We often talk about the Council’s purpose of ensuring people, place and economy prosper. That role is central to our daily business and it is right that we promote it – but what we must ensure is that the conversation about the other vital elements of our purpose is heard just as loudly.
Wherever possible we seek to protect people and place from harm.
We are, however, faced with events outside of our control and unfortunately harm to does occur – we see that far too regularly. In these challenging situations Aberdeen City Council is relied upon to respond, rescue and recover.
Experience shows that when called upon we are capable of doing so in ways which put the commitment, professionalism and expertise of our staff in sharp focus. Our response in times of crisis has been a source of great pride for me in my role as chief executive.
What we cannot do is stand still – and nor can we work in isolation.
Training and development in conjunction with our colleagues in the emergency services, neighbouring local authorities and other public sector bodies is crucial and it’s pleasing to see that gathering pace.
In recent weeks I joined an emergency planning exercise in Aberdeen, where the collaborative approach was put into action. It was particularly useful for our own Duty Emergency Response Coordinators (DERCs).
The scenarios for these exercises vary – we have to plan for every eventuality – but the common thread is the aim of improving the way we work together to respond on behalf of the individuals and communities we serve. Learning lessons from these exercises, and of course from the live incidents we deal with, is essential.
It’s important to add that communities are key to how we plan. It’s recognised quite often it will be groups and individuals in the areas affected who respond first, but we have to make sure we give them the support to do so as part of a joined-up approach.
The most recent session provoked interesting discussion and action points and my thanks go to all staff and representatives from our partners who took part in the day.