Revisiting the Jadu Covid-19 Community Podcast, we’ve pulled out 10 key guest quotes to give you a snapshot of the first series!
“Thank you Canterbury (Country Council) if you're listening! They shared code with us around a page that tells you a person has donated and how much they’ve given. So, thanks again to you Canterbury.” - Catherine Iles, Medway Council (Episode 1)
A quote that captures the collaborative spirit common across local government during the pandemic. From knowledge sharing, to the sharing assets and work on the Jadu Library, local authorities have gone above and beyond to support their peers.
“For the high-volume, low-value work, we've got RPA (Robotic Process Automation) running... We did three weeks of new volume of data over a two-day period. The result is that we've taken what's now 583 hours monthly down to 9.6. So that's a 2000 percent increase where we've not had to increase staff or re-allocate resources. We're returning a 98.3 percent efficiency from where we were, which is amazing.” - Sarah Talbot, Swindon Borough Council (Episode 2)
An example of the innovation that’s enabling local authorities to meet unprecedented challenges. In Swindon’s case, it used a robotic workforce to emulate repetitive work and automate its Free School Meals processes; application for which spiked by 2000 percent at the start of the pandemic.
“Councils should now go back over all of these services that they've launched really, really quickly, and just double check that they are actually accessible to the intended users... and whether accessibility was actually even considered or whether it was kind of parked as a not-an-essential requirement.” - Graham Rees-Evans, Shaw Trust Accessibility Services (Episode 3)
An important point about the importance of checking the accessibility of content and services that had to be launched at incredible speeds due to pure necessity.
“Accessible pages have a higher take-up amongst everybody, even those that don’t need the accessibility elements. That’s because they’re better designed, once you understand that, why wouldn’t you engrain accessibility in everything you do?” - Jonathan Lagden, Braintree District Council (Episode 3)
An articulate reminder that digital inclusivity and accessibility guidelines aren’t hurdles to be overcome, but essential to ensuring a better experience for everyone, especially during a crisis. Jonathan pressed ahead with the redesign of Braintree’s site (with a focus on accessibility) amidst everything else the council had to deal with in the pandemic.
“This crisis has shown the true grit, determination and what can be achieved within local councils.” - Dave Sanderson, Socitm (Episode 4)
A quote that says it all!
“The experience I have (having worked) with the waste management team, means I can offer similar sorts of booking processes to other services.” - Jordan Neininger, Gloucestershire County Council (Episode 5)
The reuse of expertise across service areas has been vital. Booking processes in particular have become vital for all kinds of services where social distancing must be adhered to. This quote reflects the remarkable ability of councils to reuse and repurpose across service areas to achieve things at speed.
“We were fortunate, we already had a digital platform in place…. we were able to utilize what we'd already got. For a council that didn’t have that in place already, it would have been a much bigger ask.” - Sherrill Holder, Gloucestershire County Council (Episode 5)
An important consideration; not all councils had effective digital platforms in place and would have faced far more severe challenges.
“We've partnered with a West Midlands Fire Service who have gone out and done a doorstep knock to do safe and well checks on vulnerable and sheltered citizens, just to make sure that they're safe and well, and they haven't got any further needs.” - Sheraz Yaqub, Birmingham City Council (Episode 6)
Birmingham City Council, the biggest local authority in Europe, has achieved many truly remarkable things in this pandemic, many of which are covered by Sheraz in his podcast episode. But this line is a good reflection of the tremendous care taken by the council to support the most vulnerable, especially during the crisis, using its firm grip on data management and solid partnerships.
“Although we wanted to review and rewrite old content before we went live, the priority was actually let's get live. There were a number of features, which the new website offered, that were seen as more of a priority than rewriting the content. So what we'd agreed with them was we would get to rewriting the content.” - Ikramul Haque, London Borough Of Newham (Episode 7)
An important point about prioritisation in unprecedented times, coupled with a commitment to go back and pick-up where needed. Things had to happen quickly and the right decisions were made.
“Queensland's now grappling with the need to quell the tension surrounding opening parts of the economy against the fact that the virus is still highly communicable. Some industries have been heavily affected. Tourism and hospitality, arts and culture, entertainment industries. It's managing that in a way where you can keep Queensland as safe, but also not bring the economy to collapse as well.” - Brett Johnson, Local Government Association of Queensland (Episode 8)
Something that everyone the world over is grappling with and a nice summary of the challenges so many now face.