Building the Team

As you know, recruitment is currently underway to the new Head of Service roles agreed as part of the Council’s revised management structure.

Following interviews last week, I am delighted to confirm that we now have a preferred candidate for each of the posts of Head of Economic Development and Head of Communication and Promotion.  Once all the necessary formalities are complete, I will of course let you know the names of our new colleagues and when they will be joining us. 


Shaping Aberdeen – Shaping the Council

From Monday 10th November the latest Employee Opinion Survey is open for responses and I would be delighted to hear your views.

I’ve been in post as Chief Executive since 1st July and I’m very mindful that one of my first communications with staff was around the organisational restructure, setting out how I’d like to organise work.  As I’ve said before, whilst structures, strategies and systems are all important, we will only be successful if we all feel positive and engaged.  It’s vitally important therefore for me to understand your experience of working for Aberdeen City Council and whether that experience would lead you to promote the Council as an employer.

I also recognise that in addition to being a member of staff many of us will be customers of the Council and I’m equally interested in getting your views on experiencing the Council as a customer.

The Employee Opinion Survey is entirely confidential, no-one’s responses will be singled out in the analysis of the results.  To ensure this, we are working with an accredited external research organisation, BMG, who will collate and analyse the results.  No contact details will be collected and the findings within the final results and report will be anonymous.

Alongside the main survey you will also find a short additional questionnaire covering diversity and equality issues within the Council.  As with the main survey, participation is optional and your response will be treated in strictest confidence.  The results will be used to help us assess what we are doing well in relation to diversity and equality in employment and what we could do better, helping ensure that all employees are treated equally in accordance with our responsibilities under the Equality Act.

Your input will help to identify what’s working and what’s not.  All staff will receive the results from the survey in early 2015 and it’s important that we all reflect on what the results tell us about our organisation and then consider what we could do differently to improve everyone’s experience of working for Aberdeen City Council.

I do hope that you will take the opportunity to share your views and experiences.  The Survey will be open for responses until Friday 12th December

Information on the Survey will appear on the Zone.  Colleagues without on-line access will receive hard-copy survey packs.


Shaping Aberdeen – Awards for Planning

Excellent news for the Council yesterday from the Scottish Government’s Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning 2014.

Awards were won in the Community Engagement category for the Council’s work in engaging young people in the Local Development Plan and in the Development Plan category for the Strategic Infrastructure Plan.  In addition, the Council’s SURF project was also shortlisted in the Community Engagement category.

Congratulations to Maggie Bochel, her team and everyone else involved in achieving such success.

Gold medal winners

Fantastic news this morning of Aberdeen’s gold in the city category of the UK Britain in Bloom campaign.

Congratulations to everyone involved in the Britain in Bloom team, a great example of the Council working closely with partners, communities and volunteers to make a real difference in the City.

Shaping Aberdeen – Aberdeen Art Gallery

Congratulations to Christine Rew, her team and everyone who has had a role to play in bringing together the proposal for the redevelopment of Aberdeen Art Gallery.  Today’s fantastic news that the programme has been awarded £10 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund is another significant milestone on the journey which will culminate with the revamped building opening to the public in 2017.

The redevelopment of the Art Gallery is key to the Better Image for Aberdeen strand of our Strategic Infrastructure Plan and the rejuvenated venue will provide a high quality city centre visitor attraction featuring new gallery spaces, new educational facilities, an upgraded Cowdray Hall and new retail and catering offers.

Work is now underway on the fund-raising campaign which aims to raise the final £10 million towards the £30 million total cost.  The HLF award has been matched by a £10 million contribution from the Council’s capital programme.

Shaping Aberdeen – Aberdeen Guarantees

A tremendous start to the week with the launch of Aberdeen Guarantees at the Beach Ballroom.

This new partnership initiative brings together the efforts of the public, private and third sectors to help young people progress towards employment.  Aberdeen Guarantees will ensure all 14 to 25-year-olds in Aberdeen have access to quality opportunities in learning, training and work.  This morning’s launch marked the start of the collaborative process to bring about this ambitious project by engaging with the city’s business community.

The programme of activity will be key to the Council addressing the Strategic Infrastructure Plan priority on skills. 

I am delighted to say that the Council Leader and I have signed a pledge on behalf of the Council, promising a range of support for young people, including providing modern apprenticeships; informing students, parents and teachers about the job market and skills required in the City; and participating in careers fairsI know that I can rely on everyone in the Council to support those young people who undertake their work experience with us.  One of the most striking aspects of the launch event were the presentations by pupils from Northfield and Oldmachar Academies outlining the impacts on them of work they have undertaken in companies around Aberdeen. 

In leading from the front, the Council is now calling on organisations of all sizes across the city to follow suit and provide what support they can to the city’s youth.

Aberdeen Guarantees will bring together a range of approaches for youngsters who are still at school, those approaching the end of their school days, and those who have already left.  It will help support these young people to move into further education, training, and employment, building on the work already done to reduce the number of unemployed young people in the city.  The scheme will also advertise new training and work opportunities for young people and promote youth-employment related activity to young people, parents, carers, professionals and employers.  You can find out more about the programme and our partners on the dedicated website

Finally, a personal thank you to Neil McLennan and his colleagues in Education, Culture and Sport for such an exciting, effective and successful launch event today.

Wild Dolphin

As we move towards the weekend, I want to take the opportunity to pay tribute to the superb work done by Fiona Lindsay and Sharon Robb in triggering and seeing to a successful conclusion the Council’s efforts to secure one of the Wild Dolphin sculptures at the auction held on Wednesday evening.

You can read the story elsewhere on the Zone and I’m full of admiration that what began this time last week as a “wouldn’t it be good if …” conversation among work colleagues was so rapidly taken up with such enthusiasm across the Council.  Some 260 individual donations were made by staff members and with the addition of the pledge by the Council to match the sum raised, a total of £9,340 was secured in just three days.  Sharon was successful at the auction and we secured the Evening Express sponsored Lottie designed by competition winner Erika Mackintosh.

It’s a real boost to see how within the Council individual members of staff, teams, trades unions and directorates can come together and work positively to achieve such a great outcome.  I’m very proud that we have been able to play a role in the raising of funds for local charities and it will be great to have a permanent reminder at the Council of what has been a very special project for the City.  As I write, discussions are underway on where best to site Lottie and I’m sure we will find a spot where she can be enjoyed by staff and visitors alike. 

CMT welcomes a new team member

I am delighted to let you know that Judith Proctor has been appointed to the new post of Chief Officer, Adult Health and Social Care – a joint appointment with NHS Grampian.  A high quality shortlist was taken through a rigorous two-day selection process and Judith emerged as the person to take on this exciting role for the City.

Judith, who originates from Aberdeen studied at North Lothian College of Nursing and Midwifery to qualify as a nurse before training as a midwife.  She worked as a District Nurse/Community Midwife in Highland and Shetland until 2001 when she joined NHS Dumfries and Galloway as Public Health Practitioner.  In 2003 Judith was seconded to the Scottish Government as a Senior Policy Officer working on the implementation of the Local Government (Scotland) Act which involved liaison with community planning boards across Scotland.

In 2004 Judith was appointed as Joint Strategic Planning and Commissioning Manager – Adults and Learning Disability for NHS Dumfries and Galloway.  This was a joint post for the Council and NHS with responsibility for all planning, commissioning and contracting work.  In April 2009 she was promoted to the role of Director of Planning and Head of Joint Strategic Planning, Commissioning and Performance becoming a member of the NHS Executive Management Team and the Social Work Management Team leading on specific areas of work for both organisations.

Most recently Judith has been seconded to NHS Grampian as the corporate lead for integration across the 3 partnerships in the North East of Scotland (i.e. Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray).

It’s very exciting to see the appointments to the new structure starting to take place.

Shaping Aberdeen – city centre masterplan

Some fascinating discussions this week about Aberdeen city centre.

You’ll know that one of the priorities set in the Strategic Infrastructure Plan is to improve the image of the city, with the regeneration of the city centre being key to this. A team of specialists assembled by the international firm BDP has been appointed by the Council to develop a city centre masterplan for Aberdeen.

This week has seen the final touches being put to the plans for three series of engagement and consultation to find out what people who visit, work in or live in the city centre think should be done to improve it for us now and into the future. The first activities and events will take place towards the end of September and will be followed by similar programmes in November and March next year prior to the masterplan being finalised and presented to the Council.

Keep an eye out for information on what’s going on and do take the opportunity to share your views.