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Dear colleagues,

I am an eternal optimist. I see a glass, and it is (nearly) always half full. Our Best Value report may have tested my resolve, but, in truth, it provides a new platform for our journey of improvement.

There is so much good that we are doing, and we will build on our strengths as we move forward.

The changes that have come about since January are testament to that. We have welcomed new faces to leadership teams. Falkirk Community Trust employees are now part of the Council family. New ideas for improvement and ways of working also flow from our Best Value action plan.

After May's election, 15 of the 30 Elected Members are also new. Although the political split is similar to before, we have a strong mix of younger and more experienced members with a broad range of knowledge and expertise. There is evidence of a more collaborative and open approach, and I really welcome that.

Opportunity knocks

When I spoke to Elected Members during their induction, I was honest about the challenges we face and the opportunities that lie ahead. I stressed we need to let go of the past and use fresh thinking to tackle significant issues head-on.

The only way to achieve this is to work closer together. To have open, honest and more transparent conversations right from the get-go and make decisions based on facts and data.

It is early days, and I do not anticipate it will all be plain sailing, but things do feel different. The opportunity to change how we work together is there. We now need to be brave and bold and open that door.

New dawn

As we enter the summer recess, the focus turns to the creation of the Council Plan. Leadership teams are helping to build the plan, using lessons learnt from the past two years and the aims of the Falkirk Plan to shape new Council priorities and the way forward.

Much work still needs to be done before we can present the plan to the Council for consideration in September. But what is already clear is a commitment to listen more, especially to differing points of view to ensure what we do and how we do it empowers communities and strengthens the economy.

I've already spoken about cementing closer working relationships with Elected Members. But we all need to prioritise collaboration across services and with communities and partners.

Get in touch

After two years of meeting virtually, I want to meet teams face-to-face. I want to hear about the excellent work that you are doing and the challenges you are facing. If your team would welcome a visit, please contact my PA, Irene Peat, who will help make it happen.

Best wishes,
Kenneth Lawrie, Chief Executive