Blink Hero: Don Keigher, GFSL


I’m Don, Director at Government Facilities Services Limited (GFSL).

A little bit about us.

GFSL is owned by the UK Ministry of Justice.

We have:

  • 50 prisons across the south of England.
  • 1,100 staff (including engineers, locksmiths, cleaners, painters, and stores people).
  • An extra 100 staff in corporate and regional support roles.
  • Before we adopted Blink, 800 staff members didn’t use IT at work.
Looking up at empty prison cells.

Our pain points.

Prison is an environment where many people live in close proximity. Often, they come from disadvantaged backgrounds or have deficient immunity. That makes everyone – prisoners, frontline staff and officers – vulnerable to Covid-19.

Male prison nurse writing on clipboard.

To mitigate that risk, we need to be able to communicate with frontline staff instantly. Before Blink, all internal communication was top-down. There was no opportunity for feedback from staff on the ground. Response to occasional work satisfaction surveys tended to be low, and low-quality. 

This is how GFSL use Blink.

Blink has enabled two-way communication to our organization. For the first time, we get real feedback from our staff. Some of that is positive, celebrating each other’s efforts and challenges. And some of it is challenging, drawing attention to things that need to change. Both are illuminating in their own way.

Man in office holding tablet.

So, Blink is helping us solve internal issues by bringing them to the surface in the first place. It’s making local and senior managers aware of issues – and act quickly where they can. Where they can’t, Blink provides an opportunity to show that we are listening and doing our best to resolve the issues. 

We talk about ongoing projects; share customer news, good practice, health and safety information, and technical information. We provide updates on relevant info from the Ministry of Justice. We discuss government initiatives.

In a prison environment, IT is strictly controlled for obvious reasons. Blink was incredibly helpful on that front.

Windows within a Prison

We also worked with the team to change one of our big categories to a new field called Swap Shop. Staff use this as a pinboard to advertise excess materials or equipment that might be of use to another team. 

Plus, we’ve had to recruit a lot of new staff recently. So we use Blink to advertise those vacant roles, and promote internal opportunities.

Thoughts on Covid-19.

We used Blink to set up a specific Covid feed category to make relevant information available at a click. That means people can absorb it quickly and access it whenever they need to.

Prison corridor with cells either side.

We also use that channel to celebrate achievements at this particularly difficult time – to applaud people who have pulled out all the stops to continue to run the prison service safely. For example, many of our employees have spent their evenings making PPE for the NHS. That’s the sort of thing we’re proud to see.

What I love most about Blink is…

The team! Their energy, their expertise. Especially when it comes to the benefits of the system. They’ve given us an in-depth look into how we can use Blink in ways that are specific to our organization.

Three women having business meeting.

This is my favorite feature.

I love the feed; it’s brilliant. This has surprised me because I’m not a Facebook user. It’s a great way to share information.

What’s next for GFSL?

It’s been amazing to see the how fast and enthusiastic the uptake has been. Even people who aren’t digital natives, who aren’t into social media, have all embraced Blink as a channel of communication that’s relevant to them. I’m sure the road ahead will be a rocky one but, with Blink to support us, we’ll be as well-equipped as we can be.

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