The EU Referendum in Angus…..

Well, we got a result. It opens up a whole lot of questions, but we got a result. Angus 55% stay, 45% leave.

As Counting Officer for Angus I would like to publically thank our elections team for their work on the day across the many Angus polling stations, or supporting the count process at Arbroath overnight.

I don’t think that many in the community appreciate the scale of challenge the delivery of an election or a referendum represents. Hundreds of polling stations, hundreds of staff and a major logistics and administrative process supporting voter registration through to the poll itself.

Against that background it’s vital that council staff come forward to assist with elections, our small Elections Team simply couldn’t do it without you. Council staff are supplemented by a considerable number of people who come forward from our community to work as occasional members of the elections team on polling days.

In Angus we had a largely trouble free polling day, and declaring the result shortly after 2am was very welcome after the “hard day’s night” at the Scottish Parliament elections just a short while ago in May when we counted two seats and the sun was well up before bed time.

In addition I would like to add thanks to the Angus Alive team at the Saltire Centre in Arbroath for looking after the count team so well, and to the Police Scotland team who supported us at the count with security and safety for all involved.

Until next time……

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Financial harm…..

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Yesterday I had the honour of being the opening speaker at a seminar aimed at tackling financial harm in Angus through partnership. You can see Cllr Glennis Middleton, our Convener of Social Work and Health talking about scamming and the event here –

Participating were people from Angus Council, partners in the public and private sectors, from the Post Office, the financial services industry, from the small business community & the Royal Mail. We also had representatives from the Office of the Public Guardian. The wide range of agencies represented is perhaps the clearest indication that the business of financial harm is big business and also multi agency business.

The annual cost of scams to individuals in Scotland is estimated by Actions Fraud to be in excess of £750 million. Angus’s share of that is over £15 million and we know that the organised criminals target more vulnerable people. That is an awful lot of money lost to our most vulnerable citizens every year. We have had 4 people in Angus that we know of who have lost 6 figure sums to scammers, their entire life savings lost to criminals. Many more have lost much smaller amounts with just as devastating an impact.

Collectively we have done a lot in Angus to address this issue. And by “we” I don’t mean Angus Council alone; I really do mean our local police and NHS colleagues, our social work adult protection and trading standards staff, our local postmasters and Royal Mail staff, as well as the voluntary and private sector more generally. But we must not be complacent or for a second think we have cracked this problem. There is a desire amongst colleagues locally to keep this effort moving forward.

What we are aiming for is a consistent, slick and united response to cases of financial harm; no more ad hoc responses to these referrals in Angus. The aim of the seminar was to help all partners on the journey towards an ever safer and more secure Angus. For some of us it might mean doing some things a bit differently and putting individual agency needs or structures second to the needs of vulnerable adults at risk of financial harm. So be it.

In sport as in life….

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A sad day for cricket lovers with the death of Ritchie Benaud. Too young to see him play he was however a regular in my living room for as long as I can remember, until his retirement from commentary in the UK a decade ago. He left us behind  because he did not agree with test cricket in the UK being only available on pay to view TV.  Here are two  comments from Ritchie Benaud being much quoted today –

“Leadership is 90% luck and 10% skill, but don’t try it without the 10%”

and

“Put your brain in gear and if you can add to what’s on the screen then do it, otherwise shut up”.

In sport as in life?