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A message from Craig

The first few months of every year are dominated by the setting of our Budget.

This year was no different and perhaps the most challenging I have faced as the Chief Executive with so many variables and pressures faced by us as a Council.

I’m writing this column the morning after the Budget was agreed and it gives me the opportunity to thank all the officers for all their hard work and their ability in being able to bring a range of fair proposals to the table.

We held engagement events across our six localities and an online survey was completed by well over 1,400 people. So a big thanks to everyone who took part and we hope their views are reflected in our budget.

Chief Executive, Craig Hatton

We know that the current financial climate and high rates of inflation are causing difficulties for everyone and the Council is no exception. A balanced budget has been set for next year that will enable us to continue our ambition to be ‘Fair for All’ and deliver our Council Plan priorities.

I never fail to be amazed by the hard work that you all do and your commitment to deliver high quality and vital services to our communities.

As we move in to the summer, myself and the Council Leader will be taking part in staff engagement events to talk with you further about the Council priorities over the next few years and to hear your views on these and any other matters that are important to you. I would urge you to sign up and come along and have your say – stay tuned to News In Brief for more info. Other senior officers will be there and anything is up for discussion. I look forward to seeing you there.

Like everyone, my work as Chief Executive can be challenging and varied – but there can be lighter moments too that make me feel really proud of the work that everyone does. I enjoy getting out and about and meeting people. A recent highlight of the last few months was the official opening of Lockhart Campus – our new Additional Support Needs school.

The weather was kind to us on the day and it was an amazing afternoon. The warmth and welcome from the young people was amazing and seeing their pride and joy at their new school was really humbling. A huge well done to everyone associated with the school and also all those involved in the official opening.

Despite the global economic challenges, it is good to see our ambitious housebuild programme continuing. A safe, warm and well maintained home lies at the heart of wellbeing as one of the basic requirements to help people have fulfilling lives and to maximise their potential. The most recent saw us begin work at Afton Court, Stevenston which will lead to six new amenity bungalows being built.

This £1.3m development, officially started on site in January and is expected to be completed in late summer 2023. The project will deliver modern, energy efficient homes which will be built using cutting-edge and environmentally-conscious techniques.

Finally, I’d like to welcome Rhonda Leith to the Council. She is our new Head of Service for Connected Communities and you can learn more about Rhonda in this edition of Staff Talk.

I’d also like to congratulate Neale McIlvaney and Louise Kirk, who will undertake the Interim Head of Services roles in Economic Growth & Employability and Economic Development & Regeneration respectively. Both interim roles provide a 12-month development opportunity and thereafter a full recruitment process will take place to appoint into the role of Head of Service (Economic Development, Growth & Regeneration).  I’m sure like me, you’ll wish them all well.

Thanks again for all your hard work.


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