Delivering services for clients during Covid lockdown
Dee Conaghan, Trustee Board Chair, describes how Citizens Advice Westminster has responded to the challenges of maintaining service delivery in a virtual world.
“This has been a period of intense change and challenge. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, like so many organisations, charities and businesses, we ceased our face-to -face work, and by 24 March, all our staff were working from home. Since this time, and without pause, our teams have provided virtual and phone appointments for our clients and maintained our telephone Adviceline service.
“We have embraced this change and proved ourselves to be a flexible and imaginative workforce. On average for our Westminster Advice Service contract, we are running at 130% performance for our appointments and the pattern is similar across the other services we provide. By early summer, our staff teams were joined by some of our long-standing volunteers who contribute so importantly to our work.
“As well as our ongoing advice work, our Policy and Campaigns team are currently looking at the impact of the pandemic on housing, welfare benefits, employment and family situations.
“At the beginning of July our Chief Officer, Shirley Springer decided to step down from her role with us. We were all sad to say ‘goodbye’ to Shirley. She had been with Citizens Advice Westminster for over 30 years and had made an enormous contribution to the development of our successful advice service. We can only understand her need for a well-deserved break and then to move on to new challenges. We wish her the very best for the future.
“So this has been a period of intense and rapid change and challenge, but one in which we saw and realised how we could continue to provide our vital services to the residents of Westminster in a different way.
“Can I take the opportunity here to thank our wonderful staff and volunteers and our clients for working together in these new ways.”