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There is no greater asset than our workforce, so we need to use our resources to bring benefit to them as well as our customers.

That’s the belief of Douglas Gardiner, Waste Services Manager, who has made it a priority to keep his teams up-to-date with the Council of the Future programme and five-year business plan.

Establishing an open dialogue with employees and trades unions, and by working with Organisational Development, he believes his teams understand the need for change - and their role in it – and a staff suggestion scheme will shortly be launched to provide them with a way to give their ideas.

Speaking at the Council of the Future Board earlier this month (October), Douglas said: “Our workforce is at the coalface and that is why it’s important to have their buy-in and a mechanism for them to put their views across. Not everyone is comfortable speaking to a room of 50 people, so we are introducing ideas boxes that will allow employees to post suggestions to be considered and discussed.”

Better use of data and technology will also help realise the ambitions of the Council of the Future projects Douglas heads up – Transformation of Environmental Services and Commercialisation of Environmental Services – as it will “help stop or reduce problems before they actually occur, increasing efficiencies across the board”. Examples include:

  • Refuse collections: using current in-cab technology to help reduce the number of missed bins.
  • Street Cleansing: installing in-cab technology that links to our website allowing people to see on a map, in real-time, when streets have been swept.
  • Fly tipping: work is underway to use MyFalkirk so that members of the public can drop pins on fly tip locations allowing people to see if a report has already been made.

Douglas also highlighted that the roll out of 70k burgundy bins had gone relatively “smoothly” and that paper and card quality was now being bailed immediately due to its high quality, which has helped free up capacity that can now be offered to other local authorities.

“Our project has to find £1.19m by 2024, which is a challenge, but through better use of technology, and by ensuring our workforce is fully engaged and on board, we can successfully make those savings and shape the future of our Service.”