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As we hurtle to the end of another year - and gear up for a new decade – we look back at the major milestones that helped shape our transformation journey in 2019.

The first quarter of the year saw the Council continue to develop its first business plan to bring together the Medium Term Financial Plan and Council of the Future programme of change.

Elected members, employees and trades unions helped shape the plan, which lays out how we will be spending £2.5b in our communities over the next five years and how we will transform to save c£77m by 2024.

After the plan was approved by the Executive in May we immediately saw a new governance structure come into play. This included establishing five workstream boards. These boards were designed to empower decision making and encourage collaborative working and knowledge-sharing across Services

Since then it has been full steam ahead as we look to embody our values of being responsive, innovative, trusted and ambitious (RITA) and drive forward wave two of Council of the Future.

Delivering Change

Several milestones have been hit since the plan came into action and the workstream boards established – a summary of successes is already available online. Others include:

  • Establishing the top ten priority projects that will generate significant change and savings and will enable other projects to move forward and help drive culture change.
  • All financial savings for 2019/20 (year one of the business plan) agreed and on course to be delivered.
  • Procuring for the Future identified over £400k of savings for this financial year by grouping together spend for different products and services.
  • Nearly 300 Mobile Emergency Care (MECS) digital boxes have been installed to help protect our most vulnerable residents.
  • Virtual learning is now taking place across our high schools, with pupils embracing online learning for two Advanced Higher subjects.
  • The launch of a payment portal making it easier to pay for school meals and other school expenses online 24/7, 365 days a year.
  • 45% of our lighting stock has now been converted to LED lighting.
  • Roads & Grounds has installed in-cab automated technology to make gritting more efficient and effective. The Service has also launched a gritting map, making it easier for residents to stay informed during adverse winter weather.
  • Building & Maintenance Division (BMD) employees can now take their vehicles home and receive work schedules via tablets. By enabling mobile and flexible working, we've reduced the number of BMD depots and improved the time taken to complete repairs.
  • There has been continued development of our Next Generation Contact Centre, including the integration of our telephony system with the My Falkirk portal to give us a better understanding of service users and how they interact with us.
  • Our three Advice and Support Hubs were recognised as ‘a model of best practice’ at a prestigious awards ceremony. We were one of only four local authorities - out of 60 finalists - to receive a highly commended award for our approach to tackling poverty.
  • 70,000 burgundy bins were introduced to help improve recycling rates and the quality of waste recycled across the area. Thanks to the roll out paper and card quality is being bailed immediately, due to its high quality, freeing up capacity to be offered to other local authorities.

Two key strategies were also launched:

  • Our Digital Strategy, which underpins the work of our Digital Workstream Board.
  • Our Wellbeing Strategy, which aims to ensure employees are healthy and happy at work.

And in September we rolled out our second Employee Engagement Survey. Over 50% of employees submitted a survey – a 70% increase on 2017 – which meant we were able to donate £3637 to Strathcarron Hospice.

Changing Attitudes

But it isn’t just down to changing processes and services. Changing our culture is a fundamental part of our transformation. To help us become more risk aware and supportive, we’ve:

  • Launched a refreshed employee awards – the Make it Happen Awards – designed to celebrate employee achievements across the board.
  • Rolled out a series of roadshows to keep employees up-to-date with potential changes to our workforce package. For those not able to attend a roadshow, a video and online survey will shortly be available online so you can stay informed and, more importantly, have your say.
  • Said goodbye to our Achievement & Personal Development Scheme to make way for Good Conversations (working title) in the New Year.
  • Undertaken a drive to encourage anytime, anywhere working – from keeping desks clean and clear to hot desking.

Information is key

Because employees need to feel part of the change process - and be kept up-to-date with developments - a range of training and information events continue to be held, including:

  • Two Leadership forum (April and September)
  • A council-wide employee listening event
  • Two employee communication group meetings (January and July)
  • Frontline development workshops rolled out
  • Fifth and sixth tier leadership development training (culture change) delivered
  • Head teacher’s event
  • Support & Learning for All hackathon.
  • Enabled Communities Workshop and Entrepreneurial Spark Sparkathon.
  • Entrepreneurial Spark training for 25 employees to help develop a growth mindset.
  • Digital Sparkathon.
  • Project reporting training delivered to Project Managers and Project Sponsors
  • Three rounds of Workstream Board meetings
  • Employee web page regularly updated with news
  • Monthly e-newsletter, Falkirk 5, continues to gain traction