A Scottish local authority has become the first in the country to gain a prestigious national award in recognition of its commitment to staff.

The City of Edinburgh Council has been recognised with a Gold Investors in People (IiP) award, Scotland’s only local authority to gain this status.

Only 3% of companies in the country who have an IiP award have reached the gold level, demonstrating what an outstanding achievement this is for the Council, particularly during these challenging times.

Companies which achieve gold level are shown to have more productive staff, reduced sickness absence, and lower staff turnover, which in turn means lower recruitment and agency cover costs. Edinburgh believes this will be key to achieving the improvements in services which are planned.

The accreditation is awarded to organisations that show a commitment to staff learning and development, and achieve best practice in people management.

More than 700 employees were interviewed over two years as part of the process, including the Council Leader, senior managers, staff and trade union representatives.

Edinburgh employees told IiP assessors that:

* They are clear about the purpose of the Council and more specifically their own service or team;
* They are enthusiastic about working for the Council and want to do a good job for the customer demonstrating a strong customer focus;
* There is a strong culture of learning and development;
* There is a culture of working together and sharing knowledge across teams.

Council Leader Jenny Dawe said: “This is a very welcome achievement and I would like to congratulate all of the staff involved.

“Staff are the backbone of any organisation, and if they are treated well and listened to, are more committed to their job. This is good news for Edinburgh’s citizens. They can be assured that Council employees are committed to providing the best service that they can.”

Chief Executive of the Council Sue Bruce also welcomed the news. She said: “This is certainly an achievement to be proud of but we will not be complacent and will build on this to make further improvements.

“Serving our city well is paramount and an effective workforce is essential for us to achieve the improvements in service quality that we aspire to and which our customers need, especially in these increasingly challenging times. This result gives us confidence that we have the capacity to rise to these challenges and we will do our utmost to strive to retain our gold status.”