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Meet the team


  • Caroline Beirne, AD for Workforce Bury LCO
  • Emma Arnold, Workforce Lead, Bury LCO

What is the positive change that has emerged through new collaborations or partnerships during Covid-19 that your project is going to embed?

The move to virtual and remote working has reduced has been widespread across public and voluntary services during Covid, and there is no indication of a widespread return to the office environment any time soon. Our local evaluation has demonstrated efficiencies in use of time, ability to work collectively on documents, reduction in commuting and travelling between meetings, reduced cost, and an initial advantage in work life balance. Latterly however feedback has indicated increased levels of exhaustion, cognitive overload, and intrusion into personal lives that are impacting on health and wellbeing, in particular for those in operational or support roles, administrative, management and office based. Specifically the continuous use of platforms such as MS Teams, Zoom etc without break. So our challenge is to retain the positive aspects of virtual working, whilst improving well-being and effectiveness, and ultimately avoiding burn-out.

What does your project aim to achieve?

The project aims to:

1. Test out the use of virtual tools to support improvement work and facilitation in a virtual setting, the impact of these on staff, and their effectiveness in delivering outcomes for improvement and progressing developments.

2. Test out the use of virtual tools to support improvement work and facilitation in a virtual setting, specifically how this can be utilised to support inclusivity of Lived Experience input.

3. Identify impact on how working virtually impacts on wellbeing, engagement, productivity, inclusivity and culture across a system. Includes how meetings are operated, and structured, other influences in the system, adoption of tools and how users experience these.

3. Develop working practices across a health and care system that balances the cognitive impact of compensating for non-verbal communication, with constant use of virtual meetings by testing multiple techniques to reduce impact and improve health and wellbeing.

How will the project be delivered?

Delivery will be through the Local Care Organisation, which supports integration of health and social care across 7 partners in the borough. This includes secondary and community services, mental health, out of hours GP services, primary care, social care, voluntary sector and third sector care provider.

An integrated system workforce hub is placed to deliver and monitor the impact on working practices across the providers and commissioners, including monitoring wellbeing and access to training to support the project.

The LCO Delivery Team will be able to deliver and test the changes that support improvement techniques including Lived Experience through existing projects providing analysis of pre and post virtual working. Additional project support will be required to deliver the project.

The LCO has the skills and access to tools in improvement methods and project management and an existing forum for monitoring and assuring system wide programmes of work, including an evaluation forum.

How is your project going to share learning?

Sharing of learning is proposed in the following ways:

1. Linking into existing SIG’s in Q Community such as Liberating Structures, Re-thinking health and care. Potentially commencing a new SIG focused on healthy virtual working. Sharing ideas to test, and learning from outputs.

2. Sharing via social media updates and learning across Q forums

3. Development of a ‘practice guide’ for the Bury system which can be shared, outlining tests of change, outcomes, learning and impact.

Learning will include findings in relation to impact on wellbeing, ability to engage, productivity of various formats for meetings, and use of different media/Apps and tools such as Liberating Structures. Learning will also focus on practical elements such as length of time, use of camera, frequency, use of break out rooms  etc and how these impact on experience, particularly any differences between experience of staff and patients/families. The impact of structure of meetings will also be shared.

How you can contribute

  • Feedback on how Q members would like to see learning shared.
  • Feedback on any measures that would be useful to be considered.

Plan timeline

22 Dec 2020 Develop outline plan and specific areas of development
22 Jan 2021 Commence testing of tools and ideas for evaluation
22 Mar 2021 Outline evaluation of impact and outcomes
22 Aug 2021 Evaluation of longer term impact and outcomes
22 Sep 2021 Development of good practice guide


  1. This is a really relevant piece of work and will be interested to follow it.  Finding a way to measure  the effectiveness of meetings will be challenging as one of the drivers can be existing hierarchies within the system - perhaps triaging is necessary.

    Could be useful to identify the major stressors for staff such as timing, use of cameras, length of meetings and measure those in terms of wellbeing?

    Look forward to seeing how things progress as it will certainly bring lots of learning!


  2. This project could have huge impact as I think virtual meetings is one of the transformations that will stay. Would be interested to see

    1. practicalities, eg how to do breakouts, use tools eg liberating structures, data on how this is being used to develop for user engagement eg patient panels and other ‘one off users

    It would be interesting to measure engagement including during a meeting and impact of ‘culture’ of video off or on etc impacts

  3. This is a really 'hot topic' for us all. In terms of measuring a wide view of impact might be useful? eg



    Engagement -


    Productive ; effectiveness

    I guess a challenge will be how to compare / benchmark against previous / other methods eg face to face unless you already have data / measures on this?

    Hope this is helpful




  4. Hi Lindsey,

    Myself and my colleague Emma Adams (Health Transformation Partnership) are supporting the Health Foundation this year by fostering conversations between Q members and encouraging collaboration. We were Exchange applicants last year, so we’re hoping that our experience will help us to help others, as their ideas take shape.

    Today I've been reviewing all ideas posted in the digital space. Many other projects are looking at virtual service delivery methods for their particular service, but none are looking at the overall positives and negatives of virtual delivery across a number of services. I am, however, working with a Trust who has been engaged in the last few months in a Quality Improvement project to gauge and improve the experience of service users and staff using remote, digital solutions for service delivery (over a range of services). I'm happy to connect you if you'd be interested in hearing their experiences (presuming they feel they're in a position to share in this way.) Best of luck with your project.


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