Renfrewshire Council

Message from Chief Executive, Sandra Black - 4 September 2020

It's hard to believe that we are entering autumn already and I hope that everyone was able to take some well-deserved time off during summer to recharge and reflect on the incredible journey of the past six months.

I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on how well I feel we have adapted and responded to the challenge that COVID-19 has presented; the continuation of essential services throughout lockdown; the incredible humanitarian response from all services and your commitment to our communities; building organisational resilience and carefully planning our recovery; the re-introduction of our Policy Boards, and most recently - the safe return of our schools. It's been great to see our children and young people return to some degree of normality.

We are also looking forward to welcoming Renfrewshire Leisure customers back to many of our leisure and sports facilities later this month. I want to thank RL and our council teams who are working very hard behind the scenes to ensure we re-open safely with the right measures in place, and continue to provide a positive customer experience.

As restrictions on our home and working lives are lifted by Scottish Government, and for some areas in Scotland re-introduced, we have entered a new phase of living and working with COVID-19 where we must do everything we can to minimise transmission.

For colleagues who live in the City of Glasgow, West Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire, you will be aware that additional local restrictions have been introduced preventing indoor visits. If you live in one of these areas, you cannot host visitors within your home and you should not visit any other household, anywhere. You can continue to attend work as normal, unless you or someone you live with develop symptoms of COVID-19, or you are asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Protect. The Scottish Government website has detailed information on the new restrictions and how this impacts on childcare, travel and accessing services.

You will also be aware of the activation of NHS Test and Protect contact tracing in some of our schools, and at our Underwood Road depot. I am really pleased that, together with colleagues in NHS and Public Health, we have very quickly identified close contacts and are supporting them to self-isolate to prevent the spread of the virus. The process has highlighted that we have very robust safety measures in place at Underwood Road and in our schools, something I am sure will be reassuring for colleagues and their families and our communities.

I want to assure you that the council is well prepared to help manage any potential cluster in Renfrewshire and if our situation changes locally, we will alert you to this immediately. While we monitor the Renfrewshire position daily with our NHS and Public Health colleagues, we continue to need your help and support. Please remain vigilant and help prevent transmission of this virus by keeping our workplaces and services safe; follow all the guidance on physical distancing and regular handwashing, follow the FACTS - at home and at work, and most importantly, please do not attend work if you, or anyone in your household, develops COVID-19 symptoms or you are contacted by the Test and Protect team and asked to self-isolate.

We want to do everything possible to help you remain fit and healthy at work, and we are encouraging staff to please get a winter flu vaccination this year. Watch out for the NHS national campaign launching soon with detailed information to follow from the council about how to access the flu vaccination programme quickly and conveniently. This year we have more than doubled the amount of vaccinations available for colleagues and we will share more information about accessing the programme in the coming weeks.

You can read more about working safely and the health and safety measures in place across our schools and workplaces here.

And finally, if you have a keen interest in architecture or want to know Renfrewshire a little better, you'll have the opportunity to visit some of our most famous buildings from your armchair as Renfrewshire Doors Open Days goes digital this weekend. If you would like to take a peek inside some of Renfrewshire's iconic buildings and hidden gems or want to discover heritage stories online, we have a really interesting programme lined up with fantastic video tours and interactive content - visit https://paisley.is/featured_event/renfrewshire-doors-open-days/ from the comfort of home. 

Have a lovely weekend and please stay safe.

Thank you as always,

Sandra