It’s always pleasing to start the year on a positive note and we have had that in the shape of feedback on our Planning Performance Framework report.
The outcome is great credit to Gale Beattie and her colleagues in Strategic Place Planning, with Aberdeen City Council recognised for strong performance across a number of measures.
These include the reduction in timescales for decisions, collaboration with applicants, engagement with elected members and cross-service working within the Council.
That is just a snapshot of the comprehensive assessment carried out and the feedback provided by the Scottish Government, which has highlighted considerable progress.
The approach within planning fits hand in glove with the wider organisational objectives of a more efficient and customer-focused approach to everything we do.
The 2017/18 reports can be be viewed here and provides great detail on the ambitions for Strategic Place Planning and the city as a whole.
Well done to Gale and everyone in the team for the work done to date, the feedback is a tremendous reflection on the hard work and innovation being demonstrated.
With the hectic festive period behind us, can I say a sincere thanks to everyone who was on duty for the Council over the past fortnight and a warm welcome back to all who have been able to enjoy a break and recharge the batteries.
The year ahead will be one of challenge and opportunity, with the journey we’re on together continuing at pace. I’m looking forward to sharing regular updates in the weeks and months ahead on the positive strides forward being made across the functions and clusters.
Of course business as usual also continues at the same pace and that was the case over the holiday period.
Our teams continued to care for those we serve around the clock through Christmas and New Year whilst other essential services carried on for the duration. Our gritter crews, for example, had a number of 4.45am starts to counter the cold snap and keep motorists and pedestrians safe.
A number of teams, led by events colleagues in City Growth, were also on duty on December 31 and the early hours of January 1 as Aberdeen rang in 2018 in style – with live music and a spectacular fireworks display drawing visitors from near and far.
It marked the culmination of months of planning not just for Hogmanay for the successful Aberdeen Winter Festival, driven by Council colleagues as well as partners including Aberdeen Inspired and contractors who provide their expertise. All relied on the support and dedication of Police Scotland and many others to ensure safe and enjoyable celebrations.
The team ethos is the foundation all these major events are built upon and we look forward to the programme for the next 12-months.
Best wishes to everyone at the Council as we prepare for a productive and innovative 2019.