5 Interesting ways Parish and Town Councils are using technology to fight coronavirus

During these unprecedented times, Councils are having to adapt the way they work and familiarise themselves with working remotely whilst maintaining productivity levels.

One of our key partners, Parish Online, have told us how Parish and Town Councils are utilising technology to help their local communities during the coronavirus outbreak.

What is Parish Online?

Parish Online provides digital ‘mapping software’ to support Local Councils to store and manage their assets online, produce neighbourhood plans and help Councils to engage with the public.

Why is Parish Online useful for councils during the pandemic?

1) Organising support for vulnerable people

Parish Online has proved a great tool for coordinating a local response to ensure vulnerable people in the area are getting the support they need.

Councils can plot groups of houses and assign them to staff, councillors or volunteers as their designated area. Each individual is responsible for their own area and overlaps are avoided. Plotting where vulnerable people live on the map can also help build useful information for the team.

2) Sharing data with volunteers and public

Having volunteers willing to help with your efforts is great and can really make a difference, but just as in normal times, personal data should not be shared. It’s possible to operate these services by using anonymised property-level data and not including the name or details of those who need help. You are advised to adopt a policy of sharing the minimum amount of data to get the job done.

Parish Online recommends not including personal information unless it is essential. Your efforts may overlap somewhat with the new NHS Volunteer Army initiative, so it would be worth seeing if your tasks could be covered under this scheme.

https://www.england.nhs.uk/2020/03/your-nhs-needs-you-nhs-call-for-volunteer-army/

3) Plotting infrastructure for civil preparedness

Parish Online uses standardised symbology for civil contingency planning and emergency response infrastructure so that councils can create a ‘Civil Protection Map’. By plotting assets using your local knowledge, you’ll be better prepared if/when the Local Authority or emergency service contacts you for information.

4) Working remotely

Parish Online is web-based and can be used by your whole team (including designated support staff and contractors). This allows your council staff to work efficiently as a team, sharing the same information, even if you are all working remotely.

5) Promoting health and well-being

During these times it’s important to stay active and get some fresh air, as long as you stick to government guidelines. As a local council you can highlight public spaces, playground areas or anything else that’s still open to use.

Parish Online is in the process of launching a new Public Map tool which will let you publish information from your Parish Online account into an interactive map on your website.

I am interested in Parish Online, how do I subscribe?

During the coronavirus pandemic, Parish Online are extending their 30 day free trial to 90 days. This means that councils have more time to test the software and support their community during these difficult times.

For any council which commits to a 3 year BHIB Councils Insurance policy, Parish Online is free!

Don’t worry if you already have a policy with another provider, you can get Parish Online if you commit to switching when your renewal is due.

If your renewal is due soon and you would like to consider moving to BHIB Councils Insurance, drop us a line at insurance@bhibcouncils.co.uk or call 0330 013 0036.

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Katie Ford

Katie Ford

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About Us

BHIB Councils Insurance provides specialist insurance solutions for Local and Parish Councils. As part of BHIB Insurance Brokers, we have been delivering professional insurance and risk management guidance to our customers for over 50 years.

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