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Out of Africa Fiona Ferrans, Admin and Support Officer from the Policy, Planning and Performance Division embarked upon a life changing trip to Africa earlier this year and kept a diary of her incredible experiences for Ewords.

Keeping you informed

September 2012

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Keeping you informed

September 2012

Contents Summer of Song Choir lights up film premiere

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Family trees at the BMC

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Special Commendation for Council programme

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Double success for HAS apprentices

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Recycling news

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Creative Minds Learning Network

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New complaints handling procedure

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Development and review of strategy and policy across the Council

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Twitter 24

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Kick-about for the kids

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Royal Garden Party

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Dean Castle Country Park events

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New Exhibitions

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Out of Africa

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HR Update

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Take a closer look at Bank Street

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The art of learning

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Befrienders needed to help young people

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Welcome Welcome to the September edition of ewords This edition contains an HR update on issues that matter to you and details of the new complaints handling procedure. There is a feature on the great new shops that have opened recently in Bank Street, Kilmarnock and exciting events coming up at Dean Castle Country Park. Remember ewords is your magazine – get in touch if you or your colleagues have any good news to share! Please do not print this magazine.

Disclaimer… East Ayrshire Council makes no claims about the suitability of the information contained via links or connectivity to third party websites contained within this publication. We do not accept responsibility for any loss which may arise from reliance on such information nor do we guarantee that these links will always be available.

Summer of Song Choir lights up film premiere Creative Scotland recently invited East Ayrshire’s Summer of Song Choir to sing at the film première of ‘Keep Her Lit’ – a film about the Olympic Torch’s epic tour of Scotland. East Ayrshire was the only Summer of Song Choir to be invited to sing at this prestigious event, acknowledging the quality of work produced and highlighting the immense talent of our young people to a Scotland wide audience. ‘The Flame Burns Brightly’, written by pupils from East Ayrshire with composer Alan Penman, was sung by 30 P6 pupils from Silverwood, St Andrew’s, Hurlford and New Farm Primary Schools at Glasgow’s GFT cinema. ‘Keep Her Lit’ features a short clip of ‘The Flame Burns Brightly’ being performed at the Ayrshire Athletics Arena, showing part of the choir and a few other well known faces from East Ayrshire. Congratulations to Phillipa Aitken from Cultural and Countryside Services and Julie Carrie, John Wilson and Paul Wood from the Creative Minds team who secured the funds to support the writing and performance of a new song for East Ayrshire.

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Keeping you informed

Recycling news Back in May new recycling and waste collection routes were introduced to all communities across East Ayrshire. The new collection routes have proved to be very successful and have provided Waste Management Services with a significant financial saving, reducing the vehicle fleet by two collection vehicles.

Our recycling performance The Zero Waste Plan for Scotland sets national recycling targets. By 2013 recycling targets of 50% for household waste must be reached or the Council will face financial penalties. We achieved 46% during 2011 -2012 and will be focusing on recycling food waste and mixed plastics to increase the amount of waste being recycled.

Double success for HAS apprentices Two young apprentices from Housing Asset Services have each achieved incredible success winning Apprentice of the Year in their trades. Katie Burns (pictured left), who has just completed her third year as a joinery apprentice, won Student of the Year at Ayr College in the Joinery and Painting/Decorating Section. Apprentices from every year within the section were judged on their college work and lecturers’ assessments and from hundreds of hopefuls, Katie was named top apprentice. Michael Gavin (pictured below), who is a second year plastering apprentice, won Apprentice of the Year for his trade at South Lanarkshire College. And that’s not all – he also came third in Scotland at the national Skills Build Competition for Plastering, a skill based competition which is open to apprentices from throughout the country. Congratulations to Katie and Michael, their supervisors Paul Kirkwood and Brian Connor and the whole HAS team.

September 2012

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Special Commendation for Council programme A Special Commendation has been awarded to the Council for its Family Support Practitioner induction programme at the recent Care Accolades 2012. East Ayrshire Council was a finalist in the category of ‘Investing in the Workforce, Developing Practice’ at the Care Accolades which are organised by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC). The awards recognise the best social service projects, teams and organisations showcasing innovation, excellence and dedication in Scotland.

Family trees at the BMC Researching your family tree is a valuable and extremely rewarding experience and the Burns Monument Centre has all the resources you need to trace your ancestors. The team of experts will guide you through the process of researching your family tree, locating background information on how and where your ancestors lived and how to build a fuller picture of their lives. Workshops on how to use the ‘Scotland’s People’ software run every Saturday from 10.30am-12.30pm and 1.30pm until 3.30pm. These two hour introductory sessions cost just £10 which covers all tuition and access to genealogical records from 1513 to the present day. ‘Furthering your Family Tree’ workshops provide expert guidance and hands-on instruction on how you can use the Research Room and archives to uncover the unique story of your ancestors, building a fuller picture of their life and times. Resources include Memorial Inscriptions, Newspapers, Valuation Rolls, Trade Directories and Kirk Session Records. These monthly Saturday workshops are free and run from 12.30-1.30pm on the following Saturdays: 6th October and 3rd November. More workshops will follow, so please contact the Burns Monument Centre for future dates. All workshops must be booked in advance. Call 01563 576695 for more information or to book your place.


Keeping you informed

Development and review of strategy and policy across the Council In an organisation the size of East Ayrshire Council, it is no surprise to find that a large number of strategies, policies and plans exist to help us deliver our work. However the Council needs to be certain that it is developing the right strategies, at the right time and for the right reasons. In line with the Council’s commitment to ‘One Council, One Plan’, strategy and policy should be developed only where there is a legislative requirement or a clear rationale for doing so. For this reason, Corporate Management Team approval will be required in future before any new strategy or policy is developed. As the sovereign strategic planning document for the Council, the Community Plan continues to set the context for the planning and delivery of services within East Ayrshire. Where it has been agreed that a strategy, policy or plan requires to be developed, clear links to the Vision, Guiding Principles and Local Outcomes of the Community Plan should be demonstrated. The new Policy, Planning and Performance Division has been tasked with supporting the development and review of key strategies and policies to ensure a consistent and co-ordinated approach. New templates and software will be used to aid this process and bring a more consistent and co-ordinated approach. For more information, contact the PPP Division on 01563 576075.

September 2012

New complaints handling procedure On 1 September the Council introduced a new complaints handling procedure which is quicker, simpler and more streamlined. The new procedure is designed to improve customer satisfaction by dealing with complaints as close as possible to the point of service delivery. The Council values the feedback it gets from customers and complaints give us valuable information that can be used to improve the services we provide. Sorting out complaints as East Ayrshire Council close to the point of service Complaints ha ndling proced delivery as possible means September 20 ure 12 the Council can deal with them locally and quickly. Early resolution saves money and creates better customer relations. The procedure has been developed under the guidance of the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO). A standard approach to handling complaints has been promoted across local government, with the intention of helping councils to ‘get it right’ first time. A guide entitled ‘Complaints Handling Procedure’ is available for staff online from the What’s New link on the intranet which explains how to handle complaints under the new system. For customers, there is a leaflet which provides information on the complaints procedure. This will be available from our local offices and libraries.

Creative Minds Learning Network A Creative Minds Learning Network event will be held on Tuesday 11 September between 4pm and 6pm at the Burns Monument Centre, Kay Park. This event is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the funding that has been secured for the learning network for 2012/13 and the exciting new plans for its development. Membership is set to be expanded to include parents/carers, artists, creative practitioners and young people so if you have a passion for the creative arts this is your chance to take part in dynamic workshops and training for the benefit of local young people. For further information please contact 01563 555650.

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Keeping you informed

Kick-about for the kids Employees from Community Care and Children and Families organised a charity football match recently to raise money for two very worthwhile charities – Macmillan Cancer Support and Children in Need. The match, which was organised by Phil Rice, the Council’s Welfare Rights Officer, was held at the Grange Leisure Centre in Kilmarnock and the winners on the day were the charities, with well over £200 being raised. Thank you to everyone who took part in the match and a very special thank you to the three young people, currently accommodated by the Council, who played in the match and helped with the fundraising. Without their boundless enthusiasm and hard work the event wouldn’t have been the huge success it was!

Royal Garden Party Employees, nominated by Past Provost Stephanie Young for their services to the Council and the community, were delighted to attend the Royal Garden Party at the Palace of Holyrood-house, Edinburgh in July. The party-goers were Margaret True, Julie McGarry, Chris Walker, John MacKenzie, Jessie Haggarty, Derek McCabe and Gina Doonan. Everyone gathered at the Dower House at Dean Castle for a photograph with Provost Jim Todd before heading off to Edinburgh for their royal encounter.

September 2012

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Twitter 24 Following the success of last year’s Twitter 24 project the Council will be holding another 24 hour event from noon on Tuesday 18 September to noon on Wednesday 19 September. Councils throughout Scotland will tweet about the services they deliver using the hashtag #mycouncil. East Ayrshire tweets will also feature a local hashtag #eac. The aim is to raise awareness of the services we provide giving residents an insight into a day in the life of their Council. We will also be inviting our local partners to take part, asking them to follow us and retweet messages to their followers. This is a great opportunity for our Council to experiment with what is rapidly becoming an important communication route. You can join in too! If you have your own Twitter account you are invited to follow @east-ayrshire, post and retweet messages during the campaign. If you have any suggestions or comments you wish to see posted for this event please email Suzie Cassels, Digital Communications Assistant (ext 6157) or Dawn-Marie Wyllie, Digital Communications Assistant (ext 6163).


Keeping you informed

September 2012

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RAW Challenge Saturday 15 September £27 (non SAF members), £25 (SAF members) The RAW Challenge is the final event of the Scottish Ultra Marathon Series. The race to complete this challenge starts at Glenbuck Loch, outside Muirkirk at 9am and follows 41 miles of the River Ayr Way to Dam Park in Ayr. The route goes through some of the most spectacular countryside in South West Scotland with moorland and open hills, deep sandstone gorges and beautiful woodland corridors. Transport to the start of the race is provided from Ayr, Kilmarnock, Cumnock and Mauchline and this can be booked with your race application. You can submit an online application at www.theriverayrway.org or contact anneke.freel@eastayrshire.gov.uk.

Dean Castle Conservation Volunteers Sunday 23 September – Rhodie Bashing Sunday 21 October – Bird and Bat Boxes Sunday 25 November – Tree Planting 11am – 4pm Meet at the visitor centre FREE This group provides an opportunity to help improve the environment. All ages and abilities are welcome and in return for your hard work, we throw in some lunch! Contact rangers@east-ayrshire.gov.uk or telephone 01563 554734 for more information.

Deadly Dean Saturday 27 October 6.00pm – 7.00pm (family friendly event) 7.30pm – 9.00pm (adults and over 8s only) Location revealed at the time of booking £1 for children, £3 for adults Kick start your Halloween festivities with a ghost walk with a difference. This year the spirits of Dean Castle Country Park will be hosting a ZOMBIE walk. The ‘undead’ will lead you on a very spooky mystery tour. It’s so mysterious that you will not know where the walk starts until you book your place and receive your challenge instructions. All places must be booked and paid for before Thursday 25 October. No places will be allocated after this date. Book online at www.deancastle.com or telephone 01563 554734.

Wilderness Wanders Whitelee Windfarm Sunday 23 September FREE Join us on a wilderness walk through Whitelee Windfarm. You can trek East to West or explore the new windfarm extension. The choice is yours! Contact Howie Pitman on 01563 554739 or at howard.pitman@east-ayrshire.gov.uk for more information.


Keeping you informed

September 2012

New Exhibitions Sea Fever Main Gallery and North Museum, The Dick Saturday 8 September – Friday 21 December Tues – Sat, 11am – 5pm FREE Visit www.enjoyeastayrshire.com for more information about this exhibition and associated education workshops.

Kilmarnock Heritage Women's Aid Camera Club Young People’s Gallery, The Dick Saturday 15 September – Saturday 24 November FREE

The Scottish Photographic Circle, Centenary Exhibition Baird Institute Thursday 23 August – Saturday 19 January Tues – Sat, 11am – 5pm FREE

Ayrshire’s Reel History: Cumnock and Dalmellington Doon Valley Museum Thursday 23 August – Saturday 24 November Tues – Sat, 10am – 4pm FREE Visit www.enjoyeastayrshire.com for more information and details of the associated learning programme for P5-P7s.

Panto at the Palace Tickets for this year’s pantomime Snow White are selling fast. Oh yes they are! Contact the Box Office on 01563 554900 to get your tickets now. CBeebies’ Mr Tumble, Justin Fletcher will appear as a pre-recorded video in the magic mirror but will not be starring in person. Don’t forget to visit www.enjoyeastayrshire.com to find out more about what’s on at the Palace this season.

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Keeping you informed

September 2012

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Out of Africa Fiona Ferrans, Admin and Support Officer from the Policy, Planning and Performance Division embarked upon a life changing trip to Africa earlier this year and kept a diary of her incredible experiences for Ewords.

Fiona was part of a group of six people from the Church of Scotland, Ayr Presbytery who travelled to Malawi in Africa. “We were there to visit some of our partners, strengthen communication links and build on the partnerships which have been made since the first twinning back in 2006. “We set off from Glasgow Airport and after 24 hours of travelling we arrived in Malawi, the Warm Heart of Africa. A six hour drive through some really beautiful countryside transported us to the area where we would be spending the next ten days and into a very different world. “Our busy itinerary included visits and meetings with churches, schools, nurseries and orphan care centres who are partnered with churches and schools in Scotland. Each time we

visited somewhere new we were welcomed very warmly with singing, dancing and hugs. The hospitality was also very generous – we were given something to eat and drink at every stop which meant we could be having 4-5 meals a day and these were not just snacks; they were full meals of rice, nsima - the staple food of Malawi, various meats, salad and chips and always a banana for afters.

“One of the important tasks we carried out during the visit was to survey some mosquito nets bought and distributed by St Nicholas Parish Church in Prestwick. We visited the homes where the nets had been sent to check they were there and what condition they were in. Again we were warmly welcomed by the adults and children who were eager to show us that the nets were in their homes and being used. The homes were very small with no electricity, no toilet or kitchen and had an extended family living in the two small rooms. “We also visited clinics and hospitals in the area. Some are very poorly resourced and don’t have basic pain relief so we took paracetamol to give to the clinics and donated medical packs to two hospitals giving them basic but essential supplies.

“During our visit we met hundreds of children. Many of them were orphans but they were very happy. We spent time making balloon hats, giving them stickers and singing with them and they were grateful for anything we gave them. To get a smile or be given a hug from the children was incredibly special. “The Orphan Care Centres and Community Based Organisations we visited provide nursery schooling, a

feeding programme plus some training in skills that they will be able to take back to their own villages and communities to enable them to earn a living. “The trip was definitely not a holiday but it was an incredible experience that I will never forget.”


Keeping you informed

HR Update Pensions auto enrolment

Childcare vouchers Sodexo Motivation Solutions Ltd now administers the Child Care Voucher Scheme.

This is because: • the government estimates that almost 7 million people are not saving at all for retirement or not saving enough • life expectancy is increasing – people will live longer in retirement and the size of their pension fund needs to be greater to fund this • the government may not be able to afford to keep state pensions at their current level in the longer term Auto-enrolment will mean workers being automatically enrolled into their employer’s qualifying pension scheme without any active decision on their part. Eligible jobholders can opt out of auto-enrolment, but they won't benefit from their employer's contribution or from the tax relief. A communications exercise will take place during the autumn to inform employees of pension auto–enrolment. In the meantime, employees can join the Local Government Pension Scheme or the Teachers’ Superannuation Scheme which, as final salary pension schemes, offer employees an excellent pension provision. Employees are encouraged by both the Council and the Trade Unions to join either Pension Scheme.

Employees will be required to sign up to the new scheme via a paper salary sacrifice form or directly online through the Saycare Pass website. Employees will be able to continue to use their remaining Computershare vouchers to pay for their childcare arrangements but cannot purchase any new Computershare vouchers. Details of the revised Scheme are outlined in Per Circular 16/12.

The popular Cycle to Work Scheme has a new provider, Halfords Ltd. A new electronic ordering system is now in place and there is a telephone helpdesk available for non electronic applications. Details of the revised Scheme are outlined in Per Circular 14/12.

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This regular column contains important information that matters to you. More detailed information is available through our regular Per Circulars and the Intranet.

As a result of the Pensions Act 2008, the UK Government is introducing pension auto-enrolment.

Cycle to Work

September 2012

Employees with more than one job Employees who have more than one job either in or outwith the Council are reminded that the combined hours worked should not exceed the 48 hour average weekly limit as outlined in the Working Time Regulations. If the total hours of the two jobs exceed 48 hours, then an opt-out agreement can be signed to enable this practice to continue. Full details are outlined in Per Circular 13/12.

Guides to the Council’s Disciplinary Policy and Procedures A revised Disciplinary Policy and Procedures has been agreed for Local Government Employees, Craft Operatives and Chief Officers. Updated booklets are available to view on the HR Policies, Booklets and

Toolbox Talk Quick Link on the Intranet: (A) employee guide (B) manager’s guide Printed copies of the Employee Guide have been issued to employees who are not on the Council’s e-mail system and all managers should have received their printed copy of the manager’s guide. In addition, there is a Toolbox Talk on an overview of the Council’s Disciplinary Policy and Procedures which is also available to view on the HR Quick Link on the Intranet. More information is available from Per Circular 4/12.

Social networking sites Please make yourself familar with the Council’s revised Code of Conduct, Per Circular 15/11. It sets out the possible consequences if you post anything on a social networking site of a derogatory nature about the Council, work colleagues or service users or make any other comments which could impact on your employment.

Master safety files Following a review of Master Safety Standards, a number of Per Circulars have been issued since the last edition of Ewords including: • Incident/Near Miss and Incident of Violence Reporting; • First Aid at Work; • Management of Road Risk; • Management of Workplace Inspections; • Assessment of Risk; • Fire Safety; • Personal Protective Equipment • Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) • Work at Height Employees are asked to familiarise themselves with their contents.


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Keeping you informed

Take a closer look at Bank Street

Shooze with Sole 5 Bank St. Tel: 01563 259336

While the economic headlines cast gloom over the retail trade, small businesses in Kilmarnock are bucking the trend, with no fewer than eight new shops opening in Bank Street.

Quality footwear expertly fitted with a range of fashionable and designer brands for children. It also stocks a growing range of ladies footwear and handbags.

The new businesses include a cocktail bar, designer shoe shop, baby wear shop, wedding stationer, hairdresser and beauty salon, nail and lashes salon and several new gift shops. The new shops are:

Quirky

I Love Gifts 6 College Wynd. Tel: 01563 531448 A gift shop which specialises in gifts for babies and weddings. It also stocks jewellery, Kringle candles, collectible “Charlie Bears” and stationery and gifts for young girls.

41 Bank St. Tel: 01563 258341 Gifts and clothes for babies. Unusual toys. Wedding and specialised stationery. Cards and special balloons to order.

Kaleidoscope 15 Bank St. Tel: 01563 535255

Hair Boutique

A two storey shop dedicated to gifts and items for the home. Ranges include Yankee candles, Arran Aromatics, Terramundi money pots and Lolita glassware.

4 College Wynd. Tel: 01563 543950 Unisex hair salon specialising in hair extensions and colouring. Kennedy’s Beauty Room offers all beauty treatments for men and women.

Obrigada 3 Bank St. Tel: 01563 520681 A home and giftwear shop specialising in wooden items from the Far East. Obrigada is also stocking some exciting new products from local craftspeople including wax melts from Darceys and Miss Polly soaps

Shaby Chic 24a Nelson St. Tel: 01563 258289 A cocktail bar offering ‘a little slice of style’ which is also available for private functions. A place to go for a relaxing drink in the evening. Shaby Chic also does lunches.

Lashes 2 Nails 22 Nelson St. Tel: 01563 523518 A new beautician specialising in Shellac nails, manicures and pedicures and also offering eyelash extension treatments.


Keeping you informed

Befrienders needed to help young people Leisure Development is launching a new Befriending service and is looking for adults who can spare a few hours of their time to befriend a local child or young person who needs some extra support. The service is being launched in conjunction with Social Work to give children who face numerous challenges in their lives the chance to try new activities and enjoy themselves outside of their home environment. Befriending is a great way to volunteer in your local community and our volunteers receive comprehensive training, ongoing support and out of pocket expenses. You will have fun, learn new skills and help a child or young person develop their confidence and self-esteem. We are looking for people who are aged over 16, from a variety of backgrounds, who have a genuine interest in young people and feel that they have something special to offer a child. We are particularly looking for males to enable boys to share interests and activities. However, we do welcome interest from volunteers from all walks of life, regardless of gender, as long as you are committed, flexible and reliable. Befrienders and the Befriendees they support will decide together what they will do each week. There are lots of activities within the community that are free or subsidised which are provided by Leisure Development and its partners. Induction Training will be held at the Leisure Services Offices, John Dickie Street, Kilmarnock on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 September from 10.00am – 4.30pm. However, training programmes are ongoing and induction training will be available on other dates. Due to the nature of this work we ask for two references and require that all Befrienders apply to join the PVG Scheme (Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme). The cost of the PVG will be met by East Ayrshire Council. If you are interested and would like more information email karen.connor@east-ayrshire.gov.uk or call 01563 554891 for an informal chat.

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The art of learning Teachers from all nine secondary schools will soon be launching Interaction – an innovative design project for pupils to identify the specific needs of their school, then design and construct built structures or objects.

The brain-child of local architect David Ross, the project builds on the success of the Business Enterprise Fund. Glasgow School of Art students will work with third year pupils on the project and they will be mentored by fifth and sixth year pupils. Youngsters will also collaborate with local businesses and other partners, such as Kilmarnock College. A development day at the Glasgow School of Art earlier this year helped teachers plan their Interaction projects.


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