Renfrewshire Council

Message from Chief Executive, Sandra Black - 26 March 2020

This week's announcement by the First Minister and the Prime Minister has resulted in significant changes to how we work as a council and I would like to sincerely thank each one of you for your support and hard work to respond to the new measures in place.

The message is simple we should now only leave our homes to buy food, to exercise once a day, to support vulnerable people and for essential work - if home working is not possible. For public sector staff who deliver health and care services, keep people safe, and protect and clean the places we live, this means continuing to come to work.

While the Scottish and UK Governments continue to oversee the national response, I want to assure you that the council will be doing all it can - with our partners, to help keep you, and the local people who depend on us, safe, well and supported. That is our priority.

In response to the announcement we have now closed Renfrewshire Council HQ and other public facing services, including our customer service centres in Paisley, Renfrew and Johnstone and our Household Waste and Recycling Centres and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for supporting the changes we have made so far in response to this pandemic.

The essential services and support we provide impacts upon every person living in Renfrewshire. That is why it's so important, and even more so in such challenging times, that we continue to look after vulnerable children and children of key workers, support the most vulnerable people who depend on us for care, medicine and food, provide support to families that need it most and keep our roads clear and safe so that the emergency services can move about freely.

I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all those who continue to provide these vital services on the frontline and support our communities throughout this difficult time. The council's workforce continues to operate behind the scenes, to support our key workers, making sure depots and bases for childcare and welfare are clean and safe, paying our suppliers, co-ordinating the community response, and providing much needed crisis advice to local people and our business community.

We all need to play our part by reducing as far as possible the number of people we have travelling to work, while continuing to deliver essential services. I would like to thank all our staff who are working round the clock to make this happen.

What can everyone do to help the council's work continue?

  • Please speak to your manager if you have any concerns

For many of us the decision to work from home is straightforward, if you can perform your role from home, then you will now be doing so. If you are in the 'at risk' group of staff you should also be at home. However, for everyone else, there will be local decisions based on whether your job contributes to our essential services.

If you haven't already done so please contact your manager as soon as possible to discuss the arrangements that can be put in place to support you during the period of closure. A number of options can be considered including changing work patterns and shifts where possible and identifying where the council can continue to provide childcare options to ensure you can continue to work and support delivery of critical services. Social distancing is in place across all services.

Given the extent of the challenge, managers have been asked to quickly find solutions that are flexible, protect the delivery of essential services and keep you safe.

  • Keep in regular contact

If you are already working from home, or absent from work, it is important that you keep in touch regularly, and we can keep you updated as the situation changes.

Decisions on which services are essential could change over time and that is why it is so important that your manager can get in touch as you may be asked to perform different duties.

If you are a manager then please consider to what extent your part of the business contributes to those essential services and make sure that you have up to date contact lists. You should be checking on the welfare of your staff, especially if they are absent from work due to illness or because they are 'at risk'. Keep in touch and be considerate of how people will be feeling. We understand people are anxious about the spread of this virus and we also understand how committed people are to their teams and to the people we serve.

This is an extremely difficult period for everyone, however I am confident that we are doing everything we can to respond to a rapidly changing situation and to protect the safety and wellbeing of our staff and local people.

Thank you and please stay safe and well.

Best wishes,

Sandra Black

You can read more detail about the Government announcements here - https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus