Transformation specialists find opportunities in adversity

Helen Gibson, Agencia
Helen Gibson, Managing Director of Agencia.

An East Yorkshire business has secured new work in the UK and overseas after practising what it preaches throughout lockdown.

Experts in delivering transformation, Agencia has landed new contracts in the Western Balkans and Caribbean for its international justice team. In the UK, the company’s health and social care experts have provided extra support to GPs and pharmacists dealing with Covid-19 and its impact on primary care general services.

Helen Gibson, Managing Director of Agencia, said: “Like most businesses, we asked ourselves whether lockdown could lead to a significant downturn in business. But the key strength that connects our range of services is our ability to help organisations manage change, and by applying that expertise to our own business we have quickly adapted and transformed to deliver almost everything remotely.

“It has been exciting to see the world accelerating and adapting to remote working in a way that would otherwise have taken decades to embrace.”

Now approaching its 23rd year, Agencia has delivered more than 450 health and justice contracts in over 20 countries. Closer to home it provides business support to around 350 general practitioners through its Primary Care Direct service and runs award-winning projects to combat substance misuse and painkiller addiction through its ReWire service.

As the lockdown took hold, the company replaced its busy travel schedule with a series of webinars to help clients and contacts address issues which were heightened by the pandemic including crisis management, leadership, uncertainty and internet fraud.

Participants signing up for the sessions included managers from NHS organisations, local authorities and private businesses with Agencia’s international dimension reflected by involvement from Serbia, Bosnia, Ethiopia, Uganda and Ghana.

As a result of the webinars Agencia was invited to develop business resilience and continuity plans for key judicial institutions across the Western Balkans, enabling them to continue to deliver critical services which maintain the rule of law and prepare for a resumption of services. The company was also appointed for a project to support law enforcement officials in the Caribbean to deliver remote support to tackle serious and organised crime, including economic crime.

Agencia’s ReWire programme to tackle painkiller addiction helped health professionals respond to the increase in demand from patients confined to their homes for long periods and unable to visit surgeries.

The company also worked with more than 30 pharmacies to manage stock levels, supported health and social care organisations with additional capacity and expertise in their “Covid command room” and provided a Covid information and guidance hub for GPs. Other services included giving confidential coaching when leaders and managers struggled to cope.

In addition Agencia was appointed to deliver a crisis management and e-learning package for the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development and to provide resilience planning work with Crown Agents.

Helen said: “There is usually a lot of travelling involved in our business but by changing the way we work we have been able to respond in a positive way, seizing new opportunities where they have emerged and ensuring we can help clients quickly whether they are on our doorstep or much more distant. In some instances, we have found we have been able to deliver far beyond the expectations of our clients. For example, remote delivery means we have been able to provide a greater number of experts to our clients, without an increase in cost.

“We have to assume that face-to-face is going to be the exception rather than the norm and everything we do has to be deliverable remotely. We will be doing this for the foreseeable future and will continue to look to be ahead of the game, with innovative ideas to support this new way of working. The lockdown has shown that we can bring together large teams across the world without a problem. I don’t think there will be any going back.”

[Phil Ascough – Ascough Associates]