Smarter Communication – Getting Value from RIAMS Communities

17th January 2018 RIAMS

Stay informed, collaborate and manage groups all in one easy to use, secure platform with your RIAMS subscription.

In 2017, RHE launched the new mobile-friendly RIAMS Communities platform to replace the old forums. Communities has been designed around the needs of the users, ensuring it fits in with the digital workplace and how practitioners work today. You can now access Public and Private Communities.

Public communities - join your peers
Public Communities are used by nearly 3,500 practitioners from over 300 local authorities across the UK. They host forums covering many different topics. You can follow Communities relevant to your sphere of work or expertise, follow specific discussions and start new ones to discuss areas of interest, tackle problems and seek advice from your colleagues. Each public Community is free to use, restricted to gov.uk and bona fide professionals and moderated by a recognised expert.

Private Communities - unlimited potential
A new feature, Private Communities is becoming very popular with users. Private Communities is available to RIAMS users and their contacts. It is the ideal secure platform for managing discreet internal, inter-departmental or inter-agency collaborative groups. It can be used to share and store documents, minutes and agendas and collaborate on discussions and initiatives. While the Private Community must be created by a RIAMS subscriber, members can be invited from any department or organisation simply by using their email address, creating almost unlimited potential for inter-agency and inter-authority collaboration.

Private Communities in Northern Ireland
Private Communities were piloted by local authorities in Northern Ireland (NI), with the FSA and the Northern Ireland Food Managers Group (NIFMG) being the first to recognise its potential. NIFMG is a group of 11 local authorities from across the region and the FSA to ensure uniformity in the application of food laws across NI.

Users in NI say using Private Communities as a single point of call saves them time and makes managing their role in such groups easier. Key information and communications are held in one easily accessible place. Environmental Health Northern Ireland (EHNI), the overarching body of environmental health managers in Northern Ireland, have recognised the potential of the platform and more of their sub-groups are now in the process of utilising the feature to manage their business. EHNI have also set up a private community to manage their own group. The NI Home Safety Group, which works closely with the Public Health Agency, NI Fire and Rescue, the NI Housing Executive and other agencies is also rolling out a Private Community to manage their collaboration.

Far-reaching benefits
The potential benefits of Private Communities are far-reaching. Some managers in NI have now created private communities to manage discreet sections such as food, health and safety, environmental protection, within their departments. As members from other council departments and organisations can also be invited, even when not a RIAMS subscriber, the management of cross-departmental work is made much easier. It means that all documents and dialogue can be kept in one place and not in your inbox.

One place to collaborate
RIAMS Communities is part of the RIAMS cloud platform, that means it is accessible on connected devices anytime, anywhere. This was recognised by the NI Health & Safety Liaison Group who created a private group to improve their ability to respond to Legionella incidents. Their Private Community makes communication with all relevant parties much easier, such as HSENI and the Public Health Agency. The same principle applies to any facet of work which requires an out of hours response, access to information, contacts and resources. It has obvious potential for assisting Emergency Planning responders.

Keep communications and documents in one safe place
Feedback from the NI local authorities has created more new features for its users. You can now create folders within Private Communities for document storage; creating a cohesive and organised folder structure was seen as an important step to add value to Private Communities. Using the ‘Tag’ feature also helps manage communications more easily, allowing you to find what you’re looking for quickly.

If you would like more advice on getting the best from Private Communities please contact us on [email protected] or call 01239 711793.