Majority of councillors want to retain hybrid working model

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Remote working facilitates better family, personal, work and study balance for elected councillors

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16 November 2021 | 0

Local councillors have expressed desire to retain a hybrid model of work which gives the option to conduct local authority business in an online or a physical setting. This comes from a new report on ‘the role of video conferencing in supporting local government’ from the Association of Irish Local Government (AILG) in collaboration with Zoom.

The survey of 949 elected council members found that 94% agreed that their council has been proactive in moving meetings online since the start of the pandemic.

A further 81% said a hybrid environment facilitated better family, personal, work or study balance within their role as an elected representative.

More than half (51%) agreed that a hybrid environment will encourage more participation in Local Government from underrepresented groups including women, under 35’s, self-employed, full-time carers, and people with a disability.

 

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President of AILG, Councillor Nicholas Crossan said: “The ability to smoothly transition engagements to an online environment using video conferencing has played a significant role in this. Listening to feedback from councillors on their use of video conferencing over the last 18 months evidently demonstrates several positive learnings we can take from this process, including the desire to retain a hybrid model for conducting future council business.

“We’ve witnessed a significant shift since March 2020, when most councils conducted no meetings or engagements online, to a point now where half of councillors are spending six to ten hours a week on video calls as part of their council business. It’s positive to see councils demonstrate innovative ways of working, proven by the proactive approach to transitioning online. There is now a realisation among most councillors that a hybrid model facilitates better balance between family, personal, work and/or study life and that it opens opportunities to ensure more diversity and gender balance for our local authorities.”

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