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Covid-19 update

We are here to help

Coronavirus brings unprecedented demands on the expertise and resources of our 2,000+ members and their organisations. Supporting the rapid rollout of homeworking and maintaining local public services require their immediate attention. Socitm is here to help.

How are we supporting local public services?

Ask Advisory

Access to free, independent and impartial advice from Socitm Advisory

Supplier offers

Offers of support from suppliers to local government collated in partnership with techUK

Virtual workshops

A chance to talk with our partners and peers about specific challenges and solutions.

Remote council meetings – options and guidance

Information and guidance collated from members and working with the LGA and others

Socitm events

Information about upcoming events and virtual sessions

Socitm services

Contact arrangements for Socitm services during the coronavirus pandemic

The future

Our members are already telling us that the changes being made now will change things forever

Resource hub

Curated resources, topical content and collections relating to each of our five policy themes

purple Just Giving logo

Kit for carers: help raise money for PPE kits for Carers in the fight against COVID-19.

A statement from our president

This is a very difficult time for everyone. Guidance is changing daily. It is the safety and wellbeing of the communities we serve that is paramount. This is what keeps us grounded.

Never before has technology been so sorely tested. Never before has it been so vital in uniting people and facilitating positive change. What our members and their staff are achieving, in answer to the unprecedented demand, is truly remarkable. What once took months or even years is becoming real before our very eyes.

Connecting communities and engendering a sense of place and belonging in a transient world is what we strive to do. Now that transience has turned into a maelstrom. IT staff might not be perceived as being on the front line. But, on both counts, we are. Staff that previously were hidden from view – help desk personnel, server, network and security technicians, and many others – have been thrust suddenly into the limelight and have risen to the task of ensuring that public services are able to be maintained.

Big changes are afoot. Valuable ones. The challenges we strive to overcome today will create opportunities tomorrow. Enabling people to work differently – and through changing their mindsets – we are opening up possibilities. Through our work, we are facilitating more diverse teams, more agile working and more creativity than ever before in the public sector.

We must not underestimate this. Despite our struggles and restricted resources, we are winning.

Our Coronavirus support team

Paul Cotton
Regional Director and Chair of Socitm Committee of the Regions

Martin Ferguson
Director of Policy & Research

Chantelle Denny
Director of Finance and Operations

Nadira Hussain
Director of Leadership Development & Research

Dave Sanderson
Regional Director

Andrew Rogers
Innovation and Insight Director

Ask Advisory

Contact us through our dedicated email address: askadvisory@socitm.net

We would like to extend our hand of support to all those that work in local government and its partner local public services organisations through the provision of this free advice. We undertake to triage your request and to obtain specialist, independent and practical advice. Much of our strength also comes from our ability to facilitate the wider sharing of knowledge that is already happening across Socitm’s membership network.

Our advice will be given in good faith and we aim to be agile in our response. We cannot give written advice at this busy time, but we will call you back and endeavour to help.

Supplier offers

Download a document outlining the offers here

techUK has been working with its members and with Socitm supplier partners to collate offers of support to local government in their response to COVID-19. The offers are categorised by the challenges currently being faced. If you would like to connect further with a supplier in this repository, please contact techUK’s Head of Local Public Services Georgina Maratheftis at georgina.maratheftis@techuk.org who will facilitate the introduction.

Virtual workshops

Socitm is working closely with its partners and other organisations to ensure all members receive the best available advice and information during these unprecedented times.

The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted heavily on the public sector, creating unique challenges and demanding robust solutions more rapidly than ever before.

Sharing best practice, accessing the latest guidance and supporting our peers has never been so important. But, while we all work remotely, this is more difficult to readily achieve.

That’s why we have been working alongside our partners to develop a series of remote café environments where our members can drop in and receive expert support and guidance informally.

Held each Monday and Tuesday at 11am, you’ll be able to call in to the workshop and talk directly to our partners, helping you to get instant guidance in your priority areas. You’ll also be able to talk about common issues your peers have encountered, share best practice and get useful tips on how best to overcome specific challenges. There’s no need to commit to the full session. The idea is to facilitate instant guidance while saving valuable time. Members will be invited to join the sessions by email.

Remote council meetings - options and guidance

Visit our guide to remote council meetings

Socitm has been working with the LGA and other partners to help create a central pool of information, advice and guidance to help local government comply with the Coronavirus 2020 act. Sustaining the democratic functioning of councils through the coronavirus pandemic remains a key priority and council and committee meetings form a vital part of upholding democracy. Our evolving resource is part of the LGA Remote Council Meetings Hub and is constantly updated.

Socitm events

Socitm is keeping the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation under review. The wellbeing of our members and staff is our absolute priority and we want our events to be safe, informative and enjoyable for all. We want to assure the Socitm community, and our friends and partners, that we are monitoring the situation closely, carefully and frequently.

All face to face events are on hold. Meetings and conferences are now taking place online and we continue to modify our events schedule to offer the most effective ways of maintaining support for our colleagues, members and partners.

We are in frequent contact with members to discuss the content and format of our meetings. The events schedule is kept up to date here: https://socitm.net/events/

We regret any inconvenience that these changes may cause you. As our options become clearer over the coming weeks, we will be in touch about any revised arrangements.

If you have any comments or questions, please drop the events team a line at events@socitm.net

Socitm services

All Socitm staff are now homeworking until further notice. We are taking steps to provide them with support and help to ensure that they are able to continue working as effectively as possible and maintain their wellbeing. The best way to contact them is directly by email. For general enquiries, please use info@socitm.net.

Whilst today we continue to operate as closely as possible to business as usual, we do need to ensure that if required that we can mobilise contingency plans. We have established a Socitm Limited Contingency team comprising:

David Bryant, Chief Executive

Chantelle Denny, Director of Finance and Operations

Aimie Francis, Head of Memberships and Partnerships

The future

Our members are working flat out to implement the big changes needed to maintain services for a remote workforce. Councils are already unrecognisable from how they looked even one week ago. Many suppliers have been working hard behind the scenes too.

Our members are already telling us that the changes being made now will change things forever. How are organisations going to embrace these changes in practices and what could it all mean for our people and their staff? Which technologies are likely to be most in demand? Will there be greater trust in AI, robotics etc? Whatever the technology, data requirements and working practices were a month ago, they’ve just changed.

The following articles give an indication of just some of the ways in which local government and communities may be changed forever:

‘Possibilities for Government after COVID-19′ (Geoff Mulgan)

‘How will the coronavirus reshape democracy and governance globally?’ (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)

‘Coronavirus: who will be the winners and losers in new world order?’ (The Guardian)

‘A positive legacy for local government after COVID-19’ (Eddie Copeland)

‘Community and public services post-COVID-19: reflections on techUK panel’ (Mark Thompson)

‘Public service futures: welfare states in the digital age’ (Fabian Society)

Socitm stands ready to explore the opportunities and challenges that current changes will inevitably bring in the mid to longer-term. Check out our resource hub for some of the latest thinking.

Resource hub

Visit our resource hub

Curated resources, topical content and collections relating to each of our five policy themes. This information will be updated regularly, so please check back frequently for the latest information and updates.

Browse coronavirus related resources