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Published: 20 Jun 2023

Independent Living Fund Scotland – Winner 2023, Best small employer

Independent Living Fund Scotland takes a holistic approach, placing people at the heart of the organisation by prioritising collaborative working and support through robust family-friendly policies that have resulted in outstanding results.  

Flexible working  

Flexible working is seen as a reflection of the approach taken by ILF Scotland to meet the needs of the disabled community they serve. Integrating a ‘life-friendly’ culture allows individuals to co-design their work patterns so that personal and business needs are met. Complete flexibility is available; teams are trusted to adopt what works for them and those who have caring responsibilities are supported to spend time with those they care for. Flexibility is modelled by managers and leaders, who ensure working flexibly is visible to signal the normality of being adaptable and to help alleviate any guilt for those not familiar with this way of working. Choice and control over working life begins at recruitment with adverts emphasising the flexible working offering.   

Family-friendly policies 

Maternity and adoption leave is exceptionally generous at 26 weeks full-pay and 26 weeks half pay. A fully paid phased return is on offer, as is income-smoothing throughout the term of maternity or adoption leave. Should an employee decide not to return to work, they will not be required to re-pay any amount in excess of SMP. Dependents leave is 15-days paid leave, then every  one day annual leave matched with one day dependents leave to a maximum of 10 days. No discussion is off the table and each decision is taken on a case-by-case basis to support the whole workforce, not just mothers, fathers and carers. 

Culturally embedded 

Managers receive specialist flexible working training to ensure consistency, as well as 1:2:1s with HR, drop-in sessions and regular managers meetings around flexible working. Induction focuses on how the organisation can support people to be their best and the importance of line managers to the culture. A suite of maternity guidance has been created to support line managers and employees. Each policy is put through the acid test of “is it the right thing?” to ensure it is person-centred. Staff are listened to through regular mood senses and staff surveys. Sickness absence and staff turnover, customer-satisfaction and complaints or grievances are monitored and are reported quarterly to Board to help to see areas of development. 

Evident success 

The caring culture instilled at ILF Scotland has proved successful in retaining talent and achieving high levels of output as well as low sickness absence and staff turnover. There has been less than 5% staff turnover in the past year, and less than 2% over the previous three years. Sickness absence is lower than the public sector average, despite actively recruiting employees with long-term health conditions and impairments, who account for over 20% of the workforce. Over half of the workforce reported an improvement in physical and mental health due to the approach, and over 97% report satisfaction with work life balance opportunities.  

Graphic for the Best small employer category of the Working Families Best practice Awards