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The experience of the last 18 months has resulted in all of us having to think differently about how we carry out our various roles, and the use of technology, especially via Microsoft Teams, has played a big role in allowing us to do this. This has meant that we have still been able to meet with colleagues and customers, but without having to travel to do so, and very often this has had no impact on the effectiveness of these meetings or the quality of service delivered.

As a result of these changes in working practices, the travel undertaken by staff as part of our work reduced by over 40% during last financial year, which has allowed the Council to achieve both financial and environmental savings.

For many of us, this has also provided an opportunity to adopt a smarter and productive way of working. Feedback as part of the authority’s self-evaluation of our response to Covid-19, reported that we said that online meetings were easier to organise, better attended and often generated better outcomes.

Our Better Ways of Working project is encouraging services to consider how these new working practices can become a permanent feature of our working arrangements and what further support mechanisms we would need to put in place to enable us and our services achieve this.

The TIC (Transform, Innovate and Change) Fleet and Staff Travel project is currently in the process of developing a range of initiatives to support this approach. This includes encouraging staff to consider whether there is need to return to traditional face to face meetings and to instead, where possible, continue to conduct meetings via remote technology.

Where a need for travel is identified, a Travel Calculator will be made available on the intranet to help you identify the most cost-effective way of undertaking that journey. We will also be highlighting and encouraging you to make use of sustainable options, such as electric or low emission pool cars, which will be made available at key sites across the authority. We will also be looking at ways of simplifying the process for the booking and accessing of pool or hire cars.

The group is currently working closely with colleagues in the Better Ways of Working group to ensure that provision for facilities such as showers, cycling racks, lockers are considered as part of all development plans for the future.

Page updated: 02/11/2021 13:44:50