London Attack

Like everyone else, my thoughts today are with the families of those who have lost their lives, and with everyone affected, in yesterday’s terror attack in London.  Whilst we are always aware of the threat, and work to prevent and respond to it, when attacks do happen the human cost is always profoundly shocking and heart breaking.

For us in Aberdeen, whilst the level of threat has not changed today, the attack is yet another reminder that we all need to remain vigilant and be mindful of the risks posed by terrorism.

Team Aberdeen 

I’m delighted that we’ve lit Marischal College in support of the Dons ahead of their trip to Hampden for the League Cup Final. 

Even our Celtic-supporting colleagues will appreciate that it’s only appropriate that the Council gets behind our home town team as they pursue more silverware. 


Anti-bullying work in the spotlight

The Council is committed to ensuring that the people who work here do so in an environment which provides dignity and respect to everyone and is free from bullying and harassment.

During Anti-Bullying Week, running from November 14th to 18th colleagues from the HR team have scheduled a number of activities to provide information and resources to support our aims in this incredibly important area.

I am certain that we all share the desire to ensure that the Council provides a working environment where everyone feels respected, valued and understood.

The week will also provide an opportunity to raise funds for Stonewall and the Grampian Autistic Society at the drop-in sessions in Marischal College.

Further information on the programme can be found on the Zone: Anti-bullying

On Friday 18 November we’ll mark the end of the week with a ‘Wear Blue Day’, the official colour of Anti-Bullying Week. All staff who can are encouraged to wear blue to show support and Marischal College will also be lit blue that evening.

Food collection

A very quick note to urge everyone who can to make a donation of food etc. to the collection that is currently underway in collaboration with CFINE and the Food Poverty Action Aberdeen partnership.

Council staff can be rightly proud of the generosity they’ve shown during previous collections for the most disadvantaged and vulnerable individuals and families in the North East.  The need continues, crates are available for donations during the current call for contributions until Friday 20th May.

Integrated health and care, day one

Congratulations to Judith Proctor, Tom Cowan and the whole team from both Aberdeen City Council and NHS Grampian on the launch today of Aberdeen City Health and Social Care Partnership. 

Great work done by all to get to this point, an exciting journey ahead. 

One Thousand Birds

1000birds1Want to contribute to build an impressive art installation of 1,000 origami birds to be displayed in Marischal College?

The birds will hang together as part of a projection scene right in the heart of our workplace where you, your family and your friends can see your artwork in a new light between February 11 and February 14. The installation, One Thousand Birds, is part of Aberdeen City Council’s annual festival of lights, SPECTRA, and has already featured as far away as Pakistan where local children made the birds.

I ask you to take a few minutes out of your day to create the origami crane on a piece of white paper only and place it in a designated box in the reception area of Marischal College by February 8th 2016. Here’s a link on how to make an Origami Crane:

For more information on the story behind 1,000 Birds – visit

Into 2016 (PS)

Having mentioned the empty desks and all the staff who are now on holiday in my blog below, I wanted again to say a big thank you to all who will be working over the festive period.

I know that they were rightly highlighted in the joint message that the Lord Provost, the Council Leader and myself put onto the Zone earlier this week, but the work the Council does simply can’t stop entirely at a time when the vast majority of us are on holiday and as a result I think it is only right to underline my gratitude to those colleagues in various teams across the Council who will continue to provide key services over the coming ten days.

Into 2016

As I write this on Christmas Eve it’s clear from the ranks of empty desks in both Marischal and the Town House that it is more than likely that the majority of people reading this will be doing so when we’re all back at work in January.

I wanted to take the opportunity once again to thank each and every member of the Council team for the work they have done during the year drawing to a close and to put on record now my appreciation of the work to be done in the coming year.  Whenever possible (and some individuals and teams are still far too reticent about letting the rest of us know about the great work they are doing) I mention in this blog on a satisfyingly regular basis the prizes and awards with which our efforts for the people of Aberdeen are recognised.  However, I also well appreciate the quality of the work done by our teams every day across the City – it might not win the national plaudits but it is nevertheless vital to the individuals, families and communities we serve.

The highlight of my working week is very often when I take the opportunity to visit colleagues in their workplace and hear from them direct about their work with the Council.  I’ll once again be carving as much time as possible out of my diary in 2016 to ensure that I can continue to do this.  I’d be delighted to receive an invitation to visit from any team who’d like to meet, its tea with milk and two sugars please.

The new year will see new developments in both the Council’s recognition of long service and the Star Awards celebrating the achievement of individuals and teams.  The latter is to expand to become a wider staff thanks and recognition (Star) programme.  Look out for details in the coming weeks.  I know I speak for all of ECMT when I say that we are determined to make a tangible difference to the experience of working for the Council and meaningful schemes that show the Council’s appreciation of the work done on its behalf are key to this.  However, ECMT does not have all the answers and I’d encourage everyone to make use of the recently re-launched Ideas Hub to share suggestions on how we can change for the better.

The year ahead is bound to offer challenges, but there’ll be opportunities too.  Given what we’ve achieved this year, I’m confident that we can meet them both.