In the midst of all the critical activity by the public sector to support communities during COVID-19, organisations are already considering recovery and renewal plans that would phase activity from response to recovery over the coming months and year. Part of this thinking recognised that services should capture the learning and innovation that they have had to put into place to respond to COVID-19 and that useful new ways of working should be permanently embedded into services for communities.
In response to this challenge, the PSIF Team developed a number of checklists to facilitate the process of capturing learning. Checklists have been developed at service level, corporate level, for elected members and also for Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs). South Lanarkshire Council’s Community Engagement Team kindly agreed to pilot the newly developed checklist at a service level to capture such learning from the team’s recent experience of working with the community during COVID-19.
To begin the process, the checklist was issued electronically to all members of the Community Engagement Team for completion. Once the checklist had closed, the PSIF Team analysed the responses and identified where staff felt their team’s response to COVID-19 had been strong, areas that could have been improved and identify the new ways of working that the team would like to take forward.
The PSIF Team then facilitated an online session with the staff from the Community Engagement Team through Microsoft Teams. The purpose of this session was to present the checklist findings back to staff and then facilitate group sessions on how the team planned to implement the new ways of working identified. By the end of this session the team had a draft New Ways of Working plan for moving forward which all staff had the opportunity to contribute to.
Over a period of just three weeks, using this approach the Community Engagement Team has completed the checklist, reached consensus about prioritising new ways of working during an online session and developed a New Ways of Working Plan.
Output and Results
Over a period of just three weeks, using this approach the Community Engagement Team has completed the checklist, reached consensus about prioritising new ways of working during an online session and developed a New Ways of Working Plan. This Plan identified five new ways of working that the team are looking to permanently build into the service. These include: maintaining the benefits of using technology to engage with the community; maintaining the new networks established in each of the localities for future projects; maintaining the many volunteers to support future projects and to recognise their contribution during this period; embed the benefits gained in agile working for staff; and finally, to maintain the benefits of joint working between partner organisations around sharing of information and consistent and timely messaging. As in any PSIF process, the plan includes details on actions, timescales, risks and costs, measures, leads and outcome.
This approach to capturing learning and new ways of working identified by the Community Engagement Team clearly reflect the significant innovation that has emerged to support the Team and the communities they work with going forward.
If you would like further information on the above or to discuss available support, please contact the PSIF team at PSIF@improvementservice.org.uk