From counting votes to collecting awards, May marks a month to celebrate

There’s lots to celebrate as the end of another month looms – so much that I’m not quite sure where to begin!

I’ll start with the most recent and thank the hundreds of Council staff who ensured the European Parliament elections ran like clockwork in the city. From polling day to Sunday’s count at the AECC, everything went to plan. Congratulations to Fraser Bell on his first count as Returning Officer, ably supported by David Gow, Steven Dongworth and colleagues from every cluster and function. Particular thanks go to Town House building assistants Derek Morrison, Hamid Abouelouafaa and Ian Bell as well as customer service advisor Jenny Main for their valued contribution. A real team effort and logistical triumph!


Whilst the final preparations for the count were underway on Sunday morning, a logistical challenge of a different type was unfolding at our accommodation facility at West North Street. Flooding led to the need for swift action on the ground to look after those displaced and prepare contingency plans. Special mention to Kay Diack and her team for their actions and making sure everyone was cared for.

Continuing with the notes of thanks, last week Core HR went live as the transition to the new system draws to a close. For users of the system it represents a far cleaner and intuitive platform, which many will already have seen when accessing the latest payslips online, and for the organisation it supports our modernisation in HR, payroll and workforce planning.

As with all change on this scale, there have been teething problems to overcome in recent days and we’re committed to ensuring any issues are addressed as a matter of urgency.

It has been a huge undertaking to migrate from our old system to Core HR, with colleagues in Digital and Technology working closely with those in People and Organisation and Customer Experience in particular. Jacqui McKenzie, as Chief Officer for Customer Experience, has been fulsome in her praise of the teams who have worked tirelessly to make the switch and can I add my appreciation.

Moving on to awards, we have had a number of notable successes in May.

The Council has been presented with the new Buildings Standards Community and Building Safety Award in recognition of the work undertaken in relation to fire safety following the Grenfell disaster.

Grant Tierney and the building standards team impressed judges with the comprehensive response in Aberdeen, particularly the reviews carried out within all 59 of our multi-storey properties and the approach to fire door compliance. It has been a major undertaking but a vital one – safety must always be our first priority. The national award is a very welcome endorsement of Aberdeen City Council’s diligent work in this important area.

The APSE Awards have also brought success, with Daniel Shand receiving a silver award in the Rising Star category. Daniel’s work as the Council Gardener has been very well received and his latest initiative with city schools is reaching a new audience. Daniel’s enthusiasm and passion for the subject is fantastic to see.


Sport Aberdeen has also been in the spotlight – taking to the stage at the Community Leisure UK Awards and winning two prestigious prizes. First was the Leisure Capital Project of the Year Award, for the investment in the Sheddocksley facilities, and then came the Outstanding Individual Volunteer Award for 15-year-old Aimee Work for her achievements as chair of Aberdeen’s Active Girls Committee.

Staying with our ALEOs, the Music Hall redevelopment earned Aberdeen Performing Arts the RICS Scotland Community Benefit Award. The community engagement was singled out by judges for praise, as well as the long term benefits for the people of the city.

That’s an awful lot of positive news to squeeze into one blog post – but it represents just a slice of the good work being done all across the Council and the city. There’s much more to follow!

In the meantime, thank you to everyone who has contributed and congratulations to all for the wonderful achievements of the past month.