Staff briefings

Wednesday 5 January - staff message from the Leader


I hope you all enjoyed the festive period and thank you to all those staff who worked during that time, providing vital services to our residents. It is greatly appreciated and doesn’t go unnoticed.

As Leader of this Council I am immeasurably proud of how you continue to deliver for our communities. Therefore, I am writing to you now to say that whilst I know we have some challenges ahead, I equally know we have committed, hard working and passionate staff who are doing all they can to help others during this incredibly difficult time.

It will not have escaped your attention that whilst we are in a new year, it does unfortunately appear that COVID-19 will continue to have an impact on our communities and potentially our services. Although we have exceptionally high vaccination levels in the Scottish Borders, including of boosters, the Omicron variant has shown over recent weeks just how much more contagious it is compared to earlier variants, even amongst those vaccinated. The sheer volume of people currently catching COVID-19, and the associated self-isolation of contacts, does suggest that staff absence will increase over the coming weeks. This will not be felt by the Council alone, but by every business, organisation and public service.

We are therefore heading into hard and difficult times once again, potentially requiring us to reinstate very active community support arrangements, and prioritise critical services including through the redeployment of staff. Before Christmas Netta sent out correspondence to you all asking for staff to volunteer to be redeployed if required to support our social care services. I would ask you to carefully consider if you can help.

However, as we look ahead into 2022 we remain ambitious, beyond just our COVID efforts, to ensuring that we are delivering the best quality services we possibly can for our children, residents and business. Each one of you play such a vital role in us achieving this and I look forward to working with you all in the coming months. I know SBC will continue to do great things across the vast array of services we deliver.

The fact that you have delivered such fantastic services and shown incredible commitment to deliver the absolute best for our communities, especially during the last two years, is exceptional and is testament to your skills, your resilience and your dedication to the people of the Scottish Borders. On behalf of all 34 Councillors I would like to say thank you for all that you have done to date, and all that you will continue to do during 2022. Happy New Year to you all.

Mark Rowley
Leader, Scottish Borders Council