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Glasgow City Council

Chief Executive updates - 2020

December 2020

Monday 21 December

Christmas message of thanks and update on change in Covid restrictions


As you will be aware the Scottish Government announced changes to the Covid restrictions in Scotland on Saturday 19 December. This is in response to the identification of a new variant on Covid-19 which can spread more quickly.

Along with the rest of mainland Scotland, Glasgow will be placed into Level Four restrictions from midnight on Christmas Day - to help manage the spread of the virus. Today I issued a managers' briefing and your manager will let you know what is changing and when.

Please be reminded that it is still safe to come to work if you are required to do so - this announcement has not changed who should and shouldn't be at work. 

The health, safety and wellbeing of our staff is paramount. If you are feeling anxious and worried at this time please watch our staff video to remind yourself of the key changes we have made to our workplaces to keep you safe. If you need to chat to someone about any issues you have you can contact Workplace Options in complete confidence, 24/7. 

Let's all continue to support each other and keep up the fight for Glasgow and our local communities. Follow the rules and help protect our most vulnerable in our communities. Our city relies on each and every one of us to keep doing our day to day jobs on the frontline or in support services.

Thank you to everyone for all their hard work this year - you can watch my message of thanks here.

Wishing everyone a safe Christmas.

Annemarie O'Donnell

Chief Executive

November 2020

Monday 30 November 2020

As you know, Glasgow is currently subject to the strictest level of coronavirus restrictions.

The Tier 4 rules, which are in place for around 2.3 million of Scotland's population, were introduced to try and ensure the number of new cases falls more quickly - and are expected to be lifted at the end of next week.

In the meantime, Glasgow's numbers are continuing to head in the right direction - but, with the holiday season on the horizon, we cannot afford to be complacent.

Because the economic impact of the toughest restrictions is so significant - and the disruption to families and friendships so profound - it is really important Glasgow doesn't find itself in a situation where it yo-yos in and out of Tier 4 over the weeks ahead.

And, when the government starts to look again at how each area is affected by the virus, we want our city to be ready not just to return to Tier 3, but to start to make real progress towards Tier 2.

With the first vaccines for our most vulnerable - and those who care for them - now almost in sight, that would be a hugely significant step forward for us all.

From this week, we have a new opportunity to fight for that kind of progress, as the city's first mass asymptomatic testing projects are rolled out in Dalmarnock and Pollokshields - two communities that have experienced high rates of transmission.

Working with the NHS, we are asking everyone in those neighbourhoods to take a simple, quick test that will determine whether they are carrying the coronavirus without knowing.

If we can find asymptomatic cases and get them to self-isolate, just like those who know they are unwell, it could have a real impact on slowing and stopping the unknowing, unseen spread of the virus in both communities.

If you live in either area, please take the time to get tested - and encourage your friends and family to take one too. There are mobile testing centres on your doorstep that are ready to see up to 800 people every day.

The rest of us can continue to play our part by sticking to the rules and encouraging those around us to do the same.

We have to continue to wear a mask or face covering; follow rules on physical distancing, and practice good hygiene - washing our hands thoroughly and regularly.

If you can, download and use the Protect Scotland app. If you are asked to self-isolate, it is vital that you do.

None of us should even consider coming to work with symptoms, or if we have been told to isolate. It won't be recorded as sickness and you will still be paid.

This has been an extraordinarily difficult year but, with more testing and the promise of vaccinations ahead of us, we can soon start to think about life after coronavirus.

Annemarie O'Donnell


Friday 27 November 2020

I wrote to you all in September to tell you about the ongoing work of the council family review and I'm now in a position to give you an update on the outcomes of that work and the recommendations that the council's City Administration Committee is being asked to consider.

The council family review aims to make sure that we have an operating model that can meet the city's challenges and ambitions, respond to emerging changes, avoid duplication and deliver best value for the city.

City Parking

We're recommending to committee that services delivered by City Parking (Glasgow) LLP be transferred into the council to join the new integrated service, described below, and that support functions are managed by the council's corporate support functions. These services can be delivered more efficiently from within the council and better aligned to the council's priorities. City Parking can then be wound up.

Jobs and Business Glasgow

We're also recommending that the functions delivered by Business and Enterprise in Jobs and Business Glasgow transfer into the council to join Economic Development to provide more joined up business support services for the city.

If the committee approves both recommendations then all staff involved will transfer into the council by summer 2021. Terms and conditions will be protected under TUPE legislation.

You can read the committee report here

I will update everyone on the committee's decision on 3 December.

New Service - Neighbourhoods, Regeneration and Sustainability (NRS)

We will also make the following operational changes to the council's structure. As you know, we've been reviewing the aims and objectives of Development and Regeneration Services (DRS) and Neighbourhoods and Sustainability (N&S). We've concluded that the majority of services in these areas can be better delivered together to meet the council's priorities and the needs of the city, by creating a new integrated service - called Neighbourhoods, Regeneration and Sustainability. The new service will be led by Executive Director, George Gillespie.

Economic Development and Inward Investment will transfer to Chief Executive's Department and Catering and Facilities Management will transfer to Financial Services to support the ongoing reform programme.

The changes will be in place from 1 April 2021 including the staff moves.

A vision statement and objectives for the new service will be developed alongside the new service's governance arrangements and management and operational structures. The key areas in the new service will be:

  • Neighbourhoods and Place, which includes Cleansing, Parks and Fleet
  • Housing and Regeneration
  • Community Safety, Regulatory and Business Services, including Public Health
  • Property and Land Services (Development and Operational)
  • Planning and Building Standards
  • Infrastructure and Sustainability, which includes Roads and Transportation
  • City Deal.

What does this mean for staff in the new service?

The implementation phase will develop new operational models and internal structures that will bring teams together across the new service to work more efficiently together. There may be some changes to line management and teams for some staff as we work through the detail but you'll always be given plenty of notice if this is the case.

What won't change during this transfer is the jobs that staff do on a day-to-day basis for the city. It's really important to remember that during this period of change the people of Glasgow are still relying on you to support them and Glasgow's businesses, particularly at this extremely difficult time.  

As our work to establish and deliver the new service progresses, we will look for ongoing opportunities to reform, make efficiencies to support our financial challenges and consider the impact of Covid-19 and our renewal plans.

There will be future opportunities for your involvement in how we reform services in your areas once the structural changes have been made. Of course, in the meantime, I'd be happy to take any ideas that you think will support better outcomes for the city and I'll make sure these are passed onto the relevant managers for consideration.

You can email your ideas to Ask Annemarie.

We will continue to keep everyone updated throughout the implementation phase and most of this information will come from your line manager and senior management teams.

Annemarie O'Donnell


Wednesday 18 November 2020

Executive message - 18 November

Glasgow in level four restrictions

As you will now be aware, from Friday 20 November at 6pm, Glasgow will be in level four restrictions for three weeks (until Friday 11 December) under the Scottish Government's new Strategic Framework for manging the spread of the virus.

Under level four restrictions the majority of services currently delivered by the council will remain unchanged and therefore so will the jobs you do on a day-to-day basis. Everyone should continue to go to their workplace or continue to work from home. Yesterday's announcement does not change that advice. There may be a few exceptions and your manager will be in touch with you if this affects you directly.

Glasgow Life is more impacted by today's announcement and they will be communicating the details of this to everyone once the full guidance becomes available.

The health and safety of our workforce and citizens is paramount and I want to remind you about the changes we've made in our workplaces, following workplace risk assessments, to keep everyone safe. The capacity in our buildings has been reduced to maintain physical distancing - keep following the signs and stay two metres apart, wear your face covering in communal areas and maintain good hand hygiene by washing your hands regularly or using the hand sanitiser provided. This short video explains the safety changes in our workplaces in more detail - watch it here.

There may also be are other safety measures in place locally where this has been determined by a service specific risk assessment. If you have any particular individual concerns about your safety in the workplace then you should talk to your line manager and go through an individual risk assessment.

Under level four you should reduce any non-essential travel and not travel outwith your local council area, however, you can still travel for work purposes and use public transport to travel for work, unless you are in the shielding category. Remember to avoid car sharing where you can. You do not need to carry any identification to travel to work.

I'm sure you're all acutely aware of the potential impact of these restrictions on Glasgow's economy and the jobs that could be lost, as well as the personal sacrifices we all continue to make by not seeing our friends and family. It is absolutely vital that we all stick with the rules and reduce social contacts to stop the spread. Reducing the spread will safeguard the city from being under level four restrictions for any longer than it needs to be and protect the NHS for those who really need it this winter.

Keep up the fight for Glasgow and your local communities. Check the Scottish Government fact sheet on level four restrictions for the rules, if in any doubt.

I know I've said this many times recently but I want to remind you once again, the people of Glasgow will need you even more during the coming weeks to look after the vulnerable, educate our young people and keep the city clean and moving. They rely on each and every one of you to keep doing your day-to-day jobs on the frontline or in support services.

Finally, remember, nobody should come to work with symptoms, if they have tested positive or have been asked to self-isolate by Test and Protect. This will not be recorded as sickness and you will still be paid as normal.

Annemarie O'Donnell
Chief Executive


Monday 2 November 2020


By the time you read this, you may already have seen or heard messages urging you to help keep Glasgow out of the strictest level of lockdown.

The Fight4Glasgow campaign aims to enlist you and everyone else in the city to slow the spread of Covid-19 and protect wellbeing and jobs by rigorously following public health advice.

As you know, Glasgow is currently subject to restrictions at Level 3 of the national framework designed to suppress Covid-19; but, truth be told, we are closer to Level 4 than Level 2 - and any failure to follow the rules risks Glasgow moving to the strictest lockdown measures.

These restrictions would be potentially devastating for the city economy and, in particular, its hospitality sector.

I want to be very clear that neither I nor the council leader believe Glasgow should be taking risks with people's health.

But we can also see the damage being done to the city's economy and we are mindful of the impact that will have on people's wellbeing - now and well into the future.

The impact on our community at Level 3 is tough enough - we have estimated that more than 12,000 jobs are significantly effected through business closures and restrictions.

At Level 4, however, we believe more than 75,000 jobs would be effected. Our fear is that many of them may never recover.

Along with restrictions that mean people may struggle to see family and friends who they rely on for support; it would have a devastating knock-on effect on other businesses, health and our communities.

That is why we believe it is important that everyone in the city does whatever they can to ensure that the rate of infection in Glasgow is halted and, then, reversed.

If we all Fight4Glasgow, we not only give ourselves the best chance of avoiding these restrictions - but we can target moving to Level 2 and towards recovery all the sooner.

The best way we can do that is by following the rules and encouraging those around us to do the same.

That means wearing a mask or face covering; avoiding crowded places; following rules on physical distancing, and practicing good hygiene - and, in particular, washing our hands thoroughly and regularly.

The vast majority of transmission is happening in social settings so please particularly remember the rules about not meeting people from any other households in your home, or anyone else's - unless you have decided to form an extended household.

If you can, download and use the Protect Scotland app. And finally, but perhaps most importantly - if you need to self-isolate, do it.

If you have Covid-19 symptoms, self-isolate and book a test - if you are contacted by the NHS Test and Protect service and told you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, follow the advice they give you to the letter..

None of us should come to work with symptoms, or if we have been told to isolate. It won't be recorded as sickness and you will still be paid.

Annemarie O'Donnell

Chief Executive


October 2020

Friday 30 October 2020

As you will now be aware, from Monday 2 November, Glasgow will be in level three restrictions under the Scottish Government's new Strategic Framework for manging the spread of the virus.

I'm sure you'll all be making yourself familiar with the restrictions in preparation for Monday. You may have read that there should not be any non-essential travel out of your council area under level three restrictions. I want to make it clear that this does not include travelling for work purposes, you should continue to come to work on Monday as usual, even if you live in another council area, although you should avoid car sharing wherever possible. You don't need to carry any identification with you for this purpose.

If you are working at home then you should continue to do so; the government advice hasn't changed.

The council provides vital support to the people of Glasgow and to keep the city moving, your city needs you to keep doing your day-to-day jobs that can make an enormous difference to people's lives, particularly at this stage in our collective fight against this devastating virus. 

Although we have been placed in level three there is still a risk that in future we could be moved to level four.

So we all need to work together to Fight Against Four. As I said earlier this week, this would not only bring in additional measures that would impact our economy and our road to recovery, but also have an effect on those individuals who are already feeling the impact of the last few months - missing the support of friends and family and normal routines.

Please keep following the rules to protect yourself and others, and help the city reach a point where restrictions can safely be eased. The vast majority of transmission is happening in social settings so please particularly follow the rules about no social visiting people's houses and small group meetings outdoors.

Finally, I can't emphasise enough the importance of self-isolating and getting tested if you experience symptoms. Nobody should come to work with symptoms or if they have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Protect Service. This will not be recorded as sickness and you will still be paid as normal.

Annemarie O'Donnell

Chief Executive


Tuesday 27 October 2020

Important Covid-19 Message from Annemarie O'Donnell, Chief Executive

As you will be aware the Scottish Government's new Strategic Framework for manging Covid-19 infections  places each local authority in the country in one of 4 levels. Level one has the fewest restrictions and level 4 is similar to the lockdown we experienced earlier in the year - with the exception that schools will remain open.

Whilst Glasgow is likely to be placed in level three, the decision for Ministers for our city has been between level three and four - rather than between level two and three.

I am asking for your support to help to keep Glasgow out of level 4 coronavirus measures.

Let's work together and play our part to help prevent similar lockdown levels to earlier this year. Because we don't want Glasgow to slip towards Level 4. This would not only bring in additional measures that would impact our economy and our road to recovery, but also have an effect on those individuals who are already feeling the impact of the last few months - missing the support of friends and family and normal routines.

We need to take this seriously as we know that Level 4 is a real possibility for us and is already being considered for some of our neighbouring local authorities. We remain at risk of being placed in level four if our infection levels do not begin to fall putting increased pressure onto the NHS.

Please follow the rules to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. Through a collective effort we can help keep each other safe and help the city reach a point where restrictions can safely be eased.

Yesterday we reminded you of the health and safety measures we have in place within our workplace environments. For example, everyone now needs to follow the Scottish Government advice on face coverings and wear one at work in indoor communal areas (unless exempt) - for example in our admin hubs and corridors. If you don't see the rules being followed in our buildings please talk to your line manager in the first instance or an HR advisor. Say if it's not ok.

So, finally I ask you to please remember that it is your responsibility to follow the government rules on staying safe to help protect yourself, others and our city.

Always follow FACTS for a safer Scotland:

  • Wear a Face covering

  • Avoid crowded places

  • Clean hands and surfaces regularly

  • Stay 2m apart

  • Self-isolate and book a test if you have Covid-19 symptoms.

It is very important that if you experience Covid-19 symptoms, you and your household should not leave home, you should self-isolate straight away. Tell your line manager as soon as possible.

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