So farewell 2016 …

Today sees the final CMT meeting of the year and tomorrow sees the start of the holidays for the vast majority of us, so it seems like an opportune moment to reflect on the year just passing and the work to be done when we’re all back in the new year.

Looking back through my blogs over the past 12 months it’s pleasing to remember some of the headline-making successes of the year – the signing of the Aberdeen City Region Deal, the launch of the integrated health and social care service, the achievement of a credit rating and the issuing of our bond, for example – alongside so many individual and team successes at awards ceremonies the length and breadth of the UK.  More to come in 2017 I’m sure.

Of course, it’s also impossible to allow the year to pass without pausing to reflect on the recommendations made to the Council in the reports we received this year in relation both to the death of Bailey Gwynne and to the past practices at Aberdeen Crematorium.  I know that colleagues across the Council are committed to ensuring that lessons are learned and improvements made, work will continue to ensure that this is the case.

Over and above those aspects of the Council’s work that take place in the glare of publicity, it’s also only right and proper to once again remind ourselves of the many tens of thousands of interactions there are between Council staff and the individuals, families and communities we serve across the city, each and every day of the year.  We provide vital services touching many if not all aspects of life in the City and we have every right to be proud of what we achieve. It’s also appropriate to pay tribute once again to those of us who will be ensuring that many of these services continue to be delivered as the rest of us and the rest of the City enjoy the festive break.

It’ll come as no surprise to anyone that a key early priority for the new year for the management team and many across all the services will be the production of options to be placed before the elected members to allow the Council to set a balanced budget for 2017/2018.  This is never an easy task and difficult decisions will no doubt need to be made.  At the same time, we’re due the publication of the results of the latest Employee Opinion Survey before the end of January and we’ll all need to reflect on what they tell us about what it’s like to work in the Council.  These results, the decisions made on the budget, the priorities set out in the Local Outcomes Improvement Plan and other key Council strategy documents along with legislative changes will inform our revised service and team plans for the year – it’s the mix of all these elements that we must try to balance to achieve our improvement goals in relation to staff experience, customer experience and the use of resources.

There’s plenty to be getting going on with when we’re back in January and did I mention the elections in May?

So if you’re having a break, enjoy your time away from work.  If you’re working over the next two weeks, thank you.