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A message from Executive Director, Helen Jones 16 June 2020

16 June 2020

As lockdown begins to ease and our lives become less restricted, there is a sense that things might one day begin to get back to ‘normal’.

But what will ‘normal’ look like in the aftermath of a global pandemic?

We won’t immediately have the answer as we start down the road to recovery but there’s no doubt that not everything will – or indeed should – go back to the way it was.

Our public health colleagues remain at the heart of this emergency and they are now turning their attention to the Government’s test, trace and isolate programme to ensure we can operate it effectively across Derbyshire. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them for their resolve throughout this unprecedented challenge and their on-going support as we enter this next phase.

As we learn to live with Covid-19 we have to ensure that, as we look to re-offer services to people that have changed or even stopped, they can be delivered in a way that reduces the risk of spread as well as thinking about the environment, the economy and improving health inequalities to ensure we focus on people having Better Lives.

As part of a team of executive directors whose job it is to oversee the running of this authority, I have seen and heard how new ways of working during Covid 19 have actually had huge benefits for some of our residents.

Recently I was at a meeting with NHS colleagues and was impressed to hear how working remotely had been efficient for them and many members of the public said it was more convenient for them too. For instance, clinical assessments - previously thought inappropriate to do online - have been effectively done that way.

Many of the county’s volunteers have provided support differently and the environment has undoubtedly benefitted from less people driving around our beautiful county.

In a few weeks’ time we will be sharing with NHS colleagues how our own working practices have changed during this crisis and how our work with the Community Response Unit has made us think differently about what support might continue to come from those around us in our neighbourhoods rather than directly from the council.

Undoubtedly, we will look to keep the spirit of this empowered approach alive and continue to embrace change as we move to the new normal and create effective and efficient systems which allow you to continue to do that.

We have seen many examples of your Derbyshire spirit as you have found new and innovative ways to deliver services or gone the extra mile to ensure the most vulnerable people in our communities are supported. And for that I thank you also.

We can now build on these strengths to move forward in ways we might not previously have thought possible and achieve our vision for Derbyshire as a place where people lead at every level, take opportunities and hold their commitment to the county in their heart.

We have seen what is possible over the last few weeks. Our role has become that of community leader, enabling people to achieve their aspirations, build networks in their communities and base our work on relationships, people, knowledge and understanding.