Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire | WYPCC

Adapting to new ways of working during a global pandemic

20th November 2020

How third sector organisations coped during the global pandemic was one of the focuses of a virtual third sector conference held by West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Mark Burns-Williamson this week.

The Annual Third Sector conference brought together over 70 people from organisations who represent and support the sector who also talked about the importance of diversity in terms of its positive and vital impact in our communities.

Mr Burns-Williamson said: “This was the 8th annual third sector conference I have held since being elected, this time being the first virtual one, showing how we have all adapted during these ongoing challenging times.

“In my role as PCC I am acutely aware of the impact of this year’s unique situation on individuals, their families, the sector, and everyone who work with and support our wider communities.

“We all continue to face extremely challenging times with the fight against Covid-19 and meeting online in the midst of a second national lockdown, we could not be more aware of the impact of the restrictions on how we work.

“In some ways, the pandemic situation has brought many of us closer together, albeit virtually, and we have seen amazing acts of kindness and dedication, from the emergency services and NHS, third sector and our communities at large.

“But most importantly, the collective partnership working to help ensure individuals within all our communities feel safe, supported and reassured continues. This was evident in the conference with many examples of really positive collaborative initiatives, including providing meals to those in need and knife crime preventative work.

“I want to pay tribute to all the third sector organisations that have continued to deliver high quality services to vulnerable victims through these challenging times. Organisations like Victim Support, and Restorative Justice, the providers of support services to victims and survivors of domestic and sexual abuse – they have all adapted their services to remote ways of working, as well as continuing to offer face to face contact where that was possible and clearly essential.”

Other speakers on the day included Clint Hepworth, West Yorkshire Liaison and Diversion Service, who spoke about how they focus on Third Sector partnership working; the benefits and the challenges, Julie Stott, Development Consultant with Disability Partnership Calderdale, about how they have risen to the challenges that Covid presented.

Heather Nelson JP, also talked about her own organisation, Black Health Initiative, about their work to support minority communities to influence providers and services, policies and procedures to ensure they are inclusive and unbiased.

Mark Burns-Williamson also spoke about the prospect of a new Mayor for West Yorkshire next May and the opportunities that will bring to the region in the form of substantial investment and growth.

“This will see £1.8bn invested in our communities and more opportunities for greater integration and partnership working, improving people’s lives and will be a similar arrangement to what’s already in place in London and Greater Manchester,” he added.

“I wanted to reassure services they will stay the same and as soon as we receive more information around what the Mayoral and policing model arrangements we will aim to ensure everyone understands what that looks like going forward.

“It is only by empowering people and places that we can unlock the real potential of our great county and ensure government and governance at a local level works for everyone across all the services provided.

“We all have a responsibility to represent the needs of all the communities we seek to serve and to deliver for our communities to help improve lives. And it was great to be able to update our partners and take part in such a worthwhile and valuable conference, and I thank them all for the amazing work they continue do in their communities at a time of such need.

“We’ve given each organisation a feedback form and asked that they highlight one key action they’d like us to take forward. We’re looking forward to seeing what comes back and doing our best to make them a reality.”