I must extend my thanks to all who have been involved in Aberdeen’s response to the bad weather we have encountered over the past week.
As we have seen across the country there have been immense challenges posed by the conditions that swept in. Thankfully we avoided the worst, but certainly didn’t escape entirely.
The actions of a wide range of Council teams and our many partners ensured we were able to minimise disruption and, most importantly, keep people safe.
Vast resource was put to use – both in terms of the assets deployed and the human resource involved – in the frontline work.
The clearing and treatment of roads and pavements takes a great deal of planning behind the scenes and hard work in the execution of those plans. It’s a relentless task and a very testing one in the harshest of conditions – but a vital one.
The operation revolves around the efforts of the roads service, but a vast number of colleagues in various services are also involved.
During a weather event like this, clear and regular communication is imperative and in the past week the Council played a key role in sharing information not only on our own response but also in amplifying the messages coming from partners such as Police Scotland.
The response was heartening – with lots of positive sentiment coming back in response to the messages we circulated through our own social media channels and website as well as through traditional media statements and updates. There has been lots of praise from residents and businesses for the actions we took and the appreciation of elected members was voiced in the chamber on Monday when full Council met.
Proactive communication is vital, but there’s also a major job in these situations to respond to the thousands of messages, queries and requests for support the Council receives and it was good to see communications and customer service colleagues working together with all of the other services involved to demonstrate a joined-up approach.
Roads, in terms of the planning and many frontline duties, and education, in relation to school closures and updates, fed into that and the waste and recycling team was also rightly praised for successfully delivering the regular service throughout the period despite the challenges.
It’s a very good example of why working in isolation as individual services simply isn’t an option if we want to deliver for those we serve. Collaborative working is central to everything we want to achieve as an organisation.
As I’ve said many times before, that approach isn’t confined to within the walls of the Council – our partners in the public sector play a major role and so too do individuals and communities.
In the past week, through the very open communication there has been, we’re aware of people rallying across the city and coming together to join the effort to beat the weather. That came in lots of different forms – some by playing their part in clearing paths in their own area or others simply by heeding the warnings about safe travel and the requests to be mindful of vulnerable neighbours.
As difficult as these events are, we can take pride in the response not only from within the Council but from the city as a whole. It’s fantastic to see community spirit at play.