As a Council, we are ambitious for our area. We aim to be the place to be where everyone can fulfil their potential.

As an employer, we are equally ambitious for our workforce. The Council's Workforce Strategy reflects the need for our workforce to be responsive and ambitious, adapting what they do, to support our Council of the Future. In this context, there is a need to ensure we retain the right people, in the right roles, with the right skills and attitude. This is essential forward planning for the delivery of the Council’s Business Plan which incorporates our medium term financial The requirement for change is heightened as a consequence of the impact of COVID-19. It is clear that balancing future budgets against a background of rising local unemployment and increased poverty, with likely reduced government grant & income streams, will be extremely challenging. As a result, the workforce plan has been reviewed and updated to reflect that some services will have to be significantly reconfigured or stopped altogether as things are prioritised.

The next three years will be challenging for our employees as they respond to significant change. We need to do things differently based on our learning from COVID-19. Following community engagement, our priorities have changed. The work we do and how we allocate our resources must reflect this. The way we work must change. COVID-19 has already provided an opportunity for increased working from home and where this is possible, this must continue.

We will support our workforce to lead, deliver and respond to the challenges the Council and our communities face over the next three years and beyond

We will work together with our employees in the reconfiguration of Council Services recognising that we have a wealth of experience and skills across our workforce to help deliver our vision for change. As an employer, we will be ambitious, innovative, responsive and trusted. We will achieve this by engaging with our employees, listening to what they say, and acting on their feedback, using data to understand our customers and using digital technology to modernise our services. Our employees will be expected to focus on our priorities , helping us to revitalise Falkirk in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically:

  • Communities – Everyone has an equal chance to be healthier, happier, safer and live in sustainable communities;
  • Enterprise – Help businesses to thrive and make Falkirk more prosperous; and
  • Innovation – Innovative and Entrepreneurial Council that is forward thinking and unafraid of change

We will be innovative, responsive and trusted. We will achieve this by engaging with our employees, listening to what they say, and acting on their feedback, using data to understand our customers and using digital technology to modernise our services.

As an employer we will continue to:

  • Pay the living wage, even when budgets are difficult;
  • Have a modern and competitive range of terms and conditions;
  • Ensure employees have access to good quality pension schemes;
  • Put in place a number of flexible and voluntary benefits packages for employees to access;
  • Have employment policies and procedures which are easy to understand and comply with legislation as a minimum;
  • Enable access to good quality training and development for all of our employees;
  • Take care of our employees through a range of health, safety and well-being support;
  • Provide increased opportunities for employees to work mobile and flexibly.

All services have their own specific workforce plans and recognise the importance of a skilled, motivated and valued workforce.

A structure chart for the Council is shown at Appendix 1.

Appendix 1

In developing this Workforce Plan the following documents and data were considered:

  • Strategic Outcomes and Local Delivery Plan (SOLD) (Recognising that this is due to be reviewed)
  • Corporate Plan (including the Community Engagement work to renew this)
  • Business Plan (including the work being done to refresh this)
  • Medium Term Financial Plan (as incorporated in the Business Plan)
  • Transformation Programme (as incorporated in the Business Plan and as being developed)
  • Workforce profiling information
  • Relevant population demographics/ trends
  • Employee survey results and more recent Pulse Survey results

This Plan covers the period from April 2020 – March 2024.


  1. Table of contents

Assessment of Current Workforce

The following information provides a summary of the Council’s current workforce (The figures shown are as at 30 June 2020)

  • FTE: 6029
  • Headcount: 7181
  • Full-time FTE: 58.73%
  • Part-time FTE: 41.28%
  • Permanent: 88.85%
  • Temporary: 11.15%

The headcount and the FTE of the workforce has generally reduced over the past 5 years. FTE has however, increased by 2.1% during 2019/20 predominantly due to an increase in Children's Services. This is linked to early years expansion.

To respond to the economic challenges posed by COVID 19 and to achieve the continuing change required through the Council of the Future programme, the workforce will require to contract further in certain areas of the Council. In other areas, however, there will be a requirement for a short term increase in workforce to manage and help respond to COVID-19.

There is a mix of full time and part time staff, with just less than 60% full time. This varies significantly in different services, for example, Procurement & Housing Property Services is predominantly full time (c 95%) whereas in Social Work Adult Services, part time working makes up a high percentage (c56%) of their workforce. This is reflective of the needs of the particular service areas. It allows the service to have more staff at work at peak times and offers flexibility to those employees who, due to caring responsibilities, have chosen to work part-time. However, in other areas, high levels of part-time working can bring its own challenges in terms of continuity and staff management. For example, Children’s Services have experienced a significant increase in requests for part time working which is difficult to manage within the school environment, given the national teacher shortage and the increased staffing requirements resulting from COVID-19.

There has been a slight reduction in the use of temporary contracts, with 11.15% of the workforce temporary. A review of temporary contracts has been undertaken. The aim was, where possible, to rationalise these to address concerns regarding employment security for our workforce and business continuity for the Council. Given the current budget position and longer term uncertainties, temporary appointments continue to offer a level of flexibility for restructuring options and where future budget reductions may be necessary. Temporary contracts have also been used in recent times to help address immediate additional workforce requirements within, for example, Children's Services in response to COVID-19.

Workforce Age Profile

Current Age Profile No. of Employees Age Profile in 3 Years No. of Employees Age Profile in 5 Years No. of Employees
<16 0 16 0 >16 0
16-20 65 16-20 3 16-20 0
21-25 402 21-25 157 21-25 65
26-30 685 26-30 550 26-30 402
31-35 717 31-35 761 31-35 685
36-40 781 36-40 683 36-40 717
41-45 753 41-45 806 41-45 781
46-50 942 46-50 821 46-50 753
51-55 1113 51-55 1012 51-55 942
56-60 1046 56-60 1117 56-60 1113
61-65 542 61-65 870 61-65 1046
66-70 92 66-70 319 66-70 542
>71 43 71 82 >71 1359

The age profile of our workforce creates a medium term challenge and risk. With c39% of the current workforce over 50 rising to c70% in 5 years, there is a need to consider measures to attract younger people into the Council while managing the risks associated with an aging workforce. The risk is greater in some service areas e,g, Social Work Adult Services and Development Services where almost 55% of the workforce are over 50.Those over 55 can retire without agreement albeit with actuarial reduction and this represents a risk to the Council.

In recent years, given the removal of the statutory retirement age, the Council has also seen an increase in the number of employees continuing to work beyond age 70. Whilst this is positive from an equality perspective, it must also be balanced with increases in the younger age brackets as mentioned above. The Council recruited 4 interns and 21 graduates in 2019/20 and, due to COVID-19, have extended these graduate appointments to August 2021. The new graduate programme intake for 2020/21 has, however, been restricted to 12 due to the impact of COVID-19.

Workforce Turnover

Year 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018/19 2019/20
Average Headcount 7218 7053 6983 7023 7158
Nosof Leavers 844 753 580 636 606
Turnover % 11.69% 10.68% 8.30% 9.10% 8.50%

Some areas have experienced higher turnover than others. For example, Primary Headteachers have seen a significant level of turnover. This has the potential to cause issues given existing a national shortage of headteachers and the introduction of the Headteachers' Charter.

Absence Patterns

Year 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018/19 2019/20
Absence % 4.80% 4.65% 4.50% 4.46% 4.78%
Nos of Leavers 844 753 580 636 606
Turnover % 11.69% 10.68% 8.30% 9.10% 8.50%

There are a number of areas above the Council target of 4%, although it must be recognised that some areas of the Council have a high proportion of manual workers and would anticipate a higher level of absence. Social Work Adult Services remains significantly higher than other Council areas at 8.94% (2019/20). The Service has additional support to manage absence via an HR Officer post on a 'spend to save' basis with earlier referrals to Occupational Health for musculo-skeletal problems and stress related conditions. This post has also facilitated the proactive use of return to work interviews and absence management monitoring. Absence amongst craft workers also remains high at 7.32% (2019/20). The Council had intended to introduce an absence reporting pilot with effect from 1st April 2020 in areas of higher absence specifically:

  • Social Work Adult Services – Care & Support at Home, Day Services and Care Homes
  • Property & Asset Management - Building Maintenance
  • Roads & Grounds
  • Waste Management

This pilot will allow employees to report their absence 24/7 through a nurse led reporting line. The intended benefits are to:

  • To provide employees with medical support and guidance from nurses when they first call to report sickness absence.
  • To provide a consistent experience and level of support to employees
  • To provide line managers with information on individual and overall team absence and allow them to contact employees at a time of day when they have time for a quality conversation

This pilot was postponed due to the impact of COVID-19. It is now intended that this will be introduced in October 2020.

We have an Occupational Health Service, including physiotherapy services for musculo skeletal support. We have also increased the number of trained mental health first aiders in the workplace and re-instated an employee counselling service to support mental wellbeing.

COVID-19 Related Absence

Over the period of the COVID-19-19 lockdown, a number of essential services have continued to operate. Some of these have been delivered in very different ways due to lockdown restrictions. A number of employees in non- essential services have also continued to work from home and some have been providing support to essential services. The table below illustrates the impact of COVID-19 on working arrangements

Absence Reason April July
Working FromHome 1546 2838
Unable to WorkFrom Home 892 395
Grand Total 2438 3233

In April 2020 (just after the start of the lock down) there were c1550 employees in the Council recorded as working from home however by July this had risen to over 2800 employees. Part of this rise was a result of significant investment in providing IT equipment to facilitate increased home working capacity.

It should be noted that these figures do not include those employees who continued working but not from home, e.g., social care employees, some teaching employees, a number of manual workers, etc. Employees who were on sick leave or off due to normal annual leave arrangements were also excluded.

Given the phased lifting of the lockdown, plans are now being developed to support a return of employees to the workplace in line with Service recovery plans and national guidance. It is recognised that, going forward, delivery of services may require to be different, to ensure all national guidance is taken into account. A Group has been established, chaired by the Head of People, Technology & Transformation, to oversee this work and to support services as they implement their recovery plan.

For employees who were unable to work from home due to underlying health conditions, risk assessments were undertaken to facilitate a return to work where possible, seeking Occupational Health advice as appropriate. Government guidance in terms of risk assessment has also be followed for those who are shielding, pregnant or have other health issues which may cause them concern about a return to the workplace.

It is recognised that this has been a very difficult situation for our workforce. In returning to work, we could have employees with a range of issues affecting their physical and/or mental wellbeing. This could be for a range of reasons such as concerns about their safety, concern for their families, caring responsibilities and financial wellbeing issues.

We have put in place a lot of additional information on wellbeing support. We are part of a network on Wellbeing that is led by the Scottish Government and a number of NHS partners and Councils are represented. The wellbeing material will continue to be added to and developed over the next few years and will be developed in partnership with the Scottish Government led Wellbeing group.

Grade/Allowance Profile

The majority of employees are paid at the lower end of the grading structure which is reflective of the nature of the services being delivered.

The role that employees undertake continues to change as the Council makes changes to the way in which we deliver our services, and as we change our workforce numbers. There is a need to ensure we continue to review the grade individuals are paid to ensure it reflects equal pay differentials.

A review of organisational principles for management structures across the Council has been undertaken (Appendix 2) to ensure grades and post remits are more closely aligned to new and improved ways of working. This will ensure that the Council continues to have a robust and auditable pay structure, and that employees are fairly treated with regards to our equal pay commitments.

Appendix 2

There is a requirement, as part of the 2018-2021 national pay agreement, for all Councils to fully consolidate the Scottish Local Government Living Wage (SLGLW) by March 2021 (there is scope to extend this deadline to 2022 but only through a collective agreement with Trade Unions). The Council currently pays the SLGLW and applies this to all allowances and pension. This is currently paid as a top up to basic pay, out with the pay structure. This new requirement means that our SJC pay structure must be changed to have the SLGLW as the lowest point in our pay structure. This has a knock on effect for higher parts of our pay structure, to ensure our structure remains robust and there are appropriate differentials between the grades for different posts. The structure also requires to be sustainable and easy to understand by our workforce. To progress this work, a Reward Specialist has been supporting the Council in its review of the pay structure. This review will also consider any anomalies in our structure to ensure these are addressed as part of this review. The aim is to complete this work by the 2021 deadline.

A summary of allowances payable across the Council is attached as Appendix 3. There has been a reduction in the total allowances paid over the past few years. This has included a reduction in mileage costs through increased use of pool cars. This is likely to be impacted by the availability of pool cars currently being used to ensure safe working for front line services in response to COVID-19. This may however be counterbalanced by the number of employees working from home. It is intended that such costs will continue to reduce through the Council's Smart Working, Smart Travel project.

Appendix 3

A key element of our workforce strategy is ensuring we continue to be recognised as a good employer and have a workforce package which represents this. As part of the implementation of our Business Plan, work has been undertaken with Trade Unions to consider how our workforce package should change, to represent a Council of the Future.

Through these discussions, a number of options have been considered. Roadshows have taken place throughout the workforce with employees offered the opportunity to attend and submit their views. Discussions are now continuing with Trade Unions on the feedback and contributions received from our workforce to develop a final workforce package which supports our vision of a Council of the Future.

Through these discussions, a number of options have been considered. Roadshows have taken place throughout the workforce with employees offered the opportunity to attend and submit their views. Discussions are now continuing with Trade Unions on the feedback and contributions received from our workforce to develop a final workforce package which supports our vision of a Council of the Future.

Summary of the overtime worked

A summary of overtime costs is attached as Appendix 4. There has been a reduction in overtime and additional hours across the Council over the past 3 years. Overtime remains higher in areas such as Environmental Services and Roads. There is an expectation that overtime in areas of front-line delivery such as Social Work and Environmental Services will be higher over the first quarter of 2020-21 to support the COVID-19 response. As part of the Council of the Future programme, Services are reviewing models of service delivery which is likely to positively impact on overtime working.

Appendix 4

Patterns of use of Casual and Agency workers

The cost of casual employment to the Council in 2019/20 was approx. £3.9m (including short–term/ supply teachers). There has been an overall reduction in the cost of casual employment over the past 5 years. The main areas of service delivery using casual workers are Social Work Adult Services and supply teaching within Childrens Services. The use of casual staff is necessary to maintain service delivery to cover unplanned absence or assist with peaks in service delivery requirements. It is likely that casual costs will increase in 2020/21 due to temporary arrangements implemented to ensure payments to casuals workers / supply teachers during the COVID-19 lockdown until June 2020 (c£1.3m casual costs paid from March-June 2020).

The cost of casual employment to the Council in 2019/20 was approx. £3.9m (including short–term/ supply teachers). There has been an overall reduction in the cost of casual employment over the past 5 years. The main areas of service delivery using casual workers are Social Work Adult Services and supply teaching within Children's Services. The use of casual staff is necessary to maintain service delivery to cover unplanned absence or assist with peaks in service delivery requirements. It is likely that casual costs will increase in 2020/21 due to temporary arrangements implemented to ensure payments to casuals workers / supply teachers during the COVID-19 lockdown until June 2020 (c£1.3m casual costs paid from March-June 2020).

Year 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018/19 2019/20
Cost £5,262,216.86 £4,471,983.81 £3,750,213 £3,935,678 £3,913,285

The cost of agency workers to the Council from April 2019– March 2020 was c.£901k compared with c.£896k for the previous year. These costs are mainly within Social Work Adult Services and also Development Services. All Services have been asked to review and minimise the use of agency workers as far as possible, with the Council directly employing its own workforce unless under exceptional circumstances.

Skill Profile

Given the wide and varied jobs and remits across the Council, the skills profile of the Council is equally varied. A number of posts require to have specific qualifications, e.g. Teachers, Social Workers, Accountants. Others require to be registered with professional bodies, such as SSSC. Social Work Adult and Children's Services have a SVQ Assessment centre that provides the full range of Social Services and Health Care awards in-house - from SVQ2 for support worker/home care staff to the Leadership and Management in Care PDA award (SCQF level 10). The changing nature of the SSSC means that a wider group of employees over the next 1-5 years will require to achieve qualifications appropriate to their post, e.g. Home Care. This will provide for a more skilled workforce. Career pathways are supported providing opportunities for continuous professional development. This includes collaborative working with local academic institutions.

With effect from 1st August 2020 under Section 28 of the Education (Scotland) Act 2016, a pre-requisite for teachers taking up their first permanent headteacher post is holding the Standard for Headship. In the event the standard is not held, temporary appointments only can be made a period not exceeding 30 months. The Council’s recruitment practices have been updated to reflect this.

Across the Council due to the diverse nature of the workforce, skills and knowledge are maintained and developed in a variety of ways including;

  • toolbox talks
  • lunchtime CPD seminars
  • webinars
  • half day and one day courses
  • conferences
  • Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Management Training up to and including Diploma level
  • Development of people for future roles including "Aspiring to be a Head of Service"
  • Bespoke training as appropriate and we also host training with other partners to minimise costs
  • The Council’s online learning, OLLE, is promoted

In light of the impact of COVID-19, there has been an increased focus on e-learning with many additional courses having been developed to deliver essential training during COVID-19 response. There will be an increased focus going forward on delivering training remotely and also on developing digital skills across the Council. The development of digital skills across our workforce will require to match the developments in our use of technology for service delivery purposes.

The Council recently revised it’s induction processes with existing on-line resources being supplemented by a half day Corporate Induction session run quarterly raising awareness of, for example, the Council of the Future programme, risk management etc. These sessions will be delivered virtually in the short term.

Training and succession planning is also managed via a successful apprenticeship programme. As previously, indicated, some areas such as Procurement & Housing Property services (8% of workforce) and Social Work Adult Services have well established apprenticeship programmes in place supported by the Employment Training Unit. Graduate and intern recruitment has also increased across the Council, particularly within Corporate & Housing and Development Services.

Equality Profile

Gender

Gender Employee Count %
Male 1871 26.05%
Female 5310 73.95%

Ethnicity

Ethnicity Employee Count %
Asian Chinese 5 0.07%
Asian Indian 9 0.13%
Asian Other 8 0.11%
Any Other 19 0.26%
Asian Pakistani 13 0.18%
Black African 12 0.17%
Black Caribbean 2 0.03%
Black Other 1 0.01%
Mixed 9 0.13%
White English 205 2.85%
White Irish 29 0.40%
White Northern Irish 31 0.43%
White Other 92 1.28%
White Other British 35 0.49%
White Polish 15 0.21%
White Scottish 5193 72.32%
White Welsh 7 0.10%
Unknown 1496 20.83%

Disability

Disability Emp Count %
No 4273 59.50%
Yes 124 1.73%
Unknown 2775 38.64%
Refusedto Say 9 0.13%

It is clear that the workforce is female dominated, this is in the main due to the nature of the jobs and organisation and is reflective of local government in general. The 2011 census shows that the local population has 52% female and 48% male residents (overall and working age). The employee gender profile is therefore not reflective of the local population. Further there are elements of job segregation in certain service areas (e.g. refuse collection, cleaning, home care, craft) and work remains ongoing to try and consider these issues as part of the Council's Equality Outcomes and gender pay actions.

The 2011 Census shows that 30% of the local population in the area have a long term health condition (physical disability or mental illness). It is unknown what percentage is able to work. Within Falkirk Council only 1.73% of the workforce is recorded as disabled. A large proportion of the workforce have not provided this information for analysis. The census also indicates that BME groups make up 1.9% of the local population. The statistics of employees do not reflect the same percentage.

Work has been done to improve records for ethnicity and disability with the numbers of employees for whom ethnicity is unknown reducing by c12% in the past year. Employees will continue to be regularly reminded to update their records and with Myview now being accessible to all employees via internet, this will facilitate individual updates.


Challenges, Changes & Opportunities

As a consequence of the impact of COVID-19, balancing future budgets against a background of rising unemployment & increased poverty & vulnerability will be extremely challenging. As a result, some services will have to be significantly reconfigured or stopped altogether as things are prioritised. We will work as one Council through increased collaboration to meet this challenge.

The way we deliver some services may also require to be different, to ensure all national guidance on COVID-19 is taken into account. This will include ensuring appropriate physical distancing, risk assessments have been carried out, protective equipment is provided as required, and other such measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our workforce. Whilst such restrictions should be time limited, they are likely to continue for many months to come.

In line with other organisations we are expecting there to be an increase in employees suffering from mental health issues. We are committed to supporting our employees as best as we can and will continue to review our wellbeing provision.

If there is a second infection wave either nationally or locally, we will be better prepared to deal with this due to revised processes, working arrangements, risk assessments and communication/ training that have been put in place.

The impact of COVID-19 and other internal and external factors which may affect future service delivery, over the next three years, have been considered below under the Council's priority areas.

Communities

Community Planning – Ask, Listen and Act on What Our Communities Tell Us

Our communities have told us that they want to work with the Council differently and want to move away from the traditional Council-led engagement. The existing community engagement process needs to change to an enabling model. This would ensure community plans and actions are co-designed and co-produced to maximise their effectiveness based on local priorities. A sprint team of four temporary (1 year) Community Partnership posts is being implemented to harmonise community engagement across the council. This will help us to better understand our local community needs and to create a mechanism for implementing participatory budgeting (PB).

Hubs & Advice Spokes- To Provide Support to Our Most Vulnerable People

We are committed to tackling poverty and the stigma of poverty. This is particularly important when, due to the impact of COVID-19 on unemployment levels, many citizens will see their household income negatively impacted. It is likely that many will have significant financial difficulties and require support through this transition. The provision of outreach services within communities together with the ability to access multiple services and support from a single contact which meets citizens' needs and abilities are key. Three Advice and Support Hubs have been implemented to provide support to the community. The East and West

Hubs are in locations which have been fully redesigned to meet customer needs. The Central Hub continues to be delivered from Callendar Square while a more appropriate location is identified. Consideration is being given to how they can be used to support the most vulnerable customers going forward. Lessons learned from how services have been provided while Hubs were closed due to COVID-19 need to be considered in shaping the future delivery model and staffing requirements.

Given the negative impact of COVID-19 on many household incomes, this is likely to have an impact the ability of individuals to pay their Council rents. Within Housing Services, Officers are actively engaging with tenants who are in rent arrears with a clear focus on debt prevention rather than debt recovery. During contact with tenants they establish household circumstances, maximise financial support, and make referrals for specialist advice where appropriate. A similar focus will be taken by in relation to Council tax arrears.

Closer to Home – To Keep Our Young People Safe At Home and in Schools and Support Families

Our Closer to Home strategy aims to build resilience within our families to help maintain strong relationships at home. Where a child is unable to be looked after by their parents, then they will be placed in a family environment which is safe and meets their specific needs to deliver better outcomes for our young people at a cheaper cost. The project will include transitions into adulthood and care leavers will have the opportunity to gain the skills (eg managing their own tenancies) to effectively transition into adulthood.

As a Council, we take positive steps to support looked after children into employment with, for example, candidates who indicate that they are a looked after child, are in continuing care or are a care leaver (up to age 26) are guaranteed an interview if they meet the essential minimum criteria under the Councils Recruitment & Selection Policy.

Work To Protect And Improve The Health & Wellbeing Of All

Our Health & Social Care Partnership has been in place for some time. Its main purpose is to ensure that we provide joined up and seamless support and care to people in our communities who need services. The social care workforce is employed by the Council, but also by our third and independent sectors partners. Volunteers and unpaid carers also play an important role in ensuring success within this area and in support to the employed workforce.

At a local level Falkirk Council and NHS Forth Valley will continue to build on common practices to provide better more integrated adult health and social care services through our Health & Social Care Partnership (HSCP). An Integrated Workforce Plan is being developed.

The growing and ageing population continues to create pressures that impact on a wide range of services. For example, within Social Work Adult Services, the ageing population has a significant impact on service delivery. With an ageing, increasingly dependent service user base, the workforce will have to develop their skill levels in a range of areas, for example: medication management; applying treatments; assessment of service user changes etc. Whilst the concept and application of reablement is familiar in some parts of the service it is less so in others. Thus there is a significant staff development and skills development required to meet future needs. A Home Fiirst Team has been established to ensure that people are cared for in their own homes or a homely setting for the longest time possible. Summerford Intermediate Care has been established to focus on a reablement programme to achieve a potential return to home and is an alternative to staying in the Community Hospital.

A New Medicines Management Policy has been introduced and the Homecare workforce have undertaken training for this. A Pharmacy Technician has been employed to the Home Care Service to support with the direct delivery of training and implementation of the new policy and ongoing support for staff with all medication related issues. Quality assurance measures have been introduced to ensure that effective governance is maintained. An online medication training module and Medication Management Training Workbook has been developed for all staff that is complimentary to the policy.

Our Closer to Communities Strategy is our commitment to developing strong, resilient communities, where everyone has good health and wellbeing which is central to tackling inequalities within the Falkirk Council area. The Community Learning and Development service will move to a model where they are commissioned by the Council and partners to deliver health and wellbeing projects within Falkirk. This will require a re-structure and re-focus of the team using existing workforce.

Succeed Today/ Excel tomorrow – To Transform Learning & Education in Falkirk

We are committed to raising aspirations and ensuring that children and young people thrive in education/ training.

Reopening Our Schools Safely

With the impact of COVID-19 our focus has been on the safe re-opening of our schools. Foremost in our planning for the return of children, young people and staff was our capacity to allow them to return to establishments as confidently and safely as possible in line with national guidance. It was recognised that priority must be given to supporting the health and wellbeing of children, young people and staff. We worked in partnership with our early learning and Childcare Centres (ELCCs), school leaders, and professional organisations/ trade unions to develop the plans for the return to ELCCs and schools.

To facilitate the safe reopening of our schools and early learning centres, the Council adopted a "Soft Start" approach. This approach provided a well-planned and safe short term ( 3 day) transition period which ensured that children and young people were supported to return to their establishments but also allowed Children’s Services to assess the availability and readiness of the workforce and make adjustments as necessary for a full return. It also allowed staff to assess the effectiveness of learning space management protocols, including the necessary quarantining of some resources to ensure that they and the children and young people they are responsible for felt confident and safe at being together full time.

The safe return of children to school has resulted in additional staffing requirements within Childrens Services

Primary & Secondary Sector - Childrens Services have offered 123 probationer contracts. This will help to provide additional flexibility within schools, which as well as addressing staff absences and maternity cover can also be used to support the COVID-19 recovery plans.

Early Years - As part of the COVID-19 recovery plan, Children’s Services are recruiting a further 30 temporary staff to provide short term (August to December) additional flexible resources. This will comprise 15 Early Years Officers (EYO) and 15 Early Learning & Childcare Assistant (ELC) posts.

To meet the hygiene and safety requirements related to COVID-19, an enhanced cleaning regime will be implemented across all Council premises including educational establishments. This will include the introduction of daytime cleaning resources being deployed across the school estate. To deliver this an additional c44 fte staff have been recruited on a temporary basis to initially provide an additional 1,620 weekly cleaning hours. These temporary arrangements will be reviewed on a monthly basis.

To ensure the safe opening of schools, there are also implications for staffing requirements in other areas of the Council, including Transport Planning and Building Design which are likely to impact on proposed staffing reductions in these Service areas, with budget savings likely to be postponed. Transport Planning, for example, has been liaising to ensure that all transport providers are aware of new guidance.

The 'soft start’ approach also had an impact on our wider workforce. As a lot of our workforce live locally, this impacted those with children of school or nursery age, and our childcare arrangements were extended to cover this period. There will be a need to support employees to continue to work as flexibly as operational contingencies can facilitate as circumstances evolve.

Outwith this, the early commencement of the school term has had an impact on term-time working arrangements with employees expected to report for work a week earlier than anticipated. To facilitate this, an additional week leave has been added to the October school holiday period.

Impact on Early Years Provision – Children’s Services are working towards the expansion of universal early years provision to 1140 hours, taking account of school estate capacity and the quality of education and care. This requires significant additional resource. In the past year the following additional staff have been recruited - 3 Heads of Centre, 4 Principal Early Years Officers, 1 Senior Early Years Officer, 62 Early Years Officers, 55 Early Learning & Childcare Assistants, and 8 Support for Learning Assistants . The Service worked with the Employment Training Unit in the design of programmes to attract additional early years workers. They also engaged with Forth Valley College, and a greater intake of students were enrolled to ensure that there were additional qualified staff available to meet the conditions under the then planned expansion effective from August 2020. With the introduction of an ELC assistant post there is an ongoing focus on supporting employees into this sector with the expectation being that they will work towards getting a qualification to become an EYO. The focus being that Falkirk Council will “grown our own staff”.

This programme of early years expansion has however been impacted by COVID-19 19 and the statutory requirement for delivery delayed giving Children’s Services additional time to recruit for full delivery. Current plans show that 1140 hours will be delivered across 75% of establishments from August 2020.

This Early Years Expansion Programme also impacts on the design team within Development Services to support increased early years accommodation requirements. Additional resource continues to be required to support this programme. This has an impact on proposed staff savings within this area which are likely to be deferred until next year.

Children’s Services and Development Services officers will be liaising with contractors to progress any outstanding projects as soon as they can be undertaken

Raising aspiration and ambition & reducing the impact of poverty on children and young people

We are committed to building capacity by engaging staff to develop practice to raise aspiration and ambition of children & young people. In addition, through the use of Pupil Equity Funding (PEF), the Service will ensure that there are sufficient resources in place to support a range of interventions that promote resilience and readiness to learn in children and young people. There are currently 38.11 FTE PEF posts across the Council support for learning assistants or teachers. The use of PEF is monitored to ensure that it is being used to effectively mitigate the effects of deprivation on the attainment and achievement of children and young people in Falkirk schools.

Using Digital Learning In Classrooms To Help Narrow The Attainment Gap

Connected Falkirk will give our children and young people the confidence, skills and knowledge needed to thrive in an ever-changing, fast-paced digital world. Digital learning and remote working are now part of all our lives and this innovative project plays a critical role in preparing our young people to live, learn and work in a truly digital age. As a result of COVID-19, the Council has brought forward investment in Connected Falkirk acknowledging the need to increase pupil access to learning devices in line with the Council’s new priorities. This includes plans to upgrade school connectivity, which means a next generation cloud-based Wi-Fi solution will be implemented earlier in the project timeline.

For teachers, this will mean that a device will be issued to every class teacher, supported by an accredited professional learning programme.

Transformation of Roads & Grounds

We are committed to safeguarding our green spaces and maintaining a transport infrastructure which is second to none. Key to this is the transformation of the Council’s Roads and Grounds division to be a more efficient, flexible and commercial service. We will work with our trade unions and workforce to implement, as appropriate, the recommendations of a recent APSE review of the service including:

  • Integrating street cleansing with roads & grounds maintenance to increase flexibility’
  • Reviewing roles / pay structures
  • Reviewing working arrangements including current work patterns and overtime arrangements
  • Increasing the use of mobile technology in operations.

Redesign of Building Maintenance Division

We are committed to ensuring that people feel safe within their communities and have high quality housing. We are therefore redesigning our Building Maintenance Division to improve service for tenants.The demand for affordable housing continues to significantly outstrip supply. We aim to increase housing supply by providing new and additional affordable

housing. We will also invest in, and improve our housing and estates in order to improve housing and energy efficiency standards. There is a need to ensure that suitable employee resources are available to meet the Council’s commitments to manage the implementation of these projects. The Council will receive £50 million capital investment annually over the next 3 years with no additional staffing resource identified.

The revised Housing & Communities structure has a strong focus on effective assessment and allocation at the initial stages of the process which minimises the need for future intervention. The recruitment of appropriately qualified technical and craft employees to manage the delivery of our various housing improvement programmes continues to prove difficult, particularly as the wider construction market picks-up and alternative employment opportunities are available. As part of the service’s long-term plan there is an intention to promote training opportunities for young people within the area and to create a “grow your own” programme that will support succession planning and help manage recruitment gaps in key service areas. To this end, a number of modern apprentices and graduates have been appointed within the last 12 months across the service area.

To date, a number of changes have been implemented within the Building Maintenance Division in a bid to aid recruitment and retention of skilled employees while delivering a quality service. This includes, implementing home to work arrangements (whereby employees take Council vehicles home with them) and flexible working arrangements. A review of the Housing Property Division (including BMD and Stores) is also to be undertaken. The aim of which is to deliver financial efficiencies/value for money while at the same time improving services to tenants and taking account of future workforce challenges, such as competing with terms and conditions offered by external organisations

Enterprise

Investing for Inclusive Growth: Growth Deal & Economic Recovery

The Council is committed to working with businesses and industry to deliver inclusive growth and economic recovery.

Development Services work with local small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to maximise public sector procurement business opportunities with a view to increasing local SME employment and turnover.

With economic output in Scotland predicted to decline by 20% - 25%, it is likely that occupancy levels and rental income of the Council's commercial property portfolio will be affected. Early market predictions are that the industrial sector will be resilient but both retail and offices sectors will see a decline. As a result, proposed staff savings within the commercial property & asset management team for 2020/21 will be needed to manage the COVID-19-19 impact on commercial and industrial property occupation. These savings will be carried forward to 2021/22.

A number of Government schemes have been created to support small businesses in light of the COVID-19 crisis which impact on staffing resources within Local Authorities. The Business Support Grant Scheme fund supports small businesses with their business costs during coronavirus. Almost 200 grants have been awarded to date and Development Services employees continue to be involved in the administration of this process.

The Scottish Government introduced a further package of support for self-employed people, viable micro and SME businesses in distress due to COVID-19. The Newly Self Employed Hardship Fund fund was launched by Falkirk Council on 30th April. This process has been managed by Economic Development, with Revenues and Corporate Fraud Team supporting the processing and verification of approved payments. This has obvious resource implications for these teams.

The COVID-19 situation has had a significant impact on the economy of the Falkirk area, the fullest effects of which we are yet to understand. To help us put the right support in place we are working with the Falkirk Economic Partnership to create an economic recovery and action plan that aims to mitigate the consequences for the local economy as we move forward. A consultation exercise was recently undertaken to ensure that this plan reflects the diverse needs of business owners and the self-employed. This will give a better understanding of the impact COVID-19-19 has had on local business and will require additional staffing resource, in the short, medium and long term.

A wide variety of Council Services have been involved and will continue to be involved in helping local businesses re-open safely, for example, planning, licensing and environmental health.

One of the key projects in our Council of the Future Programme is the Investment for Growth Project. This reform our approach to economic development with regard to the progress of the Investment Zone initiative, development of regional economic partnerships, and introduction of modernised approaches to service delivery. Investment of up to £50 million by the Scottish Government and £40m by the UK Government in the Falkirk area will drive inclusive and sustainable economic recovery and growth across the region as part of the Falkirk Growth Deal. The money, which will be invested over 10 years, will fund targeted economic development activity across a range of themes, including infrastructure, transport, innovation, energy transition and skills. As projects are identified, these will have staffing implications across different Council teams.

Climate Change – Embedding Sustainability

The Council’s Investment for Growth project will look to support the growth of a low carbon economy to deliver new employment and create a green environment.

Outwith this, as part of the Council’s commitment towards a net zero carbon future, we encourage the use of electric vehicles with the Council opening the largest electric vehicle (EV) charging station in Scotland. As an employer, our Council of the Future programme ' Smart Working/ Smart Travel’ looks to reduce car mileage by introducing new ways of working through shared transport and technology solutions. The use of pool cars, including electric vehicles, continues to be expanded across Services. The increased use of pool cars is supported by a travel hierarchy to encourage employees to consider alterative options to travel. Homeworking due to COVID-19 has increased the use of virtual meetings and this new way of working for some should continue to be used as an alternative to travelling to meetings where possible.

Our COVID-19 response has also required that the existing pool fleet has been used to facilitate the safe delivery of front line services. A hierarchy for the utilisation of pool cars across the Council is being developed to ensure effective usage during restricted working arrangements.

ETU – To Support Vulnerable Jobseekers

The growing and aging population impacts on Services. Changes such as the attraction of new migrant households and welfare reform are resulting in additional work demands and pressures for working age residents seeking employment. This adds to service pressures and makes it more difficult for school leavers, young people and those who are longer term unemployed to access work. This situation is likely to be heightened by the impact of COVID-19. This presents challenges for Development Services in meeting these added demands in our employment and training programmes to enable access to the workplace.

The Local Employability Partnership, chaired by the Employment & Training Unit (ETU) and Skills Development Scotland (SDS) continue to strategise, plan and implement skills and employability provision for all ages and stages locally. The work does however, have a particular focus on young people to reduce youth unemployment levels and increase skills and qualifications in line with Scottish Government’s ‘Opportunities for All’. Reports suggest the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown will impact on young people greatest. Since March, unemployment for those in the 16-34 age bracket in the Falkirk Council area has risen by 101.5% with c1360 young people unemployed in July 2020 requiring additional focussed resource within the centralised employability hub of the ETU.

With the anticipated end of European funding streams as a result of Brexit and commitment from Scottish Government to better align employability provision nationally in line with the SG No One Left Behind Strategy and SG and LA partnership agreement the ETU will work with Public and Third Sector providers to locally implement all current and anticipated funding and programmes to support our young people in the short, medium and long term. This will require the allocation of additional staffing resource to mitigate the impact of increased youth unemployment and contribute to the overall economic recovery locally.

Innovation

Fit for the Future – Changing Our Culture to be Responsive, Innovative, Trusted and Ambitious

The next three years will be challenging for our employees as they respond to significant change. This change is being driven by reducing budgets exacerbated by COVID-19, changes in technology and most importantly changing expectations of communities and customers. We have a challenging programme of transformation that covers all our functions and prioritises disadvantaged communities in the re-design of services. At the same time we must ensure we are delivering effective and efficient services that our citizens and customers value and importantly at a cost the Council can afford.

There is a recognition that workforce change is essential to meet the changing demands of service users. In delivering our priorities, within the current budget situation, we must work as 'one Council'. Our programme of change is aligned directly to our Corporate Plan priorities and the medium term financial plan. The governance for this is also changing to align to our priorities.

To continue to progress identified priorities, Services are supported by the Programme Management Office (PMO). This team provide support to develop and deliver Service level projects, including building internal capacity to deliver ongoing sustainable change delivered at an increased pace, advising on ‘art of the possible’ for service redesign options and ensuring benefits are identified to provide increased capacity to facilitate the change needed.

Additional resource has been added to this team to maintain the pace of change across the Council. A Change Fund is also in place to support the delivery of change on a spend to save/ improve basis. Outwith this, the change projects have other implications for other areas of the workforce, for example, other support services such as IT and HR continue to assist with strategic reviews, service reviews and improvement groups. Appropriate levels of resources, skills and experience must also be in place in these teams to support such change programmes and this should be taken into account in any Change Fund bids submitted to facilitate change projects.

Culture Change

Significant culture change is required to support the Council of the Future programme. We need to encourage and enable collaborative working by providing our workforce with the right tolls to make it happen. We need to create a can do, supportive working culture that encourages creativity and innovation.

Employees through listening events and employee surveys have also stated they want to see improvements in certain areas. This supports the direction the Council of Future programme is leading us towards. The main areas of cultural improvement identified are :

  • Leadership & Vision –are we able to articulate what our Council / Service / team will look like in the future
  • Anytime, Anywhere working – do we have the support mechanisms in place that allow us to work in an anywhere, anytime style and support collaborative working. The COVID-1919 pandemic has demonstrated that we can however there needs to be consistency throughout the organisation
  • Change – our employees want to be more involved in change and we want our employees to be more involved. We require to give our employees a voice in what changes they see would bring improvement
  • Communication – as with most organisations, employees want more communication and communication that they can trust

The culture change work has started and the Organisational Development Team have worked with Service Managers and Chief Officers on a programme of change and improvements based on the employee engagement surveys. This programme of culture change has also started with 5/6th tier Managers. It is envisaged that the next level of managers / supervisors will undertake a similar programme.

The Organisational Development Team are working with Waste Management, Catering & Cleaning, Roads & Ground Maintenance and Building Maintenance to support their line managers in dealing with change and supporting the Council of the Future programme including the introduction of the RITA values. The role modelling of the new values are instrumental in changing the culture. The work with the front line teams has identified that changes recommended by employees do not always get implemented even though they might be good ideas. There is ongoing work looking at how this situation can be improved. One of the successes so far has been the implementing of an employee suggestion scheme. This is being considering for use throughout the Council.

Leadership Development training for CMT is also planned. This work will be carried out after the members of the Senior Leadership team has been established following a review. The training will be on Collaborative Leadership and specifically how we can make better use of Leadership throughout the organisation. Collaborative Leadership will lead to less working in silos which has been identified as an issue.

The recent Pulse Survey also identified a number of improvements required and an action plan is being developed. A number of improvements were identified and in particular

Communication and Anytime, Anywhere working were identified as significant issues. In addition to the action plan a number of working groups have been set up regarding Anytime, Anywhere working and where we go following the pandemic.

Partnership Working with Trade Unions - To support the ongoing review of working arrangements across the Council and to ensure appropriate employee engagement, the Council introduced a revised approach to industrial relations, through a partnership agreement with relevant trade unions. This is part of an overall employee relations framework that recognises that partnership and collaboration are the best means by which sustainable change and improvement can be delivered. To illustrate the effectiveness of this approach, throughout the period of the lockdown, a Trade Union liaison group has been set up to ensure continued dialogue over key issues. The Trade Union liaison group has also ensured effective communication and resolution of issues arising in the workplace as a result of COVID-19-19. The group agree that this has worked well and ensures on-going collaboration on the process of recovery with employees returning to work. Trade Union representatives attend the cross Service Group overseeing the return of employees to the workplace and a separate group to review and agree risk assessments.

As part of the learning from this work, the Partnership Agreement with Trade Unions will be further reviewed to ensure the on-going input from Union colleagues in key developments and priority projects of the Council.

Rock Solid Technology – Getting Our Technology Right for Now and for the Future

Our Rock Solid Technology Programme aims to ensure that we have the best information and communications technology (ICT) to support the delivery of secure and cost effective digital services across the Council How we deliver our services is changing significantly. To support this underpinning technology must be reframed to be agile, flexible, secure and robust. We will have people accessing services in very different ways and our infrastructure must allow for this change and progression. We used to rely on buildings to deliver services, now we rely on technology. Our technology must give firm and secure foundations for future service delivery.

As part of this, to increase our flexibility, Office 365 is being rolled out across the Council and this process will be complete by the end of September 2020. Digital champions have been trained to help facilitate this roll out.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to aa swift significant increase in home and flexible working across the Council and to support this, we invested significantly in relevant devices to enable this change in working arrangements to happen. A survey is currently being undertaken to assess what additional equipment, employees require to work safely and effectively from home.

Digital Communities & Automation

The vision for Falkirk is that all services are focused on how they can use technology to improve access to services, communicate and engage with citizens more effectively, whilst reducing costs. The Council’s core purpose is to deliver public services that meet the needs of our communities so essentially this is a customer strategy, enabled by technology and supported by a range of complementary skills, including IT, business analysis, data analytics, marketing and digital communications.

The developing and increasing use of technology to deliver Council services in a more efficient and streamlined manner which meets customer demands will alter staffing requirements, staff skills and ways of working. Significant changes have been made to date in customer & business support for example and opportunities continue to be explored through digital and business transformation agendas to review and streamline processes.

Changes required to deliver services during the COVID-19 crisis have highlighted further opportunities for digital development. Moving external and internal customers increasingly to self-serve using web based processes will drive changes in the way in which we interact with the public and impact on the workforce. It will also provide an opportunity to the Council to have a holistic view of each of our customers and their interaction with the Council.

As the dependence on technology increases both by our customers and the organisation, we need to ensure that we have the right people in the right place doing the right things.

Technology is not only a solution in terms of better customer service but can also deliver a platform for savings and efficiencies. COVID-19 has highlighted its importance as services have increasingly been delivered remotely. However this requires investment in technological support to facilitate change and employee skills to make best use of technology.

In terms of digital leadership, we need our leaders to be clear about how services will be delivered in the future and make sure they are putting in place the transformational projects that will deliver that change. A Digital Maturity Project highlighted that not all management fully recognise the opportunities presented by IT and this is a clear area for action. In addition we need to ensure employees are digitally skilled to understand and use technology to deliver the best services we can in response to customer needs and also to take advantage of opportunities that technology gives us to understand what those needs are. To support our employees to deal with technology changes like the move to Office 365 a number of Digital Champions have been identified and trained. The Council is also planning to work with SCVO to identify further training for Digital Champions. The training will supply Digital Champions with the knowledge of how to support colleagues with digital tools.

Strategic Property Review & Council Headquarters – Getting the Best from Our Buildings to Support our Communities

The Council’s Strategic Property Review will rationalise and re-invest in our assets enabling services to be delivered from a smaller number of buildings, better suited to service and customer needs.. The move towards modern ways of working in the use of office accommodation etc. including desk-sharing, needs to be managed to maintain a healthy productive working environment. This is now taking place against background of COVID-19 restrictions in the workplace, limiting the potential use of hotdesking and resulting in the increased use of homeworking. This is a significant change for some employee groups although good progress has been made over the lockdown period. This is part of our culture change and must be maintained as we go forward.

The project will work with communities to identify community asset needs and explore options for transfer of properties as required by the community. The SPR will establish a new Property Strategy for the Council and will progress a number of enabling workstreams. Specific staffing resources have been allocated to this project however, as this progresses, it is likely to have implications for future staffing requirements other areas of the Council e.g. facilities management, cleaning services.

Alongside this review of the Council’s premises, The Council’s Anytime Anywhere project has promoted home working with the initial aim of employees working 2 days a month from home by June 2020 where possible. Services have responded to the COVID-19 crisis with a much higher proportion of our workforce now enabled to work from home. Chief Officers and managers have a clear role to continue to promote home working and to ensure the ongoing safety of their employees

Working from home is to remain in place as the default position for those who are able to do so. Once the national guidance enables employees to return to offices, the intention is that they will return for less than 5 days per week. On average, employees will be asked to work on an average 0.5 ratio between home and the office. This will vary depending on individual circumstances. The employee’s role and home environment will be taken into account.

Some will work from home 4 or 5 days per week, whilst others may work from home for much shorter periods. Important to this is ensuring individual needs and requirements are taken into account. Work will be done with individual employees at the stage of a return to the office to assess how best to implement the 0.5 ratio. Key to this will be ensuring employee wellbeing is central to considerations, along with the personal circumstances of employees in making this transition.

Linked to this project is the Council’s Smart Working, Smart Travel agenda to identify annual savings via employee mileage, highlighting existing transport options, providing guidance for staff and using technology as an alternative to travelling to meetings. As part of this, the Council has increased in pool of energy efficient, pool cars to enable staff travel, reduce the cost of grey fleet and the impact on the environment. The use of this fleet will continue to be prioritised for the provision of front-line Service as part of the COVID-19 response to ensure a safe working environment.

Integrated Resource Management Systems

The Council is committed to using Business intelligence / data tools to do Council business better and to use data to underpin decision making. Part of this is to streamline HR & Payroll processes by converting manual processes to digital and seeks to deliver timely, relevant and meaningful management information to allow informed decision making.


Defining Future Workforce Requirements and Gap Analysis

Each Service area has identified their future workforce requirements, including projected headcount increases and reductions over the next 3 years. These are outlined below and have been impacted by the Council’s required COVID-19 response. These may require to be reviewed further depending on how the COVID-19 pandemic develops.

Service 2021/22 2022/23 2023/24
Childrens 14.00 4.00 1.00
Corporate& Housing 36.8 33.1 28.1
Development 33.9 26.8 29.5

Part of the reductions will be met by voluntary severances with the following severance applications approved or being considered per Service over the next 3 years.

Year 2020/21 2021/22 2022/23
Children'sService
Approved Applications
2 1 4
Corporate & Housing
Approved Applications
12 8 2
Development
Approved Applications
4 0 0
Social Work Adult Services
Approved Applications
0 0 0

Outwith this there are c60 live applications for severance to be considered, primarily in Corporate & Housing and Development Services, which will be considered in conjunction with required service changes in these areas. In addition, further voluntary severance and flexible retirement applications will be sought, where applicable, to try to achieve headcount reductions by voluntary means. Flexible retirement across the Council continues to rise with over 60 requests approved in the past 2 years.

The Council is committed to reviewing its structure to ensure that it is fit for purpose in a modern and responsive Council of the Future

Workforce Development Requirements

There are several areas of workforce development that are common across the Council which are considered below:

Fundamental changes are required in the way the Council works at a strategic and operational level and that there needed to be a clear cultural change in the way we lead and manage this bold change programme.

All Chief Officers and Service Managers attend quarterly Leadership Forums and provide and receive 360 degree feedback based on the values of the organisation. The 360 feedback is carried out bi-annually. Chief Officers and Service Managers have attended Organisational Development workshops. This approach has been further developed and 5/6th Tier Managers are part way through a similar programme. It is envisaged that this programme will also be delivered to all other employees who have line management responsibilities. Following each workshop a tailored personal action plan which will include feedback from the 360 is developed. It is not presumed that each person would have the same development needs although there will be some common areas. Each person has to follow through with their plan in consultation with their line manager.

The workshops are on the subjects of Change, Leadership & Vision, Recognition, Communication, Skills Development and Coaching. The workshops content have been determined following feedback from the employee engagement and listening events carried out throughout the organisation.

These development activities appear to have had a positive impact on leadership across the Council with the results of a recent employee engagement survey showing that 73.32% felt that their line manager/ supervisor clearly outlines tasks and priorities (64.5% in 2017) and 61.5% said that their service area was well managed (53.1% in 2017). Further improvements are anticipated as this process is rolled out to wider supervisory levels.

The Senior Management Team are also asked to undertake a minimum of 1 'back to the floor' day every twelve months. Only 63.7 % of respondents in the employee survey indicated that senior managers were visible and accessible (56.9% in 2017) and further work is therefore required to improve this, for example, through rotational participation in team meetings.

A review of the Council’s performance management process Achieving Personal Development Scheme was carried out and feedback from employees and the trade unions suggested that APDS was not consistently used throughout the Council and that it was seen as a "tick box" exercise. Research shows that having a good conversation with employees is much more beneficial than holding a formal meeting. Following consultation with trade unions and employees the Good Conversations process was devised and introduced. This sets an ethos of having regular conversations with employees on subjects that matter to employees as well as the line manager. There is guidance to help line managers on “how to hold good conversations” with additional training available for line managers where required.

General Development Areas

Each Service was also asked to identify priority development areas for their wider workforce and specific professional and technical skills requirements are outlined within individual Service Plans. The following priority areas were also identified by the results of the recent Council-wide Employee Engagement Survey and subsequent PULSE Survey:

  1. Dealing with Change – Knowledge of the 'Council of the Future' programme and what needs to change is key to the success of the programme. From the recent Employee Engagement survey, 88.4% of respondents were aware of need for change but only 26.1% felt involved in change. The Council is keen for all employees to have an active role in Council of the Future changes but employees cited barriers to this such as needing more time to be involved (35.1%) and needing more information on how to become involved (28.1%). Focus Groups were help with staff following a recent PULSE survey and an action is has been developed to promote employee engagement.
  2. Team Building – Following a previous survey in 2017, the Council aimed to ensure that all teams hold a minimum of one team meeting every two months with Council of the Future a standing item on all team meeting agendas. The most recent survey results show that 76.4% of respondents feel part of a team working towards shared goals up from 66.1% in 2017. From the PULSE survey undertaken during the COVID-19 lockdown period, 72.1% felt their team was communicating well and staying connected. However, despite this, social isolation and connecting with colleagues were ranked in the top three of the challenges in relation to working from home. This is being addressed with targets for team meetings via the action plan developed from recent focus groups.
  3. Communication – 51.7% of respondents in the recent survey felt well informed about matters affecting their work. Fewer respondents felt well informed about important issues within the wider Council (39.8%). To respond to this, the Council’s Communications Strategy will be ‘brought to life’ for all employees which will include a mapping of current communication channels and the introduction of more relevant methods e.g. social media, Council of the Future webinars, VLOGs. A Communications Employee Group has also been set up.
  4. Technology/ Digital –in order to continue to progress and develop new technical solutions, an element of skills transference and upskilling is required. We need to ensure employees are digitally skilled to understand and use technology to deliver the best services we can in response to customer needs and also to take advantage of opportunities that technology gives us to understand what those needs are. To support our employees to deal with technology changes like the move to Office 365 of the Council trained Digital Champions. The Council is also planning to work with SCVO to identify further training for Digital Champions. The training will supply Digital Champions with the knowledge of how to support colleagues with digital tools.

Outwith this, issues of specific skill demands, balancing workforce pressures and maintaining staff morale through period of major change will also have to be addressed. As a result we must aim to:

  • Ensure that there are sufficient skills available within the workforce, particularly in the below 45 age bracket range to ensure succession planning. This includes reviewing measures to encourage access for younger people continuing to "grow our own" and using internal coaching and mentoring and leadership development in order to increase the skills of our current workforce.
  • Ensure the identification of appropriate skills development through the consistent use of Good Conversations. An important aspect of Council of the Future is to ensure that our workforce is skilled. When asked if they have had an annual performance meeting to discuss their performance and development, only 46% of respondents agreed. Going forward, the Council is committed to ensuring that each member of staff will have a meeting with their manager about performance and development at least annually.
  • Empowering and recognising employees is a key element of the Council of the Future project. The results of the engagement survey and Council of the Future staff engagement events highlight this as an area for improvement. 58.8% of respondents felt valued for the work they do and only 43.3% felt involved in reviewing and identifying service priorities/ service planning. Consideration requires to be given to how we involve our employees in reviewing and identifying service priorities and service planning. To support this, Heads of Service/ Chief Officers are expected to attend a minimum of 3 team meetings every six months and to encourage more staff involvement in shaping and delivering on priorities.

Working Arrangements

Alongside our Anytime Anywhere and Smart Working, Smart Travel Projects, we continue to review our models of service delivery/ ways of working to ensure that we are delivering effective and efficient services. A number of reviews are ongoing as part of the Council of the Future agenda e.g. within Building Maintenance, Roads & Grounds and Environmental Services.


Realignment of Workforce & Training

To review current equality statistical information held on Council workforce via resourcelink

Description Planned Outcome Action Owner Start Date End Date
Encourage employees to provide equality information within Myview, through regular communications. Improve the information held and provide clearer management information to help improve managing information available. HR Started Ongoing

Develop succession planning across the Council

Description Planned Outcome Action Owner Start Date End Date
Identify areas of futureskills shortageasa result of an ageingworkforce and developsuccession strategies expanding use of intern, graduate and apprenticeship programmes. Workforce which is fit for future. Increase in number of young people in workforce. COs/ETU/HR Started Ongoing
Ensure consistent application of Good Conversations scheme/development plans to identify and develop leaders/supervisors of the future. Leaders/supervisors are ready/capable of demands of higher level posts asthey become available. Service Managers April 2020 March 2021/ Ongoing
Promote the use of flexible retirement, particularly in areas with trainee and apprenticeship schemes. Increase in the number of employee sworking flexible retirement across Council allowing for sharing of knowledge skills. Service Managers April 2020 March2021/ Ongoing
Formalise coaching and mentoring opportunities to increase skill base and assist with succession planning. Increased skill base and knowledge sharing. Service Managers April 2020 March 2021/Ongoing

Improve recruitment and retention to difficult to fill posts

Description Planned Outcome Action Owner Start Date End Date
Review pay and grading structure and benefits package, including flexible and voluntary benefits, to ensure it remains competitive and fit for purpose. Revised structure and pay structure which is fit for future and incorporate Scottish Government Living Wage. COs/HR/ Trade Unions Started March 2021
Develop smarter targeted recruitment and retention strategies for difficult to fill posts, including use of alternative advertising media e.g. social media. Ensuresthat the Council has a workforce which is fit forfuture Service Managers/ HR Ongoing March 2021
Review of temporary contracts, ensuring sufficient flexibility remains where necessary. Improve retention by improving employment stability for relevant employees. Service Managers/ HR Started Ongoing
Review of agency working across Council. Reduce agency costs. COs/Service Manager Started March 2021

Improve attendance levels across the Council

Description Planned Outcome Action Owner Start Date End Date
Undertake quarterly reviews of absence. Sickness levelsachieve Council target of max of 4% absence. COs/ Service Managers Started Ongoing
Promote work life Balance. Improved morale/motivation of the workforce. Service Managers/HR Started Ongoing
Ensure all Managers undertake Absence Management training with quarterly reports to CMT on training completion. Consistent application of the Council’s Managing Sickness Absence Policy. COs/ Service Managers Started March 2021
Implementation of nurse led absence reporting pilot in areas of high absence. Improved attendance levels. Improved absence management information. Increase in number of employees on absence monitoring HR September 2020 March 2021
Ongoing provision of wellbeing information Improved employee wellbeing/ reduction in sicknessabsence HR Started Ongoing

Implement programme of review and reform of all service functions

Description Planned Outcome Action Owner Start Date End Date
Carry out review of all service functions against agreed principles/criteria, including consideration of alternative models of service delivery, shared services, partnership working. Reviews requireto take into account COVID-19 recovery plans/priorities for each Service. To ensure that we are delivering effective and efficient service that our citizens value. All/HR/TUs Started March 2024
Review the management structure of the Council in line with the design principles. Structure will meet the future needsof the Council andbe aligned to design principles. Chief Executive/Directors September 2020 March 2021
Review HR Policies and Procedures Employment Policies and Procedures which are easyto understand and implement. HR/ Service Management/TUs Started March 2024

Review training and development requirements to ensure that our workforce are fit for the future

Description Planned Outcome Action Owner Start Date End Date
Ensure consistent application of Good Conversations scheme/development plans to identify training needs to respond to changing demands. Ensure that all employees have an annual Good Conversation and are capable of responding to changing demands in service delivery. Service Managers Started March 2021/Ongoing
Review modelsof training delivery to reflect revised COVID-19 working arrangements. Increased use of remote and online training. HR Started March 2021/ Ongoing

Support increased mobile flexible working and facilitate the innovative use of new technology to deliver future services more efficiently

Description Planned Outcome Action Owner Start Date End Date
Continue to support ‘people’ aspect of the roll out of mobile flexible working. Ensures employees/managers are engaged in MFW and improves morale/motivation of the workforce. COs/Service Managers/HR Ongoing March 2021
Develop and implement action plan to address identified barriers to increased mobile working. Increased home working. Customer & Business Support Manager Started December 2020
Conduct survey, develop and implement and action plan to ensure that all employees working from home have appropriate equipment to work safely. All employees who are home working have appropriate equipment/systems access to allow them to do so safely and equipment PMO/HR/IT Started March 2021
Implement action plan to address identified communication issues resulting from home working. To address employee concerns regarding communication issues and lack of social interaction when home working. PMO/OD Started December 2020
Provision of Digital Champions to support employees with digital skills and tools. Increased skill base and knowledge sharing. Technology Started Ongoing

Develop leadership skills to ensure that managers can lead and implement change successfully

Description Planned Outcome Action Owner Start Date End Date
Continued implementation of leadership Forum. Increased skill set and supports succession planning. HR Started Quarterly/Ongoing
Facilitate 360 feedback for all Line managers. Improve leadership and management across the Council. HR Started June 2023
Design and deliver leadership training on techniques and behaviours in agreed areas. Increased skill set across the Council and supports succession planning process. HR Started March 2024

Culture Change

Description Planned Outcome Action Owner Start Date End Date
Review communications strategy, including mapping of current communication channels and introduce more relevant methods. Improved communication. PMO/HR Started March 2021
Ensure that team meetings are held once every 2 months with Council of the Future as standing item. Improved communication. COs/Service Managers Started Ongoing
Ensure employee engagement in service planning and change process through team meetings. Heads of Service to attend minimum of 3 teammeetings every 6 months, encouraging more involvement in shaping and delivering on priorities. Directors to attend minimum of one team meeting per divisional area every 6 months, leading on Council of Future agenda item. Increased staff engagement – demonstrated through CO updates on intranet, discussion at employee listening events, vlogs etc. COs/Service Managers Stared Ongoing
Undertake review of leadership forum and listening events to ensure that these remain fit for purpose. To improve leadership and engagement across Council. HR/PMO March 2020 March 2021
Deliver Leadership Development for Corporate Management Team on collaborative working. To reduce silo working across the Council. HR TBC March 2021
Undertake change management work with Catering & Cleaning, BMD, Roads & Grounds, Waste management. To provide leadership training to supportline managers in dealing with change and to support Council of the Future Projects. OD Ongoing March 2023
Develop a Statement to confirm our Culture. To clearly define our culture to enhance staff engagement. Directors Ongoing March 2021

Evaluation & Refresh of the Workforce Plan

This Workforce Plan covers the period 2020-2024; however, it is considered a ‘live’ document and will be reviewed regularly against any changes to Service delivery plans. The corporate management team will be responsible for monitoring the plan.