Richmond.gov.uk
My Account

Date: Thursday 27 August
Author:
Cllr Roberts
Title: Leader of the Council

Last month the Council won the Public Sector Executive’s Council of the Month award, recognising our innovative approach to communicating with residents throughout the pandemic.  

For my money, good communication is an absolutely fundamental part of effective government, whether at local or national level. If the messaging is confused, unclear or simply non-existent then that creates a vacuum in which speculation and conjecture thrives. And when speculation and conjecture thrive, they breed fear. Take, for example, the recent reports in the Daily Express that Richmond was about to be forced into a Leicester style lockdown. Although this borough has one of the lowest rates of infection not only in London but in the country, the story began to gain some traction. It wasn’t until Whitehall finally gave us permission to release our localised data that we were able to step in and offer much needed reassurances.  And now, of course, we publish our most up to date data on our website (see DataRich)

From the beginning of the pandemic it has been our policy to be as communicative as possible with residents and to try new and different things. You may well have seen my videos on various subjects and those of my council colleagues all offering useful information and insights; in the early weeks of the lockdown we increased the frequency of our council e-newsletter to make sure residents were up to date with the latest information, we've launched a council podcast, we have embraced the potential of Zoom to talk directly with residents and have recently concluded our latest run of our popular Community Conversations using the Zoom platform which saw far more residents taking part than we have seen when we hold them in person; and we’ve held some showcase events such as a children's question and answer session with UK Astronaut Helen Sharman, and I held an online discussion with our Borough Commander, Chief Superintendent Sally Benatar. 

And we have also been keen to ensure that the business of the council continues, embracing online videoconferencing to make sure full council meetings can continue, ensuring planning and licensing meetings go ahead and the important works of our committees is uninterrupted.

Of course, all this is only possible because we have an excellent team of Communications Officers and Democratic Services officers who have worked so hard to make it all happen. This is very much their award and I hope they are proud of what they have helped the council achieve in recent months.

Updated: 24 March 2021