15/11/21: Breckland Council shortlisted in national awards after adopting new ways of working

Our recent ambitious overhaul of the way we work has seen us named a finalist in two categories at the Smarter Working Live awards.

The national awards celebrate innovation, collaboration and excellence in the public sector, and last year's awards attracted over 250 nominations across 18 award categories. At this year's awards, Breckland Council is a finalist in the 'Inspiring People/A Great Place to Work' category and the 'Improving Spaces' category.

The nominations recognise a range of changes made by the council over the last year as part of its unique WorkSmart programme: a series of interconnected projects to change our infrastructure, culture, and working environment, all with the aim of further enhancing services and operating more efficiently.

The changes were inspired by the WorkSmart overarching vision of 'Enabling our people, in spaces and places, to connect and work smarter'. This involved a radical reimagining of the way we worked to become more modern, agile and task-focused, and adaptations were made to our Dereham office space to reflect this.

The WorkSmart programme supported the transformation of how our staff work, enabling them to work in the location and way that best supports the delivery of services and tasks. This includes working more closely in the community or collaborating with other staff members to help focus on improving service delivery.

We have also embraced new ways of using technology so staff can connect with each other from any location - reducing unnecessary travel and using time more efficiently.

Improving our conference centre and upgrading its technology has enabled meetings to be streamed online, keeping the democratic process accessible during lockdowns. It has also created a fully-digitally-enabled conference facility that can be made available for hire.

The changes were put in place while we were also responding to the pandemic, with any physical adaptations to the head office carried out while officers were working from home, which avoided disruption to service delivery.

Cllr Paul Hewett, Executive Member for Projects said: 

"Our WorkSmart programme represents a whole-council ambition to be more responsive to, and focused on, the changing needs of our residents over the coming decades. Central to this is creating a space that is fit for the 21st century and which is more reflective of the agile working needs of our staff. Informal workspaces, smart rooms, and meeting hubs promote a greater exchange of ideas across teams and agencies, whilst agile working practices, new systems and a change in culture all combine to bring us closer to our residents and provide a great place to work for our staff. We are proud of our staff, who were engaged at every stage in this transformation, reflecting their passion for what they do, and their resilience in difficult times to how they do it. In many ways, our building and our staff together embody our vision of helping our businesses and residents to thrive."

The winner of the awards will be announced at an awards ceremony to be held at the Imperial War Museum North on 25 November 2021. Find out more on the Smarter Working Live Awards website

Last updated: 17/11/2021 10:00:05