It’s a pleasure to be able to share the many good news stories we have as a Council through my blog and this week I’m taking the opportunity to round-up the latest award wins and project completions.
With summer upon us there’s been a flurry of positive announcements and it gives a real flavour of the work being done in so many different areas of the business.
Just last week the completion of the second of two new schools was marked, with final preparations now being made at Stoneywood School to welcome the first intake of pupils in August. It came just after construction at Lochside Academy was completed and these represent two huge undertakings for the Council – not just financially, but also logistically.
I must express my thanks to the project managers Les Mackie (Stoneywood) and Sharon McNutt (Lochside) for their hard work and of course their fellow team members involved in bringing these projects to fruition. The hard work continues over the summer, with the fit out in full flow now the buildings have been handed over to the Council.
Staying on a construction theme, it is fantastic to see the development of 99 new Council houses at Smithfield now complete and tenants settling in. Again, it’s a project that has been driven by the hard work and energy of officers and it is rewarding for everyone involved to see the way in which it is changing lives in a positive way.
In the Resources function, great credit must go to the Finance team for an achievement that may have gone under the radar.
At the meeting of the Audit, Risk and Scrutiny Committee on June 26 the annual audited accounts were approved – a full three months earlier than the norm for a local authority and a target we have been working to as part of our commitments following the successful bond issue.
It is a truly phenomenal achievement given the scale and complexities associated with the finances of a large city authority.
This vital piece of work was led by finance but enabled by many people across all functions and it is a credit to the organisation as a whole that it has been achieved. The committee was generous in its praise of the accomplishment and I share that appreciation.
Innovation in local government finance was at the heart of the bond issue – and that innovation has continued since, with the accounting systems and processes we now have in place putting, in my view, Aberdeen City Council way ahead of the pack. We’re determined to lead from the front in everything we do.
Colleagues in Finance have rightly been recognised with various awards and that success is flowing through the Council.
In Integrated Children’s and Family Services, Hazel Lynch was named ICT Rising Star at the Holyrood Connect Awards in Edinburgh to round off the term in style.
Hazel was recognised for her work supporting accessibility across education to ensure our young people can access digital tools that are vital to their learning. The next generation hold the key to Aberdeen’s future success and as a Council we have to ensure pupils can embrace the opportunities that digital is opening up – it’s fantastic Hazel’s efforts have been acknowledged nationally.
On the same evening, Council staff Sean Cairney and Mathew Craig were also in the spotlight as finalists for the Gordon Archibald Medal presented at Trinity Hall. Although pipped at the post, it was a great achievement to make the shortlist. The award recognised an HNC built environment project and I know the standard of the submission was excellent.
To continue June’s run of good news, it was confirmed at the end of the month that Aberdeen has achieved the Sustainable Food Cities Award.
We are the first city in Scotland and one of only a handful in the UK to meet the strict criteria and it is a fantastic endorsement of the work of the Sustainable Food City Partnership Aberdeen to promote healthy, sustainable and local food and to tackle social challenges.
Aberdeen City Council is proud to be part of the partnership and I must thank all of the officers who have at the heart of this incredibly valuable initiative.
An awful lot to pack into one post, but all worth sharing. Congratulations and thank you once again to all staff who have played their part.