Islington Council takes on Rotaready to aid vaccine roll-out

Megan Lipscombe

Megan Lipscombe

Head of Marketing

With a product designed for hospitality, retail and leisure businesses, we’d be lying if we said this last year hasn’t been a challenging one for us. Primarily we’ve focussed on developing Rotaready to be even better and supporting our clients through a COVID-19 driven world.

But we’ve also kept our eyes open for any other ways we could help, and as many other businesses have, adapted where we can. Starting with the furlough calculator we launched in collaboration with TiPJAR this time last year, we’ve now turned our hand to an industry that would typically fall out of our remit. Why?… to help Islington Council, and in partnership with Age UK Islington, Help on your Doorstep, Manor Gardens Welfare Trust, Voluntary Action Islington and Islington GP Federation with the roll out of its vaccine programme.

Where it all began

Back in late January Bobby and Lisa from Islington Council in London reached out to us with a unique request, on behalf of Manor Gardens. In collaboration with Age UK, Help on Your Doorstep and Voluntary Action Islington, they were in search of a rota solution that could be used to help them schedule volunteers for the vaccination programme.

Those of you that know Rotaready will know that this would fall outside our areas of core focus: hospitality, leisure and retail. But we wanted to help, so we jumped on a demo with them immediately and quickly established that we would be able help with their scheduling efforts. Although the team at Manor Gardens would only be using a small proportion of the features Rotaready offers, it was clear we could give them a huge boost and free up their valuable time for such an important programme.

Playing a part in the acceleration of inoculating the nation helps our friends in hospitality, retail and leisure move a step closer to reopening, and crucially it helps save lives. So with this in mind, it was an easy decision to offer Rotaready free of charge – along with the full service we’d deliver to a full paying customer.

Rotaready, and the team behind it has been a fantastic resource for us in supporting the Covid-19 vaccination programme in Islington. Our clinics often run daily and have complicated and changing shift patterns – the coordination of 200+ volunteers and up to 4 different shifts, in multiple clinics each day, soon became a tricky task to manage.

Rotaready has been a much-needed resource. It has enabled us to support the clinics more effectively, and helped the NHS staff working within them communicate better with our volunteers. Our team is now able to both plan ahead and respond quickly and effectively to any necessary shift changes throughout the week. The kind donation of Rotaready has offered a user friendly and relatively simple solution, to a  very important task. Thank you team Rotaready.

Katy Porter, CEO, Manor Gardens Welfare Trust

A unique set up and one very familiar user

The first thing we did was to explore the way the programme was running, allowing us to configure Rotaready to meet the bespoke nature of Fairer together Islington. This included the naming convention for the programme’s shifts, or ‘sessions’, to make it easier for volunteers to identify & recognise the shifts they’d be working, and at which vaccination centre. We then imported the necessary data and delivered training to the team.

Despite being in a very different domain to our usual customers, the team at Manor Gardens are making use of Rotaready’s core rota features – such as copying rotas to avoid re-building shifts that longer-standing volunteers have committed to, and using the shift broadcast feature to offer work out to the wider pool of volunteers to accept. The volunteers can subsequently use the Rotaready app to check their shifts, accept additional shifts and swap shifts amongst themselves.

During the set up we found out that one particular user would already be very familiar with the new rota system. Rotaready Software Engineer, Jonny just so happened to be one of the volunteers at the very vaccine centre. 

It’s been great to be a part of the vaccine rollout, and even more so to experience the app I’ve spent so long working on first hand

Jonny, Software Engineer, Rotaready

Since day one, our support team has been assisting Bobby and the team with their queries over live chat, email and phone and feel proud to assist their efforts. Manor Gardens have now scheduled over 1,200 shifts using Rotaready and are making great progress with the vaccine roll out!

Rotaready has made an enormous task manageable and helped get hundreds of volunteers ready to roll out the vaccine. Rotaready’s broadcast feature has been a complete game changer! What used to be an extremely admin heavy series of emails back and forth, requesting and confirming shifts, has turned in to a simple broadcast that is accepted, confirmed and added to the schedule all in an instance! We are extremely grateful for all the support and help from the Rotaready team.

Bobby Kane, Volunteer Co-ordinator, Fairer Together Islington and the Vaccine Volunteer Programme

And as for us… hospitality, retail and leisure always have been, and always will be, at the core of what we do – Rotaready was made for them. But we are thrilled to have been able to help Islington Council with the efficient roll out of its vaccine programme.

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