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A message from Executive Director, Emma Alexander

20 May 2020

Since the advent of coronavirus many of us find ourselves in a situation which requires a dynamic and fast-paced response. You have been at the forefront - your support and resilience has kept essential services going to protect some of the most vulnerable people in our communities during this global pandemic. Thank you.

I'm also conscious that some of you have not been able to work, either because you are in the shielded or vulnerable groups or because the service you work in has not been operating and you do a job which doesn't allow you to work from home. We recognise that this is frustrating and sometimes isolating and we hope you are getting the support you need during these difficult times.

Thanks to my role as part of a team of executive directors whose job it is to jointly manage the council, I'm in a unique position to have witnessed where you've stepped up to the plate at a time when communities are looking to us for support and reassurance. You've also stepped up to help each other which characterises the best of Derbyshire staff and teams.

We've all had to adapt to different ways of working - whether that's working from home, embracing new technology or devising new policies to respond to what is fast becoming the new 'normal'.

By being flexible, we've been able to redeploy staff whose jobs have changed due to the coronavirus outbreak in to vital roles to provide assistance when and where it is needed most.

I'm delighted that almost 5,000 of you have completed our volunteer survey, embracing new ways of working to help us make the best use of your skills for the benefit of local people.

We've already been able to move staff in to a variety of new roles supporting essential services across the county with many departments making their own arrangements too.

Among other things, some of you have re-trained to care for elderly residents, are distributing essential PPE, organising and delivering food parcels to the most vulnerable or offering a friendly voice to 'shielded' residents at the end of a phone.

Clearly our staff who work at the front-line every day - from care workers to cleaners and road gangs to social workers - continue to do an amazing job, often in the most difficult of circumstances. I am enormously proud to be part of Derbyshire County Council and of the way we have responded to this unprecedented situation.

All of this shows true community spirit and builds on our Thriving Communities approach to ensure we make the best use of our resources to provide the best possible service for residents.

And, as we look to the future, we'll be working with colleagues to build on our strengths and the opportunities that may appear as we continue to deliver our Enterprising Council vision.

I'd like to thank each and every one of you for showing your #DerbyshireSpirit.