Agenda item

Announcements from the Chief Executive

To receive any announcements from the Chief Executive.


The Chief Executive made the following announcements:


“Last Month this Council published its new Customer Charter. The charter describes the level of service a resident or customer can expect to receive from across all departments at the Council in line with our corporate values and service delivery priorities. The charter has some specific expectations – including how we will respond to calls and emails but more importantly the policy communicates our commitment to how we will treat others and what steps residents themselves can take to help enquires be responded to as effectively as possible. Our customer pledge is displayed online and in reception, here at Knowle Green.


Last week was a particularly Surrey-centric week in which we welcomed three distinguished visitors to Knowle Green. First was the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey Michael More-Molyneux attending the Civic Trust Awards, followed by the Leader of Surrey County Council, Cllr Tim Oliver attending the Corporate Policy Resource Committee and finally the Chair of the Surrey Civilian Military Partnership Board, Helyn Clack (who is also the Chairman of Surrey County Council) attending a Spelthorne Armed Forces Covenant meeting hosted by Cllr Sider and myself.


It was in the context of the discussion around the Defense Employer Recognition Scheme – for which Spelthorne Borough Council secured a Gold Award – that we also noted the sad passing of Bill Sykes BEM, a distinguished veteran and much-loved member of the Ashford community who celebrated his 102nd birthday in November and will be greatly missed at the Fordbridge Veterans' Hub.


Tonight, this Chamber has recognised the extraordinary selfless and compassionate support our local volunteers make to the vitality of our community and Borough. One of the many locals recognised by way of this special embroidery award was Mrs Shirley Proud who sadly passed away on 16th March.


Mrs Proud has been an active volunteer for decades and was a keen participant with Spelthorne Civic Pride, planted trees, litter picked, volunteered at the Swan Sanctuary and campaigned for what she believed in, including Staines Park, which she was instrumental in securing as a Field in Trust.


I am sure Mrs Proud would literally have been ‘proud’ of the fact that Defra and Keep Britain Tidy had selected Staines Park as a winner of a Bees’ Needs Champions Award, in the national Local Authority and Community category. Thank you and congratulations to Staines Park Residents Association.


Spelthorne Borough Council are also currently working with the Local Government Association to understand our employee experience at work through our annual staff survey which will take place next month. Following our survey last year, which was instrumental in shaping our hybrid working policy, this year’s survey will focus on culture and values, wellbeing at work, as well as recruitment and retention. The LGA approach is developed by the sector for the sector and the survey content, delivery and evaluation will improve the understanding of our employee experience at work.


The LGA has surveyed more than 40,000 local government employees over several years and we are excited to work in partnership with them to produce insightful intelligence on our workforce. Following the staff survey the next step, and again in conjunction with the LGA, will be to conduct a Councillor survey, as we are equally committed to hearing from our democratically elected members of this Chamber.


As Head of Paid Services, I would now like to pay tribute to Deborah Ashman, who will soon be retiring after serving the residents of Spelthorne for the past 18 years. Originally appointed as joint Head of Housing, along with Karen Sinclair in April 2004, Deborah then  took on responsibility for Independent Living in 2010 and became joint head for Group Community Wellbeing April 2016. In total, Deborah has completed nearly 43 years local government service having previously worked for Hounslow.


One of Deborah’s key characteristics is that she can always be relied upon in a crisis - stepping up and providing leadership for colleagues to ensure we provide the response residents need. My most notable memory is of Deborah’s fantastic support in September 2017, a mere two days after taking up my post, when we had to content with the emergency evacuation of 200 residents in relation to the Mets anti-terrorism operation linked to the Parsons Green bombing.


And again during Covid 19 – leading the setting up of Support 4 Spelthorne to provide vital support for our clinically extremely vulnerable residents during the first pandemic lockdown.


Colleagues will testify that Deborah has always been driven by a passion for improving lives of our residents. Deborah is particularly proud at the role she and Karen played in achieving the completion of The Whitehouse and Harper House, and as I recall referred to them with pride as being the pinnacle of her career.


Alas, Deborah now feels it is time to retire. There will be an opportunity for councillors and staff colleagues to say goodbye to Deborah on 10th May.


In the meantime, it leaves me to formally thank Deborah for her commitment, professionalism and dedication to this Council. Thank you for all you have done and achieved, and we wish you the very best in the future as a long-standing resident of the Borough”.