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Decisions taken over the coming months will help projects in the Transformational Enablers workstream fit together like pieces of a jigsaw to create a picture of how we’ll work and operate moving forward.

The close relationship between the projects was made clear at the first virtual meeting of the workstream board on June 9th - when one project moves forward so too will the others, as each is dependent on the others.

It was also clear lockdown had brought about a long-awaited change in our culture. Now 3,200 employees work from home - pre-lockdown only 1400 could.

That shift has created an opportunity to accelerate our transformation into a modern Council with an agile workforce operating out of fewer buildings.

However, Karen Algie, Senior Responsible Owner, stressed opportunities had to be grasped quickly to ensure people didn’t revert to old habits.

She said: “In some areas we’re already seeing creep – people are returning to the workplace to do tasks that can be done from home.  We need to be coordinated in how buildings open and ensure decisions are aligned to the Strategic Property Review.”

The way forward

At the board project updates were given that highlighted the work being undertaken to support our recovery and what needed to be done next:

  • Fit for the Future - Anytime Anywhere:  
    • a working group has been set up to ensure safety measures and guidance are in place before re-opening council buildings.
    • Services need to review delivery models and consider how they’ll work moving forward, which will help inform the buildings they’ll need.
    • Chief Officers need to continue to promote and encourage working from home.
  • Fit for the Future – Communications: decisions taken about our Council priorities, recovery and the refreshed business plan will shape communications moving forward.
  • Strategic Property Review (SPR): how services will be delivered, the move to agile working and the outcome of the next elected members workshop (taking place prior to the summer recess), will help shape the SPR implementation plan and our consultation with communities
  • Council HQ & Arts Centre: new ways of working have allowed a “reimagining of the brief” that includes the potential to have less desks and more collaborative spaces. A paper highlighting options will be presented to the Corporate Management Team. Further discussions will be held with elected members.
  • Green Travel Plan: what buildings we reopen, their opening hours, and the number of people allowed to be in a building, plus our aspirations for working from home, will influence project development, as will decisions around education provision, bus routes and people’s attitude to travel in a post-pandemic world.

Robert Naylor, Chair, said: “How these projects relate to each other is clear, as is the fact we’ve a tremendous opportunity to reshape how we work. What we need to do now is fine tune the direction of travel of these projects.”

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