Friday, April 25, 2014

1st May Leader's Report

April/May 2014

Keane Wallis-Bennett

I, like everyone across the city and across the country, was truly shocked and saddened by the tragic incident at Liberton High School earlier this month. My thoughts and deepest sympathies are with Keane Wallis-Bennett's family, friends and the whole school community.

The Council has since inspected over 200 schools and other facilities across the city, focusing on free-standing walls, and various precautionary works were carried out over the Easter holidays.

We are determined to provide reassurance to parents, pupils and the people of Edinburgh that we will do everything in our power to prevent anything like this happening again.

It's vitally important that we understand the cause of this tragedy and we are continuing to work very closely with Police Scotland, and the Health and Safety Executive, as part of their ongoing investigations. As a parent of a Secondary School child myself, I know just how important it is that we find out exactly what happened.


Margo MacDonald

I'm sure I speak for everyone at the Council when I say that Edinburgh, and indeed Scotland, has lost one of our finest public servants following the passing of Margo MacDonald, whose memorial service was held earlier today.

Margo was a principled and committed politician who worked tirelessly to champion the Capital's interests at a national level. She was truly one of a kind, both passionate and courageous, and she will be very much missed. Our thoughts are with her family and friends.


Mortonhall report

As you may have read, our Chief Executive, Sue Bruce, has received Dame Elish Angiolini's report into Mortonhall Crematorium.

The report is lengthy and wide-ranging and Sue needed time to read it thoroughly before setting a publication date, which is now expected to be next Wednesday, 30 April. Parents will receive a personal copy that morning, ahead of wider publication. 

I understand how anxious they are to receive the report and hope this timescale will reassure them.


Tram project latest

Tram testing and driver training continues apace. Each of the 40 drivers is busy clocking up their required 60 hours' driving time, getting them used to interacting with other road users, especially along the city centre section of the route.

Pedestrians, drivers and cyclists are also becoming accustomed to the return of trams to our streets and we've refreshed our safety campaign with a new #carefulnow hashtag to add to the popular #dingding and help raise awareness of how to walk, cycle and drive safely around trams.

We're now gearing up towards the launch of passenger services, the exact date of which will be announced very soon - watch this space. Remember you can keep up-to-date with the latest tram news by following @edinburghtrams on Twitter.


Use your vote

With both the European Parliamentary Elections and the Scottish Independence Referendum taking place this year, it's important that you are registered to vote.

This is your opportunity to be part of our democracy and make your vote count. Registering only takes a few minutes and being on the Electoral Register has other benefits such as helping improve your credit rating and for background checks such as Disclosure Scotland and applying for benefits.

Contact the Electoral Registration Office by calling 0131 344 2500 or visit by 6 May to register, or to apply to vote by post or proxy by 7 May.


Our new website

The launch of our new 'responsive' website earlier this month marks a real milestone in the Council's ambitious ICT plans. The design and functionality of the site, which is easy to access on smart phones and tablet/iPads, is based on extensive customer research.

In time, benefits to customers will include faster, automatic responses to online enquiries, a single record of contact with the Council and a secure 'myaccount' function.

Please do take the time to have a browse - we'd be grateful for your feedback.


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