Offer to all councils and health boards would let more key staff work from home
Vale of Glamorgan Council has written to every council chief and public sector body in Wales offering swift access to a new, shared, communications and contact centre service. It could enable thousands more staff to work from home while social distancing is required in the workplace, without services being affected.
The offer comes as the Welsh Government considers further lockdown easing but as many organisations are required to ensure social distancing rules are followed in their offices.
Vale of Glamorgan have been keeping critical council services running smoothly and efficiently during the COVID-19 lockdown, supporting vulnerable residents, while many staff have been working daily from home.
The Council and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board were the first to join the Connecting Wales/ Cysylltu Cymru platform, which went live earlier this year. The project is led by Vale of Glamorgan Council and is powered by award-winning FourNet. The service has the backing of the Welsh Government.
Rob Thomas, Managing Director at Vale of Glamorgan Council has been delighted with the way contact centre agents and back office staff have been able to work remotely, while dealing seamlessly with queries regarding council services and elderly care because of coronavirus. He said other public sector bodies could now join the platform and allow their own employees the same freedom.
In his letter to all public sector leaders, he wrote: “We have reviewed our plans with our technology partner FourNet and, with certain technology provisos, would be able to support councils and other public sector organisations in Wales to switch on these capabilities in a very short period of time.”
Mr Thomas said: “The Connecting Wales technology allows staff to work from home and stay safe. It also allows the public sector to share resources, which is extremely helpful when staff may be impacted by events like COVID-19 and where demand for services increases sharply.”
Connecting Wales/Cysylltu Cymru is a cloud-based communication and contact centre platform, designed for all councils and public sector bodies across Wales to share digital, communication and technology services in future, while reducing costs.
Richard Pennington, managing director of FourNet, which designed the platform based on an Avaya solution, said: “Connecting Wales shows how easy it is to put the correct technology and tools in place to allow staff to work from home.
“Particularly during a health pandemic like coronavirus, I think many workers are much happier working from home, and the service they offer benefits from that, which means their employers and citizens also benefit. We are delighted that Connecting Wales has worked so well in these unusual times, and with social distancing still required in the workplace, we want to ensure other public sector bodies across Wales can reap the rewards and allow their back office and contact centre agents to work from home and stay safe.”
Connecting Wales was chosen as a finalist in the Procurement Innovation of the Year category, at the Government Opportunities (GO) Excellence in Public Procurement Awards 2020 Wales. The awards, which were postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, are due to take place on Friday, June 19th.
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