Case study: West Dunbartonshire Council.

Family Friendly working dovetails into the Council’s “Be the Best” strategy. This creates a working environment where employees can excel, and supports the organisation’s key ambitions.

The majority of the senior executive team now work flexibly to promote the culture from the top down. Flexible working is actively promoted in the traditional male-dominated environments to break down barriers and perceptions.

Paid bereavement leave is offered as well as carers leave, enhanced leave (buy or bank), paid disability leave and personal days. Managers are empowered to have ownership over day-to-day decisions affecting their employees, and training and support is offered to managers and employees.

The Council’s extensive work with carers has resulted in them achieving ‘Exemplary Status’ from Carers Scotland. The carers support network meets monthly and the armed forces network meets twice a year.

New and enhanced mobile ICT capabilities make it easier for employees to work at home when required, reducing commuting time, facilitating the school run and allowing employees to work at a time of the day which suits them. Flexible and family friendly working policies are promoted widely, including on recruitment materials. To ensure wide communication of their family friendly culture, the Council participates in campaigns such as National Work Life Week and Year of the Dad, and organises roadshows across Council locations.

Illuminating Ideas

  • The new family friendly strategy has had a significant impact since 2015: Absence rate fallen by 20 per cent; Stress absence reduced by 33 per cent; 14 per cent reduction in vacancies.
  • Heavily subsidised breakfast clubs in primary schools are invaluable to working parents.
  • Happy to Talk Flexible Working strapline used on all recruitment materials.
  • Plans to offer a guaranteed interview scheme to maternity returners.
  • Paid bereavement leave added to other paid leave.

The Judges’ spotlight

“This was an impressive entry and the Council continues to innovate across various areas, including a new maternity returners guaranteed interview scheme. They are starting to focus more on fathers and do a lot for carers. Their key performance indicators were strong and they had a really convincing set of metrics to demonstrate the impact of their family friendly working strategy.“

‘After mum died, the Bereavement Scheme was a huge support to me and helped lift the stress and anxiety of being off work sick, or of feeling I was letting the service down. It also fostered a very supportive relationship with my new manager’.

- Employee, using new Bereavement Scheme

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