We spoke to Ella and Andy, who told us how they saw our 'Ambitious' value demonstrated all around them during the council's Covid response.

Andy from Direct Care & Services

Andy Leach (1)

The people I work with at Buckinghamshire Council make me proud, because they have great ethics and the desire to help their colleagues in providing outstanding services to Buckinghamshire residents. The challenge of becoming a Unitary Council during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic has brought us closer. It’s been a very difficult time but together, we’ve risen to the challenge. I’ve certainly seen our PACT values in action recently. Thinking back to March 2020, when we began setting up ‘The Olympic Lodge’, just how ambitious we were, taking on the challenge of setting up a first-class reablement centre with accommodation for 240 patients, in only three weeks!

We overcame many logistical difficulties, the first of which was galvanising everyone into action. It was then a case of rapidly working out what was needed, and making it happen very quickly. Autonomy was essential, the need for dispensing with bureaucracy and enabling sharp decision making was crucial.

Fear was a big challenge, as at the time of the Covid-19 outbreak, we didn’t really understand quite what we were dealing with. During the period of setting up and running The Olympic Lodge, unfortunately we had team members fall ill with the virus, so we had to remain positive and put our fears to one side. The task of supporting 240 people at the unit was certainly overwhelming at times, so we set about breaking it down into smaller, achievable actions. Pulling together as a team and having a shared goal really made the difference.

Ella from the Portage Service

1594415869486 Ella hey

I am responsible for leading a team of Portage Workers and running of the Portage Service, an Early Intervention service for children with a disability or additional needs. We support and provide parents with a bespoke programme, which teaches different strategies, using play activities to enhance their child’s development, learning and play skills within their home.

I’ve seen many examples of our ‘Ambitious’ value in action recently. Restrictions due to Covid 19 have brought challenges to the service, however the team have found solutions and demonstrated creative thinking, implementing changes to their engagement approach, so that families still feel supported. Before lockdown, the team provided bespoke activity bags and continued to offer appointments via phone and video, being mindful of individual family’s needs and adapting their approach accordingly.

As a manager, I have embraced new ideas, using technology and other available sources to share information. As a team, we have learnt to work differently and consider other alternatives to face-to-face home visits. We’ve received positive feedback from parents and carers we work with, which will influence our future activity, as we recognise advantages of using video alongside home visiting.

I am proud that our team works together to help achieve better outcomes for these children and their families. We have demonstrated that positive outcomes are still possible, if we remain positive, flexible, and enthusiastic; seeking solutions wherever possible. Buckinghamshire is a large county with lots of different services and diverse staff; therefore, by having the same values, we are united and working in the same direction.