Excellence Awards 2016

Nominations

A total of 23 excellence award applications and 27 recognition award nominations were submitted and the short leeted entries for each award are shown below:

Find out the results of the awards here.

Achieving Better Outcomes

Bute Welcomes Refugees – Argyll and Bute’s Syrian Refugee Resettlement Programme

Argyll & Bute Council, in response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria and the surrounding countries, was one of the first local authorities in Scotland to announce its willingness to participate in the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme. Bute’s Refugee Resettlement Group was formed and 15 families who had previously been living in the most appalling conditions have so far been resettled on Bute where they have been supported in adjusting to life in a new country. The achievements of this group would not have been possible without the positive input of the Council, its partner agencies and the community of Bute

Combatting Serious Organised crime

The Regulatory services of Argyll & Bute Council, West Dunbartonshire and Police Scotland have established a Detect and Disrupt subgroup to co-ordinate activities and enforcement targeted at combatting serious crime in our area. Through shared data and intelligence this partnership will support targeted intelligence-led enforcement in our area, addressing serious organised crime and protecting communities.

Cowal Money Advice Project – Argyll and Bute Family Pathway

As part of our Argyll & Bute Family Pathway developments the teams from Clyde Cottage Pre-5 Unit and Clyde Cottage Voluntary Nursery have worked in partnership with Argyll & Bute Citizens Advice Bureau to provide money advice to parents of young families in the Cowal area. Run over six months, 49 families were supported by this project and, in addition to advice on rights and support with managing debt, families benefitted financially to the tune of £79,783 by the end of the project. This will help reduce inequalities and increase parental aspirations, ensuring their children have the best start possible.

Argyll & Bute Historic Environment Strategy 2015-2020

Valuing our Historic Environment is essential to protecting what makes a place special and capable of strong and sustainable growth. The Historic Environment Strategy seeks to raise awareness about the positive contribution our historic environment makes to Argyll & Bute as a place to live, work and visit. It aims to integrate the care and custodianship of heritage assets into all of the core activities of the Council.

 

SQA Professional Development Award for Classroom and Support Assistants

Over the last four years Jenny McFarlane, Area Principal Teacher in the Kintyre area, has had sole responsibility for organising and managing this Award throughout Argyll & Bute. This professional learning opportunity ensures that assistants working with our most vulnerable children and young people have the necessary knowledge and confidence to improve outcomes for those they support. 42 assistants have successfully completed this award over the last two groups and some of those go on to further study including degree level courses and teacher training.

Universal Services Delivered Locally

This project aimed to provide support to vulnerable residents to enhance their digital skills and their personal ability to manage their finances as part of the preparation for the implementation of Universal Credit. In the short-term the project aimed to mitigate the effects of poverty with the longer-term aim of reducing the gap between the best off and worst off in Argyll & Bute.

 

Short leeted entries for Achieving Better Outcomes are:

Bute Welcomes Refugees – Argyll and Bute’s Syrian Refugee Resettlement Programme

Combatting Serious Organised crime

Cowal Money Advice Project – Argyll and Bute Family Pathway

SQA Professional Development Award for Classroom and Support Assistants

Universal Services Delivered Locally

 

Local Matters

Empowering Local Democracy: Building the Capacity of our Community Councils

This initiative aimed to empower local democracy and decision making by building capacity within Argyll & Bute’s 56 Community Councils to undertake their statutory duties effectively. In such a large and geographically-difficult area as Argyll & Bute it is important to provide a consistently high level of support across the authority to develop the skills and confidence needed and to increase the number of people becoming involved in grass roots democracy. The Development Plan that came out of this initiative aims to fulfil all of these objectives.

Story of the Month … Reaching out to Schools

Rothesay Library is always looking at innovative ways to attract young members. Every month since March 2015 Library staff have visited Bute’s 3 primary schools with a copy of a popular children’s book for every primary 1 child. As the story is read each child has their own copy to follow. Each story also comes with an activity sheet full of arts, crafts and challenges for the young readers to complete either at school or at home. As well as encouraging children to become library members this initiative also creates an excellent working relationship between the library and the schools.

 

Short leeted entries for Local Matters are:

Empowering Local Democracy: Building the Capacity of our Community Councils

Story of the Month … Reaching out to Schools

 

Service Innovation and Improvement

Big Impact through Small Steps – Using Elections Work to Support the SOA

This initiative by the Communications Team is about achieving added value and impact from the time and efforts of employees at a time of scarce resources. It aimed to use the work required to deliver elections and referendums to also raise awareness of Argyll & Bute as an attractive area to live, work and visit and of the Council as efficient and effective in overcoming challenges. Awareness of Argyll & Bute was raised worldwide through the use of photos, interviews and briefing information disseminated through both the normal media outlets and via social media.

Building Standards

As a result of demonstrating excellent customer care Building Standards were given the opportunity to extend their remit into the private sector. Beating out private sector competition they were successful in their bid to provide the Building Standards Verifier Service to Babcocks International for all their proposed building work at Faslane and Coulport Naval Bases. As well as generating an additional income stream this means that Argyll & Bute Building Standards are the only Local Authority Building Standards service in the country with a private sector contract.

Digital Office Efficiency

This initiative sought to address the challenge facing organisations today of information and data overload and the attendant volume of printing this generates. It has done so by creating a Virtual Meeting Workplace, fully integrated into the Council’s Hub. This makes online meetings easy, removes the need for printing and provides structured access to information. In addition to increasing efficiency it is estimated that the Virtual Meeting Workplace will comfortably deliver savings of £30k by 2020, a real bonus when budgets are under pressure.

Improving Connectivity in School Kitchens

Over the past year, Facility Services has been working in collaboration with IT services to roll out laptops, software and IT training to all school kitchens. This move has enhanced communication between catering staff in schools, has forged new links to the Council as a whole, has reduced costs and freed up time and has resulted in staff learning new skills. Where previously catering staff were often somewhat isolated in their individual schools from the rest of the council and each other they now find themselves, through their new Sharepoint site, as part of a broad support network, improving the service they are able to deliver

Making our Workforce Training more efficient and cost effective

Over the past 3 years the Performance and Business team has streamlined the department’s approach to skills training in an attempt to provide an annual plan that both meets their needs and delivers service innovation and improvement. This was done so successfully that the 2016/17 training plan took account of all PRDs completed in 2015/16, incorporated more than 2,000 fully costed training sessions, consulted with the department’s 13 service managers and was placed before DMT within only 6 weeks of the start of the financial year.

New Customer Engagement Solutions

Following an extensive customer consultation, the development of a new Customer Service Strategy and Digital First policy a new solution for handling customer contacts with the Council was procured and implemented by the Digital Services Team. This solution revolutionises the way the contact centre and service points work and integrates all contacts made to the council. Each customer has an individual account where full records of all their interactions are kept and the high degree of automation that is a feature of this solution helps to ensure that processes are streamlined and that the challenge of Service Choices efficiencies can be met.

Parental Engagement in Tarbert Early Learning Class and Beyond!

Engaging parents in their child’s learning is key to building strong foundations for future learning and leads to more positive outcomes for children. Improving parental engagement within Early Learning and Childcare settings is a priority and the target for this pilot project was to have 60% of children in Tarbert’s Early Level Class to have at least one example of parental engagement in their learning each week by the end of May 2016. The project ran from November 2015 through to the end of May 2016 and the results exceeded the target set for the project with an average of 84% of parents engaging in their child’s learning throughout the month of May.

Putting the Customer at the Heart of Service delivery

Governance and Law have undertaken to place customer service at the heart of everything they do. Fundamental to this has been building the detailed and growing knowledge of the customer base, seeking to understand the needs and wants of the individual, and seeking to provide what they want rather than just what we think they should get, or what we can provide easily or quickly, allowing us to fully integrate customer service into all our actions.

Service Improvement in CCTV Management Processes

Governance and Law have reviewed previous processes in terms of CCTV Management and undertaken robust steps to improve service delivery. A full analysis of CCTV across the areas was conducted to determine the requirements of existing locations to adopt an intelligence- led approach on a needs basis. Deadlines and timeframes were set in place to ensure Governance and Law provide a swift response to the management of CCTVs.

 

Strategic Finance – DIS Finance Team

This initiative was about developing a mechanism that could produce unit cost information to enable the roads operation service to scrutinise performance and to help inform policy decisions.  A regular output is now provided to the roads operation service and it has vastly improved their management cost information and has allowed them to make better business decisions within the service.

 

Short leeted entries for Service Innovation and Improvement are:

Big Impact through Small Steps – Using Elections Work to Support the SOA

Building Standards

Improving Connectivity in School Kitchens

New Customer Engagement Solutions

Putting the Customer at the Heart of Service delivery

 

Strong and Sustainable Communities

Argyll and Bute Sustainable Design Awards 2015/16

The Awards encourage and promote excellence in the design of inspiring and sustainable buildings and places. The ethos was to demonstrate design and build of the highest quality in terms of both its architectural thought and sustainable development principals and the eventual shortlist featured some truly outstanding entries that encapsulated the stunning designs and innovations that have been occurring across our area in recent years.

South Islay Distilleries Path

This was an innovative partnership between the public and private sectors. The path provides a traffic free, surfaced walking and cycling link between the villages of Port Ellen and Ardbeg and it is also a safe route to the local primary school at Port Ellen.  In addition, the path provides access to the distilleries at Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroig which are key employers in the area and are also major local tourist attractions.

Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) – Building Solid Foundations

Over the last 5 years the SHIP has delivered over 550 new affordable homes in a range of locations across Argyll and Bute. This has enabled local residents to remain in their communities, has helped local businesses to attract and retain key staff and has had a significant financial multiplier effect on local investment and local economies, as well as providing direct employment for local staff in the pressured construction sector and ancillary services.

 

Short leeted entries for Service Innovation and Improvement are:

Argyll and Bute Sustainable Design Awards 2015/16

South Islay Distilleries Path

Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) – Building Solid Foundations

 

Tackling Inequalities and Improving Health

Care at Home – New Model of Care

Following on from research by IRISS and the Adult Care workforce development group a new model of care for care at home services was developed. The new model is an outcome based service that offers additional flexibility to service users and can respond to changing priorities at short notice. In addition, the new model releases resource capacity, reduces travel time and mileage and promotes the sector to become more attractive to new recruits. After successful trials in two localities this new model of service is now being rolled out across all areas.

Supporting learners with English as an additional language on Bute

From December 2015 a number of families from Syria have been relocated to Bute as part of the programme of resettling refugees in Scotland.  Within these families there are a number of children and young people who have been placed across the nursery, primary and secondary sectors of Rothesay Joint Campus. In advance of the families arriving, school staff sought to enhance their understanding of children with English as an additional language and the range of issues that may impact on their progress and a number of strategies were put into place within the school to support these children, strategies which have been proven to deliver positive outcomes for these children.

 

Short leeted entries for Tackling Inequalities and Improving Health are:

Care at Home – New Model of Care

Supporting learners with English as an additional language on Bute