Just a quick update on what’s been happening in the Stockport digital and IT teams over the past couple of weeks. As well as sharing some of our actions we hope to get feedback from others that could collectively help us to improve our response.  

The Stay at Home restrictions have impacted our service delivery across the board and we have been working with colleagues from all service areas to support them with digital tools and new ways of service delivery that will help us to safeguard and protect the health and wellbeing of our residents and businesses, staff and Members. 

Web content 

We’re keeping our residents updated on changes to services, using email, social media and our website. We’ve created a new coronavirus area on our website that brings together information on all services affected by coronavirus. It includes national messaging from Public Health England, NHS England, the Government and its departments, and the Local Government Association. In addition, we’ve created bespoke Stockport content, such as links to new online forms to defer Council Tax payments, new bin collection schedules and guidance and new forms to support businesses, employers and employees. 

Our links with our communities have never been more important. We know how many people are looking out for each other and helping each other in their neighbourhoods and communities and we’re doing all we can to support this work.  

We’ve created a new Supporting the community response area which brings together general information, advice and guidance with Stockport initiatives: 

Stockport Local Fund: Community Support  

Last week we launched the Stockport Local Fund: Community Support, offering immediate grants of up to £1000 for community groups helping the most vulnerable. We were able to turn this around within 48 hours thanks to the reusable capabilities set up when we created this fund. Our work with the voluntary and community sector will ensure some of most vulnerable residents will get the help, support and advice they require throughout this, the most testing of times. 

Coronavirus Helpline  

We have also just launched the Coronavirus Helpline for vulnerable residents. Our digital teams have set up a Verint case management system which provides scripts and online guidance for our library colleagues and volunteers who will be triaging the incoming calls.  

We will also be making welfare calls to the 8,000 shielded’ residents in Stockport and these will be logged on our corporate case management system to keep an audit trail and monitor volume and type of demand.   

DigiKnow 

If residents call in because they need help with getting online or improving their digital skills, we have the support of our DigiKnow partner StartingPoint who will be coordinating call-backs from Digital Champion volunteers. 

To support digital skills learning we have also created a new Help doing things online area of our website with practical advice for anyone who wants to improve their digital skills or who can help others to get online for the first time. 

We’d love your feedback on good ideas to help our communities through this time. Please use the comments below to share your ideas and initiatives. 

Working digitally 

Office 365 has been invaluable as many of us have transitioned to home working. Having access to our files through OneDrive and Sharepoint, carrying out daily Stand-ups on Teams and using the collaborative Whiteboard tool have allowed us to continue our work with little disruption. 

We’ve also been making great use of Zoom and Miro and of course, we’ve been phoning, texting and using WhatsApp group calls to keep in touch with team members within and outside our own organisationIt’s so important to keep the workplace chat going even if we are not sitting side by side!   

There have been challenges. As more and more people have been moving to home working throughout the last few weeks, our IT systems did come under immense strain. Our IT teams have worked really hard to get new servers up and running in a short space of time, and we are now experiencing improved performance and reliability. Our IT Helpdesk colleagues have pulled out all the stops to help resolve issues related to working from home, which for many staff has been a new experience. 

How has remote working gone for you? Please leave your tips in the comments below and take care of yourselves.