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We are becoming a modern digital council and establishing new ways of working.

Through this we have an opportunity to create a better way of working for everyone, and are redefining how and where we work.

The work to introduce our new ways of working is overseen by the Connectivity programme which was underway before the pandemic. We have now reshaped this to incorporate our response to changes in the way we work that have happened as a result of the pandemic, as well to include as our longer-term aspirations.

This section of the intranet provides you with the information you need to know as we transition to our New Ways of Working.

Watch a recorded Question and Answer session with Chief Executive, David Williams and Director of Corporate Services, Natasha Edmunds talking about the plans for the new ways of working here

Roadmap

We are on the journey to prepare, agree and establish our new ways of working.

There are many steps that we need to take to achieve this. It will take time and we ask for your support and patience with this.

To help you understand more about the steps that we need to take we have produced a Roadmap.

The Roadmap sets out the four phases needed to establish our new ways of working and some of the actions we need to take in these phases.

Although fairly linear, this roadmap will need to recognise the need for adaptability and flexibility as work progresses.

Services are likely to move at different speeds with differing requirements. We may not get it right first time so a learning approach is also needed.

Prepare – Create – Realise – Enhance

Based on what we know now and what we’ll learn from speaking to staff, we’ll establish our New Way of Working throughout 2021 and 2022.

While we are doing this, we’ll support both managers and staff and we’ll help everyone work in the best way possible.

Your feedback is vital in each phase of the roadmap and you will have the opportunity to give us your views.

If you have any comments now or would like to get involved in the programme and help shape our new ways of working, please email connectivity@portsmouthcc.gov.uk 

Connectivity programme

Connectivity is the corporate programme that oversees the move to our New Ways of Working.

Connectivity was initiated before the pandemic. It was originally developed to support the organisation on its journey to becoming a modern digital council.

Since then, the world around us has changed and the programme has reshaped to incorporate our response to changes in the way we work that have happened as a result of the pandemic, as well as our longer-term aspirations.

Scope

The programme scope is to deliver the following long term objectives:

Accommodation that is the right size, in the right place and is flexible enough to respond to changing needs

  • An attractive place to work, that enhances staff safety and wellbeing with working culture and practices supporting the delivery of member priorities and the city’s vision for Portsmouth
  • Staff in the right locations and able to dedicate more time to delivering frontline services and to respond to changing customer needs and demands
  • Staff able to work from and manage teams in a variety of settings– team areas,  home, clients’ homes – to suit work demands
  • Staff with access to the information and equipment they need to fulfil their role effectively via efficient information systems, equipment and devices that are secure when required
  • Effective team and partnership working, facilitated by systems and environments, increasingly including co-location, data sharing and collaboration.

Workstreams

The programme has four work streams supporting these objectives

  • Redefining how we work

Developing our workforce so our staff are supported to deliver excellent services efficiently and effectively, enabling the other workstreams by building capability

  • Redefining our technology 

Wherever we work, shaping great work spaces that meet the needs of our staff and enable us to provide excellent services for our customers and communities.

  • Redefining our work spaces

Ensuring our staff are supported to maximise the potential of appropriately deployed technology, enabling secure flexible working and supporting the provision of excellent services for our customers.

  • Redefining our working practices 

Building a strong evidence base, supporting service re-design to meet the changing needs of our residents and communities.

Governance

The programme is overseen by the Programme Board, which includes Natasha Edmunds, Directors of Corporate Services, Director of Housing, Neighbourhood and Building Services and Tristan Samuels, Director of Regeneration.

Presentations included from July 2021.

Principles

Based on what we know and what you have told us, we have agreed some overarching principles to help guide us in our planning for new ways of working. They are available to view below.

New Ways of Working principles

Customers are at the heart of what we do, with the business needs of the council a priority.

These principles will be applied consistently wherever possible. The range of services that we offer and staff roles means in some cases they may need to be adapted. 

  • Work takes place at the most effective locations and times
  • Flexibility becomes the norm and not the exception
  • Everyone is, in principle, considered eligible for flexible working, without assumptions being made about people or roles
  • Staff have more choice about where and when they work subject to business considerations
  • Space is allocated to activities not to individuals
  • The costs of doing work are reduced
  • There is effective and appropriate use of technology
  • Managing performance focuses on results rather than presence
  • Agile working underpins and adds new dimensions to diversity and equality principles
  • Staff have the opportunity to lead balanced and healthy lives
  • Work has less impact on the environment

Team principles

We know that one size will not fit all – we deliver a diverse range of services so the principles will need to be adapted to best meet the needs of the service and our customers balanced with the needs of our staff.

We have asked teams to adapt the overall principles and agree team principles to best meet the needs of the service and our customers balanced with the needs of staff.

We received principles from 76 teams, which confirmed that they wanted to see the continuation of a mix of hybrid working approaches designed to suit individual services and customer needs.

You confirmed that you have been successfully working flexibly and remotely, and will continue to do so with very few people wishing for a wholesale return to the office. Where business needs allow, the vast majority of people will continue to work in a hybrid way spending a mixture of time at home and in the office, mostly on a weekly basis.

Many services that cannot work fully or largely remotely or in such a flexible way due to operational requirements will allow staff to complete some flexible or remote working on an as-and-when basis. One size does not fit all therefore a flexible, adaptable, service led approach will be needed going forward.

Your team principles have helped us to better understand what changes we may need to make to enable teams to operate effectively. It will form part of our journey to prepare, agree and establish our new ways of working.

Redefining how we work

In our new ways of working, work will take place at the most effective locations and times. Flexibility will become the norm and not the exception.

You will have more choice about where and when you work subject to business considerations, and can where possible work from different locations at different times. This could be a mix of working in an office and at home.

It places a greater focus on the outcomes of your work rather than where or when you do it. This is called hybrid working.

We’re developing an agile hybrid working model for the council that:

  • supports you and our customers
  • supports your wellbeing
  • makes PCC a place where people want to work
  • reduces our carbon footprint across the city

What we’re doing

Teams have been devising their team principles to help us decide the best approach to our new ways of working. Based on what we know so far we will reach the Realise phase of the Roadmap and we will be working as a hybrid organisation by summer 2022.

Until then, we’ll support managers and staff to take on hybrid working arrangements and transition to this new ways of working.

We’ll help everyone work in the best way possible.

Training

We have a combination of live events and a forum to support managers as they refine their leadership skills to deliver the new ways of working

  • Virtual Seminar: Leading a Hybrid Team – 90 minutes
    • 11 and 19 October 2021
    • 24 November 2021
  • Managing Wellbeing in a Hybrid Team – 2 hours
    • 8 November 2021
    • 16 December 2021
    • 13 January 2022
  • Coaching Skills Practice – 2 hours
    • 20 October 2021
    • 25 November 2021
    • 18 January 2022

Details and booking are available on PLG. Further workshop titles to support hybrid team leadership will follow in 2022.

As well as the live events, we have a Microsoft Teams channel, open to any manager, called Hybrid Teams Forum.  It’s a place where managers can ask questions, get help and share success stories as we move forward in the new reality. The forum can also be used to share useful materials, tools and links to events and videos.

New technology

We are making lots of improvements to our technology to help staff connect wherever you are working, and ensure that you have the most up to date digital tools you need to do your job.

These include the introduction of Microsoft 365 including teams and OneDrive.

Policies

Moving to our new way of working means we may need to change some of our current HR policies and guidance.

We need to review current policies in view of the findings of your feedback so far, the team principles agreed and our new way of working.

We may then need to amend these policies and will consult with the trade unions in line with our normal processes.

We will do this work during the Create and Realise phases of the Roadmap.

Redefining our workspace

In establishing our new ways of working we are redefining our workspaces.

We know that staff want to come into the workplace so that they can collaborate with colleagues, for learning and development, for relationship building, and to support each other and each other’s wellbeing.  This means we are likely to need a range of different working spaces such as project tables, break out areas and quiet working desk areas as well as more meeting rooms of various sizes.

So we need to plan and maximise how we use our workspaces both in the civic offices and other council workspaces to ensure we create an environment that encourages collaboration.

To help with this we are procuring an online space management system that will allow us to use our space in the most effective way, arranging for meeting rooms to have technology needed to enable hybrid meetings, and reviewing the equipment needed to turn our offices back into functioning workspaces. These changes will be initially introduced in the civic offices. We will also be working with services based in our other workspaces to capture and plan requirements, and we will be able to use what we learn from our work in the civic offices to help with this.

You will appreciate that planning and maximising how we use of workspaces will take time, but we are aiming that the civic office will be ready for staff to return there on a flexible basis by early next year.

What we are doing includes:

Space in the civic

We need to provide work spaces that are flexible and allow us optimise our space in alignment with hybrid working.

This means that we need to plan and maximise how space is used in the civic offices, and we are preparing to procure a new online space management system that will help with this. This system will allow us to use the all space in the civic including meeting rooms and desks in the most effective way. It will allow us real time data to see how we are using space and allow us to plan.

For now, when we can return to work in the civic, teams will be based in the same area as they were before the pandemic.

The View on the 5th floor View will be continued to be used for collaboration, informal meetings and rest breaks away from the desk.

Office equipment 

We need to provide office equipment that supports hybrid working and our New Ways of Working.

Office equipment taken home by staff during the pandemic can remain at home to enable hybrid working. Much of the office equipment from the civic offices has been used for home working, so we are auditing the equipment in the civic offices and assessing what is needed to enable staff to work in the offices.

We are preparing for a standard desk set up in each work station in the civic offices.

We are arranging for meeting rooms in the civic offices to have the technology needed to enable hybrid meetings – that means people can attend the meeting in person and also virtually. Work is taking place to install new equipment such as a camera and microphone in meeting rooms, including the Chief Executive Conference Room, to enable this.

We are aiming to have the online space management system and equipment in place so that there can be a return to the civic office for hybrid working by early next year.

In later phases of the roadmap we will be exploring

  • parking and cycling facilities for staff
  • digital way of printing post

Information for managers

Whilst government guidance remains that you must work from home if possible, managers should be thinking and planning for the time when restrictions ease further. This is a great opportunity to modernise how we operate and meet the needs of our residents and staff.

Principles

The overarching principles put the customer at the heart of everything we do and will allow us to work flexibly. Managers should aim to apply these principles consistently wherever possible across teams, adapting them for each area.   

Managers have worked with staff to consider issues such as what is important to your teams and customers about how we work, and submitted team principles to directors.

These team principles recognise the many and varied roles and functions the council has and that one size won’t fit all. We are currently analysing all the team principles to better understand our requirements on a service by service basis, as we recognise there will be differences.

Advice for managers:

  • Where business needs require it, staff should come back gradually and in a structured manner. Those with operational reasons for being in the workplace will be prioritised but may not work in their usual space, as it will depend on where staff can be safely accommodated.
  • Working with your directorate leadership team, managers should assess whether you can continue to work as you are currently, or whether you need to make any changes, including gradually bringing staff back to the workplace.
  • Where there is a business need for attendance in the workplace managers are asked to prioritise attendance as a management team. In the meantime, staff should continue to work as they currently are.

In line with government advice, we will continue to request and recommend both staff and customers entering council buildings, including sites like libraries and community centres, to follow the precautions we currently have in place such as wearing face coverings, washing hands regularly and not getting too close to others.

Staff will be asked to take personal responsibility for their own safety at work by following these measures. We recognise the benefit of existing measures such as screens, one-way systems in council buildings and other operational safeguards deployed through the assessment of individual service needs and these should also remain in place. Staff should continue to take twice weekly asymptomatic rapid lateral flow tests if they are working anywhere other than at home – you can find out where to get a test on the NHS website. And staff visiting residents’ homes should continue to follow our existing guidance.

Managers should complete checks of workspaces and make an assessment of the potential capacity of their areas, with the equipment and furniture currently available, in view to staff returning to the office. Please contact facilities management if you identify any practical or accommodation requirements.