Renfrewshire Council

Message from Chief Executive, Sandra Black - 26 June 2020

It is hard to believe that it is has been 3 months since we entered lockdown and our home and working lives changed so significantly and almost overnight. The impact of the coronavirus has been profound and presented us with unprecedented challenges, but as we enter summer I am pleased that it is with some confidence as we continue to suppress this virus and bring the public health risks under control. It has been a monumental effort and I am very grateful for the support you have shown our communities and businesses and the lifeline you have provided for so many.

This week marked the official start of the school summer holidays and the further easing of lockdown measures. It is very important that you benefit from this and arrange to take leave and spend quality time on holiday or with family and friends. I know that many of you will have had holiday plans disrupted or cancelled completely, but I would urge you to please take some well-deserved time off and recharge. You can read more about our approach as well as the latest government guidance and travel advice on our website here: http://www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/article/10392/Annual-Leave-Holiday-arrangements-and-quarantine-measures

It is with relief that we are seeing the rate of infection and death rate from Coronavirus continue to fall and to see this replicated in our care homes. This virus is especially cruel to older people, and I want to sincerely thank our care home colleagues and home care teams and the Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership for the dedication and commitment they have shown our most vulnerable residents throughout the crisis and in the hardest of circumstances. We will continue to do everything we can to ensure our older people are protected.

The feedback from local people as we gradually restart some council services has been very positive and this week Scottish Government announced more changes that will be introduced in Phase 2 of the route map out of lockdown and the early part of Phase 3. This will include the opening of more retail, the easing of restrictions on who we can meet and the restart of our tourism economy. It will also mean other services will begin to resume throughout July and August. You can read more about what this means for you here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-scotlands-route-map-indicative-dates-remainder-phase-2-early-phase-3/pages/2/

I also want to acknowledge that it has been an incredibly upsetting week for two of our schools, St Catherine's and Mary Russell school, who tragically lost young pupils in a house fire in Paisley last weekend. The news has shocked and saddened us all and I am deeply sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with everyone who knew the children.

Over summer we will continue the detailed planning to support services to restart in line with Government guidance and health advice. This also means ensuring we have contingency plans prepared to respond if required to any second wave of the virus and using everything we have learned to plan ahead. As part of our recovery, we will be asking our workforce to continue to work from home wherever possible and we will provide additional support to help you do this effectively. It also requires ensuring our services and places of work are COVID-safe for our colleagues who continue to deliver frontline services and for those that will restart in the coming months. Your health and wellbeing are our priority.

And finally, yesterday we had our first virtual Council meeting, and the opportunity to share the scale and success of our response to this crisis and the incredible commitment shown by colleagues in every service. Provost Cameron spoke on behalf of Council and paid tribute to you and your contribution. I am immensely proud of what the council has achieved and to have our services recognised in this way.

There is no doubt that we have a journey ahead and many social and economic challenges to overcome, but I am confident that we can deal with those challenges and recover, continuing to work together to deliver the services that people need most. For now, my only ask is that everyone plans some time off over summer to do what you enjoy most and as always, please make sure you follow the latest guidance to remain safe and well.

Thanks

Sandra