Last updated: 12 October 2021
How the Council needs to respond
The Covid-19 crisis has also had an impact on Waltham Forest council. To effectively address the challenges in the borough, we will build on what we have learnt during this period and re-organise to serve residents effectively.
We will be even more radical and innovative, with the values of public service at our core. We must play a uniting and leading role in the borough, and more widely within local government. Five principles will guide our approach to becoming a fundamentally different council:
1. Financial sustainability and commerciality
Over the last decade we have faced profound austerity, but we have not used this as an excuse for inaction. It is imperative for our public service values that we continue to innovate and work in new ways. We will not let a lack of money stand in the way or become an excuse.
The outbreak has provoked uncertainty and financial challenges, which will mean that finding ways to increase our efficiency will be key to a successful recovery. This may mean finding new commercial opportunities to benefit local residents while delivering new service funding streams.
2. Working differently
The pandemic has highlighted our workforce’s strength in adapting to new challenges and innovating to overcome them. To take this further, we will produce a new workforce strategy, highlighting the strength of performance within the council, and challenging us to further improve and enhance productivity. We will design a completely different way of working and develop new ways of measuring the success and efficiency of our services.
3. Radically agile
Public service requires creativity and adaptability to the demands of the people it serves. The pandemic created flexibility in the council with over 200 staff redeployed to provide new services and support others. Moving forwards, we will enable the council and its staff to work more flexibly, including with the use of resources, to ensure that we can move quickly towards our residents’ needs. We will increase the use of technology to make services more responsive and efficient, and our workforce more agile.
4. New approaches to partnership and communities
It is more important than ever that we stand alongside our residents, and that we develop new partnerships with a shared sense of mission. We want to be uniting, and accountable to our communities. We have worked hard to listen and will encourage new conversations with anyone who wants to take part. We will use this resident and community insight to improve how we operate and deliver services.
Our Citizens Assembly on hate incidences took a pioneering and collaborative approach to decision making. We will be bolder in using new approaches to work alongside communities to tackle complex challenges by focusing on our shared understanding of public service.
5. Providing exceptional service
The pandemic has demonstrated the importance of our core services in supporting residents, with new public appreciation for services such as repairs and maintenance services and waste collection.
Whatever the challenges facing the borough, we will agree a new customer experience strategy to ensure that our customer service is high quality, responsive and reliable. We will constantly drive improvements in all our services, ensuring they are easy to use, accessible and responsive for our residents. Above all, we need to listen to our residents on big and small issues.