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When an email landed asking Corporate & Housing Services to prepare an event for a Chinese delegation that was arriving in just nine days, it was all hands to the deck.

The visit was a great opportunity to empower the service’s CANs to be responsive, innovative, trusted and ambitious (RITA), asking them to help the team organise and facilitate the day.

The reason for the delegate’s visit? To find out about Scotland’s social housing system so lessons learnt could be taken back to the Province of Guangdong, southeast China.

Following a brainstorming session about how best to present the information required, the CANs - and the wider Housing team involved in the day - agreed the following should be produced:

  • A video on the history of Falkirk.
  • A presentation on the history of social housing.
  • Information on current housing policy and the different ways people can purchase a home, such as shared equity. 

On arrival last November, the delegation, made up of senior civil servants and bankers, was greeted by CANs who ensured the event went smoothly. The CANs also organised a lunch at Larbert’s Tea House that the delegates said “was the best” they’d eaten during their stay in the UK.

Although it was stressful juggling their day jobs while collating the content needed, the team were extremely proud of what they’d achieved, using their skills to overcome challenges including producing presentations suitable for non-English speaking guests using an interpreter.

One of the CANs involved in the day said: “Organising the day would have been a great opportunity for less experienced CANs to build on their skills but, because of the timeframe, those involved had to already have the skills necessary to turn things around quickly. That being said, we did feel empowered by the experience and when the session was actually delivered it was very rewarding.”

Kenny Gillespie, Head of Housing Services, said: “The new ways of working being rolled out across the Council are helping managers and their teams become more RITA in their day jobs. That ethos definitely carried over into the organisation of this event. Housing CANs and the wider team involved felt confident to go the extra mile, using their knowledge and skills to organise a day that exceeded the expectations of the visiting party.”

Want to find out more about being a CAN? Read the CANs' Charter and if you feel inspired drop an email to

A CAN event will also take place on Friday, June 21st to provide information on the Council’s five-year business plan and the role CANs could play in helping change happen.