Council reveals vision for Falkirk district of the future

Communities like Denny and others across the district will benefit from Falkirk Council's plans to modernise
Communities like Denny and others across the district will benefit from Falkirk Council's plans to modernise

A framework to create a new-look Falkirk Council that will work together to deliver a better deal for every community in the district has been agreed.

The Council of the Future blueprint that will put people first will be rolled out over the next five years.

It is claimed it will be innovative, responsive, trusted and ambitious and transform services to make significant and rapid progress in driving forward new ways of working, ensuring service improvement and generating efficiencies.

The programme of change has been developed in conjunction with employees, trade unions and stakeholders and now ready to move to phase two of implementation.

Stuart Ritchie, director of corporate and housing services, gave councillors an update when they met.

He said a Council of the Future board will oversee the delivery of the projects within the change programme needed to meet the council’s priorities.

The vision is to have:

* One council working together to improve outcomes for the people of the Falkirk area;

* Enabled and empowered communities where people lead healthy, safe and fulfilled lives;

* Modern service delivery that will be more accountable, flexible and efficient;

* Data sharing between communities, elected members and council officers so decisions are based on shared priorities.

Mr Ritchie told the council: “Much of this is about redesigning services end to end from a customer perspective to become more streamlined and efficient. Crucial to this is ensuring employees and customers have the skills, motivation and trust required to use them.

“Each service, together with the Health and Social Care Partnership, has its own programme of change reflecting priorities for modernisation and redesign which wholly support the Council of the Future vision. These programmes of change are underpinned mainly around changing our culture, how we work and engage with our communities and our employees, listening to what they say and acting on their feedback, using data to understand our customers and using digital technology to modernise.

“The Council of the Future is Falkirk Council’s response to the challenges facing local government.

“It is a radical programme of change which will transform the organisation over the next five years. The council needs to modernise, change the way we work and change the way we work with our communities. The clear purpose is to make people’s lives better and with this in mind the programme includes a range of innovative plans and projects to redesign and improve the services we offer.

“The scale, pace and reach of this programme of change and modernisation touches every corner of the council and will help us become an innovative, responsive, trusted and ambitious organisation.”

The council’s Executive will be given progress reports on the plan every three months.

Ambitious deadline to deliver

Councillors, chief officers, employees and trade union reps contributed to the Council of the Future blueprint that will deliver meaningful change and meet priority targets by 2022.

During his presentation, Stuart Ritchie repeated the mantra that the vision is to create a council of the future that is an innovative, responsive, trusted and ambitious organisation.

While the priority of the new-look council will be to close the budget gap, over £200,000 has had to be taken from existing resources to establish a programme management team to co-ordinate the timetable which will deliver the planned changes.

Mr Ritchie said the council is “at the start of its journey”, but within five years it will be a smaller organisation and its role will have changed in line with modern working practices.

He said: “We will be a fully modern and digital council. We will have fully connected services with our partners and communities, services will be delivered differently with a mix provided by the council, partners, the community and others, communities will do more to provide services for themselves.

“Our employees will be well trained and supported to be flexible, adaptable and ready to respond to our customers needs using the right tools and technology.

“We will have fewer, but well maintained buildings. In our officers we will aim to get it right first time for our customers when we meet them face to face. Our employees will be ready to help no matter where they are based or what job they do.

“Our services will be efficient and effective. We will avoid unnecessary cost and activity and provide the right service at the right cost. We will recognise our financial circumstances and target resources on what makes the most difference.”