2021 Annual Review: the backbone of the RCoA

People and Operations

This past year we delivered initiatives to support staff health and wellbeing, both emotional and physical. 

Judith Tidnam

Director of People and Operations

July 2020 saw us planning to reopen Churchill House from 1 September, which went ahead but was quickly thwarted by a rapidly increasing R number two weeks later. Unfortunately, things did not recover as we entered the winter period.

January 2021 started with a third lockdown and the advice that those who could work from home should do so and, to ensure that the staff had everything they required, we trained four of the team in workstation assessments, with a specific focus on workstations set up at home. The team assessed all staff members by March and then, in liaison with the IT team, completed the task of sending equipment out to all those who needed it.

February saw us begin the project to upgrade our room booking system to the latest cloud-based version and to include a desk booking module that would allow us to manage and monitor the workspaces at the College. This was not a straightforward task. However, it was completed in July and the new version is greatly improved and is well supported.

We also upgraded our cleaning services to include swab-testing of random surfaces across the estate, giving particular attention to high traffic areas such as doors, stair bannisters and lift controls. These swabs are sent to an independent laboratory for analysis and a report is produced that indicates the levels of cleanliness and any improvement required. This happens on a quarterly basis and will continue even after all measures have been lifted as a good reference point for cleaning standards.

The Government announced that all legal limits on social contact and the reopening of closed sectors of the economy would take place from 21 June and so the College opted to welcome staff back cautiously and gradually from the beginning of August. In the meantime, we installed social-distancing measures to include signage, Perspex screens and revision of our maximum meeting room numbers to ensure anyone attending the building would feel at ease in a safe environment.

We continue to strive to ensure that Churchill House is as safe, healthy and clean as possible, whatever the reason for your visit, and we sincerely hope that 2022 will see us well on the way to some form of normality.

Providing technology and solutions to maintain business as usual

As we continue to operate a hybrid-working model, one of our main focusses in 2021 has been implementing IT solutions to provide technology that maintains security without sacrificing staff and volunteer productivity.

To enhance our IT, we have implemented new tools and technologies to improve user education and awareness.

These include:

  • Provision of a phishing simulation tool to raise the awareness around the risks associated with phishing/malware that can deliver specific user education to reduce the risk of clicking on malicious links
  • Introduction of a tool to strengthen email security, improving our resilience against email-based threats
  • Implementation of a web vulnerability scanning tool that facilitates repeat testing of college websites, providing detailed information on risks and vulnerabilities.


Our employees are the most integral component in delivering our strategy. Throughout 2021, they tapped into their resilience like never before.

A new IT Disaster Recovery solution was selected and implemented. The new solution is based on industry standard Microsoft technology that ensures longevity and reduces reliance on specific suppliers to provide this service.

Remote working and video conferencing capability has been significantly improved with the introduction of MS Teams to replace Skype for Business. MS Teams offers a much-improved experience for both staff and members and continues to play a major role facilitating flexible working and delivering hybrid-meetings.

Although we take the security of our data very seriously, mistakes can happen. To this end we have strengthened our information governance by hiring a partner to ensure full compliance.

Alongside the implementation of MS Teams, many enhancements have been made to the provision of audio-visual services in the college. These include new cameras and microphones in our meeting rooms, the installation of acoustic treatment to improve audio quality and a new mobile AV Unit that can be used in areas that are not equipped for video conferencing.

We continue to provide support and advice to all our staff and, over the course of 2021, the IT Support Team has successfully resolved in more than 1700 calls and queries, enabling our staff and volunteers to work effectively at all times.

Investing in a resilient and dedicated team

Our employees are the most integral component in delivering our strategy. Throughout 2021, they tapped into their resilience like never before, adapting to where they work and how they work to ensure that we could continue to deliver our services without jeopardising the outcomes for anaesthetists who receive our support. They have adapted brilliantly to the changing circumstances and have been extremely flexible and dedicated in carrying out their roles. 

Because of this, we want them to feel supported and feel that their work is fulfilling. Building on our wellbeing plans and staying connected have been priorities. This past year we delivered initiatives to support staff health and wellbeing, both emotional and physical. 

Balancing competition for skills and talent in a competitive market with a well thought-through package of pay and reward has also been a focus. This has been complemented by further promoting and developing the College as a flexible place to work that prioritises good staff mental health and physical wellbeing. 

Throughout 2021 we continued to build our learning culture and share experiences and knowledge in order to continually improve and develop. We are reviewing learning opportunities across the organisation to ensure opportunities are accessible to all.  We have also launched a Leadership Development programme to motivate and equip our managers with the skills and confidence to lead and inspire their teams.

We have also made solid progress with our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion initiatives. We have working groups of staff from across the organisation established to influence our EDI agenda, which have been updating our policies to ensure that we are proactive against discrimination and supportive of our ambitions for building a more equitable, diverse and inclusive environment.