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Towards the end of last year, we invited all Falkirk Council employees to take part in a survey, to establish your views on your experience as an employee. 


This research was made up of a questionnaire (available in both digital and paper format) focus groups and also one to one interviews. All responses were anonymous and over 1,700 employees responded to the survey, making it the largest and most detailed survey we have carried out in many years.   

The project focused on a number of key areas, to give us insight into your experiences as an employee. Those areas included: 

  • Communication 
  • Reward and Recognition 
  • Health, Safety & Wellbeing 
  • Inclusion 
  • Working Together 
  • Performance 
  • Resources 
  • Learning and Development 

In addition, there was a section specifically for those who were new employees or have been in a new post for less than six months, to better understand the recruitment and induction experience. 


Across all three phases of the research, several recurring themes came out, and these are summarised below: 

People. Most people in the Council care very deeply about their work, the people they serve, and the people they work alongside. There are many impressive, talented, passionate individuals working in Falkirk Council, so there is huge potential to become the Council of the Future that we strive to be.  

Change. Over the last several years and certainly post Covid19 pandemic, the Council has undergone an overwhelming amount of change; some intentional change that has been for the better, but also some reactive change that has only increased the challenges faced by staff. There is an appreciation that some of these changes have been due to external forces, but staff also need reassurance that the Council is making effective decisions for what lies within its control. Not everyone felt they had the opportunity to influence the changes being made, and it was clear that there was a desire to move forward together. 

Consistency. It was observed that there is inconsistency in behaviour, management, systems, and application of policies, all of which cause avoidable friction. There was a call for a back-to-basics approach with more sharing of what does work well, and greater transparency so that improvements can be made.

Connections. Many of you told us that you have a strong desire to be part of service and to make a positive difference in local communities; this is one of the main reasons you work for Falkirk Council. Many feel a very strong connection to your own teams. There was a view however, that the Council can sometimes be a barrier between what you are trying to do and who you are trying to help. Humanity is at the heart of the Council’s purpose but not always at the heart of how we do it and this should come across at all levels of the entire Council.

Crisis. There is a sense of ongoing crisis in the world and in the Council with many struggling to understand what this means for them. The dramatic impact of this crisis mode can be seen in the responses about health and wellbeing, including mental health, and the need for a clearer sense of purpose and direction in roles and in the Council as a whole.

Communication. There is a powerful appetite for communication that is more transparent, at all levels, and more inclusive, particularly for those who do not have desk-based roles. There is not a lot of mutual understanding of workloads, priorities and the pressures faced at each different level of the Council. More empathetic and open communication would be a huge step forward in improving human connections across all levels and roles.

Culture. There remains a cultural hangover from a time when the Council was seen as being more bureaucratic and slower. While improvements have been made, the culture is still felt to be too risk-averse and too siloed to operate effectively. Many feel that potential is restricted. 

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Next steps

There are a number of actions that will be taken to use this valuable insight to make Falkirk Council a better place to work and a better Council for its residents. An action plan is being created, that will be delivered over the coming months. This plan will consider such areas as: 

Sharing these findings. We appreciate the time that everyone took to take part in this process and recognise the importance of sharing the findings with you and how this insight is being used - starting with this update. We will be sharing division-specific results with various teams, with a focus on what we can do collectively to improve. Future updates on how we are progressing will be shared, along with further discussions on how to improve. 

Best Practice. There were lots of great examples of where we do things brilliantly as a Team or as a Council, and we will seek to find those within our Teams, Divisions and Services, and determine how to share them with others. 

Internal communications. We will find better ways to share important information about what we are doing, what we hope to do and how we are doing it.  We will identify ‘bottlenecks’ where information is getting stuck and choose new and better ways to communicate, to best suit everyone.

Consistency. We will look for places where policies are not being applied correctly or interpreted differently and carry out training and learning sessions so that everyone knows what is expected. 

Visibility of senior staff. Colleagues told us that it was important to see and be seen by more Senior colleagues. We will discuss how we better do this and implement a plan to put this in place. 

Finally, we want to thank everyone who took part. Your voices are important to making us the best we can be, and your observations have been heard.