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The pandemic has made organisations across the globe rethink their priorities and how they work - we are no different.

Over the past few months we’ve taken stock, used lessons learnt, and undertaken a series of engagement exercises to better understand how we can:

  • use the knowledge and skills of our workforce to help the area recover
  • make our organisation more modern and agile

That process not only helped us create new priorities, it highlighted the work that now has to be undertaken to realise them. It also provided the foundations for our new Corporate and Business Plans, which were approved by Council on 30 September.

Ask, listen and act

Both plans had to explain how we will support our communities, the local economy, and employees as we adjust to life during times of COVID-19 - and the only way to ensure we focused on the right things was to ask each group what mattered to them now.

We initially spoke to frontline services and launched an employee pulse survey to get a better understanding of how our employees felt about working during lockdown.

What they told us made clear the immense amount of work that has - and continues to be - undertaken to support our communities and businesses in crisis, and it brought to light some of the issues our employees faced.

Their views not only informed how we will work moving forward, they helped shape key projects in our Business Plan.

Cast the net wide

We then turned to our Elected Members. Their in-depth knowledge of our communities proved vital in helping us shape proposed council priorities, which will guide our work as we navigate through the pandemic and support our corporate vision of making the area ‘The Place to Be’.

Following a series of virtual workshops with Members that helped validate the proposed priorities, we asked our communities for their views. Nearly 1,500 people from across the area filled in the community survey and 100 people gave up their time to attend a series of virtual Community Conversation focus groups.

At the same time, local businesses were asked about the support they’d received during the first few months of lockdown, and what support they thought they might need moving forward. Over 400 responded and their views were fed into our Economic Recovery Plan.

Keeping things simple

What our communities told us was clear - and our Elected Members agreed - we had to simplify the priorities and focus on three core areas, which now form the pillars of our Corporate and Business Plans:

The survey results also  helped to validate the importance of Digital Falkirk and they backed the need to create three new transformation projects in our Council of the Future change programme:

Your views matter

The outcomes of each consultation exercise have fundamentally shaped key documents that will steer the Council in a positive direction during uncertain times, not only informing our new priorities and ambitions but how we will deliver on them.

They’ve also made us take stock and realign the Council of the Future change programme. Now, the focus is on the delivery of large scale transformation of services that will provide the support and outcomes our communities, local businesses, and employees have said they want and need.