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An East Yorkshire business which has made a mark regionally, nationally and globally by helping governments and other organisations drive positive transformation shared the secrets of its success with a series of lockdown webinars.

Agencia, a Northern Powerhouse Export Champion and a winner in the National Family Business Awards, has secured two major new deals since presenting the online advice sessions.

The company, based at Hessle, has also played a pivotal role in supporting the UK’s response to the pandemic including front-line healthcare work with its ReWire programme to tackle painkiller addiction and its Primary Care Direct service to support hard-pressed doctors and pharmacists.

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.

The varied and wide-reaching workload was reflected in the series of four webinars. Broken down into top 10 tips, the first event looked at crisis management in a pandemic, with the second addressing leadership, resilience and self-care. The Agencia team followed that by focusing on uncertainty in a pandemic and the fourth session explored countering internet fraud in a pandemic.

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.

A particular area of concern which emerged in questions from participants was around people who found themselves working from home for the first time, something addressed from the start by Agencia with a series of virtual tea parties to facilitate informal communication and promote wellbeing.

Externally, Agencia was able to report a number of positive outcomes.

ReWire helped health professionals respond to concerns highlighted by Public Health England and The Health Foundation about the increase in painkiller addiction among patients confined to their homes for long periods and unable to visit surgeries.

Agencia 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. The business also provided confidential coaching when leaders and managers struggled to cope.

In its international justice work, Agencia developed 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. Among the new work is a project to support law enforcement officials in the Caribbean to deliver remote support to tackle serious and organised crime, including economic crime.

Helen Gibson, Managing Director of Agencia, said: “There is a lot of travelling involved in what we do and, like most businesses, we faced some serious challenges because of lockdown. But we have quickly adapted and transformed to deliver almost everything remotely. We have responded in a positive way, seizing the new opportunities where these have emerged.

“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 continue to look to be ahead of the game, with innovative ideas to support this new way of working.

“We are not travelling so it is more efficient and we are not moored into the geographies of local people. This means we can bring together large teams across the world without a problem. I don’t think there’s going to be any going back.”