The community resilience pandemic response work by a small team at Orkney Islands Council has been recognised at a national level.
The LGC Awards judging panel have shortlisted the Council’s entry “Orkney at its best – creating COVID solution through community” within the Community Involvement category.
The awards are a celebration of excellence in local government and this year’s event attracted a record number of entries.
OIC interim Chief Executive John Mundell said: “Communities within Orkney are well known for their resilience and pulling together during challenging times. This is deserved recognition of the hard work by staff at Orkney Islands Council who came up with new and innovative ways of working to ensure all our communities were supported during the pandemic.
“The shortlisting against some stiff competition is national acknowledgement of good practice being carried out which was so vital during the unparalleled times we all faced together.
“Well done to all the staff and community volunteers involved and the very best of luck for the next stage.”
The OIC entry focused on the need for a robust community resilience response to ensure communities could weather the storm – especially the fragile island communities for whom issues are amplified by remoteness and limited access to services.
Staff quickly realised the most effective way to deliver its emergency response was to tap into community leaders for their support. Through years of dedication and hard work of the Council’s Democratic Services team and volunteers who serve on Community Councils, Orkney Islands Council had in place very good relationships with knowledgeable and well-connected individuals throughout Orkney.
These ready-made communication channels were quickly ramped up via the Community Council Chairs, helping the Council to gather rapid feedback from communities on the specific challenges they were facing – food and fuel shortages on isles communities and difficulty obtaining feed for livestock were early headline problems.
Equally important was the role Community Councils played as a conduit for trusted information about the pandemic. The natural progression was to form Community Resilience Groups (CRGs) - members of each of the twenty Orkney Community Councils met on a regular basis, via Teams. Attendees were able to relay information about what was going on in their communities.
All shortlisted councils will make a presentation to a judging panel in London on 22 September – finalists will find out thereafter if they have won at the LGC Awards on 4 November.