response to the pandemic.
Finally, I also want to thank staff redeployed into other areas such as the Grampian Covid Humanitarian Centre and other areas for their flexible and dedicated approach.
You are all doing an amazing job.
For those staff who are self-isolating, do please keep yourselves safe and well. For those who have been unwell, we hope you get better soon.
Our role as Category 1 responders to emergencies alongside partners in blue-light services is more critical than ever. I want to thank you for stepping up. As a result of your work you are helping to save lives, not least by easing the burdens for others.
Message to all staff from,
A message to all Moray Council Staff:
This is a very concerning time for everyone in the world as we all take action to reduce the spread and impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Moray Council has faced some significant challenges in recent years and the current situation is a further challenge like no-one working in the public sector has ever experienced.
Social isolation measures, increased staff absence, changing service demands and completely abnormal working arrangements for an extended period will be an extreme situation for us all.
On behalf of the Council I want to thank you all for your dedication and commitment to your roles. Public service ethos is about caring for and supporting individuals and our community and never in a generation will that have been more important than in the coming weeks and months.
Our Council provides a broad range of critical services such as waste collection, housing, education, social care and many others. There will be difficult demands on us as we work through this global virus outbreak and we have a significant job of work to do to continue providing these vital services but it is a job of work that we have every confidence in Council Teams to deliver on and to support individuals and communities to get through it.
As we go forward, please follow the advice that will be regularly updated and really importantly please look out for both yourselves and your colleagues as you carry out your work.
As councillors we will do everything that we can to support you going forward.
Cllr Graham Leadbitter Cllr Shona Morrison
Council Leader Council Convener