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Hello, I’m DORIS (Dacorum Online Resource for Interactive Study). I’ll be appearing on a PC near you this summer as part of your new online learning website.

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Summer Dacorum Digest - out now! The summer issue of Dacorum Digest is out now. Alongside the latest Council news and service information for our residents this issue includes a Discover Dacorum feature, highlighting the opportunities for leisure and tourism in the borough - to encourage local people to enjoy the area’s many attractions this summer. If you live in the borough you should have had your copy through your door by now. If you haven’t had it please send your address, including postcode, to digest@dacorum.gov.uk You can pick up a copy of Dacorum Digest in Hemel Hempstead and Berkhamsted Civic Centres, Victoria Hall in Tring and at libraries and other community venues. You can also read Dacorum Digest as a PDF online at www.dacorum.gov.uk/digest

Come along and celebrate the Queen’s coronation Join us at Queens Square, Adeyfield for the Big Coronation Lunch on Sunday 2 June between 12noon and 4pm. Bring some lunch and enjoy:  Free rides for children  Decorate your tablecloth  Face painting  Classic car show  Free mug or wristband for children (limited numbers)  Pavement chalk drawing  Majorettes and choir performances  Charity stalls For more information talk to Nicky on x2305 or Sarah on x2006.

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Putting the customer first – Part two We’ve made a promise to our customers – and we need you to keep that promise. In the last issue of The Review we covered dealing with customers over the phone; now we’ll look at letter writing Our customers expect that we’ll always do our best to deal with their issues as quickly and professionally as possible. But in our new Customer Promise, we’re being specific about exactly what they can expect when they contact us. Keeping our promise – in letters Our new Customer Promise tells our customers what they can expect from us. We know they already expect us to do our best to help them as quickly as possible, but this promise tells them exactly what they’ll get when they contact us. Our promise is, really, based on what you already do when you deal with customers. So for the most part, it doesn’t change anything for you – but it’s worth knowing what customers will expect you to do. Here’s what we’ve promised when it comes to sending and responding to letters:  We will use language that is easy to understand.  We’ll be open and honest about our actions and performance, and give out information that’s accurate and not misleading.  We’ll confirm we’ve received a letter within five working days, or respond with an answer within 20 working days.  If we can’t respond within 20 days, we’ll let customers know why, and keep them up-to-date on any progress. It’s all fairly straightforward stuff, but having this promise in place helps reassure customers that we’re taking their issues seriously. If you’d like any help with writing letters (or any other documents), get in touch with Communications. And for more info on the Customer Promise, get in touch with Linda Smith on x2452.

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Free communications skills courses Most of us have some kind of personal contact with our local residents – dropping them an email, sending a letter, writing a webpage, producing a report or designing a leaflet. But if you’re tying yourself in knots trying to ‘get it right’, you may be on the wrong track. The key is to not use jargon or formal words, to cut the waffle and just be friendly. As Andrew Marr, former political editor for the BBC, says: “Cloudy, slimy sentences are the first sign of bad government; plain English is always the democrat’s best defence.” You can now sign up for a limited number of free short online courses aimed at developing your communication skills. You’ll get a password and then have two weeks to complete it as your time allows. Doing an approved Plain English Campaign course is not only good for your cv: it makes us more effective communicators, reduces the amount of time we spend explaining ourselves and so saves the Council money. So instead of … “I am writing to inform you that Dacorum Borough Council is carrying out a public consultation to ascertain the views of people in your locality. Please find it enclosed herewith” … how about: “We are asking local residents for your opinions and I wondered if you could please complete the survey I’ve enclosed?” Here’s what’s on offer. The following courses take about 13 hours to complete: the plain English course (letter-writing version); the plain English course (report-writing version); and the 'Grammarcheck' course.

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The remaining three courses are much shorter and only take about three hours to complete. writing for websites module; introducing business writing; and the design course. Email Luisa Clarke from the Communications team or call her on x2241 if you’re interested. It’s first come first served as places are limited.

Hemel Hempstead Civic Centre update – May 2013 We are moving out of Hemel Hempstead civic centre in June 2014 (if Morrisons get their planning permission in October this year) into 39/41 Marlowes and the old magistrates court temporarily until the planned Public Sector Quarter (PSQ) is built in 2015. The civic centre site is being used as part of the new Morrisons store and the new college campus will be on part of their existing site, completing in 2015. The college are vacating in 2014. In the interim, they will be using other venues. The police have confirmed that they would like to locate their Safe Neighbourhood team in the new PSQ. The Health Centre have indicated that they are looking for more suitable premises in the town centre. The library will be demolished in 2015 and will form part of the PSQ. You can see the plans and get more information at www.thelinkhemel.com If you have any questions, call 020 7323 3544, email info@thelinkhemel.com or write to The Link Hemel, c/o 7 Bayley Street, London, WC1B 3HB.

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Health and Safety at home Working remotely? It’s worth taking the time to get things set up properly, to make sure you’re working in a safe, healthy environment. Here are some things you should do: 

Fill out a home worker self assessment form and return copies to your manager who will send it to Helen Price (Health and Safety Officer).

Fill out a Display Screen Equipment assessment form and return copies to your manager who will send it to Helen Price (Health and Safety Officer).

Let your manager know about any safety problems, or potential problems, you might have when working from home.

Make sure you keep in regular contact with your manager by phone, text, email or Lync (instant messaging).

Agree the hours you’re going to work with your manager and stick to them – or let your manager know if that’s not possible.

Make sure you’ve got first aid equipment available. If you do have an accident during working hours, you should report it to your manager as soon as possible.

You can get more information and guidance on health and safety when working from home by contacting Helen Price, Corporate Health and Safety Officer, on helen.price@dacorum.gov.uk or x2518.

Our new Chief Executive Sally Marshall, our Finance and Governance Corporate Director, will be taking over from Danny Zammit as Chief Executive in October. Look out for more information in future issues of The Review.

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Housing Heroes Awards 2013 The Housing department are organising a second tenant awards after the success of last year’s. This year the Housing Heroes Awards will recognise any tenants or leaseholder that have made a significant difference to their community or another individual. There are three categories, in which people can be nominated:   

Tenant of the Year Award Good Neighbour Award Young Person of the Year Award

We will be publicising the awards in News & Views for tenant and leaseholders to make their nominations, but staff are also able to nominate someone they feel deserves recognition. Nomination forms will be available online or from the Tenant Involvement team. Closing date for nominations is Friday 26 July 2013.

Freedom of Information – Mandatory for all staff 29 May, 9.30am – 11am Anti-Money Laundering – Mandatory for all staff 30 May, 2pm – 3.30pm 14 June, 2pm – 3.30pm Information Security – Mandatory for all staff 6 June, 9.30am – 11am Fraud Awareness – Mandatory for all staff 6 June, 2pm – 4.30pm For more information, see EIS or speak to Charlotte Berg on charlotte.berg@dacorum.gov.uk or x2340 / 01442 228340.

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Helping young people to get involved Our Clean Safe and Green team have been helping The Astley Cooper School’s Interact Club, a Rotary group for young people, to learn about sustainability and install three natural oak benches in Woodhall Woods. Our Clean, Safe and Green officers chose Woodhall Woods because dog walkers and people looking at the bluebells would get a lot of enjoyment out of them. Officers then worked with the students to install the benches. Why not test the benches out and see what you think?

Free compost attracts hundreds of gardeners Over four hundred keen gardeners from across Dacorum took advantage of the good weather to pick up free bags of compost at our Compost Giveaway event at the Cupid Green Depot. It took just three hours to hand out 13 tonnes of free compost. Our staff and Community Payback teams worked together to shovel, bag and load the compost bags into cars all day. Councillor Julie Laws, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Sustainability said, “I would like to thank everyone who came to the event and I hope that events like this will help to encourage more people to start composting either at home or by placing their food waste, garden waste and cardboard in the green wheeled bin”. The compost that was given away was made from the contents of the borough’s green wheeled bins. In 2011-12 Dacorum’s residents helped to divert approximately 15,500 tonnes of food waste, cardboard and garden waste away from landfill.

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Big Herts Cycle Challenge coming soon... We’ve signed up again for the Big Herts Cycle Challenge. This is an invite for you to take part with your workmates and have some fun on bikes – no lycra required! We’re competing against other organisations from 10 to 30 June to see who gets the highest number of people cycling. How to take part:

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Ride a bike for at least 10 minutes between Monday 10 and Sunday 30 June. Register and record your bike trip on our online team at www.bighertscyclechallenge.org.uk Recruit and rally your team, workmates and members. Reward yourself and colleagues by winning prizes.

The Bike Doctors will be at Hemel Civic Centre on 13 June with bikes for you to try. Look out on Yammer and the notice board for more information. Prizes include a Warner Bros. Studios Family ticket, Snow Centre passes, Jamie’s Kitchen £100 voucher, Cocktail masterclass at Mokoko, restaurant and more. If you ride a bike for the first time in a year you can even win cinema tickets. Only 200 available, so remember to sign up at www.bighertscyclechallenge.org.uk

Summer of Swapping We will be running a campaign to let our residents know more about mutual exchange and help them to find out if it could benefit them and their family. There will be an event for tenants in July. Keep an eye out in future issues of The Review and on social media for more information about our Summer of Swapping.

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Family film Dr Suess’ The Lorax Saturday 25 May £2.50 Music Piaf - The Songs Saturday 25 May, £15 and £12.50 concession Lookout Popup Festival, June – August 2013 The Old Town Hall Festival for families Saturday 22 June, 2.30pm, £4.50 and £3 Dacorum Card

Dotty the Dragon

Lookout Popup Festival for families is popping up across the borough bringing the magic and excitement of our regular Saturday children shows and family films to your doorstep. The festival showcases the magic of storytelling and the beautiful craft of puppetry, retelling classic fairy tales such as Rumplestilskin as well as breathtaking new adventure drama with Dotty The Dragon. We’re showing Muppets Treasure Island at the Frogmore Mill. The festival finale on The Moor, Berkhamsted is the Popup Theatre Tent, a free one day extravaganza jam packed with fun for everyone. The first event is Rumpelstiltskin on 22 June, 2.30pm at Highfield Community Centre. The Old Town Hall box office: 01442 228091 www.oldtownhall.co.uk Twitter: @TheOldTownHall Facebook: The Old Town Hall Piaf - the songs

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See you there...

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Tips for effective mailing Making sure your mail is addressed and packaged clearly and correctly helps officers in the post room to get it sent out quickly and safely.    

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Don’t use full stops or commas and don’t stagger the lines when writing the address. Leave space around the address. If you’re using a window envelope, check that the full name and address is showing. The address should go in the following order: 1 – the addressee's name 2 – building number and street name 3 – locality/area/village, if required (e.g. Adeyfield) 4 – POST TOWN, please print in capitals 5 – POSTCODE, please print in capitals, in full and on a separate line Don’t overfill your envelope. If you are sending:  up to 4 A4 sheets of paper use a DL size envelope;  up to 8 A4 sheets of paper use a C5 size envelope;  up to 8+ A4 Sheets of paper use a C4 size envelope. Write the address with a clear pen. Here’s an example of a UK address: Miss S Pollard 1 Chapel Hill Heswall BOURNEMOUTH BH1 1AA

Doing all this means that we can save money using Royal Mail’s Business Mail Advanced. If we produce a minimum of 500 letters per day for delivery within the UK, and you prepare your mail so Royal Mail’s automated technology can read and verify the address and post code, we get discounts on the standard price. For more advice on how to prepare your post, please contact Sarah Allen on x2327.

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Are you connected?

Are you our Community Champion for 2013? Our Community Champion award recognises people who volunteer their time to make Dacorum cleaner, safer, and greener. If you go the extra mile for your community, or know someone who does, enter this year’s awards by filling in our nomination form. You’ll find it at www.dacorum.gov.uk/csgawards or request a copy by emailing cleansafegreen@dacorum.gov.uk or calling Sheila Chauhan on x2040. The closing date for entries is 5pm on Friday 9 August. The winner will receive a trophy, and be featured in a future issue of Dacorum Digest.

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Travel offers for current employees 1. Arriva Buses Season Ticket offer (includes Hemel Hempstead; West Herts; St Albans, Tring, Berkhamsted and Redbourn and All Zones season tickets) Up to 20% off the normal offline price of bus season tickets from http:// www.arrivabus.co.uk/BHBI/ . The promotional code is 93784378. (Do not share this code with anyone else). You may need to set up an Arriva online account as part of the process – use your work email address 2. Centrebus season ticket offer (Routes X31, 46 Luton to Hemel Hempstead) Three month season at special rate of £134 (normal price £149). Go to http://go.centrebus.com/, choose theX31/46 route-specific offer and enter the promotional code DBC1. (Do not share this code with anyone else). 3. hertsliftshare (free) Save money, wear and tear on your car, reduce pressure on car parking and decrease congestion and pollution locally. Register yourself and your regular journey patterns at www.hertsliftshare.org (select the Public group). Don’t worry – you don’t have to reveal any personal details until you are ready. 4. Local Bus improvements: At most bus stops in South West Herts, you scan a timetable for that stop/route using a smartphone with free QR software. Once bookmarked, the timetable is always available. 5. Other offers 10-15% off non-sales bikes at CyclesUK and LeisureWheels. Please email bigherts@hertfordshire.gov.uk for details (using your work email). There are more details about how to apply on the document centre under Environmental Management System > May 2013 Big Herts travel offers for DBC.

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Starters Caroline Evans - Admin and Sales team officer, Arts, Entertainment and Education Kashif Ghafoor - Service Desk lead officer, ICT Service Provision Shalini Jayasinghe - Strategic Planning and Regeneration, SPAR team Andrew Miles - Licensing Enforcement officer, Licensing division Rebecca Pass - Supported Housing officer, Supported Housing Christopher Price - Outdoor Recreation officer, Valuation and Estates Lucy Ridgway - Customer Service Representative, Call Centre Robert Smith - Neighbourhood Support officer, Community Wardens Jackie St Clair Tracy - Customer Service Representative, Call Centre Paul Sutton - Group Manager (Financial Services), Financial Services Gill Swift - Customer Service Representative, Call Centre Ian Swinton - ICT Infrastructure Engineer, ICT Service Provision Gregg Thomson - Temporary Environmental Health officer, Food Health and Safety

Movers Lewis Delderfield - Playground Support assistant (Adeyfield) to Adventure Playgrounds Stephanie Towell - Playground Support Assistant (Chaulden) to Adventure Playgrounds

Leavers Sophie Blane - Business Administration apprentice Philip Hay - Foreman fitter Heidi Lee - Finance officer Dawn McCarthy - Administration officer Rita McGinley - Group Manager (Regulatory Services) Haley Mitchell - Customer Service Representative Sharmane Thompson - Customer Service Representative

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             

Encouraged people to put on their trainers for Walk to Work Week Gave away 1,500 bags of free compost to residents Agreed to continue the new-build programme, keep rent on new council homes low and increased the number of home improvements carried out Enjoyed the launch of the new market in Hemel Hempstead Got the results from the County Council and Watling by-election Prepared for the Berkhamsted East Town Council by-election on 13 June Announced our new Chief Executive, Sally Marshall Looked forward to the Big Coronation Lunch, Queens Square on 2 June Gave people a chance to find out how the projects who benefitted from funding through Berkhamsted Youth Town Council’s BID on 26 May Celebrated one of our supported housing resident’s 100th birthday with a presentation from Mayor Cllr Penny Hearn Said thank you to the Billy Dove Memorial Fund for its donation to our Adventure Playgrounds Encouraged people to take part in the first Sky Ride on 2 June Enjoyed our Strategic Housing Department’s Making it Happen Housing event Leader of the Council Andrew Williams became Portfolio Holder for Planning and Regeneration.

What have you done this month? Let us know and we can add it to next month’s round-up. Send it to madeleine.taggart-smith@dacorum.gov.uk or call x2440 / 01442 228440.

Please send us your info, news, and articles for the June-July issue of The Review. You can get in touch with the Communications team on x2440 / 228440 or email us at communications@dacorum.gov.uk Next issue out: 25 June 2013 Deadline for articles: 11 June 2013

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