Renfrewshire Council

Message from Chief Executive, Sandra Black - 19 June 2020

Yesterday the Scottish Government announced details of the move into the second phase of the four-part route map out of lockdown and with that, the further easing of restrictions over the next few weeks with more individual freedoms to be restored and more businesses and services able to open and operate again.

This means that many people who have been in isolation through this crisis due to Shielding will now be able to exercise outdoors and reconnect with family or friends if hygiene measures and physical distancing are carefully followed. For others, it will mean being able to meet with two other households at a time outdoors and for single parent families or those living alone, being able to create an extended household with another family or friend. You can read more about the guidance and what this might mean for your circumstances here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-framework-decision-making-scotlands-route-map-through-out-crisis-phase-2-update/  I hope these small changes ensure that all of you can spend time with family and friends this weekend.

All this progress has been made possible thanks to the commitment and resilience of everyone who has followed the guidelines, and to our colleagues delivering essential services and helping others to remain at home. The feedback we continue to receive from local people shows how much your support is valued and the difference that you have made to people's lives during this crisis. And whilst it is with much relief that the death rate continues to fall, we must remember that this virus has not gone away and continue do all that we can to follow the guidelines that remain in place. This includes working from home wherever possible, staying local when shopping or exercising and following physical distancing all the times. And if you are travelling by public transport - including by taxi, you must please wear a face covering.

We are very aware of the economic harm created by lockdown and it is great news that many of our local retailers will be able to welcome back customers from June 29. Local traders are at the heart of our towns and villages and the council is helping wherever we can to make the return as smooth and safe as possible. I would encourage everyone to shop safely and locally and to support our local high streets. Please look out for and share the council's Spend Local campaign which launches again soon.

For the council, yesterday's changes will mean an expansion in the coming weeks to some of the services restarted in Phase 1 and I want to thank everyone for their support in restarting our services - those in frontline roles and everyone who continues to work in the background to ensure the support is there to enable our restart plans and to protect those at work.

This week brought a number of reasons to smile, and I was delighted to see some of our soon to be P1 and S1 pupils getting the opportunity to say a proper goodbye to their primary and nursery teachers before heading off to new schools. I don't think we can underestimate the importance of these milestones and how much it means to our colleagues, parents and carers and the children to say their goodbyes. This will continue into next week and I'd like to thank everyone involved in making these visits possible, as well as those working to prepare our schools for the return of all pupils in August. For everyone waiting on information on what the return to school will look like, our schools will be in touch with parents next week with more information. For now, you can read our latest update at http://www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/schoolsupdate12June

And finally, I hope like me you enjoyed the launch of our values this week and hearing from colleagues and friends about the type of organisation we want Renfrewshire Council to be. The launch marks the end of a conversation with more than 4,000 people - colleagues across the council, our communities and partners, and you told us: we are Fair, we are Helpful, we are great Collaborators and we value Learning. I was very proud to watch our video and to reflect on how we have been instinctively living by these values. Your commitment to being fair and helpful, to collaborating and to learning, has shaped a remarkable response to the crisis we have faced over the past 3 months. This has been very visible in your actions and attitude every single day, so thank you. If you haven't yet had a change to read the Living Our Values guide or check out our brilliant video, please do so and don't miss out on seeing some familiar faces who are part of the cast. A massive well done to everyone who was involved. It was lovely to see and hear from you all.

You can find more information on our values story and our plans to make these values part of our day-to-day working lives on our website: www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/ourvalues

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Stay safe and thank you.

Sandra