The last twelve months have been extraordinary to say the least. Nothing could have prepared the council for the challenges ahead, and indeed this experience would shape all of us forever. On 16 March 2020, the day of lockdown, we were catapulted into emergency planning mode very quickly as we needed to mobilise staff safely to continue to deliver key services. The first challenge was to risk assess all of our service areas to ensure, wherever possible, that we could continue the provision of support to vulnerable service users.
As you will see from the report there were considerable efforts and preparations to ensure a systematic approach to the management of the pandemic, from the provision of PPE, testing and staff support, to the safety of care settings, which, as we now, know were incredibly vulnerable in the earlier months of the pandemic.
What I feel was impressive was the resilience and agility of staff to adapt to new ways of working very quickly. Working from home became our policy and still remains today; this was challenging initially, as home spaces needed to be made safe with appropriate equipment, and there were numerous connectivity issues to resolve.
The council has a renewal programme in place and we are currently looking at future ways of working that provide a good work-life balance along with the many benefits of home working. However I am pleased to report that the vast majority of service provision continued, and we were successful in delivering upon many of our priorities.
Staff wellbeing throughout was, and continues to be, a key area of focus, ensuring that staff working from home or not accessing face-to-face meetings are not isolated or unsupported. We have encouraged a range of wellbeing measures, including safe socially-distanced walking meetings and virtual coffee breaks, and our staff forum has continued throughout.
One of our significant achievements has been the launch of the Mental Wellness service. This has been an ambition of the council for some time and has evolved from the mental health service already in place in Conwy. We recognise that the service is crucial at this time, where the need for support is high for a range of people in our community. The service has also been creative and ambitious in delivering support throughout the pandemic.
Looking forwards, we have much to celebrate. We have a stable workforce and are moving ahead with an exciting capital programme. We are refreshing our commissioning strategy to enable provision of a vibrant and inclusive range of accommodation needs for older people, people with disabilities and children in need of care and support. I want to conclude by thanking the Conwy Social Care Team. I have been hugely proud of their dedication and the commitment shown, as well as their continued efforts to provide the very best experiences for people who use our services.
Strategic Director of Social Care & Education Services
Conwy County Borough Council