West Lindsey District Council
Staff Newsletter THE INTERNAL NEWSLETTER OF WEST LINDSEY DISTRICT COUNCIL FEBRUARY 2010
Market leaders! Relocation project hailed as classic One Council case study he project to temporarily relocate Gainsborough Market during the refurbishment of the town centre has been hailed as a classic example of different departments working as One Council.
Director of Strategy and Regeneration, Rachel North, said the success of the operation was built on different sections working together in a great team effort. “Lots of people were involved - the operational staff at the depot, the regeneration team, and the communications team who publicised the move,” said Rachel. The comments were echoed by Linda Pike, Developing Communities Project Manager, who also has responsibility for the market. Linda said: “My immediate team of Michaela Pollitt, Helen Green and Dave Jones were brilliant and they received wonderful support from Ady Selby, Simon Smoothey and our car park attendant, Andrew Stothard. “Lots of other people also helped – too many to name – and the move could not have been so successful without them.” The market moved to its temporary new home early in January – the date was specifically chosen to avoid the run up to Christmas and to take advantage of a time when trade is traditionally quieter. To publicise the new site a ● Continued on page 2
Making a Difference
★ RIGHT: Helen Green and Michaela Pollitt celebrating the successful relocation of the market
Market move mastermind Linda Pike (left) pictured with TV chef Rachel Green amid the top quality produce to be found on Gainsborough market.
TV chef cooks up a storm! ● From page 1 press and radio advertising campaign was launched and TV chef Rachel Green was booked to do cookery demonstrations on the first day at the new venue on the old Guildhall and Ship Court car parks. Linda said: “The idea was for Rachel to shop for all the quality ingredients she needed for traditional Lincolnshire dishes on the market and then cook them for hungry shoppers to try. “It worked very well because there was a good crowd watching the demonstrations all the time and there was a big demand for the free recipe leaflets that were also available.” The market has been relocated to allow work to begin on a £3 million scheme to refurbish the Market Place, Silver Street and Lord Street and the work will spread out from there subject to more funding being available.
New market canopies Key features of the plans are the use of York stone paving on the footpaths in the pedestrian areas, timber seating, a performance area in front of the old Town Hall, improved lighting and signage, ‘pop up’ electricity supplies for the market and events, and new market stalls and canopies. The plans are also aimed at improving pedestrian access and reinstating the Market Place as a key focal point and meeting place. The work will also provide a vital link between Marshall’s Yard and Riverside Walk and make the whole town even more attractive. Funding for the project has come from the East Midlands Development Agency, the private sector, Lincolnshire County Council and West Lindsey District Council. ● To help to make the town an even more attractive destination for shoppers, the Council 2 has made parking free on all of its car parks from 1pm on Saturdays during the course of the work.
TV chef Rachel Green in action on the market
Lucky numbers! Your chance to win a share of £250 FANCY getting a share of a £250 prize pot and helping to win £50 for your department? It couldn’t be easier. All you have to do is take part in Challenge West Lindsey District Council on March 18 which will assess numeracy levels across the Council and identify people who may benefit from support to do adult numeracy qualifications. Employment and Skills Project
Manager, Nicoya Palastanga, said the idea was for as many people as possible to sit the test – including directors, managers, team leaders as well as those at lower levels within the authority. Nicoya said: “The test will take between 10 and 25 minutes and everyone is invited to drop in either at the Council Chamber in the Guildhall or at the depot between 11.30am and 2pm. The test will take place during work
time.” The results of the test will only be seen by the HR Department. A prize of £50 will go to the department which has the highest number of people taking the test and every individual who takes part will be entered into a draw for vouchers for High Street shops – a total prize fund of £250 has been provided by Unionlearn. Why not go along and have a bit of fun – you could be a winner!
Today sees the beginning of a new series when we profile members of staff in the hope of discovering some of the things you never knew. What better place to start than right at the top with Chief Executive Duncan Sharkey? After all, he’s on his way to Worcester and has nothing to lose anyway!
things you never knew about the boss Q: What’s your full name? A: Duncan Clinton Sharkey? Q: The middle name is a bit unusual. Where does it come from? A: It’s a family name. Go back far enough and my ancestry is all Irish. One branch was the Clintons. Q: What’s your favourite film? A: Star Wars was the first film that made me go ‘wow!’ Q: Apart from working in West Lindsey (of course!) what’s been your favourite job and why? A: My first week in the Civil Service saw me organising a bank transfer of more than £900 million. That was an exciting start to a new job. Q: What are your ambitions for 2010? A: To sell one house and buy another. Also to see Worcester City Council and West Lindsey District Council achieve scores of 3 (good) across the board in our organisational assessments. Q: What is your favourite food? A: I am very partial to a good Chinese meal Q: If you could choose to go to any sporting event in the world where would you go? A: World Series Baseball – preferably at Safeco Field in Seattle – that would mean that
This photo was taken on a VIP visit to Gainsborough when improvements to the town undertaken by the Council were shown off to High Sheriff of Lincolnshire and sister of the late Princess Diana, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire, Tony Worth. Also on the VIP list was Chairman of the County Council, Roy Chapman, Vice Chairman Peter Bedford, Mayor of Lincoln David Gatrick, Sheriff of Lincoln Lance Pennell and Portfolio Holder for Economic Development at South Kesteven District Council, Frances Cartwright. In our picture here is Duncan with Chairman Cllr Jessie Milne inside Laura Ashley. We want to know what Cllr Milne is saying. Our suggestion is: “Duncan, I think the floral pattern is best and they’re all the rage in Worcester!” Please email your suggestion to firstname.lastname@example.org and a bottle of wine will go the winner. Editor’s decision is final, closing date is March 31 2010. my team were in it. Q: What do you think is the biggest challenge facing West Lindsey during the coming year? A: Finding a new model for officer/member relationships that everyone is happy with. Q: What is your favourite TV programme and who in your family is in charge of the channel controller? A: I’ve been watching NCIS/CSI just recently and it’s
definitely a fight over the remote – my two year old has been known to hide it when his programmes are on! Q: What aspect of your job at West Lindsey have you most enjoyed? A: Helping managers to develop their thinking and watching the astounding benefits their teams are delivering. Q: And what has been the least enjoyable? A: Being disappointed that we
haven’t been able to keep everyone on board. Q: Will you miss us when you’re gone? A: Yes – loads! To be the subject of our Staff Profile just phone Geoff O’Neill on ext 580 to volunteer. Remember it’s only a bit of fun and he promises to be gentle!
80 years of loyal service Four members of staff have each received 20 year long service awards from Chairman of the Council, Cllr Jessie Milne. Pictured left is Karen Masters, below left is Patricia Champion, below centre is Carol Bond, (all from Revenues, Benefits and Customer Services) and below right is Nick Chilvers who was at Wolds Leisure in Market Rasen which is now operated by SLM.
WE SAID FAREWELL TO BARBARA AND VICTOR Victor Brocklesby who completed 37 years as a refuse collector and general labourer (extreme left) and Barbara Cater, from the policy unit, who completed 42 years, are congratulated on their retirement by Chairman Cllr Jessie Milne.
Business new boys Darren Mellors has joined the Business Improvement Services team as a Process Redesign Officer and James O’Shaugnessy also joins the team as a Business Development Officer.
Well done girls!
Our staff are up with the best STAFF from West Lindsey District Council have proved they can rub shoulders with the best in the country. At the national Local Government Challenge Helen Christie from Finance was part of the winning Best Team Working combination and James O’Shaughnessy and Rachel Gregory were members of a team nominated in the top three of the Most Improved Team on the day. Alex Reeks was also in one of the teams of six made up from representatives from the Lincolnshire districts and the county council. The Local Government Challenge is an annual event where the teams carry out role play at being the Management Team of a Unitary Council. The object is to manage the affairs of the Council as effectively and successfully as they can and decide for themselves what that means and how best to achieve it. They had to make sure that their ‘Leader’ was informed of what was happening and more importantly work well as a team. They had to arrange Council meetings and produce strategies. The winners were decided after being observed by the Leaders who assessed
how well the teams worked together and what they presented. Helen said: “It was a fastpaced, enjoyable experience and opened my eyes into what things you need to be aware of as an officer in keeping councillors informed. “It makes you realise the different ways that different officers and managers have to work within a Council, but it has not made me want to change my position within the Council.” After only two meetings before the big day, the four teams competed against 39 national teams. James said: “It is important to carry out preparation work beforehand, but this is more difficult in mixed council teams, as it is difficult to get time together. “We were also getting to know how our team mates worked and what their strengths and weaknesses were.” The overall winning team came from East Sussex, they won for the second year running. ● Pictured above (left to right) are Helen Christie, Alex Reeks and Rachel Gregory. Inset is James O’Shaunessy who missed the photo call.
Council signs the Pledge - on skills! WEST Lindsey District Council has signed up to a Skills Pledge, which means the authority is committed to enabling and supporting staff to work towards gaining recognised qualifications to a minimum standard. The Skills Pledge is a voluntary, public commitment made by an organisation to invest in the skills of its staff. The promise means that the Council will help to make sure
staff members can develop their basic skills by working towards a relevant and valuable qualification. This should help both the Council and the member of staff in various ways. Hopefully the staff will become more motivated, confident and get more job satisfaction. The Council will benefit from having a more competent workforce, with long term benefits
and a higher level of efficiency. The process started by the Council making a Skills Pledge commitment. The authority will carry out assessments and develop action plans to show the number of staff involved and the type of support needed. The Council will then carry out the Action Plan. Council staff will be involved in supplying details to agree what work needs to be done.
Donna Harris from HR has passed her NVQ level 3 in Management. Her colleague, Stacey Wrath, has also achieved NVQ level 3 – this time in Business and Administration. Housing’s Rachael Hughes has received her postgraduate diploma in housing policy and practice from Sheffield Hallam University.
Inspection time Five members of staff from Housing, Renewal and Community Safety have been successful in gaining certificates to become Housing, Health and Safety Rating System Practitioners. This means they can now inspect and access properties to make sure they are up to standard. The five are: Rachael Hughes, Heather Kelly, Grant Lockett, Rachel Parkin and Sarah Sorrell.
Macmillan in town Staff who are also carers may be interested to know that Macmillan Cancer Support are now in Gainsborough on every second Tuesday in the month. They are available at the Volunteer Bureau at the Lindsey Centre between 10am and 1pm.
Final countdown The First Contact Scheme – used by West Lindsey District Council – reached the finals in two categories of the e-Government National Awards. First Contact was highly commended in the Team Excellence category and also reached the final stages of the Building a Fairer Society section. Will Saville, who has just left West Lindsey, was our representative on the organising committee.
No justice for honest Mick Not even a thank-you after handing in £380 find HONEST Mick Housham, a Gainsborough street cleaner, found a plastic bag on top of a hedge near the bus station containing £380. The bag also had a bank slip and bank card in it, which showed the name and bank details of the person it belonged to. Mick,(59), who lives in the town, said “At first I felt very lucky to have found the money, but when I realised there was the name of the owner in the bag, I knew I had to do the right thing and hand it in.” Mick passed it to his line manager, Ady Selby, who handed it to the police. The police in turn informed Ady that the money and bank card had been claimed by someone in their nineties, who didn’t even say thank you!
Vitality on offer STAFF are being urged to get a bit of Vitality into their lives! Vitality is a specially designed program of exercise for people of any age who have medical conditions. It is subsidised and approved by NHS Lincolnshire. The classes in and around Gainsborough are proving popular, but there are still places available for interested participants. Run by trained teachers and supported by West Lindsey District Council, the hour-long sessions are both fun and have made a big difference to participants. Classes take place at Newlands Court Communal Lounge, Lea Village Hall, Pillard House Communal Lounge,and Tranquility Lifestyle Centre. For more details and information please telephone the Vitality Project on 01529 411194 or visit www.vitalitylincs.co.uk
Mick said “It’s the normal thing, these days, not to say thank you, it’s not the first time and won’t be the last.” Mick has previously found a jacket which contained car keys, car insurance and tax disc, but again was not thanked by the person who claimed it..
Paid time off for volunteering ALWAYS wanted to volunteer but never thought you had the time? Well, all that could change thanks to the Council’s Volunteering Programme which allows one day’s paid time off a year - pro-rata for parttimers - for staff to volunteer their time on approved community schemes or affiliated projects already in operation. Typical projects that could qualify could be to do with sports or the arts, those registered with the Voluntary Centre Services, or something connected with the Young Enterprise Scheme. Director of Strategy and Regeneration, Rachel North, said: “The Council recognises the value of the voluntary activity undertaken by employees as private individuals. “The enthusiasm of people who work for the authority inspires the whole organisation and should be supported. It also promotes pride within our local communities.” The Council scheme recognises that volunteering can provide personal development through new, real and challenging environments and give employees the power to Make a Difference to issues they care about whilst at the same time creating an opportunity to understand and respect people more. Managers are being encouraged to view the programme as an effective way for employees to improve their skills and allow personal development and team building. Anyone who has completed a year’s continuous emloyment with the authority qualifies for the scheme. However, agency workers do not. Want to apply for paid leave?
The first thing to do is to make sure the activity is either a registered scheme with the Council or the Voluntary Centre Services, West Lindsey. If you are in doubt, contact the appropriate Council service area or the Centre. Next you’ll need to fill in an appliation form which you can get from Human Resources and remember that time must be taken either as a full working day or two half days. You must give at least 28 day’s notice. Permission is not automatic and will rely on your manager’s discretion and the needs of your service but managers have been asked to support staff in volunteering whenever feasible. If you want to do more than one day’s volunteering you can make an appliation for annual leave or unpaid leave, but again this is subject to the manager’s discretion. To find out much more a leaflet, Volunteering Progamme, Policy and Procedure, is available from HR.
Call for rural support COMMUNITY Lincs is encouraging people to petition the Prime Minister for dedicated Big Lottery Funding to improve and develop community building facilities in rural areas. Rural community buildings are essential for the vitality and vibrancy of community life. This usually means the village hall but could be a community owned shop, church hall, or similar. The petition, run via the Number 10 website, will continue until April 30. So far there are over 1,600 signatories at http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/VillageHeart/
Saying hello and goodbye SINCE our last issue we have said hello to: James Swain, Building Control Officer; Carol DeHaney, Corporate Development Officer; Holly Parker, James Vickers, both Casual Box Office Assistants; Kathryn Hearn, Temporary Support Officer; Emma Redwood, Human Resources Officer; Julia Preston, Environmental Protection Officer; Janet Howson, Environmental Protection Team Leader; Sarah Hilton, Sub Regional Homelessness Strategy Project Officer; and John Vessey, Verge Cleansing Operative.
Goodbyes And we have said goodbye to: Wayne Lambert, Neighbourhood Services Manager; Gordon Brumby, Team Leader Operations; David Charlton, Building Control Officer; Bob Bayliss, Community Safety Team Leader; John Hornsby, General Labourer/driver; David Tweddle, Young And Safe In Gainsbrough Project Officer; Tracy Forrest, Support Assistant; Ian Dickenson, Development Control Team Leader; Will Saville, Cultural and Community Development Officer; Neil Gray, Housing Options Manager; and Veronica Proud, Development Control Case Officer.
Building Control’s Dave Charlton is congratulated on his retirement by Chairman of the Council, Cllr Jessie Milne. Consultants John McLoughlin and Tony Nind also left the authority on the same day.
Could a career break solve your problem? SOMETIMES we all have a crisis in our lives. It could be that we need to take care of our children or nurse sick relatives. And although we feel we want and need to do it, we also need to keep our jobs. That’s where the Council’s Career Break scheme can come in. The scheme allows an unpaid break from work for between six months and three years. People who take a break for between six months and a year are guaranteed a return to their substantive post; and whilst people who take a break for more than a year cannot be guaranteed a job, there is a promise that every effort will be made to find employment at the end of the break. Director of Strategy and Regeneration, Rachel North said: “The scheme is intended to give benefits for both employees and the Council. “It complements our other family-friendly policies which are designed to help people work more flexibly and achieve a balance between home and work commitments. “The policy could help those with child care and other domestic responsibilities, but it could also be used by people wanting to go away and study or to take up temporary voluntary work.” The scheme is open to all employees (full time, part time or job share) who have at least one year of continuous service. Anyone who wants to take part in the scheme should make an initial application to their line manager at least 12 weeks before they want the break to begin. Sometimes this will not be possible - say in the
case of a sudden illness of a dependant - but the Council will ask for as much notice as you can give. You will need to get a Carer Break application form from Human Resources and after you have filled it in it will be considered by your line manager and your service manager. The service manager will make a decision to grant or refuse the application and the decsion will be recorded on the form along with the reasons. You will normally get a reply within 10 working days. If the request is refused, applicants can appeal to the appropriate Director within 10 working days. The Director will then hear the appeal within a further 10 working days. If you are successful in your application, the Council will treat the career break as a period which suspends continuity. So when you come back to work, previous service will be counted as continuous for statutory employment rights like redundancy or a claim for unfair dismissal for example. Previous continuous service will also be reinstated for the purposes of service related benefits such as sickness payments, notice, annual leave, long service awards and maternity provided that you have not undertaken any alternative permanent employment during the break. The career break will not be counted as a period of service, except when you attend work or a work-related training course. You can find out much more from the Career Break Scheme leaflet available from HR.
Easter food fair FOLLOWING on from the success of the Autumn Food Fair organised in conjunction with Tastes of Lincolnshire, Market Rasen Town Council is hosting an Easter Food and Drink Fair, to be held on Easter Saturday. As usual it will have a large number of stalls, mainly Tastes of Lincolnshire members, ranging from high quality meat and fish, Lincolnshire cheeses, home made breads, cakes, preserves and confectionery. For the first time, Myers of Horncastle will be bringing a selection of their new deli produce and bottles of Tom Wood beers will be on sale. The latter can be personalised to your requirements, making them ideal gifts for Easter or Father’s Day. Festivities begin at 10am on April 3 and carry on throughout the day until 4pm. There will be a large selection of delicious cooked food on offer from a variety of stalls.The venue is the Festival Hall.
Red alert for tourism LINCOLNSHIRE’S multi-million pound tourism industry is set to get a boost from a new group set up in West Lindsey. The Tourism Development Forum brings together all aspects of the tourism business to promote the area as a destination for visitors. Chairman of the district council’s Economic and Regeneration Committee, Cllr Malcolm Parish said: “Members of the group include hoteliers, garden centre owners, proprietors of bed and breakfast businesses and people who run food outlets. In fact there are members from a whole host of tourism-related businesses. “The aim is to promote tourism in as many ways as possible and for the group to work together to promote West Lindsey as a great place to visit.”
ABOVE: Tourism officer Marion Thomas (centre) with Forum guests on the Scampton visit.
The last Forum meeting was held at RAF Scampton when members were treated to a guided tour of the Red Arrows – the world famous aerobatic display team. Owner of the Black Swan guest house in Marton, John Patrick, said: “The visit was arranged by the Council and we are very lucky to have their direct involvement in tourism; because not all local authorities do.” The group is currently planning two training courses – one on marketing at the Beckett Arms in Corringham on March 2, and the other on bed and breakfast profit at the Welton Manor Golf Centre on March 23. Cllr Parish said: “Both events cost £15 per person and represent fantastic value for money. The marketing course examines latest trends on how to capture new customers and retain existing ones, how to maximise returns and how to make best use of the internet and social media. “The bed and breakfast session includes sessions on stock control, minimising waste and menu planning that are all aimed at increasing profits.” The group is also planning a tourism brochure to be paid for by advertisers. Cllr Parish said: “The idea is to produce 7,000 brochures and each advertiser would have to pay at least £30 for their space. The brochures would be available at Tourist Information Centres, from car hire companies and at attractions including Market Rasen Racecourse, Gainsborough Old Hall and the Hemswell Antique and Craft Centre. “We hope to be able to follow this up with another publication designed to help visitors tour our district whether they be on a day trip, a weekend visit or staying for a few days. The routes would be supported by advertisers,” said Cllr Parish. “Tourism is the third largest foreign exchange earner in the United Kingdom and in West Lindsey alone it provides hundreds of jobs. It is important that we support tourism providers and I am sure that this Forum can play an important role in bringing more visitors to our district,” he added.