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Available integrations (and more)
The Staff Canteen has long been a hub of activity within council. Providing both a spot for an ad-hoc meeting, or a place to take a break, and get your thoughts in order. As much as anything, the staff canteen is an opportunity for the many council staff to get a hot or a cold meal, or at least a sandwich on the go. However your staff used their canteen, it was a key element of an on-going service and, more often than not, a council canteen was a chance to get lunch at a fair price.
The return to work comes with a number of caveats that set out the way in which the workplace will need to operate post COVID. The reality is that the opportunity to sit in the staff canteen is going to be greatly reduced. Even the natural layout of the staff canteen and the space for queuing will not lend itself easily to operating the service as staff numbers grow and people return from redeployment and furlough. Cash exchanging hands will become more difficult and grabbing a tray to put your food on will become a cardinal sin. Instead, there will be a need for canteens to work in a similar fashion to the many other food service. Take-away will be key.
Appointment bookings can be introduced to allow for a number of people to collect within certain time window. Potentially including separate times for those collecting hot as opposed to cold food.
Before COVID-19, organisations were increasingly moving toward hot-desking as a way to utilise less space and reduce the number of bodies on site. Despite space being at a premium, many rooms were under-utilised or often hidden away in specific departments.
Space in a COVID-19 world is more precious than ever. Home working will greatly increase but in some instances, data protection requirements will prohibit home access. As the world returns to ‘the new normal’, council offices will see increased staff attendance on-sites once more.
Hot-desking will become more important as desks will now have to be distanced or screened and so the space available in the office layout becomes less. Knowing when it’s necessary to be on-site will be vital, as will knowing when people and resources are available. Where meetings involve guests arriving, waiting areas and sign-in books will become more difficult to operate.
Take a look at our Generic Appointments, Hotdesking, Room Booking, Room displays and Self-Arrival modules - see how they can deliver you a service which is fully operational while maintaining all the social distancing rules we need.
Organising and running events and courses is an everyday function for councils. These activities range from providing skills training for internal council teams to organising courses for children over the summer or even driver training for citizens to attend.
The current challenge for holding such events is to ensure individuals are still able to attend within the remit of social distancing. Trainers and course lecturers need to receive applications and return booking confirmations without attending the office to do so. Will class room training still be an option - or are there other methods we can opt for? If the training needs to be face-to-face, then managing the numbers attending and ensuring a waiting-list is available will need to in place and available for booking; again without visiting the council offices.
The Zipporah Courses and Events module is a comprehensive online solution for allowing training and events to still be organised and take place even within these challenging times. The solution is designed to manage event set-up, take bookings online, then send confirmation (through various forms), ensuring candidates and course tutors have the information they need.
The Zipporah solutions allows users to:
Many Local Authorities are lucky enough to have venues and open spaces which are available for a variety of Leisure Activities. These can be activity centres used for a range of groups or general leisure and tourism sites which generate good revenue for the council during relevant seasons and which ensures they could keep themselves going. Vital revenue used to ensure that the council can maintain such sites is generated by the visitors.
All manner of tourism activity has been greatly damaged whether public or private sector. One of the biggest issues for the public sector is that their revenue is used to ensure that sites are maintained with a view not to making massive profit which means they have stored up money for a situation like COVID. As such the need for the departments and services to have a quick recovery and move forward is as great as any other business. The councils need to find a way to support their own organisations by having a solution in place which will help to advertise, drive revenue and work to allow for quick and easy income capture as a priority. They also have the task of needing to find a way of helping to support the other businesses in the sector to keep going and offer them solutions that can help them at a time when the industry is likely to be one of the worst affected at a time that they should be looking at a roaring trade.
Council have always worked to remain open to broad payment methods, rather than steering people toward specific method. In reality, cheques and cash are still extensively used and apart from being physical entities of payment, they’re expensive to process and leave the door open for late and incorrect payments.
The world is rapidly driving toward a cashless society. We have seen tap and go amounts rise and some businesses attempt to go completely cash free. While this is unlikely to become the only way to pay in the immediate future, there is clearly a need to drive people towards removing any physical handover from one individual to another.
Whether for league games, playing tennis or brownies/cubs, citizens and groups could book a venue at a very good price and utilise it for just about anything from a group meeting to a party. Many areas of the community depend on such resources to allow them to meet, for some it allows their small business to operate.
Health and Safety has always actively been a part of the process to make sure rooms are not overfilled, but now those rooms are about to become smaller. The space will may need to halve in order to allow for social distancing to work. It will become vital to allow people to see the full range of facilities that council can offer and to ensure they are used wisely. We cannot allow spaces that accommodate 50 people for groups of 10. Caretakers may not be able to show customers around the venue and we may need to remove keys from the process, in lieu of usage codes, as well as automating lights and air con units.
Libraries are an essential part of everyday learning and citizen interaction of all ages, giving access to knowledgeable librarians, workshops, events and story times. Libraries bring communities a sense of togetherness.
Social distancing has resulted in the closure of libraries and the suspension of the wonderful and vital interactive services they offer. Citizens cannot visit unannounced and spend time choosing from stocked book shelves or spending time at the ICT suite. Community events remain unorganised and unattended. This has an impact on the social well-being of citizens as well as financial implications on libraries.
We recognise the importance and value of continuing the provision of library services and want to suggest ways in which councils can allow their citizens to once again feel connected to the service and continue to feel the benefit of libraries and their experienced teams.
Firstly, we need to consider the issue of social distancing within the library. How can citizens visit and remain safe? It will not be feasible for individuals and families to attend without prior notice and agreement. The Zipporah solution tackles this issue and allows citizens to book a visiting slot with the library and its team. Zipporah have worked with Aberdeen City council to deliver online Booking slots for collection of your books/audio books etc. This includes the ability to select your preferred genre as well preferences such as large print.
The Zipporah library solution will allow a maximum number of visitors within a timeslot. In particular, the Zipporah solution will manage and control the maximum number of visitors within a timeslot, will set limits appropriate for the space at that point in time and restrict the number of bookings for individuals who can browse the library selection at any given time. The system will also enable a click and collect/drop-off for book/CD/DVD and any number of other services, allowing mobile libraries to travel stocked appropriately to more difficult to reach areas, and ensure that the correct items are readily available for those most at risk people – restricting their exposure to others and to any other potential harm.
Customer services was a centre for people to drop-in with emergencies, and was positioned very much as the beating heart of an authority.
Drop-ins will become a virtual impossibility. Queuing systems will become obsolete in the short-term, as allowing groups of people to wait for their appointment will be difficult to manage and potentially irresponsible. With this in mind, pre-arranged appointment slots will become vital - ensuring the best-use of interview rooms will become essential to ensure positive outcomes. Dropping-in as your passing in the street will become less likely, less desirable and even discouraged.
Read about our Generic Appointments, Room Booking and Self-Arrival modules to ensure continued service provision while maintaining all the social distancing rules.
A pre-Covid visit to a museum or gallery conjures an image of long queues of anticipation before the doors open and a keen expectation of expert tours and group learning. It’s the ability to wander around, taking your time to appreciate the exhibits, getting a coffee from the canteen and getting lost in the culture. How can these institutions diversify to survive – and even improve in the post Covid world?
The biggest challenge facing these centres will be the ability to completely rethink the visitor experience. Cultural centres will need to account for the physical touch-points synonymous with these experiences, and diversify their service delivery to suit the post Covid world. Queuing for entry to an exhibition, hunting for a slice of cake from the café or using touch-screens to bring experiences to life. By altering the experiences the public have come to enjoy, how can centres futureproof their businesses? How can these centres reduce mass entry and inside gatherings while encouraging social distancing? How can we regulate cleaning so it’s effective and achievable, without impacting the enjoyment of the experience? How would you manage track and trace? How can these centres ensure they inform all relevant parties quickly and accurately?
In a world of social distancing, controlling visits will be a key element of all museums and cultural centre re-openings. Knowing who is coming, when and keeping a record of who has visited for track and trace moves from a nicety to a necessity.
The operation that ensured public bins were collected, grass was cut, potholes were managed and roads were kept in good shape. These were the people who may have been keeping council properties maintained and generally kept the day to day running. The truth is, any teams or departments who spend time working outdoors are going to find significant changes will be required as we enter the new normal.
Suddenly, having a team operating as a unit in one cab to travel becomes a problem in the same manner as those people who may use public transport. Jobs may have to be more granularly thought through, keeping, where possible, smaller teams operating. Travel to jobs becomes an increasing concern with the need to keep journeys “local” where possible, as part of the R number conundrum.
For many councils, offering MOT and safety inspection services to customers couldn’t have been an easier process. Customers could just turn up, and wait their turn in the queue - payment was a choice for the customer too, even paying by cash!
Taxi and Hackney Carriage MOTs and Inspections are a vital service that will need to continue, and it’s the council’s challenge to work around issues brought forward by COVID-19 - ensuring staff and customers remain safe. It is now unacceptable to have queues of customers waiting at depots and other council premises. The service needs to adapt and ensure a smooth flow of customers visiting MOT centres at a pre-arranged time with the correct and relevant paperwork.
The Zipporah solution for managing MOT test centres is quick and easy to implement. Within hours you are able to offer a service which adheres to new rules, allowing visitor numbers to be controlled and customers safe in the knowledge that they are able to stick to social distance restrictions.
Customers are able to book a time slot to attend as well as provide the council team with the relevant vehicle information and payment for the service; all prior to attending an appointment. This, easy process avoids wasting time spent on the day dealing with paperwork and taking payments.
If you needed a skip, or a licence to carry petroleum, or you needed a check on your premises, usually you’d download a PDF, fill it in offline and post it in or drop it off to customer services, along with your payment and voila – you’d walk away with your licence.
Walking in anywhere to join a queue is a prospect none of us will see for many months to come. Handing over forms and cash will be discouraged to save time, money and ensure no transmission of the virus between people coming into contact with a form. The new world will need online passing of forms for signoff and online payment. Producing the licences and certificates electronically will also gradually becomes more popular, as we evolve to combat the COVID challenge.
Bulky collections were picked up from houses, pest visits were fully controlled and recycling centres were the ‘drop-in’ places citizens could drop off the larger items from our house renovations. It was simple, and it worked like a well-oiled machine.
Recycling centres are a hotspot for traffic and generate queues. Bulky collections were stopped by many council, and with tips closed, houses are bursting at the seams, in turn, this generates more waste at our homes, which increases the attraction for pests.
Managing housing services has always been conducted with a significant human interaction. Contact and relationships are built between a housing officer and citizen, and from the outset, this may involve an unplanned resident simply dropping into the council office to enquire about an application process, hoping to arrange a future meeting, or further down the line, visiting properties and signing leases.
How can we now ensure that residents are fully informed without having to physically visit council offices? How do we arm both resident and housing officer with all the relevant information? Further down the line, the citizen will need to understand what is expected of them when it comes interacting with your housing staff, keeping both them and your staff safe at the same time.
Zipporah’s solution enable omni-channel access to manage and schedule all your housing service appointments needs. Manage resident visits to your council locations by implementing a quick and easy booking tool, allowing both public and staff booking. The system will allow you the opportunity to control all the business rules related to the particular appointment, then add the Zipporah 365 plug-in to enable staff the ability to book an appointment via their Outlook calendar.
Virtual viewing will allow the tenant to book a meeting with an email and video attachment or link to view the property, ensuring that social distancing can take place. In turn, this ensures that surfaces don’t need repeated cleaning if there are multiple tenants interested. Once viewed, the tenant is able to confirm if they’re interested in the property and can express the interest online, enabling officers to send out all the relevant paperwork via email, and prompting back office management of any tasks, documents associated and booking notes.
Protect your lone workers, and maintain a healthy workload with real-time status updates (edit/review) on appointments outside of the council offices, and mark cases as incomplete/part-completed or completed.
The registration service is for the registration of all Births, Deaths and Notices of Marriage and Civil Partnership. A service which has long required attendance at offices in order to present details and confirm information that is needed for registrations and a legal necessity for citizens to register.
The increase in death figures since March 2020 has seen an increase need for citizens to get the registration completed quickly and easily. After a three/four-month halt on registrations, registrars all over the country are struggling to keep up with birth, notice, ceremony and citizenship registration demand. Plenty of citizens who still want to get married and on top of all this, citizenship is still necessary and many people still want or need copy birth certificates. Many, if not all, of these services also have payment elements. The security matters of the increased data that may be needed for the extra information captured or, more importantly, for dealing with scenarios where card details may be given over the phone – a risk while staff were working at home – has seen many options be derived to try and get these payments through.
Zipporah has seen assisting our clients there throughout, and historically have been providing solutions that could solve these issues without needing rewrites. Already in law for as much as three years, its clear the registration service will be seeing change for some time to come.