Employee Opinion Survey

A quick reminder that the first of a series of drop-in sessions looking at next steps following the results of last year’s Employee Opinion Survey takes place at Marischal College this morning.

Over and above the action plans being developed for each service, four members of ECMT have been working on proposals to address Council-wide common themes that emerged from the Survey.  The drop-in sessions offer an opportunity to hear about these suggestions and to give feedback on them.

Today’s event takes place between 10.00 and 12.00 in Room 2-W-01 at Marischal.

The three further sessions take place as follows:

Tuesday 4th April, 10.00 to 12.00 – Frederick Street, Room 5

Thursday 6th April, 1.00 to 4.00 – Kittybrewster

Wednesday 19th April, 7.30 to 9.00 – Tullos Training Room

There’s no need to book, just drop-in to whatever session best suits you.







Congratulations Steve

Fantastic news overnight from the CIPFA Scotland Public Finance Conference, with our very own Head of Finance Steve Whyte being crowned Public Finance Professional of the Year.

This is a richly deserved accolade for Steve personally and for the whole Finance Team in general.

London Attack

Like everyone else, my thoughts today are with the families of those who have lost their lives, and with everyone affected, in yesterday’s terror attack in London.  Whilst we are always aware of the threat, and work to prevent and respond to it, when attacks do happen the human cost is always profoundly shocking and heart breaking.

For us in Aberdeen, whilst the level of threat has not changed today, the attack is yet another reminder that we all need to remain vigilant and be mindful of the risks posed by terrorism.

Recent visits

Two fascinating and very different visits to Council teams over the past few weeks.

A big thank you to Andy Mearns for giving me an opportunity to see the in-cab technology we have installed in our refuse lorries in action. I know its early days, but I was really struck by the potential there might be to use it in support of improving internal communications with teams out an about across the City.

Another day, another visit, another team using technology.  It was excellent recently to visit the Council’s Creative Learning team based at Rosemount Learning Centre, what an incredible and inspirational range of activity is generated there.  Again, I was struck by the use being made of technology, in this case the team’s Youth Arts Advice website  www.inspiration-point.co.uk.

I’m always interested in visiting teams across the Council and throughout the City to find out more about the services we’re delivering.  Do get in touch if you and your colleagues would like me to drop in.


Fingers crossed…

Once an accountant, always an accountant!

I still read the magazine of my alma mater CIPFA, so it was great to see recently that the City Council has been shortlisted in 3 of the 14 categories for the 2017 Public Finance Innovation Awards:

  • Finance Team of the Year
  • Finance Training and Development Initiative
  • Innovation in Treasury and Asset Management

The Awards Ceremony takes place in London on 20th April and I look forward to more silverware being brought back to the City.

Investors in Young People

Tremendous news recently with confirmation from Investors in People Scotland that the Council meets the requirements of the Investors in Young People Good Practice Award.

It was particularly gratifying to read in the report that many areas of good practice (and in some cases excellence) emerged across the Council as the inspectors undertook their work.  As you can imagine, there will be no resting on the laurels however and work is underway on a draft action plan to ensure that we continue to improve our work in this critical area.

A report is due to CMT soon and I’ll write again once the plan is ready for roll-out.  In the meantime many thanks to all the colleagues who have brought us to this point.

Improving our service to our customers

One of our key achievements over the last year, has been the introduction of our Customer Service Charter and Standards.  The recent Employee Opinion Survey highlighted that 61% of Aberdeen City Council team members had heard of the Charter, so whilst we have some way to go still to achieve that elusive 100% , there have been a couple of really good initiatives/feedback recently where our commitment to the Charter and Standards has been exemplified.

First of all, some of you may have seen the new uniforms that our Customer Service team members have started to wear at the Marischal College Customer Service Centre and at our Customer Access Points across the City.  The feedback on the new attire has been really positive from both customers and other team members alike and is a really good opportunity to improve the consistency of how the Council presents itself to its customers and to ensure easy identification of staff.  A great link to the ‘Here to help you…’ theme on the Charter and the Commitment to ‘Be available and visible to you’.

The second area relates to the same theme of ‘Here to help you … ‘ and particularly under the ‘Employ people who demonstrate behaviours that will deliver excellent customer service’ .  Below is just a snap shot of some of the positive feedback from our customers about some of our team members in the Customer Service Centre and also in the Corporate Contact Centre:

Customer satisfaction survey comments for Customer Service Advisers within the Customer Service Operational teams:-

“The service couldn’t have been better.  I spoke to a person called Becky who was very, very clear and precise and told me exactly what I needed to do. I was very pleased with the whole service.  Thank you.”

“Callie was extremely helpful and has great customer service skills.  An enjoyable experience.”

“I was served today by Lorraine for my Council Tax.  She was extremely, extremely helpful and extremely understanding.  She set up a payment plan for me, knew what she needed to do and how to do it.  Really good experience.  I just wanted to give her this feedback.”

“The man I spoke to called John was very nice, very pleasant, very helpful, we had a wee chat and he was very helpful and very efficient.  The call was perfect.”

“Particularly nice man spoke to me in repairs.  His name was Steve.  I’m not very well just now and he was very nice and helpful.”

It’s tremendously pleasing to see customer appreciation of our efforts.  It provides a great boost to continue to seek improvements not just in Customer Service itself but right across the Council.

More Awards Success

It was great to hear today that the Council last night won the Support of Communities prize at the Keep Scotland Beautiful Local Environmental Quality Awards 2017

The Award recognises the fantastic work going on with the Growing Smarter programme being delivered by Steven Shaw, his team and the many community partners with whom they work.

Well done to everyone involved.


Awards Success

I’m delighted that the Council’s Ideas Hub has been recognised with the Best Innovation award in the most recent quarterly Best Business Awards.

The Ideas Hub is a vital resource, stimulating and sharing suggestions that will help the Council improve and its great to have this external validation of it.

Budget 2017/2018

I was very pleased to hear yesterday that the Integrated Joint Board for Health and Social Care has agreed its budget for the year ahead.

With the Common Good budget to be considered at the Finance, Policy and Resources Committee tomorrow we should have a complete suite of budgets in place for 2017/2018 by the end of the week.

Work begins very soon on 2018/2019…