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A Year of Covid-19

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Covid-19, Our People

Hello everyone, my name is Gina Gill and I wanted to kick off my ‘Mini Blog Series’ by sharing my reflections on the last 12 months. My most enduring memory of the last year will be how it brought out both the best and worst behaviours in people (thankfully mostly the best).

C is for Community

I am immensely grateful that we live in a society that really pulled together. People delivered medicine, volunteered to work on Covid wards; restaurants distributed free food to those that needed it and people shopped for groceries for their neighbours; the Marsh family gave us some much needed laughter with their rendition of Les Mis, and Captain Tom lifted our spirits.

At the MoJ and in Digital & Technology (D&T) we pulled together to keep justice services running, supporting each other through very unsettling times which I am hugely proud of.

O is for OMG!

I remember my first trip to the supermarket just before lockdown officially started. Not a single toilet or kitchen roll in sight! I also remember when I had stupidly rushed to the station (some things never change) took a sip of water on the train, and promptly choked on it! Not a single person even looked at me from a distance to make sure I was OK. I understand that people were fearful, but remember feeling a huge sense of sadness that stayed with me for quite some time.

The middle part is about the difficult times:

V is for Vulnerable

I think we’ve all felt vulnerable at some point in the last 12 months. We have all worried about our families, friends and loved ones. Many of us have lost someone close to us whether through Covid or otherwise, and many of us didn’t get the opportunity to attend a funeral, mourn, or celebrate that life in the way that we would have wanted to.

My sister in law has been on furlough for most of the last 12 months, my husband’s company made redundancies just before Christmas. I know it’s been difficult to see the growing daily published numbers, but I think this week has been an opportunity to take a step back from that and remember the very real impact that the last year has had on so many people.

The last part is all about the things we do:

I is for Internet

This will be the year of online for me (or internet but there’s not another “O”!). We moved to online meetings, I watched more TV than I think I’ve ever watched - my favourite thing being Schitt’s Creek. I’ve done online Christmas Day, wine tasting, quizzes, pubs, watched the rugby together with friends - all virtual but didn’t work, as everyone’s a few seconds in front or behind!

D is for Delivery

I am still in awe of all of the things we’ve delivered but here are just a few:

Together we have:

  • kept all of our services running and secure despite some hiccups particularly over the summer period due to networks and our service desk transition
  • provided over 10,000 devices to colleagues and rolled out Microsoft Teams to keep justice services running.  We have around 60,000 Teams meetings per week now!
  • enabled court hearings and parole hearings to move online
  • enabled remote social visits for offenders with around 6,000 calls per week, and offenders being able to see their families on Christmas day for the first time ever
  • kept delivering - all the other projects, programmes and services in flight from networking in prisons to user centred policy design and everything in between.

So, I’d like to finish by saying a very big, very heartfelt thank you to everyone at MoJ Digital & Technology for your hard work, dedication and compassion. For all the things you’ve delivered and for all the support you’ve shown each other and to me. I will be forever grateful.

Until the next time...


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