Festive wishes to all

Can I take the opportunity to pass on season’s greetings to all colleagues for the festive season – I hope everyone has a fantastic Christmas and New Year.

Whilst many are preparing for a break over the holiday period, there are a great number of Council employees who will be working throughout the next few weeks in a huge variety of roles. My thanks go to all of those involved, the efforts and dedication really are appreciated not only by the management team and I but also by those residents and businesses we serve.

My thanks also go to Scott Cumming from the design and marketing team for creating our animated digital Christmas card which has been sent near and far.


It has been another incredibly busy but productive year for Aberdeen City Council. There have been wonderful achievements, not to mention great challenges. The professionalism and commitment of our staff is what makes those achievements possible and enables us to meet the challenges.

On a final note, as thoughts turn to 2018 and resolutions it is the ideal time to share those prepared by our Imagineers – children who represent Aberdeen’s future and who have some very simple asks of us all as adults in the New Year. I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a thought provoking list.

Best wishes to you and your family and my thanks in advance for your continued support in the year ahead.


Report to Council now available to view

Today a report to full Council has gone live to outline the proposals for an interim functional structure for the Council, following extensive engagement and consultation with staff, trade unions and public sector partners.

Many of you have taken the time to help shape the future direction of travel of this Council and have contributed on the proposals through staff consultation in the last three weeks. I want to thank you for taking the time to submit your views.

In total 108 staff sessions took place between 11 September and 28 November with total attendance at these events standing at 4505.  This includes large scale sessions at the Town and County Hall, Beach Ballroom and Harlaw; briefings by managers at various depots and locations, and an ‘on the road’ gallery at both Marischal and outlying establishments.

Organisation and delivery of the sessions has involved more than 167 staff including members of ECMT, 3rd tier managers, Head teachers, a range of employees from across the council, the Research and Development Team and Trade Union colleagues hosting stalls to answer any questions staff might have.  This represents a live example of the Target Operating Model in action with the breaking down of silo working and the moving of resource to where it is needed.

A summary of your responses to the proposed interim functional structure has been prepared and submitted in Appendix A of the report. Here you can see a summary of the final decisions that were made against these responses.

It is important to note that all feedback has been fed into the Transformation Team and the transformation delivery boards who will take a lead in implementing changes based on the ideas, suggestions and information as we move to the transition period. The proposal being put forward is an interim structure – we expect that as we continue to re-design the organisation, further changes will be made and you will be a key part of informing this work.

All feedback will be published and made available for everyone to see through the Transformation Zone where actions taken by the Delivery Boards will also be updated.

I hope you will continue to be engaged in this process, read through the report and the appendices and continue to submit your views about Transformation through the zone or your line manager. The report, item 9a, can be accessed here.

Aberdeen primed to respond to winter weather

As winter begins to bite, it’s an appropriate time to make mention of the great planning and preparation behind the city’s response to the worst of the elements.

A stockpile of 11,726 tonnes of salt is in place and a well-drilled team of 90 staff ready to swing into action and deliver on a commitment to treat almost half of the city’s roads before 7.30am. Last week’s flurry of snow and ice gave an idea of what is to come and the efficient way in which we’ll respond.

The 2017/18 winter maintenance campaign was launched last month, including details of the plans to treat pavements and cycle paths.

We have 560 miles of roads in the city and keeping traffic moving 24/7 is a real challenge when the Scottish winter really kicks-in. Our teams keep a close eye on the long and short-term forecasts and it is a sophisticated approach.

I’ve got enormous respect for all those who work on our teams in some of the harshest conditions imaginable each year and I take great reassurance from the experience and skills that we call upon.

In advance of the operation getting into full flow, my thanks go to all those involved, Of course we may get a lovely mild winter and last week’s cold snap was just a blip – but I wouldn’t be shouting that prediction from the rooftops! Instead we’ll prepare for the worst and hope for the best, with the knowledge that the Council is primed and ready to respond.

Update on director recruitment

This week we have been conducting the final stage of the director recruitment process. After a busy and productive five days I can provide a positive update on progress.

I am pleased to say a preferred candidate has been identified for each of the four roles: Chief Operating Officer; Director of Resources; Director of Customer Services; Director of Commissioning.

The four appointments are subject to the usual pre-employment checks and due diligence, a process which began as soon as the preferred candidates were identified by the appointments panel earlier today.

Once that process has concluded, we will be in a position to provide further information to elected members, staff and the public on what are significant appointments for Aberdeen City Council and the city as a whole.

I look forward to sharing further news on the director appointments in due course.