COVID-19 Update

Working with the challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic, past and present.

It’s now been just over a year since COVID-19 caused how we live and work to change abruptly. Across that year, though, Civica, along with our customers, have successfully learned to adapt to a very different world.

In the spring of 2020, we were an early signatory to the C-19 Business Pledge. We focused on safeguarding our people and communities and ensuring the successful ongoing provision of our business-critical software and services. That focus has been maintained throughout the pandemic and in a similar way across all our countries we operate in.

We responded with new resources and rapid innovations, including the COVIDCare app delivered in March 2020 for the Northern Ireland Department of Health to later in 2020, a contact solution to support local track and trace in the London Borough of Redbridge. Across all the parts of the public sector that we support, we have responded to the needs of the customers and communities we serve, applying and adapting our software and systems.

We have been delighted to receive significant recognition during the past year, from individual awards for our people and as an employer of choice, to our cloud and digital solutions such as Best Cloud Finance Solution for our work with South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. We recognise that many customers are looking to build on new and stronger ways of working and are also focused on accelerating the adoption of new technologies.

Supporting our Employees

Our priority remains the physical and mental well-being of all our colleagues. Our teams continue to do an amazing job, responding to our changing working world with exceptional resilience and flexibility. Underpinned by our strong operating platform, this continues to sustain our business activities.

We’ve worked hard to proactively provide guidance and support for our people, from keeping remote workers engaged to our mental health champions and free-to-access Employee Assistance programme. We’ve enhanced how we communicate and continue to look for new ways to share ideas and inspiration. We have gathered and reacted to feedback via regular Pulse surveys and will continue to do that throughout 2021.

As each of the countries, we operate in moves towards a relaxation of Covid lockdown restrictions, we are adapting our approach in line with national governments' guidance.

In regions where facilities can be accessed, colleagues are able to ‘opt in’ to a limited number of workspaces available in our hub offices for occasional days. This is made possible by our workspace booking app and supported by attendance tracking and comprehensive arrangements to protect colleagues' safety. For many of our colleagues, working from home continues to be the primary arrangement for now. Our Incident Response and People teams continue to look for ways to support our colleagues and enhance these working practices.

Providing tools and resources for our customers

Alongside business as usual for our customers, we've worked hard to support the national and local level response through practical, innovative and updated software capability. We have delivered a range of new capabilities quickly, such as those listed below, and continue to provide system advice, configuration and data insights to ensure effective action. 

 

Helping beat the virus

Department of Health, Northern Ireland

In March the Department of Health launched a COVID-19 app commissioned and delivered in just two weeks by Civica with partner Big Motive. The first app of its kind in the UK and Ireland, it provides a single trusted source of immediate information and advice for NI citizens. Functions include an interactive symptom checker leading to guidance on what action to take, a chatbot to answer questions and a notification service to alert people to official updates or advice. With more than 44,000 initial downloads it is helping to ease pressure on GP surgeries, pharmacies and community services.

Staffing our NHS

NHS recruitment

We are supporting NHS Trusts in recruiting staff including volunteers and reducing turnaround times. Our cloud-based Trac recruitment platform supports the complete recruitment process for 180 Trusts. We responded rapidly to COVID-19 legislation to streamline recruitment processes to get the right candidates into posts quickly while supporting compliance. This includes fast-tracking DBS checks and professional registration to support specific temporary recruitment. Our support team continues to provide essential additional capacity for NHS Trusts, processing record numbers of DBS checks.

Supporting vulnerable citizens

Community Helper

Building on our iCasework digital platform we have made available Community Helper software free of charge for 6 months to help local authorities support their communities. Developed in partnership with Liverpool City Council, the digital platform is easy to use, quick to implement and highly secure. It enables councils to securely manage incoming requests for support with smart routing to match and direct these to service, volunteer or third sector teams based on criteria such as location, type of help needed and level of vulnerability. Authorities are then able to co-ordinate support to their most vulnerable residents, minimising data and safeguarding risks and delivering support as quickly as possible.

Funding for those who need it

Local Government Revenues & Benefits

We’ve diverted resources to rapidly update local government software to ensure authorities are able to provide critical assistance for local citizens and businesses and to reduce the amount of manual work required. These measures include support for councils in delivering vital business rates grant funds – with over £500 million paid by customer councils to date – and for the new Council Tax Hardship Fund. We’re working closely and swiftly with all local authority customers, including supporting the delivery of services with remote processing resource via our OnDemand capability and advising on options available to support households most in need.

Supporting employee processes

We have augmented our HR software in response to the significant issues faced by all organisations to implement and administer new schemes quickly in line with legislation, providing new functionality and reports with quick access to management information. In addition we have made available emergency payroll and BACS services with rapid set-up to ensure critical payroll processes are maintained and employees paid on time.

Health & Care Northern Ireland
  • Health & Care Northern Ireland
  • Local Govt and Social Housing
  • Health & Care
  • Local Public Service
  • HR and Payroll

COVID-19 App

The first app of its kind in the UK & Ireland developed and launched with the Northern Ireland Department of Health in less than 10 days. This app helped reduce the pressure on the 111 helpline and saw the daily call centre volumes reduced from 6,000 to less than 1,000

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Southern Health & Social Care Trust

An innovative mobile app developed in four weeks ensured vital information was shared with the Trust’s 13,000 employees, including contract and agency staff, without regular corporate systems access. Still in use, today; the Connect app provides an information hub with notifications and alerts, along with chatbot functionality to support and learn from employee requests.

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Community Helper software

Built on the iCasework platform to help local authorities co-ordinate rapid support for vulnerable people while minimising safeguarding risks. Securely manages requests with smart routing to rapidly match and direct these to agencies and volunteers. With the initial partnership with Liverpool City Council in 2020, the digital platform is easy to use, quick to implement and highly secure.

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Supporting Revenues and Benefits teams

When the UK Government announced a series of six measures to support businesses and Council Taxpayers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, local authorities needed to respond rapidly to ensure businesses and vulnerable citizens were protected.

We quickly created software solutions for the two largest measures, Business Rates Grant fund and the Council Tax Hardship fund. Our software supported 43 OPENRevenues customers to provide over £1.6bn in critical Business Rates Grants within the first few weeks of the pandemic. Our Council Tax Hardship Fund module has enabled the reduction of bills by up to a further £150 for working-age Council Tax support recipients. Processing the entire caseload in minutes meant local authorities were helping those vulnerable people who needed it fast.

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Supporting social housing tenants

We assisted social housing teams to re-focus resources and provide vital support to tenants. Our software was applied to reduce homelessness by providing emergency accommodation and managing direct hardship credits for those struggling with payments. Also, Civica software-enabled repairs staff to deliver food and other essential services to vulnerable people.

Trac e-recruitment software

We provided a rapid response to COVID-19 legislation to streamline recruitment and get the right candidates into posts quickly, including assistance to NHS recruiters and fast-tracking DBS checks. A record number of DBS checks were processed in a single day by the team (over 1,600). 

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Civica Experience

We have worked with hospitals in the UK and Australia to support patient feedback and surveys in a virtual environment using the Civica Experience platform. This has enabled feedback to be obtained in real-time, ensuring that patient concerns were not being missed and helped identify priority patients or those that need additional support.

Occupational Health

OPAS cloud software has been used to manage administrative and clinical activities associated with screening staff during their current deployments or any on-boarding process for new roles. This enabled frontline staff to complete placement assessments remotely, supporting the re-deployment of existing or returning staff to frontline roles, as well as the management of clinical testing.

TranSend electronic Proof-of-Delivery mobile app

Our TranSend delivery app was adapted with simple-to-use workflow and key features to enable critical supplies to be delivered to those in need, with clear instructions for drivers and proof of delivery obtained. Civica offered this free of charge for essential services, e.g. delivery to vulnerable citizens, school meals, fire services.

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HR & Payroll

We modified our Payroll software in response to the significant issues faced by all organisations in the UK and elsewhere to implement and administer new employment support schemes– such as furlough – and provide supporting management information. In addition, we provided emergency payroll and BACS services with rapid set-up to ensure critical payroll processes were maintained and employees were paid on time.

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Helping our Communities

In challenging times, people take great comfort from supporting and helping their colleagues and their wider community. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve actively encouraged our colleagues to support their local communities including through our Donate-a-Day scheme. Our people continue to help with causes close to their hearts including providing direct support to people in their local communities.