This Falkirk Council Partnership Agreement has been established as part of an employee relations framework that recognises that partnership and collaboration are the best means by which sustainable change and improvement can be delivered.

This framework:

  • provides a method for consultation to take place between the Council and its employees
  • allows staffing issues and concerns to be raised and discussed; difficulties explored and resolved and for shared routes forward to be agreed
  • ensures a joint focus on the Council's vision of being an innovative, responsive, trusted and ambitious organisation

Behaviours and principles

The partners to this Agreement share the belief that certain behaviours and principles are required to achieve sustainable improvement and to retain the commitment and support of staff. To underpin partnership working, the following principles will be adopted:

  • a shared commitment to the success of the Council in providing effective services to the local community
  • mutual trust, honesty and respect
  • openness and transparency in communications
  • respect confidentiality where either party considers this to be essential
  • recognising and valuing the contribution of all partners
  • access and sharing of information
  • consensus, collaboration and inclusion as the "best way"
  • maximising employment security
  • a team approach to underpin partnership working

Roles and Responsibilities

This partnership approach and the employment relations framework outlined offers the opportunity for the Council’s employees and their trades unions to be fully involved from an early stage in the formulation and implementation of change. If we are to realise the full potential from adopting this approach, all parties need to recognise their roles and responsibilities.

Elected Members, managers, recognised trades unions and employees all have responsibilities within this process. All partners require to demonstrate commitment and be willing to contribute positively to partnership working. This involves accepting responsibility to try and agree decisions by consensus and a demonstration of confidence and confidentiality to enhance the local partnership process. It is recognised, however, that some issues will require negotiation and, where this is necessary, a separate group will be established for this purpose.

Partners agree to work within the terms of the agreement, and any disagreement should not prejudice a partner’s position at any later stage in the partnership. There will be situations where, although supportive of partnership working, trades unions or managers are unable to agree a joint approach. There is recognition that trades unions retain the right to represent their members’ interests. Remaining involved in the partnership process will enable differences to be dealt with appropriately. The current structure for dealing with employee concerns will be available to support this.

The trade unions recognised for the purposes of this partnership agreement are:

  • EIS
  • GMB
  • SSTA
  • UNISON
  • UNITE

Partnership Framework and Governance

The framework for partnership working within the Council is below

This will essentially comprise of:

Tripartite Forum

Meeting on a quarterly basis (or as required), this forum will consist of nominated Elected Members, relevant officers and Trade Unions. It will provide a mechanism for consultation on strategic matters affecting Council employees e.g. budget, etc.

The role of the Forum is:

  • To provide a mechanism for consultation on strategic matters affecting Council employees e.g. budget, terms and conditions etc.
  • To ensure proposals focus on the Council's vision of being an innovative, responsive, trusted and ambitious organisation

Principles

To underpin the working of the Tripartite Forum, the following principles will be adopted :

  • a shared commitment to the success of the Council in providing effective services to the local community
  • mutual trust, honesty and respect
  • openness and transparency in communications
  • respect confidentiality where any party considers this to be essential
  • recognising and valuing the contribution of all partners
  • access and sharing of information
  • consensus, collaboration and inclusion as the "best way"
  • maximising employment security
  • a team approach to underpin partnership working

Ways of working

The Forum will meet every quarter however this frequency can be varied if needs dictate this.

Members of the Forum will receive papers one week before each meeting, where possible.

An action note of the meeting will be created, kept and agreed by all members of the Forum who attended the meeting.

The Forum shall be chaired by the Leader of the Council or their nominated substitute.

The Forum may establish sub-groups or working parties to focus on particular issues. The membership of any such group shall be at the discretion of the Forum. Such groups will be expected to report back to the Forum at regular intervals as agreed.

From time to time, individuals may be asked to provide specific advice or expertise to the Forum as required.

Membership

Membership of the Forum shall comprise nominated Elected Members, representatives of the Council’s management team and all relevant trade unions.

Each of the following trade unions, recognised by the Council, may appoint one nominated representative to the Forum:

  • UNISON
  • EIS
  • UNITE
  • GMB
  • SSTA

If the nominated trade union representative is unavailable, they may be represented by a substitute.

Full time officers may attend on an ex-officio basis, noting their attendance in advance.

Members of the Forum are expected to take ownership of and implement actions agreed by the Forum.

Governance

The Forum shall be an advisory body only. The Council shall have regard to any recommendations made by the Forum but shall not be bound to accept them or to act on them unless and until they are approved and adopted by the Council or, in terms of a relevant delegation, by a Committee or officer on the Council’s behalf.


Corporate Partnership Forum

Meeting on a quarterly basis (or as required), this forum will provide a method for consultation to take place at a corporate level between relevant officers and recognised trade unions. It will allow for discussion of Council wide staffing issues and for concerns to be raised and discussed; difficulties explored and resolved and for shared routes forward to be agreed. Any matters agreed through this Forum which impact on the Council’s workforce policies will be referred to the Executive Committee for consideration.

The role of the Forum is:

  • To provide a method for consultation to take place at a corporate level between the Council and its employees
  • To provide a mechanism for Council wide staffing issues and concerns to be raised and discussed; difficulties explored and resolved and for shared routes forward to be agreed
  • To ensure proposals focus on the Council's vision of being an innovative, responsive, trusted and ambitious organisation

Principles:

To underpin the working of the Partnership Forum, the following principles will be adopted :

  • a shared commitment to the success of the Council in providing effective services to the local community
  • mutual trust, honesty and respect
  • openness and transparency in communications
  • respect confidentiality where either party considers this to be essential
  • recognising and valuing the contribution of all partners
  • access and sharing of information
  • consensus, collaboration and inclusion as the "best way"
  • maximising employment security
  • a team approach to underpin partnership working

Ways of working

The Forum will meet every quarter with a schedule of meetings issued on an annual basis. This frequency can however be varied if needs dictate this.

Members of the Forum will receive papers one week before each meeting. An action note of the meeting will be created, kept and agreed by all members of the Forum who attended the meeting.

The Forum shall have joint chairs who will chair meetings on a rotational basis. The staff side chair shall be appointed by relevant trade unions.

The Forum may establish sub-groups or working parties to focus on particular issues. The membership of any such group shall be at the discretion of the Forum. Such groups will be expected to report back to the Forum at regular intervals as agreed.

From time to time, individuals may be asked to provide specific advice or expertise to the Forum as required.

Service Unit Managers will ensure that minutes of Partnership Forums are displayed on relevant staff notice boards or otherwise made available. These minutes will be published on the Council’s intranet. Trades Union representatives will however have an important role in both communicating with their members and actively ensuring that their members’ views are conveyed effectively and taken into account.

Membership

Membership of the Forum shall comprise representatives of the Council’s management team and all relevant trade unions.

The Chair and the Secretary of the JTUC will attend each meeting

Each trade union may appoint one nominated representative to the Forum (in addition to the Chair and Secretary role). If the nominated trade union representative is unavailable, they may be represented by a substitute.

Full time officers may attend on an ex-officio basis, noting their attendance in advance.

Members of the Forum are expected to take ownership of and implement actions agreed by the Forum.

Governance

The Forum shall be an advisory body only. The Council shall have regard to any recommendations made by the Forum but shall not be bound to accept them or to act on them unless and until they are approved and adopted by the Council or, in terms of a relevant delegation, by a Committee or officer on the Council’s behalf.


Service Partnership Forums

Where considered appropriate by the Corporate Partnership Forum, Service or Divisional Forums will be established to discuss day to day service delivery and operational matters impacting on the workforce covered by the Forum, and the performance of the service area.

The role of the Forum is :

  • To provide a mechanism for service specific staffing issues and concerns to be raised and discussed; difficulties explored and resolved and for shared routes forward to be agreed
  • To ensure proposals focus on the Council's vision of being an innovative, responsive, trusted and ambitious organisation

Principles:

To underpin the working of Service Partnership Forums, the following principles will be adopted:

  • a shared commitment to the success of the Council in providing effective services to the local community
  • mutual trust, honesty and respect
  • openness and transparency in communications
  • respect confidentiality where either party considers this to be essential
  • recognising and valuing the contribution of all partners
  • access and sharing of information
  • consensus, collaboration and inclusion as the "best way"
  • maximising employment security
  • a team approach to underpin partnership working

Ways of working

The Forum will meet every 8 weeks with a schedule of meetings issued on an annual basis. This frequency can however be varied if needs dictate this.

Members of the Forum will receive papers one week before each meeting. An action note of the meeting will be created, kept and agreed by all members of the Forum who attended the meeting.

The Forum shall have joint chairs who will chair meetings on a rotational basis. The staff side chair shall be appointed by relevant trade unions.

The Forum may establish sub-groups or working parties to focus on particular service issues. The membership of any such group shall be at the discretion of the Forum. Such groups will be expected to report back to the Forum at regular intervals as agreed.

From time to time, individuals may be asked to provide specific advice or expertise to the Forum as required.

Relevant Service Unit Managers will ensure that minutes of Service Partnership Forums are displayed on relevant staff notice boards within the Service or otherwise made available, making use of new technology where possible.. Trades Union representatives will however have an important role in both communicating with their members and actively ensuring that their members’ views are conveyed effectively and taken into account.

Membership

Membership of the Forum shall comprise representatives of the service management team and all relevant trade unions.

Each trade union, with members within the Service, may appoint one nominated representative to the Forum. If the nominated trade union representative is unavailable, they may be represented by a substitute.

Full time officers may attend on an ex-officio basis, noting their attendance in advance.

Members of the Forum are expected to take ownership of and implement actions agreed by the Forum.

Governance

The Service Partnership Forums will submit action notes and any issues to the Council’s Partnership Forum. Where Improvement Groups have been established, action notes will also be submitted to the Service Management Team meetings.


Council of the Future Change Groups

Such groups provide a forum for employees and trade unions to help generate and discuss ideas for change, to support Council of the Future project developments and to support the Council’s vision of being an innovative, responsive, trusted and ambitious organisation.

The Role of the Group is:

  • To involve employees and trade union representatives in the development, implementation and review of proposals to make Falkirk Council, a Council of the Future
  • To involve employees and trade unions representatives in the review of particular functional areas of service delivery, with a view to considering changes to the way the function is currently delivered which will bring efficiencies, whilst maintaining or ideally improving effectiveness
  • To provide a forum for all members of the group to generate and discuss ideas for change and support the Council's vision of being an innovative, responsive, trusted and ambitious organisation

Responsibilities

  • To perform the role of a key Stakeholder in the 'Council for the Future’ Change Programme
  • To provide assurance to the Council / Council of the Future Board that change activity at a Council and Service level are discussed, debated and inform the Change Programme
  • To provide a forum where change and improvement initiatives can be identified and developed to feed into Service Plans / Council of the Future
  • To act as a project review point to ensure the impact of all change activity has been identified in terms of potential benefits, outcomes and risks
  • To ensure the Change Group understands and, where appropriate, aligns its agenda with other governance groups and dependencies with other areas of work / projects
  • To support the development of appropriate documents and policies to deliver on Falkirk Council’s priorities
  • To provide input on issues that affect customers, communities and employees
  • To provide a mechanism via which requests for updates and/ or attendance at meetings can be channelled
  • To provide a forum for the discussion of progress on all change activity
  • To help guide the development of recommendations for further work to make Falkirk Council, a Council of the Future
  • The group may request employees and stakeholders of Falkirk Council to speak at its meetings as seems appropriate and reasonable

Principles

To underpin the working of Change Groups, the following principles will be adopted:

  • a shared commitment to the success of the Council in providing effective services to the local community
  • mutual trust, honesty and respect
  • openness and transparency in communications
  • respect confidentiality where either party considers this to be essential
  • recognising and valuing the contribution of all partners
  • access and sharing of information
  • consensus, collaboration and inclusion as the "best way"
  • maximising employment security
  • a team approach to underpin partnership working

Ways of working

The Group will meet every 8 weeks with a schedule of meetings issued on an annual basis. This frequency can however be varied if needs dictate.

Members of the Group will receive papers one week before each meeting.

An action note of the meeting will be created, kept and agreed by all members of the Group who attended the meeting.

Members may be contacted between meetings for advice should the need arise.

From time to time sub-groups may be formed to work on specific issues as appropriate. The membership of any such group shall be at the discretion of the Change Group. Such groups will be expected to report back to the Change Group at regular intervals as set by the Group.

From time to time individuals may be asked to provide specific advice and expertise as required.

Membership

The Group will be chaired by a relevant Service Management Team representative and have a minimum of 2 members who will be Falkirk Council employees and not Service Manager representatives.

The Group will have representation from relevant Trades Unions, with one from each trade union and substitutes where required. Full time officers may attend on an ex-officio basis, noting their attendance in advance.

The Group may have representation from project team members or other Service Stakeholders where relevant.

Group membership by employees would normally last for a period of two years but there would be the opportunity to continue for another year. After two years the opportunity to participate would be opened up to new people. Rotation of the membership will be staged to ensure that continuity is maintained.

Members of the Group are expected to take ownership of and implement actions agreed by the group.

Advisors

Advisors can be drawn on to support the work of the Group with a knowledge of the topics / issues surrounding the Group’s participation. These can be called on as and when required.

Governance

The Change Groups will report back to the Service Change Boards that established them. The Group will update the appropriate Service Partnership Forum on relevant change programmes.


It is recognised by all parties that the various partnership groups referred to above are advisory bodies only. The Council shall have regard to any recommendations made by them but shall not be bound to accept them or to act on them unless and until they are approved and adopted by the Council or, in terms of a relevant delegation, by a Committee or officer on the Council’s behalf. Where the Council does not agree to the implementation of recommendations made, matters may be remitted to the original forum for further discussion.

Out with these forums, the following additional consultative forums will operate:

Local Negotiating Committee for Teachers (LNCT)

Allows for discussion of devolved national conditions at a local level.

Joint Staff Forum (Health & Social Care Integration)

Provides a forum to enable effective joint discussions between employer and employee representatives, on employment issues, relating to the effective implementation of Health and Social Care Integration.

Development

All partnership forum members will participate in appropriate joint development events, as required, to continue the development of effective partnership working across the Council.

Review

Partnership working arrangements, if they are to be effective, need to be responsive and flexible. The partners will review the details set out above on an annual basis.