The Independent Living Fund Scotland today became the first recipient of the David Drysdale Memorial Award for best emloyer for all stages offatherhood at the Scottish Top Employers for Working Families Awards. NICK THORPE reports from a poignant ceremony at Glasgow’s Lighthouse.
IT was a moment of unusual emotion in a ceremony that has become an annual fixture on the Scottish business calendar: the inaugural David Drysdale Memorial award presented by David’s own father, to a company embodying the dad-friendly practice he championed until his death last year.
Visibly moved, executives from the Independent Living Fund Scotland received the award from Dougal Drysdale in a ceremony which saw a bumper crop of applicants honoured across the six categories - with keynotes from Scots Makar Jackie Kay and Scottish Enterprise chairman Bob Keiller.
As founder and CEO of Fathers Network Scotland - one of four partners driving the event under the umbrella of Family Friendly Working Scotland - David Drysdale had been involved since its inception.
Last year, in celebration of the Year of the Dad, he presented the father-friendly category award himself from a wheelchair, having undergone more than a year of treatment for a rare and aggressive form of cancer.
The cancer sadly proved terminal in July 2016, and for 2017, David's colleagues at Fathers Network Scotland decided to honour his memory with the new discretionary award. We were delighted when his father Dougal agreed to step in to present it.
"We created the David Drysdale Memorial Award in tribute to our much-loved founder, to recognise an employer that supports its dads at all stages of fatherhood,” said Samantha Pringle, who took over the FNS helm following David's illness.
“The 2016 Year of the Dad campaign he founded was full of joy and pain after losing David to cancer. Today David's own father, Dougal, is proud to be presenting the award to Independent Living Foundation Scotland who, though young and small, have set high standards of care and support for their employees including their new dads.”
The ILF Scotland provides financial support to ensure 3000 disabled people in Scotland and Northern Ireland can live independently. Particularly impressive is the culture of flexible working modelled from the top by management, and various father-focused practices including an above-average 4 weeks of paternity leave at full pay.
WINNERS IN FULL
Winners in the six main categories - announced at the Lighthouse, Glasgow, in front of 150-strong audience of business leaders - were as follows:
Best Large Private Sector Employer 2017
Winner: Lloyds Banking Group
Highly Commended: Fanduel
Best SME Employer 2017
Winner: Pursuit Marketing
Best Public Sector Employer 2017
Winner: West Dunbartonshire Council
Highly Commended: University West of Scotland
Best Third Sector employer 2017
Joint Winner: Inspiring Scotland
Joint Winner: Routes to Work South
Best for Carers and Eldercare 2017
Winner: Scottish Courts
Highly commended: NHS Lothian
Highly commended: Standard Life
Best for Innovation in Family Friendly and Flexible Working
Winner: Virgin Money
The awards were sponsored by Centrica, Maclay Murray and Spens LLP and Scottish Power.
Sarah Jackson OBE, CEO of Working Families who chaired The Scottish Top Employers for Working Families judging panel, said: “The quality of entries was exceptional and it is positive that that organisations of all sizes and sectors across Scotland are wholeheartedly embracing family friendly flexible working. There was a clear understanding among entrants of the benefits this brings to business, family life, society and the economy.
“Finalists demonstrate success and impact as a result of implementing a family friendly approach and there was also a deep understanding of the link between flexibility and high performance.”
Mark McDonald MSP, the minister for Childcare and Early Years congratulated the winners: “It is extremely positive to see so many of Scotland’s employers – both large and small – recognising the social and economic benefits of creating a family friendly workplace culture. The Scottish Government is committed to working with employers to promote and support family friendly and flexible working. Not only is it good for workers and families but it is also good for business and breeds productivity.”
Nikki Slowey, Programme Director of FFWS, added: “The 2017 Awards have given great cause for celebration - we received triple the number of entries compared to last year, demonstrating the increased importance Scottish employers place on flexible and family friendly working.”
Dougal Drysdale, who has raised more than £10,000 for cancer research since his son’s death by abseiling down Edinburgh’s David Hume Tower, said he was moved to be involved:
“Judy and I feel very humbled to realise how many people he influenced and how far his ideas have been taken,” he told FNS. “As a family, we are immensely proud that David's achievements are recognised and our pride is further enhanced by this Memorial Prize in his name.”
Sam Pringle concluded: “We know David would be delighted to see such progress in building the father-friendly world he embodied and campaigned for."
For full details of the companies in today's awards, check out the Family Friendly Working Scotland website.