First Team - your weekly news

Don't miss out on council wide news - read First Team out every Wednesday

First Team 16 September


  • Our Stars 2020 shortlist is revealed!


  • New anti-racist group launches



  • Barnet's SAT probe work gains recognition



  • New graduate proposals - when is the deadline to get a graduate for your team?


Read the stories behind the headlines in this week's First Team here.


First Team 9 September

  • Latest COVID-19 regulations about social gatherings and returning to work 


  • Staff Disability Network launches 15 September 


  • Find out how you can support the Colindale to Cambridge cycling team fundraising for Live Unlimited

Read all about it here

First Team 2 September 


  • First day of term launch day for Barnet Education and Learning Service


  • Our Stars 2020 - have you or your team been nominated?


  • Join the Workplace Wellbeing Yammer group to keep update with all the wellbeing events on offer


Read all about it here.



First Team 26 August

It's Workplace Wellbeing Month from 1 September! Find out what wellbeing activities you can book 


What's happening with this year's Performance and Development Reviews. More info here


The big school return; guidance for children and young people's wellbeing 


Read all the latest council news... and more... in this week's First Team.

First Team 19 August


  • Meet our new Organisational  Lead and Learning Development Lead


  • Never mind the red carpet, it's the doorstep challenge for Barnet's latest awards ceremony


  • Barnet Equalities Allies launch new groups for staff


Read the staff stories behind the First Team headlines here.

First Team 12 August


  • What does 'returning to the office' look like for the council?



  • Focus on International Youth Day with the 0-29 Early Help Hub



  • The power of volunteering



  • Look out for the latest Barnet wide campaign - starting on Monday 17 August


Read all about it in this week's edition of First Team, here.

First Team 5 August


  • If you are looking to purchase a bike or upgrade your old one,  Barnet's bike purchasing scheme is back.


  • LGBTQ+ Staff Network starts - when's the first meeting?


  • Planning leave this summer? Make sure you read the guidance on travelling in a post lockdown environment.


Read all about it and more in First Team 5 August here

First Team 29 July

Bogus callers


  • As the nominations window for Our Stars closes, a winner from 2019 shares how much it means to receive such recognition from colleagues


  • Be mindful about giving personal details out - bogus calls and phishing calls are on the rise


  • What's the latest news from the Workplace Wellbeing Month Survey?


You can catch up with First Team 29th July here.


    First Team 22nd July


    • Find out how the BOOST Barnet Team are still managing to help people into work, despite delivering services virtually


    • If you are a planning a summer holiday, but want to bring your council laptop with you, read First Team - first


    • We're having a [Virtual] Workplace Wellbeing month!  We would like to hear your feedback on events we should have that week.


    Read this week's First Team here.

    First Team 15 July 2020

    Sydmar Lodge Lady Bowie
    • Love Parks, Love the Grounds Maintenance Team - find out about the team's challenges to keep Barnet's parks green and tidy


    • Sue Cocker and Suzy Barber, who manage the council's official charity, Live Unlimited, explain how we can all help the cause


    • Follow this link to see how residents from a care home are rocking through lockdown


    Read all these stories and more in this week's First Team, here.

    First Team 8 July 2020

    Re Fundraise with heart
    • Equalities at work - one colleague shares their personal story 


    • How Barnet's Registrars service has kept running through a difficult time


    • Mental Health - how reaching out for help can turn your life around


    • Our partners Re throw some fundraisers with a whole lot of heart


    • First Team is colleague focused, read the stories of the week here.



    First Team 1 July 2020


    • Staff survey results are out - you can view them in full via this week's First Team


    • How did the council mark Pride Month this year?


    • Find out about how to sign up to one or two important webinars scheduled for next week, one is around Women's Health and the other one is a Black Lives Matter Listening Workshop.


    • Site Transformation Manager Vikky Foulger shows us how the Oakleigh Road Depot works have progressed, in spite of COVID-19.


    Click, and read all about it, here.


    First Team 24th June 2020

    • Nominations for Our Stars awards are now open, follow this link below to nominate a colleague


    • Street Scene colleagues reveal how residents feel about the paid garden waste collection


    • Colleagues open up family photo albums to share memories of the older Windrush generation


    • Find out how our library service is thriving under lockdown


    Read all about it in this week's First Team here.

    Our Stars Staff Awards 2020 – nominations are reopening!

    This month would have seen the annual Our Stars Staff Awards ceremony but, as a result of COVID-19, we halted the nomination process and postponed the ceremony back in March while the organisation shifted to a COVID-19 response footing. As lockdown is beginning to ease and response services are starting to phase down, we are now reopening the nominations process.

    Nominations reopen today and will stay open until Friday 31 July. We aim to hold a virtual ceremony to recognise our winners in the autumn, followed by a physical recognition event early in 2021. More information on these details will be released via First Team over the coming weeks.

    Before nominations were halted in March we had received more than 40 nominations across all categories, and all of these nominations will be retained and considered alongside any new nominations that are received. We are also introducing a new category of COVID-19 Heroes, where we want to receive your nominations for teams that have gone above and beyond in the borough’s fight against COVID-19.

    All other categories remain the same – these are: Employee of the Year; Support Staff ‘Star’ of the Year; Manager of the Year; Team of the Year; Outstanding Contribution to Community Award; Values Awards (based on our five People Values); Talent Award (for staff who have been in the job two years or less but gone above and delivered outstanding service for the people of Barnet); and Apprentice/Graduate of the Year.

    Nominations for any of these categories can cover examples of colleagues going the extra mile as part of our COVID-19 response, or for any other work worthy of recognition during the 12 months following the last ceremony in June 2019.

    Chief Executive John Hooton said: “I just want to say thank you to everyone across the organisation for the amazing work that everyone has done over the year including the amazing response to the COVID-19 outbreak under such difficult circumstances. I am pleased that this week we are reigniting this year’s awards process so that we can give formal recognition for some of the incredible work to deliver for the residents of Barnet.”

    You can access the nomination form

    . Nominations will be accepted up until the close of business on Friday 31 July.

    Wednesday 17 June 2020


    • How a group of volunteers have positively impacted on residents...and staff
    • For the month of Pride, Barnet is flying the rainbow flag outside Hendon Town Hall - find out about some of the events all staff are invited to join with to support  LGBTQ colleagues
    • Facilities Manager Paul 'JP' Shanahan talks about why it is so important to work from home where possible, and not go into the office

    Make sure you read all about it In this week's First Team 

    Wednesday 10 June 2020

    • Shopping with a social distance difference - how are supporting local business as the high street reopens?
    • What is like being having a job plus caring responsibilities?
    • Dear penpal... a Barnet school starts an email letter exchange with Italian schoolchildren
    • What's next for the Barnet Equalities Allies?

    Read First Team 10 June here.

    Carers Week

    Tuesday 9 June 2020

    UK quarantine rules come into force this week – be aware of the rules if you travel abroad

    As you will probably be aware, as part of the Government’s measures to control the spread of coronavirus, a mandatory quarantine period of 14 days has been introduced for everyone travelling into the UK from Monday 8 June.

    We are aware that most people will not be travelling anywhere as Foreign Office advice is currently that no international travel should be undertaken unless absolutely essential, but we understand that sometimes unexpected circumstances could arise which would require you to travel. If you are in a position where you are planning any international travel, please make sure you discuss with your line manager beforehand to discuss all options.

    If you do travel abroad, current rules state that you will have to enter quarantine on your return. You should continue to work from home or the address where you will spend the quarantine. If you cannot work from home for any reason, you must book the 14-day period as annual leave.

    If you have any concerns related to impending international travel and/or quarantine restrictions and your ability to work, please get in touch with your line manager or address your questions to

    Wednesday 3 June 2020

    In this week's First Team we celebrate the volunteers among our staff as part of Volunteers' Week, click here to read the full issue.


    Volunteers' Week



    Monday 1 June 2020     

    Changes made to VPN network to improve user experience     

    VPN improvements

    The IT team has worked over the weekend to make changes to the way that we access the Barnet network remotely, to improve the performance of the VPN (virtual private network) connection. This should lead to a better user experience for staff and fewer of the issues which have been reported over the last two months being encountered.
    A new icon and user guide will be deployed to your desktop the next time you log on via the VPN.

    You should continue to log on to the VPN following your normal pattern - this does not need to be done today.
    The changes affect the look and feel of the VPN network but more importantly look to optimise the routing of internet traffic which needs to traverse the network, while still maintaining the necessary levels of security.

    If you encounter any issues when using the VPN network connection this week, please raise a ticket with the IT Servicedesk via the self-service portal here.

    The user guide being deployed to your desktop can also be found below:


    27 May 2020

    Rough Sleepers Team
    • Meet Barnet Homes Rough Sleepers Team and find out how they are keeping homeless off the streets in the longer term
    • Do you know there is a PPE Hub? Read all about it here.
    • Click here to find out how back office staff are supporting the frontline COVID response


    Make sure you keep up-to-date with the weekly internal news by clicking on the First Team link.


    20 May 2020

    • Focus on how libraries are managing through the lockdown
    • What has been like overseeing the Essential Supplies Hub? First Team asks Syma Kadri.
    • If you really need to go into the Colindale office, make sure you read this first.

    Read all about it in the week's First Team here.

    19 May 2020

    Support with loss and bereavement

    Sympathy flowers

    Of all the challenges that the pandemic has bought us, very sadly frontline staff have had to face loss of life in difficult situations and many people will have been affected by loss of some kind in their personal lives.

    LBB Public Health have commissioned Cruse Bereavement Care to deliver online loss and bereavement training to support frontline staff facing unprecedented loss of life often under very difficult circumstances. All deaths during this period (COVID related or not) are likely to be traumatic, with limitations on contact with family, remote contact with services and changed funeral practices.

    So far 12 online training sessions have been commissioned each for 10 members of staff and partners in the community. For more information email

    18 May 2020

    *Free* training for frontline staff on modern slavery and homelessness

    The pandemic has increased the plight of already vulnerable people, particularly those whose who are living with, or at risk of, homelessness and modern slavery.

    To help frontline professionals and those who come come into contact with vulnerable people, The Ministry of Communities, Housing and Local Government (MCHLG) have funded free courses on modern slavery and homelessness, administered by Hestia Housing and Support.

    There are training slots available in:

    • Tuesday 2nd June, 10am - 2:30pm
    • Tuesday 16th June, 10am - 2:30pm
    • Thursday 18th June, 10am - 2:30pm

    The training will be delivered over Zoom. Although we are advised not to use Zoom for any of our video or conference calls, we are aware that outside/government providers will use them for training and other purposes. Please ensure you read our guidance on Zoom, (also scroll to the next story below for Zoom guidance) use before joining one these meetings.

    If you are interested in attending the training please contact

    Further information on that to expect from the course, including learning objectives, please click here.

    15 May 2020

    To Zoom or not to Zoom? Guidance for staff on video and audio calling while working remotely

    As the majority of staff are now working remotely, it is important to be aware of the corporate advice and guidance for audio and video conferencing facilities. Officers are expected to use Microsoft Teams or Skype, as these are corporately approved apps. Microsoft Teams is now readily available for many staff through Office 365 and IT are working through a priority list of services to support the configuration and set-up of Teams and Teams Live video conferencing where appropriate.

    Video conferencing services, such as Zoom, have been in the media due to the cyber security and privacy risks. People are exploiting the Zoom platform, in particular to hi-jack Zoom video calls with the aim to either extract data or post disturbing content. This activity has been given the name of 'Zoom Bombing'. We are aware, however, that some Government departments and partners are hosting meetings using Zoom and it may be necessary to join a meeting that is externally hosted. Please ensure you have read the guidance before you join one of these meetings.

    We are aware that some service areas and teams have been hosting meetings using Zoom or other video conferencing tools available online. These are not corporately supported and are considered unsecure for business use. Service areas must be able to evidence that Skype and Microsoft Teams cannot fulfil their requirements before using Zoom to host a meeting. Any request to host Zoom meetings must be approved by the Chief Officer and the council's SIRO (Senior Information Risk Owner).

    To apply for permission to host a Zoom meeting please click

    It is vital to remember that even though our ways of working have changed considerably in the last two months, the council's Information Management and Security Policies still apply in this period. Click here for a refresher on what those policies are and what they mean for you when working from home.

    Find out all the information you need to know about information security, video and audio conferencing and data protection on the intranet here.

    Managing audio and video conference facilities - the guidance documents you need are all here:

    First Team 13 May 2020

    COVID-19 staff survey
    • The latest staff survey is out now, find out why it's so important you fill it out here
    • How a professional driver used his knowledge of Barnet to help save lives
    • Take a break and see what's on offer during Mental Health Awareness Week 

    Click here to read these stories in full here.

    First Team 6 May 2020

    First days at the Colindale office
    • Spotlight on the latest carer recruits in Barnet
    • Focus on delivering a sensitive service at a sensitive time
    • Looking to the new future at Colindale office


    Click here to read the full stories


    Advice and tips for keeping your IT effective during the COVID-19 emergency

    Help with Barnet IT services

    To help you get the most out of LBB's technology, the IT department released two desktop icons recently – one linking you directly to the IT self-service portal, and the other one taking you to a ‘hints and tips’ document which sets out some of the main issues that staff are facing and the workarounds and solutions that are available.

    We want to make it as easy as possible for you to work effectively during lockdown and when working remotely, so we’ve set out some of the most common problems and how to deal with them, as well as how to keep your laptop ‘healthy’:

    Barnet Remote Access (VPN)

    Barnet Remote Access ( provides you with full access to the Barnet network via a VPN and also allows your device to download important security and software updates. Due to the number of people currently working at home, if all staff are constantly connected, it could result in performance issues and increased pressure on the servers. Therefore, if you need access to: i) the files in your H/personal drive, ii) shared drives, or iii) the intranet (for access to policies, guidance documents, latest news, links or the latest from the COVID-19 hub), we are suggesting that you set aside one or two times a day to access the network, extract or access the information you need, and then log off again. Please note that Outlook, Skype and Office 365 products are available when you are operating outside Barnet Remote Access (as long as you are connected to a wifi network). If you don’t normally need access to the network, please try to log on at least once a week (between Wednesday and Friday) to ensure you receive the latest security and Microsoft updates.

    Access to the IT Self Service Portal

    In the event that you need to log an IT issue or make a request for something, please visit the Service Now portal to raise or track your request or incident at Please note that you do not need to be on VPN to access this portal which also contains a range of self-help articles and a searchable ‘Knowledge Base’ with information on how to solve a range of common issues. One of the most common problems that staff have reported is the appearance of a ‘proxy error’ when attempting to access pages on the internet. Find out how to deal with this error and correct it here.

    Access to the HR Core Portal

    All your HR requirements, such as booking leave, logging sickness, checking your payslip and more, can be carried out on the HR Core Portal. This can also be accessed outside the network or via your personal devices through any web browser. Simply click on the following link, and log in using your pre-set username (employee number) and password:

    How to get the most out of your device

    There are a range of hints that will help keep your laptop or other device as effective and responsive as possible. Try to ensure you incorporate the following advice to your regular remote working routine:

    • Always complete a shutdown of your laptop at the end of the day and when not using it for long periods
    • Look to restart (this is different from shutdown) your laptop at least three times a week, ensuring any updates are applied
    • Do not let your battery run low; this will trigger power saving modes which may impact the performance of your device and switch off some features
    • As when you are in the office, always screen-lock your laptop when leaving it unattended
    • Avoid placing drinks too close to avoid spills and damage
    • Do not put your laptop in a bag or unventilated area unless you have used the “shutdown” function first, otherwise a bit like humans, it will get too hot when in a confined space
    • When cleaning the laptop, do not use liquid or sprays. Wipes should be fine but read the label first.

    For your specific broadband provider, find more information below about how to get the most out of your home connection and what to do if you have any connection issues:



    Keeping up to date with the latest IT updatesAs always, unexpected IT problems can arise at any time. We will commit to updating you on these issues through our key internal communications channels: theintranet homepage; the All Company feed on Yammer and the section of the council’s website set aside for staff news, Major issues will be communicated via all staff email and through text cascade via your business continuity leads. Access to applications outside the council’s devices Sometimes we find it easier or more reliable to use our own devices to access certain applications. The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) project is now fully underway and available to staff. If you have a personal smart phone or tablet (IOS/Android) then you can enrol on the BYOD service. To request BYOD you need to be logged on remotely and go to the following site and follow the instructions: You can also download the Yammer and Skype for Business apps to your personal phones or devices. These can be found in the App Store or Google Play Store. We will continue to keep you informed of IT updates throughout this period of increased remote working. Any questions not covered in this email should be directed firstly to the Self Service Portal Knowledge Base. Only if you cannot find an answer there, should you email or call 020 8359 3333. IT engineers are working but you may find it takes longer than normal for your queries to be resolved due to the range of pressures currently on the service.

    First Team 29 April 2020

    Your Choice Barnet Flower Team
    • Find out how carers for Your Choice Barnet are managing to deliver the specialist care their clients need.
    • How Muslims are observing Ramadan during a time of social restriction.
    • Spotlight on Customer Services 

    Click here to read the issue in full 

    Domestic Violence Support Services in Barnet 

    DV Support Servics during COVID-19

    At home shouldn’t mean being at risk: it’s important to remember that the household isolation rules as a result of coronavirus does not apply if someone needs to leave their home to escape domestic abuse. A range of help and support services are available for anyone who is worried about domestic abuse, please share them with anyone you think is at risk.

    If a resident has had to flee domestic abuse and needs to access emergency refuge accommodation and advice, they can call the 24-Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247. It’s free from a landline or public phone.

    In Barnet, free and confidential support for men and women is available from Solace Advocacy and Support via or 0203 874 5003.

    There is more information for people who are suffering from domestic abuse: or


    Please share these details with clients or residents at risk.


    First Team 22 April 2020

    Headlines this week:

    • Which frontline colleagues are we celebrating this week?
    • Check in with your mental health
    • Join in with The 2.6 Challenge


    Read all about it here.

    Working from home risk assessments



    Join the COVID-19 response effort 

    More than 100 colleagues have already volunteered to move from their existing roles to ones supporting the COVID-19 frontline efforts that are currently very busy.

    Thank you to everyone who has applied so far, the response has been nothing short of amazing. However, the government announcement that the nation's lockdown will be extended for another three weeks means that the work of our staff deployment programme is all the more important, as more and more of you are likely to be needed to take on different roles.  

    As a result of this, the Staff Deployment FAQs have now been updated.

    Under the London Councils framework, the council is able to move staff into different roles where it is necessary to make sure that critical services are adequately supported. If you haven’t yet volunteered your skills for the programme, please reconsider and fill in the online application form here.


    COVID-19 support in the community

    If you, a family member, friend, or close member of your community are in need of urgent help that is not medical related, then please:

    • complete the online form on the Barnet website for help and support, or
    • call the free Helpline on 0808 281 3210 (open Monday to Sunday from 9am to 5pm)

    If you need medical help you should phone NHS 111 – or for genuinely urgent medical help, 999.

    If you need help with an urgent prescription, please try contacting your GP or pharmacy first.


    First Team 15 April 2020

    This edition of First Team focuses on our frontline staff.  To find out how parking enforcement officers fared as park  patrol and what it's like being a carer in Barnet right now, read First Team here.

    From parking enforcement to park patrol


    8 April 2020

    This week's First Team focuses on:

    • Frontline efforts of our staff, many of whom have deployed from their regular 'day' jobs
    • How Barnet's Emergency Control Centre (BECC) is managing around 500 calls a day - virtually
    • How The Leader of Barnet Council fared when he joined staff to volunteer at a supply hub

    You can view First Team here.


    7 April 2020 

    Changes to the Accounts Payable process

    Due to the impact of COVID-19, it is essential that the council works closely with its current suppliers to ensure smooth processing of payments. This is to mitigate any cashflow issues that may be faced during this difficult time.

    As such, changes have been made to Accounts Payable processes to ensure the service remains efficient. 

    For any further queries please contact Gary Hussein or Yakub Ali in the Finance Team.


    26th March 2020

    Message from Cllr Dan Thomas, Leader of Barnet Council

    I have been truly heartened to see how local people have rallied together and are looking out for those around them.  As the Prime Minister announced, there are new measures in place to limit the spread of infection. You must now stay at home unless it is to shop for food or medicine, go for outdoor exercise once a day, seek medical attention, or travel to work if necessary. The police now have powers to disperse groups of people in public.

    Read Cllr Dan Thomas' message on the website in full here.

    More headlines from First Team 26th March:








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