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Council Leader provides an update

Posted on 26 Aug 2020

I started writing these columns at the start of this pandemic to provide timeous, important and relevant updates from the Council. It also gave me a platform to try and reassure residents along the way and explain the logic behind our decisions.

At the beginning, we were very much in the emergency stage and decisions were being taken at a daily, if not hourly, rate. It was hard enough tackling these hugely important issues but there was also the adjustment to home working for many of us.

While much has changed since those frantic and scary early days, many of us are still working from home and as the First Minister continues to stress, where people can work from home they should continue to do so.

There are benefits and drawbacks from working from home and I am sure  there will be a mixture of views on it long-term, but at this juncture it remains part of the approach we need to take to minimise the risk of the virus.

But going looking forward, it is hard to envisage many workplaces, such as the Council, ever returning to the ‘old normal’. Technology has, in the most part, proved effective in allowing remote working and there is definitely scope for using the experience during lockdown to use technology to drive positive change for workers and their employers, including improved work-life balance.

It’s not the time to be prescriptive about the changes that may come to the way the council works in the future but whatever they be may, our staff will be at the forefront of those changes. Already, the council has issued a survey to all staff and have received 700 responses. We hope to get many more over the coming days and this will shape our thinking as we enter into the ‘Renewal’ phase of our response to the pandemic.

While many of us have been able to work from home, my admiration for our frontline staff, who have continued to work within our communities throughout the pandemic, cannot be overstated. With things getting closer to some sort of normal, it’s easy to forget about them and the sacrifices they have made to serve our communities. A huge shout out to each and every one you. You have done and continue to do an amazing job.

 As you will be aware, more restrictions are being eased over the coming weeks and that includes the reopening of gyms and leisure facilities being brought forward to next week.

 

We know how difficult these last few months have been for KA Leisure, with them experiencing, like all leisure trusts across the country, a huge loss of income over the last five months.

 

I know they are very excited about bringing back services over the coming weeks. They have been carrying out a range of risk assessments to ensure when they do re-open, everything will be carried out in a safe environment in adherence with the Scottish Government, sportScotland and the sporting bodies guidance. They will be updating their timetable for reopening services shortly to take cognisance of the changes they need to introduce.

 

Whilst decisions on that timetable are a matter for KA Leisure’s board, they will continue to have support from the Council to meet the challenges they will face financially and operationally over the months ahead.