A fault with the telephones means we are unable to receive incoming calls. This is a council-wide issue. IT is aware and is working on a solution.
NHS Forth Valley is holding a series of webinar events as part of a Trauma Informed Week from 26-30 October.
The impact of psychological trauma can be a barrier to people receiving equitable services. To help remove these barriers by being Trauma Informed, activities are available acknowledging the 5 principles of trauma informed practice and taking an action each day during the week.
This virtual funding fair is being hosted by SVE, CTSI, Stirling and Clackmannanshire Councils. The event consists of a morning session 10-12 and an afternoon session 1-3. The Robertson Trust, The National Lottery Community Fund and Foundation Scotland will be in attendance.
More information and registration via Eventbrite.
This online event from the Edinburgh Wellbeing Festival, hosted by Angela Robertson (cofounder of the Edinburgh Wellbeing Festival and Network Engagement Coordinator for RSA Scotland) takes place on Thursday 29 October, 8–9pm.
The expert panel will cover a range of mental health issues including how to deal with uncertainty and constant change, stress management, adolescent mental health, parenting in lockdown and how to improve the quality of life of people with existing mental health issues and their careers.
Tickets are available on a Pay What You Can basis, with a minimum spend of £1. It is also free to RSA fellows.
Sign up via Eventbrite.
From Monday 12th October it will be mandatory to wear a face covering in all communal areas of workplaces. This will affect all Council buildings regardless of the setting.
In open plan offices you should wear a face covering while moving about the building - even if it is just popping to the photocopier. There is no requirement at this stage to wear one while sitting at your desk, but staff are welcome to wear one if they wish.
For those staff undertaking roles such as janitors, cleaners, and tradespeople you will be required to wear a face covering at all times while other people are nearby when you are in any Council premises. Face coverings will also be required in all kitchen and rest areas, but can be removed once seated to consume food or drink.
Those who are unable to wear a face covering for health reasons will be exempt. In Primary schools we are expecting that pupils will be exempt, but are awaiting clarification of this.
Staff should use their own re-useable face coverings where possible to minimise waste. If you do happen to forget, a face covering can be made available by contacting your Line Manager, or nominated contact prior to entry. Please do not enter any council facility without a face covering as this may be regarded and recorded as a failure to comply with health and safety regulations.
For more information on other new regulations and how they affect you, visit our Staff FAQ section.
Covid-19 has impacted heavily on our daily lives, and paying attention to our mental health and wellbeing is important. The theme of this year's World Mental Health Day, which falls on Saturday 10th October, is "Mental Health for all: Greater Investment - Greater Access".
As we go through this pandemic, we would encourage everyone to take good care of their mental health and wellbeing in general. You can find information, advice and tips on the Wellbeing section of our Keeping Staff Connected page.
You will also find information about free digital support Apps as well as free Covid-related webinars.
For better mental health this World Mental Health Day, we also encourage you to "Do one Thing". You can find tips and suggestion on Mind's calendar of activities.
On behalf of the Accounts Commission, Audit Scotland appoints auditors to examine the council's accounts. Audit Scotland also assists appointed auditors by conducting a National Fraud Initiative. This initiative promotes the proper use of public money. More information is available via our NFI page.
A guest access Wi-Fi system is operational at Kilncraigs and we are working our way through other locations. The Clacks Guest internet service is only intended for providing guest internet access on the personal devices of council staff, guests and external users.
For more information, please refer to the Connect Clacks Guest article dated 14 August 2020. If the link doesn't work for you, please visit Connect -> Home -> Announcements -> Clacks Guest Wi-Fi update.
A by-election will take place on Thursday 19th November in the East Ward and the pre-election period will begin on Monday 5th October, the date the notice of election will be published.
There are certain responsibilities Council staff have in terms of maintaining neutrality at work, generally, but, particularly in the lead up to an election.
Pre election period guidance is available via Connect to refer to. If you can't access the link, please visit Connect -> Documents & Forms -> Service Areas -> Governance -> Elections -> Pre Election Guidance document.
If you have any queries, you should discuss these with your line manager.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced tighter Covid restrictions this week in a bid to try and slow the spread of the virus which has been increasing steadily over the past days and weeks. The new restrictions came into force by law on Friday 25 September 2020. Please follow the link to read what these new regulations mean to you.
Kickstart is part of the Government’s plan for jobs tackling some of the impact of COVID 19 and aims to create large numbers of fully funded positions. The first placements are likely to be available from November 2020 and the scheme will run for 18 months.
If your service has any job placement opportunities that could be offered to a young person please email email@example.com.
At the start of the pandemic the Scottish Government asked those members of the public who were deemed to be at most risk of COVID-19 to Shield.
The restrictions on Shielding were eased a the end of July, however with rates of infection increasing once again further guidance has been issued by the Scottish Government. Key points to note are:
If you have any concerns about your safety please speak to your line manager, a member of our health and safety team of your trade union representative.
Additional information and support to help those staff previously shielding
Mental health and wellbeing
You can also book GP appointments for support. Help is available online too from the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH).
Staff who have been shielding should soon be receiving a letter inviting them and anyone else in their household for a free flu vaccination. The flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19 but it will help protect them and their household from this year’s flu.
Staff should contact their GP if they have not received a letter in the next few weeks.
COSLA has joined forces with Trade Union colleagues to launch a mental health awareness video. With many people still working from home or away from their colleagues six months into lockdown, it is important that we reach out and make sure that those who need a bit of support know where to find it.
‘Don’t Stay on Mute’ aims to reassure people who are suffering from anxiety or uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic that they are not alone and that a variety of support is available. You can view the video here https://youtu.be/x0-DH6nOw5w
There is information for staff on Wellbeing on our web pages, including our employee assistance programme.
A new NHS Scotland contact tracing App – Protect Scotland - has been launched and can be downloaded for free onto Smartphones from the Apple and Google Play stores.
The App uses Bluetooth technology to anonymously alert you if you have been in close contact with another App user who tests positive for coronavirus. And if you test positive, it can help in determining contacts that you may have otherwise missed while keeping your information private and anonymous.
Using the Protect Scotland App, along with sticking to current public health measures, will help us to stay safe when we meet up, socialise, work or travel.
As we see the rate of infection start to rise, it is important that we download and use the Protect Scotland App to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
As NHS surgical procedures recommence, if you are due to have planned surgery it may be that you will be required to self-isolate for a period before and after any surgery. This can be between 3 and 14 days and the exact requirements will vary from case to case. The length of time any self-isolation will be required will be determined by NHS Scotland who will also advise if members of your household will also need to self-isolate.
If you existing sickness absence leading up to surgery, this should continue as it is unlikely that you would be fit to carry out any work.
If you are not on existing sickness absnece and have upcoming surgery that requires you to isolate or you have been asked to self isolate as a household member of someone who has upcoming surgery, you should provide your manager with a copy of any NHS correspondence relating to this.
If you are able to work from home, then this should continue.
If you are not able to work from home, then this period will be regarded as special leave.
If you have any queries about this, please contact your HR Business Partner.
Seven priorities projects which will form part of the Council’s Be the Future transformation programme have been agreed following a special council meeting today.
The Be the Future update report was a follow-up to the Respond, Recover and Renew paper agreed by Council in June which looked at the impact of the pandemic on the Council’s plans and what this might mean for staff, residents and communities.
We have a critical role to play in minimising as much as we can the impacts both locally and regionally from the Covid-19 pandemic. We have been doing this by working collaboratively with ourpartners to protect and support the most vulnerable people in our communities.
Today’s paper to Council outlined how we will be reprioritising the activity which was set out in our Be the Future programme, our Organisational Redesign Plan and our Recovery Plan to enable us to continue to support our community. Since une we have been working with iESe again to help us ensure that our own and our partner resources can be targeted to best effect.
We know that this will have an impact on staff and we have carried out an exercise across each service portfolio to identify immediate and medium term resourcing needs.
We continue to encourage our staff, where possible and in discussion with managers, to work from home. We are also developing approaches to provide a more sustainable and blended pattern of attendance in the workplace for staff and elected members which minimises risk and ensures that we continue to meet health and safety requirements. As well as this, we will continue to develop our communication methods to ensure that officers and elected members stay connected with colleagues across the Council.
The seven priority projects are:
People and Place Hub pilot: to address the development of a "localism" or place based approach, work had already commenced to develop a programme of related projects under the People and Place Hub pilot initiative. Work to date has been between Council and HSCP officers but includes the strategy for engaging a wide range of local and national stakeholders, including Strathclyde University, Alliance partners, communities, Columba 1400, Stirling University, Scottish Government and the Hunter Foundation, in both the development and delivery of proposals. Work is currently being taken forward with the University of Strathclyde to develop workshops for delivery in late September, the output from which will be used to engage with potential partners and funders.
City Region Deal, Scotland’s International Environment Centre and Sustainable Ageing proposals: to address issues relating to economic recovery and economic development both locally and from regional and national perspectives. This range of activity includes work to provide employment opportunities, support families and provide skills development capacity locally, as well as to provide a stronger economic footprint for the area within the Forth Valley Region and nationally. There has been significant recent activity to expedite the refinement of the original proposals in the economic context of the pandemic.
STRIVE pilot: this is well underway with the pilot being extended from six to twelve months to facilitate the further development of partnership learning and to maximise the opportunity to consider how the redesign of multi agency service delivery can be developed to capitalise on the earlier intervention, prevention and improved outcomes the pilot is suggesting have the potential to be secured.
Income maximisation: this aspect is focussed on minimising the impacts of poverty as well as ensuring the financial sustainability of the Council as an organisation. The reprioritisation activity will include additional activity to ensure that a transparent programme of related activity is in place through the Be the Future Programme.
Digital strategy as an enabler: Work has already been progressed as part of the Be the Future Programme with the agreement of the Digital Strategy in April 2019. Activity levels and the importance of this aspect has been highlighted significantly during the Council’s Covid-19 response phase which has provided a positive and catalytic effect on taking forward potentially significant changes in how services are delivered, how we engage both internally and externally and how our staff are deployed. The importance of the potential for digital exclusion and the need for blended models has also been highlighted.
Workforce: the Council was updated in June on a significant range of issues that require to be addressed to further develop sustainable employment models, employment policy and procedures and the associated and significant culture change that this represents. This has also been highlighted as a priority area in the feedback from the iESE discussions. The Council’s experience of the Covid-19 response phase also suggests a need to prioritise how we maximise the opportunity for staff empowerment through effective and streamlined governance arrangements and better sustain supports for employee wellbeing within the new operating context.
Communicate Values: The planned work to embed and communicate the Be the Future ambitions and the Council vision and values will be prioritised as this is critical to establishing a sense of common purpose.
Programme and project specifications will now developed for each of these areas of work. I plan to update staff on progress regularly.
Staff will be aware that the global pandemic has been the catalyst for a more rapid shift to digital within the Council than was previously envisaged.
At today's Council meeting, expenditure on several key digital projects was approved to ensure ongoing business efficiency continuity in the face of continuing uncertainty.
Virtual meetings, video conferencing and paperless working has become the norm for many staff and a report to Council today set out the need to update our operating system with a fair degree of urgency.
Councillors have agreed to implement Microsoft 365 in a plan to modernise the workplace and support the wider digital transformation agenda. A programme of investment in new IT equipment has also been agreed.
One of the benefits of Microsoft 365 is that applications that can be accessed from any device and from any location with an internet connection which enables remote, home and flexible working.
This improvement fits with the Council's Be the Future transformation programme and represents significant investment in our workforce to allow us all to be able to do our jobs efficiently and effectively in a post-Covid world.
Look out for further updates on the roll out of Microsoft 365.
Senior Manager – Partnership and Transformation
A reminder to all staff that if you
you MUST remain in isolation for 14 days.
In these circumstances, even if you get a negative Covid-19 test you MUST remain in isolation for the full 14 days, remaining at home and NOT coming into work.
All managers have been reminded of the guidance.
The latest advice can be found at NHS Inform.
As a Council, we strengthened our support for former and serving members of our armed forces in Clackmannanshire by signing the Armed Forces Covenant earlier this year. This means that we will endeavour in our business dealings to uphold the key principles of the Covenant which are:
We now have a programme of e-learning modules on Clacks Academy for staff who will be working with members of the Armed Forces in the community. The modules focus on particular audiences and needs including:
(If the link to Clacks Academy doesn't work for you the link is available via the home page of Connect).
The Armed Forces Covenant for Frontline Staff
This is aimed at front-line staff who engage with individuals and families on a regular basis. The training provides an overview of the unique challenges of Service life and how staff can help support the Armed Forces Community. It will help staff understand and apply the principles of the Covenant at a local level. It includes sources of further information and support.
It includes sections on:
The aim is that it will help staff understand and apply the principles of the Covenant with confidence.
Housing, Homelessness and the Armed Forces Covenant
This module looks at the Armed Forces Covenant and how it applies to housing and homelessness. It explains through case studies some of the specific needs of, and issues experienced by, current and former service personnel and their families, and how they can be supported. It also includes information on legislation, sources of support and housing agencies who work with those who are ex-armed forces.
For further information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Forces in Mind toolkit
The Forces in Mind Trust is a charitable organisation that aims to enable ex-service personnel and their families to lead successful civilian lives. The Trust frequently commissions research and has produced a report on effective delivery of the Covenant within communities. The report is available on the Forces in Mind Trust website.
The report includes a toolkit for councils to help implement the Covenant which is based on a review of successful councils and how they help deliver the Covenant in their area. The toolkit begins on page 42 of the report. Armed Forces Covenant partnership have developed a programme of e-learning modules focused on particular audiences and needs. There are 2 modules applicable to Local Authorities which are:
The last few months have been unlike any we have ever known and our staff have had to work at unprecedented levels to ensure that we continued to provide vital services to the most vulnerable members of our community.
The latest edition of Connected is a special Covid edition which provides a snapshot of all the hard work which has been carried out across the Council's services.
You can also read about maintenance operatives Mark Allan and Stephen Lamb who helped to save a man's life while out on a routine work call and our emergency resilience officer Karen Kirkwood who was chosen to feature in a key worker local hero portrait exhibition at Forth Valley Royal.
We hope you enjoy this edition of Connected and on behalf of the Senior Leadership Group, thank you for all your efforts.
Photocard licences or entitlement to drive that expires between 1 February and 31 December 2020 have been extended for 11 months from the date of expiry.
Under the changes, drivers whose photocard driving licence or entitlement to drive runs out between 1 February 2020 and 31 December 2020 will have their entitlement automatically extended from the expiry date, for a period of 11 months. Drivers do not need to apply to renew their licence until they receive a reminder before their extension expires.
The initial extension expired at the end of August. This has now been further extended to the end of the year under temporary changes announced by DVLA as of 1 September.
The temporary extension is automatic, and drivers do not need to do anything. Drivers who have already applied to renew their photocard driving licence or entitlement to drive can usually carry on driving while we process their application, providing they have not been told by their doctor or optician that they should not drive.
Please visit the GOV.UK website for more information.
A reminder that information and application forms are available via Connect on Capital Credit Union which is one of the largest credit unions in the UK. Offering a range of ethical and fair financial services, membership is open to Clackmannanshire Council employees. You can arrange for savings to be deducted from your pay.
We have developed a QR code for each facility to ensure compliance with Test and Protect information for contact tracing.
Visitors should scan the QR code with their phone and fill in the requested details - name, home postcode and contact number this is then automatically transferred to a centralised database should we require the information. All details are automatically deleted after 21 days.
If any of your visitors do not have a phone please take a note of their name, home postcode and contact number and email this to email@example.com on the same day they were in your facility and we will manually add to the database.
Visitors who are just coming into a facility to pay a bill or drop something off do not require to give us this information however if they are coming in to meet with someone, browse library books, or are in the building for 10 minutes or more they should leave their details.
Staff do not need to use this we have their details on the Paxton swipe system.
Due to the quick turnaround on this, paper copies will go to reception areas in the first instance until we receive the delivery of the wipeable plastic signs.
All QR codes have been tested all are working. Any queries or further information please call Karen Kirkwood on X 2537.
As a member of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS), you have access to a valuable new staff benefit.
Clackmannanshire Council is now offering LGPS members access to a Shared Cost Additional Voluntary Contribution (Shared Cost AVC) scheme, facilitated by our partners AVC Wise.
Shared Cost AVCs are a cost-efficient way to top up your pension pot, providing both Income Tax and National Insurance contributions (NIC) relief. The extra NIC savings you make can either be re-invested into your Shared Cost AVC pot, or you can choose to receive it as part of your take home pay.
A £100 contribution will actually cost a basic rate taxpayer just £68.12!
The key benefits of a Shared Cost AVC facilitated by AVC Wise are:
If you have any questions, please email support@AVCWise.co.uk or call 01252 784 546.
For the past few months, managers and trade unions have been working together towards the implementation of Health and Safety measures for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the safety of our staff.
All Clackmannanshire Council workplaces have now been risk assessed based on national guidelines and plans have been put in place to keep our buildings and working environments 'Covid Secure'. Now that the plans are in place we must ensure that all staff are aware of the measures for their places of work and that they are following them. Failure to follow guidance such as the minimum distancing rules, wearing the appropriate PPE or following the correct cleaning processes could put colleagues and service users at risk of infection and as such may constitute a breach of our health and safety policies and procedures.
Any breach of the Covid 19 measures must be recorded and documented using the Health and Safety incident and near miss form. These incidents will be reviewed by the Health and Safety team and will allow us to provide further guidance to those involved in any incidents, help us to monitor how effective our measures are and to improve them where necessary. Should we have a situation where someone within one of our working environments is confirmed to have Covid 19, it will allow us to provide those operating the track and trace service with the information they require to contact anyone who may have been exposed.
Like any situation where there is a breach of our Health and Safety procedures failure to adhere to them may result in disciplinary action should an investigation find that someone was deliberately ignoring our agreed procedures or had put others at serious risk of harm. In situations where a less serious breach had taken place such as someone forgetting to maintain social distancing the first step will always be an informal discussion with those involved to ensure that everyone is aware of the procedures in place and emphasise the importance of following them.
We fully understand that these measures seem unfamiliar and that we are all learning to adapt to the changes being introduced however it is imperative that we all take all possible steps to protect our colleagues, their families and our service users from unnecessary exposure to the Covid 19 virus.
Managers are responsible for ensuring that every member of staff has seen the up to date risk assessment/building guidance and the list of safety measures for their places of work.
If any member of staff has any concerns around the safety measures in place at their place of work we would ask that they contact their line manager, a member of the health and safety team (firstname.lastname@example.org) or their trade union for further advice and guidance.
Further information regarding changes to Health and Safety can be found on the staff information pages on the Council Website. An e-learning course entitled "Revised Ways of Working" is also available on ClacksAcademy.
A large number of people have been issued with IT equipment to work from home over recent months.
The normal expectation is that a full Display Screen Equipment (DSE) assessment should be undertaken for every employee who is working from home but due to the speed at which this was required to happen, this was not possible. We are now asking all managers to ensure that staff who are working from home (whether constantly or periodically) complete a self-assessment form to help identify anyone who may be experiencing difficulties and help us prioritise the full assessments which need to happen.
You can access the form here.
HR Information on Off-Payroll Workers
HR has published new information on Connect about procedures for dealing with Off-Payroll Workers. You need access to Connect to read these documents or contact HR for more information.
You can find this information by visiting Connect -> Home -> HR -> Recruitment -> IR35 (off-payroll workers)
Throughout the current crisis and as we move into the recovery phase, it is vital that we keep in mind that the requirements of the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) remain in force.
It is important to ensure that we consider the needs and disadvantages faced by people with different protected characteristics as we respond to Coronavirus.
We must assess the equality impact of new or revised policies and practices against the three needs in the PSED. Equality impact assessments are an important tool to help you ensure you don’t unintentionally discriminate or deepen existing inequalities in our communities, and that you consider the ways you can advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations.
More information on assessing equality and poverty impacts can be found on the Equality and Diversity pages including our impact assessment framework, guidance and previously published impact assessments.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published guidance on assessing equality impact and having due regard to the PSED during coronavirus.
Instructions for requesting and authorising annual/special leave is available by following the link.
NHS CAMHS have collated lots of useful information and resources for young people and families who may be feeling anxious or worried about their child's mental health.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic meeting room capacities have been reduced to comply with the current 2m social distancing rules.
All meeting rooms are equipped with cleaning materials and it is the chairperson's responsibility to ensure the meeting area/space is wiped down prior to and after the meeting. Please only use a room that you have booked.
MR2.01 is currently being used as the Incident Management Room and can accommodate eight people sitting at desks. If you require to use it, you must email email@example.com in advance outlining the proposed use and numbers.
Rooms not listed below have a capacity of 2 people.