Work from home tools maximised
Connecting Wales staff switch to remote
Connecting Wales is an award-winning shared contact centre platform for councils and other public sector organisations across Wales. It went live with its first customers in January 2020, just as the world was learning about coronavirus. It’s cloud-based virtual contact centres are designed by FourNet for remote working, and when the UK lockdown was announced that potential was swiftly maximised.
Vale of Glamorgan Council and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board were the first customers to join Connecting Wales, able to share technology and services through a public sector framework. Faced with the coronavirus pandemic and government guidance to ensure 2m social distancing, remote working became a necessity. A new crisis support line was also required to provide advice to vulnerable citizens.
Wales’ 2nd biggest council, Rhondda Cynon Taff, has taken advantage of the platform to deliver homeworking for call handlers.
Connecting Wales is a community cloud-based solution which allows for sharing of scarce resources and skills. The flexibility of the platform and the procurement framework is constantly adapting to meet the emerging requirements of the Welsh public sector and latest technologies, including Microsoft Teams. It enables councils to create virtual contact centres which maximise capabilities for remote working. FourNet ensured a smooth and efficient transition for as many staff as possible from office to remote. Vale of Glamorgan Council enabled 40 call handlers and 5 supervisory staff to work from home, when necessary. It means that the council can support residents by providing help and advice – while also protecting staff. It allowed a new advice line to be established to support the most vulnerable in the community. It also allowed staff the flexibility to cope with their own personal circumstances – such as childcare, care for elderly relatives and reducing risk for vulnerable household members. Connecting Wales allowed staff, including those at Rhondda Cynon Taff, to be kept productive without the need for furloughing. Cardiff and Vale Health Board also established a new team to arrange COVID-19 testing for key workers and patients who were due for surgery and care home staff.
While we always envisaged that Connecting Wales would have remote working as a priority, we didn’t expect that we’d have to move most of our employees to home working in the space of a couple of days and for such a long period. The coronavirus pandemic has proved the concept of Connecting Wales and with FourNet’s assistance and support, we had the smoothest transition to socially-distanced working as possible.
Managing Director, Vale of Glamorgan Council
The concept of Connecting Wales is a virtual cloud-based solution perfect for allowing people to work from wherever they want. without detrimental impact on service. We maximised remote working capabilities to allow staff get on with their jobs during unsettling times, while the technology allowed them to feel as if they were working from their office.
Account Director, FourNet