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Dear colleagues,

Phase 2 has brought some light at the end of the tunnel. Although there is still a long way to go, it now feels as if we are on track to come out of lockdown. Getting to this point has not been easy. You have all shown great resilience in the face of adversity and I want to once again thank you for your continued commitment and hard work. 

A brighter future

We now need to prepare our organisation and communities for a new world, one shaped by a pandemic whose full impact is yet unknown.

This is a new and difficult challenge that will not be achieved overnight, but we have begun to take positive steps forward. Yesterday, our outline plans for recovery and a new set of Council priorities went before the Emergency Executive.

These priorities will be the bedrock of our Corporate Plan and five-year Business Plan and will help us create a greener and more economically vibrant area with healthier, stronger and more prosperous communities that are digitally enabled and empowered to make key decisions for themselves.

Finding our new normal

The pandemic put our plans of having a more mobile and flexible workforce on fast-forward. Many have found it easy to adapt while others have struggled, and that is okay. These changes were made quickly through necessity rather than choice.

If you are struggling, please reach out to your manager and visit our wellbeing webpage.

Moving forward, there are still many decisions that need to be taken before our ‘new normal’ working arrangements are in place - and none of these can be made lightly. There is also no 'one size fits all' solution for our organisation because we deliver a wide range of services in a multitude of ways.

That is why our decision-making will be informed by national guidance and our lessons learnt throughout this crisis, as this will ensure services are delivered in a way that meets community need and safeguards your health and wellbeing.

Once decisions are taken that affect your working arrangements, your manager will discuss these with you and address any concerns you may have.

Take a break

With the traditional summer holiday period now upon us, many of you would normally be getting ready to enjoy a well-deserved break, potentially overseas.

Although lockdown has currently put paid to foreign holidays, I would urge you to continue to take your annual leave. It may feel difficult or even strange to do, but it is vitally important that you take time to reset and recharge.

Best wishes.