Swindon Borough Council ordinarily held quarterly meetings of their Wider Management Team, which involved approximately 120 Directors, Heads of Service and Senior Managers coming together in face to face round table meetings. Working within the restrictions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, these meetings were no longer possible.
This is a uniquely challenging time for councils and being able to maintain communications across the Wider Management Team is key to understanding the daily challenges to delivering front line services across the organisation. The Communications Team used the Live Event in Microsoft Teams, which enables a large conferencing facility. It allowed the Communications Team to arrange a meeting so that 120 managers could get together in a way that enabled the Chief Executive to get key messages across practically, but also giving the opportunity for those watching the event to take part. The invitation to the event included an opportunity for questions to be sent in advance. The Communications Team acted as producers. The platform allows for other roles being presenters who do the talking and viewers who watch and can submit questions on the day through the Q&A function.
As the event took place, the Chief Executive was able to speak to the managers, thank them and highlight achievements across the organisation. Notice of what was coming, headlines from the Public Health Director and an update on the staff survey from HR were all included. The approach to Recovery was another key discussion. The meeting ended with a Q&A session. The Team have received positive feedback since the event.
Attendees have said how helpful it is to know how they are supporting the council and helped them to feel involved in the work that the council was undertaking to help residents. In terms of learning points the Communications Team would like to improve the interactivity of the event.
Mark Pritchard, Communications Lead: Campaigns