Steven Broomhead reflects on a relentless few weeks

THE past couple of weeks have been the most exceptional in my 30 years as a Chief Executive in one place or another.

It is set of tests of leadership, planning, resilience and communications.

The pressures has been relentless.

The true test of leadership is how well you manage in a crisis. The key areas I’ve faced are, on ensuring we have the evidence to take practical decisions to support our residents and businesses.

Sometimes this has not been easy as the government information lags behind the announcements and needs interpreting for the town. This was particularly an issue regarding business support and job retention for the self-employed.

Being clear of what is required of staff, whilst remembering that they themselves are affected by the “mood music” of the pandemic and working effectively with our two MPs, trade unions and our political leadership have also been vital.

Reaching shared decisions with the leader of the council and carrying out quick risk assessments such as whether or not to close our parks and how to deliver the support as advised by government have been key actions.

Ensuring close partnership working with the NHS/hospital/GPs when sometimes they receive different advice to myself has also been a challenge. Building up support and co-ordinating action from the voluntary sector has been one of the few positives as there is an energetic eagerness to help.

This week has seen major changes for the workforce planning and a new reliance on broadband and remote working. For some it’s impossible to work from home as services such as bin collections and street cleaning must continue. The communicating of the prevent message and social distancing advice has been a constant challenge particularly as currently some person to person meetings have to continue.

Keeping community spirits and reassurance up in any crisis is a key feature of leadership. That’s why consistent internal and external communication of the key issues and advice is so important. Thanks to the Guardian, our critical friend for helping with this.