Our External Changing Environment

The plan takes into account uncertainties that could affect how we do our business over the next 5 years.

Economic

Public finances may be impacted with the ability of local government to raise taxes and the political commitment to remove Council Tax being discussed. This is balanced with increased commitment to spend on particular areas of service such as health and social care, as we have an older population and new early years provision.

We will use all opportunities emerging from this to maximise:

  • Learning and growth opportunities for our children and young people
  • Independent living and support for vulnerable people in our communities

Environmental

We continue to deal with the effects of climate change and the risk of flooding in our area. We have significant targets to achieve for landfill, recycling and reducing our carbon footprint. With the age of our estate this poses particular challenges for the Council.

Through our Council of the Future change programme, we have projects in place to progress how we do this.

Social and demographic

Our town centres are changing and we need to understand their future for citizens and communities.

We have an older population with the consequences for care and support that brings not just to families but also to communities.

We have more people commuting than ever before.

We have a growing number of people who have moved into this area to benefit from excellent schools and environment.

We know that more people in our area are struggling. We have increasing levels of poverty and understand the impact of this on individuals, families and communities. In addition, we know poverty, stress and dealing with trauma is having a significant impact on people's mental health and wellbeing.

Much of this is addressed through the targeted plans we have in place to alleviate the impact and concerns created by these changing circumstances. We also have projects in place to support our most vulnerable people experiencing these challenges.


Partnerships

Health & Social Care Partnership

As part of the Integration Joint Board, Falkirk Council will work in partnership to:

  • Improve the quality and consistency of services for patients, carers, service users and their families
  • Provide seamless, integrated, quality health and social care services
  • Ensure resources are used effectively and efficiently to deliver services that meet the needs of communities
  • Develop effective locality working to co-produce locality plans
  • Design integrated and localised services
  • Build community capacity to improve health and wellbeing outcomes
  • Address health inequalities

Falkirk Community Trust

Falkirk Council and Falkirk Community Trust have agreed a Joint Vision to:

  • Work jointly to deliver modern and progressive culture and leisure services and assets
  • Develop shared priorities and a wider programme of joint working
  • Undertake joint medium term business planning to help identify a savings and investment plan for the next 5 years
  • Conduct a joint review of NPDO / PFI* schools' leisure facilities to resolve how these can be better utilised for wider community use
  • Explore how we can further improve joint working arrangements to develop tourism locally

*NPDO – Non-Profit Distributing Organisation, PFI – Private Finance Initiative. Private firms who are contracted to complete and manage public contracts

We are looking at alternative ways of working by exploring partnerships with other councils, including Clackmannanshire and Stirling, regarding any potential for shared services in a range of service delivery areas.

We will further develop our existing collaborative partnerships.

As key partners, Falkirk Health & Social Care Partnership and Falkirk Community Trust will work collaboratively to support the delivery of the Council’s ambition for Falkirk.

The delivery of the Medium Term Financial Plan will require transformation of community based services supported, where appropriate, through investment from the Change Fund.


Employees

Our employees want to make a difference to the communities they live in and support.

As we modernise and improve our services in response to our communities and citizens evolving needs, our workforce will change size and shape.

We estimate that our workforce will reduce by around 385 people over the next 5 years.

To deliver the planned changes all employees will need to embrace a culture of being RITA. These changes mean our employees will experience:

  • Culture change - This is crucial to the future success of the transformational programme, with a 'make it happen' ethos required across all parts and levels of the Council.
  • Technological change – if we get our digital strategy right, we will completely alter the way we work, the way we communicate and the way we deliver services.
  • Workforce change – our workforce will become smaller over the next 5 years and we must support employees to have the right skills, attitudes and motivations to deliver high quality, ambitious services in a period of change.
  • Wellbeing – as part of our Wellbeing Strategy, we will build resilience within the workforce to support the mental and physical impact of change.

We have already started to embed a culture of intrapreneurial thinking, a passion to be RITA and a desire to act swiftly.

We need:

  • The right skills
  • To be brave and bold at decision making
  • To create opportunities for employees to make the most of their skills at the right level
  • Leaders who inspire responsibility and accountability
  • To think, act and deliver differently

Overcoming obstacles, seeing new ways of working, thinking laterally, and regularly challenging the status quo are all in a day's work.

Everyone will be empowered and encouraged to think creatively about resolving problems and delivering ideas for improvement.

Our workforce plan over the next 5 years needs to ensure we have the right people with the right skills who demonstrate our RITA values.

Workforce plan

Risk

The Council encourages staff to be risk aware rather than risk averse, and has agreed a Risk Management Policy and Framework to govern the risk management process. A Corporate Risk Management Group is in place to oversee implementation of this policy, and risk management update reports are considered by both the Audit Committee and Executive.

Corporate Risk Management Policy and Framework

Risk affects every programme, project, and activity to some extent, with varying consequences and impact. Risk can impact on the Council's finances, information, people, assets, reputation, and on our ability to transform and improve the way services are delivered.

A Corporate Risk Register is in place to capture the most significant risks to the Council. Such as:

  • Leadership, governance, decision making
  • Equalities duties
  • Health and social care integration
  • Transformational change
  • Public protection
  • Stakeholder and partner engagement
  • Information security
  • Workforce planning
  • Cyber security
  • Insufficient funding
  • Welfare reform and poverty
  • Brexit

All risks have been assigned a lead officer who is responsible for ensuring that consequences and mitigating controls are captured within the Corporate Risk Register.

The Council's Internal Audit Section undertake an annual programme of work aimed at providing assurance on arrangements for risk management, governance and control.

This links explicitly into the Corporate Risk Register with an Annual Assurance Report presented to Audit Committee each summer.