The important role managers have in helping to transform the Council is clear. Not only are they key to releasing the energy and enthusiasm of the frontline, they play a critical role in driving culture change.

Speaking to over 70 senior managers at the Leadership Forum earlier this month (September), Chief Executive Kenneth Lawrie said there was an understandable frustration and impatience on the frontline because “they want to be more involved in our transformation”.

He said: “They have the skills and the ideas and you, as leaders, need to release and harness that energy as it will take us a long way. You have to create the conditions in which they flourish. Transformation will be challenging and difficult. Everyone is not going to be happy with the changes we make. Not everything will go right first time, but we are building on strong foundations. We just need to be braver, more open and creative so we can become the modern and ambitious council that we all want and need to be.”

Kenneth also stressed realising the ambitions of the business plan had to be our priority.

He said: “Like all local authorities we face unprecedented financial challenges that aren’t going to change anytime soon. That is why we need to be confident and robust and deliver on the projects set out in our business plan. By doing that we will create space to do the things we all came into public service to do like placemaking in town centres and communities, further improve educational attainment, and ensure better outcomes and life chances for our most vulnerable. If we are not able to realise our ambitions we will spend our time looking for short-term savings and our services will become unsustainable. That is the stark reality of our situation.”

Following presentations by the Senior Responsible Owners of each of our five workstreams, John Apperson, Project Manager of Redesign of Building & Maintenance Division, reminded managers they had to provide their teams with time to fill in the Employee Engagement Survey as the responses would highlight “how far we’ve come since 2017”.

Tracey Gillespie, Human Resource Manager, then threw down the gauntlet for culture change at the feet of everyone in the room stating they “had to trust, encourage and support their teams to work in a mobile and flexible way”.

Key messages