Good Council Practice - Workforce

Llancaiach Fawr Manor is a tourist attraction located in Nelson, Caerphilly which portrays life in 1645 through live interpretation to approximately 60,000 visitors and school children each year. There are also conference rooms, an education centre, a café, restaurant and gift shop.

During the lockdown period, the majority of staff volunteered to be redeployed to the buddy scheme, to pick up prescriptions and shopping for the vulnerable residents of the county borough who were shielding. Others joined the Track and Trace Programme Team.

The education centre has been temporarily repurposed as a distribution hub. Donations are collected by staff and parcels created for delivery to food banks.

The bar and restaurant have been utilised for the provision of a childcare hub run in partnership with the Caerphilly County Borough Council Youth Service, School and Music service, Arts Development Team and Healthy Schools Service to ease childcare issues during the summer holidays for Blue Light Workers.

Preparations for the ‘new normal’ have included delivering workshops online and providing an outreach service to schools. The café has re-opened and the formal gardens and patio area furnished with outdoor seating. Take away meals and Sunday lunches have gone from strength to strength. 

 

The Neath Port Talbot Council Safe and Well Service was established at the start of the coronavirus outbreak to support residents who were shielding and had nobody to call on for help with daily living tasks such as shopping and collecting medicines.

Members and officers also identified other groups of people who needed support, including people who needed to self-isolate and had no support, young carers, parents of children entitled to free school meals unable to receive BACS payments; and carers of people shielding and self-isolating.

Approximately 1,300 people received support from the service between the end of March 2020 and the end of June 2020.

A food hub was established where staff from a number of different departments collaborated to source food, ensure its safe storage, handling and distribution, made deliveries, kept good records, prepared healthy menus that catered for specific dietary requirements and ensured emergency food provision where circumstances warranted it. These arrangements were identified by Welsh Government as an example of good practice.

Circa 100 employees volunteered in their own time and circa 450 residents registered an interest to volunteer with the service. Volunteers were trained and then worked with local councillors to support the local community. A Volunteer Co-ordinator will be recruited in order to support the project and function and a strategy is being developed with input from councillors and community organisations to establish what will be needed in the ‘new normal’.

By working across departments to respond to the need to deliver grants to local businesses, Pembrokeshire County Council, a small local authority, was able to go live with the grants within days and has now delivered over £52M into the local economy. 

The council used a mixture of matrix management and secondments to draw staff in from Regeneration and Economic Development, Revenue and Benefits, External Funding Teams and Finance and Employability. Part of this was a recognition that no one team has the skills to deliver everything and there was a requirement to work as ‘Team Pembrokeshire’.

Gwynedd Council has a well-developed coaching programme for both staff and councillors. The WLGA provides coaching to councillors as part of this programme, using a hybrid coach/mentoring approach supporting councillors’ work in communities and the council. During the pandemic, this coaching was conducted virtually through Microsoft Teams. One of the participating councillors said “In general I believe that the coaching I have received from the WLGA has played a critical role in my development as a cabinet member and councillor.  Since the lockdown we have continued the sessions and if anything, I think the digital element has improved things.  It’s logistically a lot easier and involves a lot less of my time and travel.  I don’t believe it has changed the dynamic of the coaching relationship, the only possible scenario that I can imagine where a physical coaching session would be preferable to a digital one, would perhaps be the initial session/s.  I had already developed a working relationship with my coach before the switch from physical to digital, and perhaps a face to face conversation is important in the initial stages.  I would like to carry on with the digital sessions even when “things get back to normal”.

Learning from remote coaching during COVID, the WLGA will now offer remote coaching, with, if possible, a face to face introductory session.

Flintshire County Council have been working in partnership with Flintshire Local Voluntary Council (FLVC)  to ensure vulnerable people receive appropriate support.  Prior to Covid-19, (FLVC)  already had access to a directory of validated community organisations i.e. those who were constituted, had received appropriate training and had policies in place, such as safeguarding. This Directory is updated as new community groups set up. FLVC employ two staff based with the Council’s Single Point of Access (SPoA) team signposting and supporting individuals to access the voluntary and community support available across Flintshire. Furloughed staff from organisations who work closely with the Council have been encouraged to volunteer via the Volunteering Wales website. Over 200 people have stepped forward to volunteer in Flintshire, 84 individuals chose to volunteer for the council and virtual training has been put in place. Together we are fighting Coronavirus COVID-19 

 

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