Renfrewshire Council

Staff Weekly News - 9 April 2020

In this week's staff news:

You can download a copy of the staff newsletter here:

Staff Weekly News - 9 April 2020 [576KB]


A message from our Chief Executive, Sandra Black 

'Please stay at home and maintain distance from others' is not the usual message I would share in advance of an Easter Bank Holiday, however as we are all aware, these are anything but usual times. We are almost at our third weekend under a lockdown, and I want to take this opportunity to ask you to please follow Government guidance this holiday weekend, remain at home and keep safe. We have seen people all over the country, and here in Renfrewshire, continue to get together with friends and family and flock to parks and popular destinations. Please let's all do our bit to support our social care colleagues and the NHS by remaining close to home and finding different ways to stay in touch with the people we care about this Easter.

Read Sandra'sĀ fullĀ message


Stay home, stay safe, protect the NHS 

Keep up to date with all the latest Coronavirus information and guidance from the NHS, UK and Scottish Governments.

Thanks to everyone for following government guidelines to Stay at Home and Save Lives. It is important that we all do our bit and stick to the advice during the Easter break. Please don't meet with friends or family outwith your household and don't travel to attractions, parks or beaches to have your daily exercise. Stay at home and please stay safe. Any incidents where this is not being followed can be reported to Police Scotland on 101. The Council's Noise Enforcement Team can also be contacted on 07768 988186 and Wardens are available on 0300 300 0380 or by e-mail wardens.es@renfrewshire.gov.uk.

For the latest staff information visit the staff advice on Coronavirus page.


Most recent changes to Council services 

Our information, help and guidance on Coronavirus provides details of the changes to Council services as we follow national guidance to manage the impact of Coronavirus. 


Personal Protective Equipment  

We have a good supply of PPE (personal protective equipment). All staff who should be using it have been provided with kit and have advice on when it should be used and how to use it. Our priority is keeping staff safe and well and making sure that everyone who is still at work is following Government guidelines on social distancing and good hand hygiene in the workplace. We are continually reviewing the latest guidance to ensure we have the right practice in place. Any questions? Contact your local health and safety representative or email health&safety.cs@renfrewshire.gov.uk.


Annual leave and public holidays 

A huge thank you to everyone working over the Easter bank holiday. We know many of you many have had to cancel or postpone some of your holiday plans during this unprecedented time. To help, you can now carry forward any unused holidays from this year to use in 2021 and 2022. Though this provision is in place, we still encourage you to take some time off wherever possible. Make sure you schedule in some down time and get a well-deserved break so that you can continue the great work you all do to support the people of Renfrewshire.

Full details on annual leave and public holidays are available on the staff intranet or contact your line manager for the latest update.


New flexi system 

Don't forget to use the new flexi system Imperago for recording your attendance at work. The flexi system link has been updated on the intranet home page and there is more information and user guides available in the intranet April News section.


Deployment - how can I volunteer? 

There has been an overwhelming response to the call out for staff to volunteer for new and different roles to support the council and the wider Renfrewshire community during this challenging time. Thank you so much!

If you would like to support essential services and our efforts to get food and medicine supplies to local people, please contact your line manager and tell them your availability, any skills or previous experience you have and what roles you believe you can be most effective in. They will pass this information on and you will be contacted when needed.


Shielding our community 

With a number of Renfrewshire residents now categorised as requiring shielding, it's our role to ensure that help and support is there for those who need it.  The new Local Assistance helpline set up last week has now received calls from people concerned about how they will access supplies, many of whom are without a support network to collect food or medicines as they follow quarantine advice for the next 12 weeks.

The helpline is supported by a dedicated team, deployed from across the council, to provide advice and reassurance and support referrals to this vital service. Feedback so far has been fantastic, as members of the public have expressed their gratitude for the support they are receiving from the council and staff at this difficult time.

If you see anyone in your line of work who you think needs assistance, please encourage them to call the helpline on 0300 300 0230.  All referrals are passed to our Local Assistance Team (LAT) who then fully assess the person's needs and welfare. Parcels are then packed and distributed from Castlehead High School and Parkmains High School by frontline staff in Environment and Infrastructure Service.

Food packages at Castlehead High
Food packages at Castlehead High


Early Learning Centres - 1140 hours

Councils are no longer required to deliver 1140 hours of funded early learning and childcare from this August and our careful planning is on hold for now. The announcement means we can focus efforts on the response to the coronavirus outbreak and make sure we keep our young people safe and well. Many members of staff from across the council and Renfrewshire Leisure are already supporting our most vulnerable children, providing key worker childcare. This includes our catering teams who provide lunches for the children attending and the cleaning teams who ensure our bases are safe for everyone. Not forgetting our teachers who are keeping pupils active and learning from afar. The commitment, dedication and professionalism of everyone to deliver these revised services has been outstanding.

It's too early to say what exactly this means for the timetable for full implementation of 1140 in Renfrewshire, but rest assured when we have information to share, we will do so.


Frontline Focus

This week we're spotlighting our waste collections and fleet and transportation teams. Find out what they're doing to make a difference across our communities. Next week we'll hear more from our caterers, cleaners and facilities teams.

They've 'bin great'

Our bin collection team are doing a brilliant job keeping this essential service running as normal for our local community.  Loads of our staff live locally so let's support our crews by not over-filling bins and only buying what we need. Here's a few words from one of our crew members - Steven Halliday:

"We've had a brilliant response from residents, people leaving Easter eggs, chocolates and biscuits and notes and waving and smiling from the windows.  It's great to feel that people value what we're doing at such a challenging time. We've made some changes - like social distancing and using fleet cars to follow the cabs so we're not travelling together but able to work as normal - and we're wearing our protective clothing. We got a lovely note of thanks from a gentleman who had dropped his wallet in a neighbourhood car park. The crew I was working with - Chris Glancy and Gary Campbell - spotted the wallet and made sure we got it back to him right away. Nice to be nice isn't it!"

Steven Halliday
Steven Halliday

Keeping things moving

The fleet and social transportation team usually support HSCP and Children and Families by taking our passengers from home to day centres, schools and many other locations.  Operations Manager Scott Blyth tells us what's changed for them in just a few short weeks:

"We're part of a joint team taking around 350 food parcels from Castlehead and supporting the Community Meals service across Renfrewshire. We're also delivering PPE to help support our HSCP colleagues with distribution to Dykebar, Royal Alexandra, Queen Elizabeth and direct to social care teams throughout Renfrewshire. Our drivers have collected thousands of litres of hand sanitiser and moved furniture, IT equipment and just about everything conceivable that has been involved to support the major changes to our services almost overnight. Our mechanics, technicians and workshop supervisors are working seven days ensuring the fleet is cleaned and keeping vehicle repairs and servicing on track and Council services moving. A lot of people don't see this side of our operation but the scale of what we're doing here to help the most vulnerable in our communities is incredible. I'm very proud to be part of the team and can't thank them enough for their flexibility, hard work and commitment."

April delivering crucial PPE
April delivering crucial PPE

E&I fleet workshop team
Fleet workshop


Easter Activities 

We know this will be an Easter break like no other. So, we've pulled together some 'eggcellent' ideas to keep you and the little ones busy. But this isn't just for kids - if your grown-up household fancy an egg and spoon race - then go for it... just remember to send us a photo!

Renfrewshire Leisure

host of activities online to keep you and the kids active and entertained at home. From fitness videos to free eBooks and audiobooks via the online library service 'Libby' there's no excuse for boredom this Easter!

Bake some goodies

There's no end to the delicious Easter inspired recipes online. From hot cross buns to Easter Bunny cupcakes there's something for everyone.

StreetStuff

Lots of ideas on how to keep young people active and connected with online FIFA tournaments and quizzes. Check out their FaceBook and Twitter pages for details.

Giant Easter Egg Hunt

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is encouraging kids to get creative and stick their own Easter egg designs in their windows to create a massive egg trail. We think that's a great idea as it brings a new dimension to the daily exercise route. Why not take part and see what your kids can spot on their local egg hunt? Remember to send us your egg drawings before sticking them in the window.

At home egg and spoon race

It doesn't take much preparation to organise an egg and spoon race and its fun for all the family.

Get crafty

There's no limit to the creative prowess of little ones. Let them express this through some fun crafty activities like painting/decorating boiled eggs or building their very own miniature Easter garden.


Social Shout Outs

Our Facebook and Twitter channels have received some more fantastic feedback from the people of Renfrewshire this week. Just goes to show all your hard work is recognised and appreciated. Here are just a few of the comments we have received so far...

"Cannot thank Paisley Grammar enough for all their hard work. I am an NHS worker and knowing my daughter is being supported has been invaluable" - Patricia Bisset via Facebook

"Can I just thank @RenCouncil who continue with our scheduled bin collections? I am very grateful that you are still collecting. Please wish all of your staff good wishes and to stay safe" - Kung Fu Panda via Twitter

"Thank you and keep up the good work. We all appreciate it" - Tony McLaughlin via Twitter

"I know everyone is at full stretch and fully appreciate the hard work everyone is putting in." - Campbell McKenzie via Twitter

"Thank you for the work you are all doing and stay safe." - Fabien Quinn via Facebook

"Thank you to all the teachers and staff at West Primary School the interaction and daily tasks for the children have been amazing Miss Wilson and Mr Carson especially" - Buddy Blooms via Facebook

"Thank you to Mrs MacLeod of Thorn Primary for the thought and imagination that she has put into the work for her P5 class including an epic April fools. I'm sure all other Thorn teachers have done a great job too. Thank you too, to Mrs Hart who has also been calling her pupils to check how everyone is getting on." - Mhairi Powell via Facebook

"@RenCouncil @AttainRen Thankyou to all the Education staff helping our children through this" - Pauline via Twitter

"The teachers have been fab at answering any questions my daughter has and really prompt replies as well" - Claire Jones via Facebook

"@RenCouncil @AttainRen Thank you to all the staff @HeriotPrimary who have been doing an excellent job supporting children with their learning. Have a great easter break - you all deserve it" - Lynne Hendry via Twitter


Share your stories and photos 

We'd love to hear from you. It could be a photo of you working from home, something interesting from your daily walk, or a photo of your new "colleagues" (furry friends most welcome!). Have you started volunteering or taking on new roles and responsibilities you never thought you would? Tell us all about it and we can share your stories. Send them in to internalcommunications@renfrewshire.gov.uk