Renfrewshire Council

Video message from Chief Executive, Alan Russell - Monday 16 January 2023

Welcome to my latest video message - a short update about developments across the council as well as my priorities and ambitions for Renfrewshire.

I would like to wish everyone a very happy new year and I look forward to working with you in my second year as Chief Executive. There are well documented challenges ahead for public services as we all know, but this brings with it a real opportunity, and I am aware of ambitious plans for change across services.

I want to spend more time visiting services and getting to know teams this year, and I hope you will be able to share your plans and challenges with me. It is important we continue to work together, make positive changes, and don't lose sight of our many significant achievements despite the challenging circumstances.

2023 will be another big year for us and some of my key priorities for the year ahead are:

  • Continuing to secure financial stability and sustainability for the Council in the most difficult circumstances we have ever faced
  • Ensuring we continue to support as best we can our communities and businesses through the ongoing cost of living crisis
  • Support the successful integration of our new department following changes agreed by Council in December
  • Delivering the successful opening and launch of our cultural venues in Paisley as major investment programmes come to fruition
  • Moving forward Major investment plans including city deal projects, housing regeneration and schools programme
  • And finally, progressing work that will set out clearly our route map to achieve the Council's ambitions to be progressing towards net zero by 2030.

I am aware that the rising cost of living will be on everyone's mind and most of us are having to rebalance family finances and make difficult decisions about paying for things. Please remember that if you are experiencing difficulties there is support available on Our wellbeing hub, to help you take care of your physical, mental, and financial wellbeing.

The council has its own financial challenges, and we are continuing our public campaign to explain rising costs and the need to reduce spending by around £35 million in the next 3 years. Already, we have identified £10million of savings - the largest savings package in a decade.

We are also about to begin the integration of services under a new Environment, Housing, and Infrastructure department - reducing our senior management structure. The new department will be led by Gordon McNeil, and we will say farewell to Mary Crearie, who is retiring from her role as Director of Communities and Housing at the end of March. Mary has been a fantastic colleague who has led major change in the organisation and has been a relentless champion for Renfrewshire and especially our housing tenants - she will be missed by many of us.

We are about to recruit two posts that will form the new department's leadership team - Head of Housing and Head of Climate, Public Protection and Roads - and both will be advertised in the coming weeks' and I am sure we will continue to attract the very best people to work here in Renfrewshire.

Thanks once again, and here's to a successful 2023.