Renfrewshire Council

Staff Weekly News - 24 April 2020

In this week's staff news:

A message from our Chief Executive, Sandra Black

"This week was back to school for many but in a very different way to how we usually operate. I'd like to thank all our teaching staff for the fantastic support and online learning they continue to provide, giving parents and carers breathing space and the confidence that we are doing everything we can for their children. I am aware that many of you will be back to balancing work with home learning and I am keen we do all we can to support you. "I'd also like to thank all our staff, who continued to work to provide childcare for our key workers throughout the holidays. It was great to see some of the activities the children were taking part in, as well as the support received from our local businesses and communities."

Read Sandra's message in full here.

Latest information and advice - we've got you covered!

Latest staff advice on Coronavirus
Visit our Staff advice on Coronavirus webpage for useful information and advice for Renfrewshire Council employees.

Stay home, stay safe, protect the NHS
Visit our Information, help and guidance on Coronavirus page to keep up to date with all the latest Coronavirus information and guidance from the NHS, UK and Scottish Governments.

Follow us on Social Media
For daily updates you can follow us on Facebook @renfrewshirecouncil and Twitter @RenCouncil. Please send us a direct message with any queries and a member of the team will be happy to assist you.

Reporting an absence

If you are sick and off work, you must contact your line manager to let them know in line with your normal reporting absence procedure. They will make sure you are supported and notify the relevant people of your absence. Once you've recovered, contact your line manager to discuss your availability and return to work arrangements

Additional guidance has been developed for managers to follow when a team member calls in sick and/or is required to self-isolate in line with national guidance. This can be found under the 'Reporting an absence' section on our Staff advice on Coronavirus webpage.

Health, Safety and Wellbeing at work and at home

Looking after your physical and mental wellbeing is always important but during these difficult times, it's even more important we take the time to look after ourselves and stay connected with friends and family.

Advice for staff
Visit our page on looking after your health, safety and wellbeing at work for all the information and advice you'll need. 

Renfrewshire Leisure
Renfrewshire Leisure has developed an extensive webpage on managing you and your family's wellbeing at home during this time. Click here for at home workouts, additional resources for kids, mental health advice and online library resources.

Support for staff
Our staff counselling service Time for Talking is still available to support you 24/7 with free, confidential support from professional counsellors. This is currently available through telephone or digital channels such as Skype. Visit the Time for Talking webpage for more information or call 0800 970 3980 for free support now.

Right for Renfrewshire update - programme on hold

Given the need for the council to focus its resources to tackle the immediate Coronavirus crisis, the Right for Renfrewshire transformation programme has been put on hold with immediate effect. This means that the changes we planned to make in this financial year 2020/21 will be delayed. There is no decision on when the programme will restart. Read the full article for more information on what this could mean for you.

Scottish Government framework for decision making

The Scottish Government this week published COVID-19: A Framework for Decision Making. It sets out the current challenges in tackling this pandemic and outlines the approach that will guide future decisions over the coming months, as we prepare for changes to the current restrictions to the way we work and live. You can read here on the Scottish Government website.

Caring about employment

Working from Home
Laura Neill working from home
Invest in Renfrewshire Employability Team are working hard to help people who are long term unemployed as well as those who have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Over the last month the team have continued to support the employability journey of 530 individuals through Skype video meetings and telephone calls. They have helped create more than 70 CVs and delivered 30 health and wellbeing sessions for those with anxiety and mental health challenges. Laura Neill, Assistant Economic Development Manager (Employability), said 'The team are working hard to deliver our services remotely. We expect to see unemployment levels rising significantly in the coming weeks and months. So, it's vital we continue supporting people into secure employment which helps move their families out of poverty. Our work is so important for ensuring the most disadvantaged in our communities are not left behind.'

Frontline Focus

Food for the soul 

Park Mains
Park Mains packing area
Park Mains High School distribution hub is a hive of activity. Not only are teams preparing and delivering thousands of support packs and meals to people in need, they're also raising money for charity and keeping staff spirits up in style.





Musical maestro Grant Adam
Building Services' very own musical maestro, Grant Adam, has been making the most of breaktime at the hub by singing, playing his guitar, and having musical quizzes to boost morale and lighten the mood. He said, 'It is great for me to be able to assist each day, and to be able to contribute to such a worthwhile project alongside my workmates. I can certainly do with the practice!'

Elaine Scott and Louise Campbell
Staff at the hub have also embarked on a sponsored charity cycle using stationary bikes borrowed from the school gym. Their goal is to cycle the equivalent 874-mile journey from Lands' End to John O'Groats to raise funds for Brightest Star, a local charity that supports bereaved parents. It's a cause close to many hearts in Building Services through the association with two of their colleagues Louise and Paul Campbell. A Just Giving page has been set up to support this special cause where donations can be made digitally.

Elaine Scott, Building Services Operations Manager wants to say a massive thank you to all the team at Park Mains. "Everyone is doing a fantastic job here, I'm really proud and grateful for their support. I'd also like to thank Grant on behalf of everyone at the hub for providing such a fun atmosphere, and yes - he can indeed 'do with the practice'.

Word on the street

StreetScene, normally focused on cleaning our streets, cutting grass, garden assistance and general grounds maintenance are among the many teams whose role has significantly changed since the start of lockdown. Grant Roderickson, Acting Team Leader, always worked hard to lead trainees, developing their skills and experience across a range of StreetScene roles and has continued this despite the necessary change in direction for team.

Now StreetScene are assisting with waste collection, monitoring fly tipping hotspots and continuing to check and maintain streets and parking areas across Renfrewshire as much as possible. Trainees have found themselves in variety of different roles which vary from day to day. Grant said, 'They have handled the changes very enthusiastically. They have benefited greatly from the differing tasks and it has shown their commitment and ability to perform across a wider range of functions'.

Cameron Shipley, 3rd year Apprentice, said, 'My normal job involves all aspects of horticulture including floral bed preparation, planting and grass cutting. During the Coronavirus period we are delivering key essential services. I also volunteered to assist with food deliveries to the elderly and infirm who are unable to get about. I have really enjoyed this work, helping the community and the feedback from them has been excellent and I find this really rewarding'.

Playing their part

Waste support fleet
Volunteers playing their part
Volunteers from across the council family have come together to support our Waste Services team allowing them to continue providing this essential service during this difficult time.

Colleagues from Renfrewshire Leisure have joined StreetScene, Roads, Transportation and Service Coordination to drive waste collectors in additional vehicles to make sure social distancing guidelines are followed at all times. Iain McLarty, Clerical Assistant for Environment and Infrastructure, said, 'I'm usually office based so it's been a nice change being out and about. I've enjoyed working with the guys and it's good to see how another service operates'. Jordan Cuthbertson, a Leisure Assistant with Renfrewshire Leisure, said, 'While on the rounds I have been amazed at the reaction of the waste collectors to the gestures they have received. I've seen a thank you card and balloon attached to a bin and "Thank you binmen" written in chalk on someone's driveway. Someone even left a gift card! This all had an impact on the guys, who were visibly touched and humbled by these gestures of appreciation. It's been a privilege to assist them while they do this important work and see it being recognised by so many.'

New home learning info to support your little learners

The demands on a parent working from home, providing childcare and supporting your child's learning can feel overwhelming in this current crisis and we want to support you as much as possible.

We've pulled together information to reassure you about what is expected of you as parents and carers, what is expected of children and young people, how you can structure the day and resources you can use to support you. For this and advice on all schools and education related matters visit our Coronavirus Schools page.

Working at home?

Eilidh Kerr
Eilidh Kerr and Harry
We've been asking for snaps of your new normal. We want to see your working from home set up and we'd even love to see the animal friends keeping you company.

This week the Invest in Renfrewshire Employability team have really set the standard and sent us some beautiful images of working from home life and their new furry colleagues. Check these out!

What's your working from home set up like? Send us your photos and stories to

Laura Smith and Buddy the cockatiel

Fauzia Saddiq and Cairo

Laura Neill and Willow (the orphaned rescue lamb)


Social Shout Outs

Our Facebook and Twitter channels have received some fantastic feedback from the people of Renfrewshire. 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...


"Great work. A massive thank you to all the staff in the hub schools" - Mairi Thomas via Facebook

"Absolutely brilliant and well done to the janitorial staff who make sure the school is safe and maintained for all children and staff." - Adam Anderson Lynne via Facebook

"You are all doing a great job, keeping things as normal as they are - and I'm sure most people really appreciate it" - Michael via Twitter

"Thank you for continuing to provide a great service during difficult times. Thank you also for posting about not burning garden rubbish. For many shielded people a wee while in garden if they are fortunate enough to have one, is the only fresh air they get. If smoke is around it gets through open windows. For those with chest problems, this can be very dangerous." - Kathleen Birney via Twitter

"Thank you for all the great work you're doing in keeping things ticking over these trying times" - Yvonne Quinn via Facebook

"Well done to all the bin men! We appreciate you. Stay safe." - Margaret Spain Aitken via Facebook

"Well done RC you are doing a great job, keep it up, stay safe guys and girls" - Daniel Rossiter via Facebook

"@RenCouncil I would like say big thanks for delivering food and all essential for our Family of four. We are all self isolated because of Covid-19. Thank You again" - Aleksandra Jaskolska via Facebook

"Your bin men are doing an amazing job. Always with a smile. Thank you for delivering an excellent service in challenging times" - Alexis Ward via Facebook

"Cheers to the binmen and all cleansing staff" - Anne Martin via Facebook

"Well done to all involved in this. you are all doing amazing work" - Mary Welsh in reference to support packs and meal deliveries via Facebook

"Thanks for this service. It reassures me to know that my Mum is getting a hot meal" - Fiona MacDonald via Facebook

"@RenCouncil Cheers for the rapid response guys .. Good to know " - Jazz Flautist via Twitter