No going back to normal way of working, Shropshire Council staff told

By Keri Trigg | Shrewsbury | Coronavirus | Published:

Permanent changes will be made to the way Shropshire Council operates when the country emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.

Shropshire Council's traditional Shirehall base

Staff at the authority have been told there will be no going back to normality, with plans being drawn up as to how the council will run in the aftermath of the crisis.

It is expected that home working will be encouraged, while the council will also capitalise on rapid advances in technology and closer working with health services that have developed over the last few months.

In an update to council employees, acting interim chief executive Andy Begley said there would be “no room for inefficiencies,”although the authority has said there are currently no firm plans for what changes will be implemented or whether redundancies will be made.

Mr Begley said: “Over the past several weeks we have all been working differently. Our new ways of working, specifically the use of technology to deliver services, are foundations for a brighter, better and more sustainable authority.

“We have mentioned changes and the new normal many times, but what has perhaps not been as clear is the fact that we will not be returning to the old ways of working.

“We cannot return to how we worked for many reasons. Covid is an obvious issue, but the reality is we need to make sure that our services and our organisation, as a whole, is fit for purpose going forward, and able to serve our residents as effectively and efficiently as possible.

“Funding, advances in technology, changes in service requirements and closer working with the NHS are all fundamental shifts in how we work and coronavirus has been a huge catalyst to accelerate necessary changes – propelling us into a future we would have strived for over years, but one we can now step into together, as a better, more vibrant, inclusive and innovative council.

“We have discussed the idea of public sector staff being doers and right now we need you to continue doing your jobs, but we also need you to be curious about what could be better and work to truly transform.


“There is no more room for inefficiencies, there is no more time to delay – this is here, the need is now.”

Mr Begley said the council’s management team was working on plans as to what the council could look like going forward, informed by responses from the staff survey and data about how the council currently operates, service requirements and the county’s future needs.

He added: “Throughout this process we will work with staff to make sure everyone has a voice and right now we need you to stay strong, keep innovating and to consider the best bits from how we used to work, whilst planning for a new tomorrow – one we’ll shape together to be the best local authority we can be.”

When asked what this could mean, the council said more details would be released in the coming weeks as plans are drawn up.

Council leader Peter Nutting said: “Like every other organisation, Shropshire Council is looking to build on the very positive working practices that we have developed through, and a result of, the Covid crisis.

“Whilst we do know that we want to capitalise on this experience, we have no clearly developed plans at this stage.”

Keri Trigg

By Keri Trigg
Reporter - @KeriTrigg_LDR

Local Democracy Reporter covering Shropshire.

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