Posted on 2 November 2021
Update for headteachers - November 2021.
As you may know, Derbyshire County Council has been working for some time on designing and implementing the right ways of operating in line with our Property 2025 vision and asset management framework. In 2020, we established a 50/50 partnership with Public Sector Plc to help us deliver this vision and Public Sector Plc will provide additional resource to help us review, develop and renew our property and land assets. They bring expertise, including working with the public sector, to complement the council's own skills in reviewing all aspects of building performance.
This work has been accelerated by the experience of different ways of working and our ‘Modern ways of working’ approach is changing how we will use our buildings and how council officers perform their roles. We are implementing an approach that ensures we continue to provide high quality, flexible services for our residents, partners, wider colleagues and communities whilst tackling climate change and using resources efficiently.
In reality, this means that we will decant from some buildings and these will be used differently in future. Allied to this, is the council’s strategy around climate change. For example, in 2019, the year before the pandemic, council officers drove over a million miles around Derbyshire visiting schools as part of their work in addition to more miles on other council related business. Many hours of time were spent travelling which could have been more effectively spent supporting communities, residents, teachers, school staff and pupils. Up to 275 tonnes of C02 could have been emitted during those journeys (please see supporting links) and many thousands of pounds of mileage costs were eligible to be claimed from council budgets.
In order to work more efficiently, reduce our carbon footprint and provide the best possible responsive service we need to work differently. In line with other councils and businesses around the country, some services for residents will be provided through a variety of web platforms. This process is known as ‘channel shift’ and you will probably have already seen this in the businesses with which you engage or the council areas in which you live. As such, officers will no longer routinely visit schools for meetings unless there is a need for them to do so. Of course, when a discussion needs to take place face to face, we will be there. But in other circumstances we will offer a range of online, video and telephone meetings and contact by email and telephone.
To help this, we are rapidly expanding our ‘soft telephony’ which is where telephone numbers are linked directly to an officer’s computer. Our flexible approach should provide you with a better, more efficient service and if that is not the case then we need to understand the issues so we can address them.
We know that the last 18 months have been ones of unprecedented pressure for headteachers and school staff and we, and the people of Derbyshire, are incredibly grateful for everything you have done to support pupils during such a challenging time. We know that our changed approach has coincided with these challenges but want to assure you that we continue to provide the best possible support to you and your organisation but now through a variety of flexible approaches that should improve your experience of interacting with the County Council.
Director for Schools and Learning
Carbon conversion figures for use by Derbyshire County Council were based on the Government conversion factors for company reporting of greenhouse gas emissions document available from the GOV.UK website.