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Progress against our previous Workforce Plan 2019–22 (PDF 862Kb) “Our Workforce Delivering Our Future”, had been achieved in an environment where no one could have predicted the impact or disruption the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic could have caused on all of us.

The pandemic highlighted the resilience, skills and flexibility of our workforce and brought into focus areas of essential frontline services and support services that facilitated delivery and the reliance placed on our employees to continue delivering during a time when across the world, people were being asked to stay at home. 


As a result of the pandemic a number of our priorities, which had been started within the Workforce Plan, were put in place much quicker than anticipated due to necessity.

These included:

  • reviewing our employment framework
  • service redesign
  • pay and grading framework
  • develop a young workforce
  • workforce development - FACE (Flexible, Approachable, Caring and Empowered) Framework and succession planning

To deliver these priorities, services had to work much more collaboratively and our workforce had to become much more agile and flexible. This ensured employees could move quickly to support essential frontline services.

During the pandemic, the wellbeing of both our frontline employees and those working from home become paramount. A range of workforce surveys were carried out over the pandemic and these contributed to the development of wellbeing supports, led by our Health and Safety team, where employees are able to find a wide range of information and organisations to contact for support. In addition a range of online wellbeing courses were developed through our Organisational Development team.

Key actions

Despite the impact of the pandemic, significant progress has been made in implementing actions from the Workforce Plan. Some of the key areas of progress and positive actions are highlighted below.

What we have done so far
ObjectivesWhat we have achieved

Employment framework and workforce planning tools

  • Developed a career change pathway to allow existing employees to change careers
  • Developed enhanced pension options to support early departure from the Council
  • Monitoring and reviewing vacancies and recruitment through our Workforce Review Group
  • Developing and enhancing our Employment Framework through our polices on Flexible Working, Recruitment and Selection, Redeployment (now Deployment and Career Pathways) and Redundancy (now Early Departures Policy)
  • Developed hybrid/smarter working arrangements, which are incorporated in our Flexible Working Policy creating different categories of roles including:
    • fixed
    • flexible
    • mobile
    • remote
  • Development of 'think tanks' to discuss and agree the shape of hybrid/smarter working for the future including consultation service managers on what type of work suited each role best
  • Development of an Apprenticeship Framework to introduce a fairer rate of pay relevant for different types of apprenticeships
  • Gained accreditation as a Real Living Wage employer, meaning that we are paying at least the real living wage to our lowest paid employees
  • Through our involvement in the Community Wealth Building – Fair Work Pillar, we encourage as many local employers as possible to become real living wage employers
  • Established a People and Culture Equality Forum with representation across Council services, to take forward a range of work to break down barriers to employment and eliminate prejudice from our employment practices
  • Developed robust workforce reporting and monitoring systems resulting in new quarterly 'people' statistics being reported through our East Ayrshire Performs

Service redesign

  • Supported services to achieve greater flexibility and embed an empowered approach to service redesign
  • Established more efficient and effective ways of working with a focus on economic recovery, communities at the heart of everything we do and wider and better partnership working with our Community Planning partners
  • Developed Career Change and Deployment policy that supported employees to change careers and develop new skills
  • Supported the development of flexible and empowered teams and roles which will expanded further within the Workforce Strategy, with a focus on ‘multi-skilling’
  • The review of the Council’s management structure was agreed by Council in June 2021, with a new flexible, streamlined and responsive management structure implemented to support the delivery of Council services against the wider ambitions and emerging priorities of the East Ayrshire Community Plan
  • With the identification of wider cross-cutting areas of work as a result of the 2021 review of the Community Plan, opportunities were created for services to revisit the work that had started in relation to their service review and the implications for the workforce and emerging environment at that time
  • By March 2022, all front line services had implemented a revised management structure, and going forward to 2024 will implement revisions to the rest of their structure

Pay and grading framework

  • Following agreement by Council, a revised pay and grading structure up to Grade 5 was implemented from 1 April 2022, with in excess of 3000 employees and bank workers (East Ayrshire Council and East Ayrshire Leisure Trust) benefiting from the change to the pay and grading structure
  • A new pay award of £11.25 per hour has positively impacted on our lowest paid employees who predominantly live in East Ayrshire communities - it is anticipated this increased rate of pay, along with other Council benefits, will make us more competitive and support us to attract our future workforce

Develop a young workforce

  • Recognising the Council has an aging workforce, a series of workforce engagement events were held with employees aged 25 and under to help shape Council plans and strategies as well as impacting on the actions of the workforce plan
  • Creation of training roles where the rates of pay are above the national minimum for apprentices, thereby making it more attractive for young people to take up training opportunities with the Council
  • Creation of a Work Experience Policy which brought together the range of work experience routes into the Council, providing more cohesion and understanding of the ways in which someone can gain work experience and training and eventually supporting people to move into paid employment
  • Initial development of mentoring supports for young people coming into apprenticeships
  • Initial development of work on pathways into employment which will be built upon to enhance connections with schools and colleges to publicise roles within the Council as well as developing our own in-house recruitment fairs
  • Creation of the jobs and training fund, a £6million investment established through the COVID-19 Recovery and Renewal programme in February 2022, will create up to 200 apprenticeships and training opportunities either within the Council or with local businesses and work has started in this area with approximately 70 apprenticeships and over 20 Graduate Interns being advertised over the 2022/23 financial year
  • Initial work around age profiling will continue with a focus on the jobs and training fund investment announced in February 2022 —  it is recognised that the benefits of investing in young people is much wider than simply for East Ayrshire Council as it will boost employment opportunities across East Ayrshire and have a positive impact on our local economy in both the short and longer term
  • Recognising that our young workforce (age 16-24) equates to only 5% of the total workforce, work has commenced and will continue to attract, motivate and retain staff taking account of the different motivating factors between younger versus older employees
Workforce development
  • Development and implementation of the Council’s FACE Framework incorporating the existing qualities of our FACE qualities and behaviours to further develop our workforce culture
  • Development of ‘FACE Time’, our new digitised annual employee development review process, which has streamlined the conversation between employee and manager and is enabling more effective succession planning for Council services
  • Creation of an updated Welcome and Induction Programme for both new employees and elected members — the programme now includes interactive modules to be completed via LearnPro as well as follow up meet and greet sessions with our management team
  • Creation of a revised suite of mandatory training programmes for employees, managers and elected members — the Essentials Programme ensures all mandatory training is completed and current
  • New opportunities have been developed for employees to be involved in, including our coaching programme which runs together with our New and Aspiring Leadership Programme
  • A new Mentoring Framework has been created and will continue to be developed to ensure mentor/mentee relationships and supports are built and available across the organisation from our young workforce to our senior leaders

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