We’ve all had to adapt quickly to very challenging circumstances to ensure we keep vital services running for Derbyshire residents. Like many of us I’ve managed to get to grips with Skype or Microsoft Teams and I know many of you will be finding new and innovative ways of service delivery.
As part of my corporate management role to jointly lead the council, I’ve been privileged and incredibly proud to see first-hand the huge efforts you’ve made across all departments to ensure we continue to provide excellent services to our communities and the most vulnerable.
With your help and that of our partners - including the police, fire service, borough and district councils - we’ve been able to respond to a rapidly changing situation in the best possible way.
Whether that’s setting up our Community Response Hub, working with the military to set up coronavirus testing centres, keeping our country parks shipshape or filling potholes while roads are quieter.
With recent announcements about how we’re going to navigate our way out the other side in the coming weeks and months, we will no doubt face many more hurdles and challenges.
Like many other large organisations and businesses across the county we’ll have to continue to adapt and change, doing things differently so that we can keep you, your families and our residents safe.
While there’s lots of things we haven’t been able to do, there are things we have been getting on with and our road workers have been targeting the backlog of pot holes and urgent repairs. While adhering to social distancing guidelines, they’ve fixed more than 28,000 since lockdown started. That’s double what would normally have been fixed in a normal period. Walking, cycling and exercise has also increased which is also good for our health and wellbeing.
Another positive benefit is the improvements in air quality and cutting carbon emissions through increased home working, using new technology and there being less vehicles on our roads. As an organisation our own carbon emissions have decreased significantly.
There are still many uncertainties about the future and it’s too early to say how this is likely to affect the way we work but needless to say we will have to continue to be agile to adapt and respond to an ever-changing landscape and I have every confidence local government will rise to the challenge as it always does.
Personally, change is something I’ll have to navigate too as I have announced my intention to retire from the authority at the beginning of September this year to enable me to support my family. A very tough decision for me as I really enjoy the work and the working relationships that I have developed in the thirty years working for the county council.
I will of course do everything I can to help with any transitional arrangements in the interim. I also hope to be able to catch up with many of you virtually over the forthcoming weeks and months before I retire.
Irrespective of my personal decision I have no doubt that you will continue to rise to the challenge, finding the best way forward for everyone. One thing is for sure, it’s only by working together as we have, that we will negotiate the inevitable bumps in the road successfully.
It’s nice to end on a positive note as I know that this is an extremely challenging situation for all of you. I’d like to thank you all for showing your #DerbyshireSpirit.