Dear ACES Member,
I hope that each of you and yours are good in health and spirits.
When I gave my address at last November’s AGM in Glasgow and touched on some of the challenges that we face as an organisation, I did not have in mind a global pandemic – if you would like me to do a Lord Carrington and resign due to lack of foresight, please let me know!
As an organisation we place a high value, and quite rightly, on personal face to face contact and events that allow us to network and get to know each other well. There will be a time, sooner or later, when we will be able to resume our activities. In the meantime, though, the current difficulties provide us with opportunities to develop and strengthen as an organisation and I would like us all to explore how we can turn the current crisis into real benefit.
One of our key objectives for this year is the improvement of our internal and external communication. This is planned on the back of our refreshed website. With so many of us now logging on to virtual meetings, including ACES’ meetings, through the likes of Skype, Zoom and MS Teams, we will inevitably increase our expertise and confidence in the use of this technology, to the extent that it becomes the new normal. I don’t wish to contemplate an ACES future without the face to face stuff, but at branch and national level we ought to be looking to see how the virtual can complement the actual, making our communication with each other and the outside world not only more intense but also clearer
London Branch has trialled MS Teams for their branch meeting last week and Chris Rhodes intends to share his feedback from his experience on the Forum.
With my opportunities for an in-person visit to your branch meetings brought to an abrupt halt, I would still like to show my face through your virtual get-togethers, if possible, so please keep me informed as to what you are up to and I will join you if I can.
In recent times, it would be fair to say that the Forum has not always been the dynamic tool that it could be. The new website will improve this facility, but even before it comes on line, I would challenge you to demonstrate the value of the ACES network by not only asking questions and seeking support, but also by proactively sharing best practice – what particular problems and challenges have you faced and overcome, and how? What new ways of working have you introduced? – anything you think might be of help to other members.
In tough times and new challenges we all need support. I am sure that many of you, like me, are extremely busy juggling business continuity issues and contemplating scenarios we never envisaged in a lifetime. Just the task of keeping our teams motivated and focused could be a full time job in itself. Nevertheless, my invitation to everyone is to let the ACES family take at least some of the strain. It might just be that the busier and the more pressured we are the more we should talk with each other, not less.
Please note, though, that in as many ways as possible it remains business as usual. The Secretary is open for business as normal, the Editor is busy pulling together the next edition of Terrier and it is proposed to hold April’s Council meeting on-line.
Above all, stay safe and well.
With my very best wishes
Peter Gregory M
President of ACES