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Civil Service Local COVID response

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: A National Spotlight

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a press conference on the Coronavirus inside No10 Downing Street on 16 Mar, 2020

Following the Prime Minister's advice earlier this week we have taken the decision to move away from Face to Face meetings and deliver our services remotely / online. Please remain in contact with your local team to see how we are moving forward.



This is both a challenge and an opportunity for innovative thinking, recognising the different IT systems that Government Departments and Agencies use. We are looking at new ways of involving people across in our activities - combining 'local' with accessible by all.

Please leave a comment if you have any bright ideas or suggestions about how we can innovate, involve more people, and keep it 'local' not Westminster centric.

To see more about the Government repsonse visit

To see the NHS advice visit

I am happy to answer any general questions but please contact your local team if you need to know more.

NHS icons - protect yourself and others

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  1. Comment by Melanie Danby posted on


    Our team has set up an unofficial Whatsapp group so we can have the odd natter whilst we are working from home. We are also having weekly catch-ups with the rest of the team spread all over the country.

    Take care everyone.

    • Replies to Melanie Danby>

      Comment by John Mark Haskey posted on

      We are using WhatsApp in much the same way and as a backup to our Business Continuity cascades. As with all Social Media we need to ensure we are not overloading staff with messages and / or different platforms. Some in my team have said 'just text me with the important stuff' (I use Gov.Notify and they have just blogged on the ) as they don't 'need to know everything' in real time.

  2. Comment by Darren May posted on

    As our workforce is impacted by the reaction to the virus and the continuing escalations in response, we will undoubtedly lose a large number of staff. Certain Government Departments will therefore be impacted in the ability to deliver nationally critical services.

    Many of our Civil Servants have moved across several roles in their time, in addition to colleagues bringing a variety of skills and experience from outside the Civil Service.

    In trying to keep things local, and to avoid unnecessary travel, could senior leaders cooperate across departments within defined localities, to ensure Civil Servants with the necessary skills can move from non critical functions to support areas with delivering a nationally critical service which is struggling to cope due to staff shortages?

  3. Comment by Paul Cowan posted on

    I work for DVSA (Not DVLA) in the IT service management area, I work with a direct team of 12 people and our BC plan has always included working from home if an office became unavailable, although we had not assumed all offices would be unavailable, we are fortunate in having access to Office 365 which provides the Teams application, this provides conference and one to one calls, we have daily 15 minute team meetings to catch up on what is going on, these, starting today we also cover wellbeing, we also use instant chat to keep in touch during the working day. Most of our team do not have desk phones anyway, using the call functions in Skype and Teams or occasionally Mobiles.

    We have staff based in 6 locations so using the collaboration tools are part of out daily routine, this is how we communicate with our suppliers/stakeholders as well, working from home has not come as too much of a change, work is something you do, not a location you go to.

    If you don't have any collaboration tools then it is the time to get your IT departments to provide them, there are many available, but depending on your security policies they may need approval to make them available.

    • Replies to Paul Cowan>

      Comment by John Mark Haskey posted on

      Good points Cowan. Here we have a Google Enterprise environment so use Hang Outs in much the same ways you describe. However some departments block active Google links and we can't at the moment combine Teams with Google services. There are a few cross departmental or web services we can use and it's making the best use of what is available.

  4. Comment by julia posted on

    Hi there, Is it likely that Civil Service Live events will be cancelled?

    • Replies to julia>

      Comment by John Mark Haskey posted on

      Hi Julia, at this moment the plan is for these events to take place. The organisers will no doubt be considering the new advice and keeping a close eye on this fast changing situation. We will use this site to keep our folowers updated if there any changes are announced.

  5. Comment by Gill Watts posted on

    Hello, I would welcome a Midlands WhatsApp group. In this last week, I have also been using Zoom to connect with meetings outside the workplace. This could be a useful platform going forward.

    • Replies to Gill Watts>

      Comment by John Mark Haskey posted on

      Thanks Gill. We are looking at Zoom but at the moment we can't download the App onto our system. This means that we can join meetings via the web but can't create any of our own. Working on it.