Three months have flown by since I did my last Chair’s Piece for LOL, the small matter of a pandemic taking over normal operations! We decided that the LOL Covid-19 specials we were doing during this time were more useful in keeping our members informed of what was initially a fast-moving situation as we shared information and best practice of how the waste industry was adapting.
Personally, I have found it a very strange few months, and no doubt there are quite a lot of you, like me, now working from home or have had a lot of changes to how you work in your offices or depots. We talk of a “new normal” and being “Covid secure” and lots of other phrases new to 2020. Video conferencing is now an accepted normal too, and I think I have managed to use every platform going in the last 3 months.
Regrettably, the coronavirus pandemic has seen an unprecedented tragic loss of life as well as ongoing illnesses, and we at LARAC send our deepest condolences to those who have been affected during this crisis. We know that this isn’t over yet, and there will still be lives lost in months to come.
It is due to the uncertainty of the current coronavirus situation and after a lot of consideration and discussion with the LARAC Exec and the organisers, I have to announce that the 2020 UK LARAC Conference cannot take place as a face to face event.
With social distancing becoming the new normal, we feel that October is too early to be holding a live conference of that size. This decision is not something we have taken lightly, but the health and safety of everyone - delegates, sponsors and their families has been foremost in our thinking. We felt that certainty about the event now would be helpful to all involved.
We know how much you value the event and the information you get from it and therefore we are currently working on introducing the first ever virtual LARAC Conference. This will involve presentations and networking opportunities available in a live, interactive format. The intention is it would take place on 14 and/or 15 October when we would have been gathered in Birmingham. This online event will be free of charge for LARAC members and we hope to include many of the elements of the physical event. Attendees will be able to catch up with others in the industry, hear from the LARAC sponsors and join in with a variety of plenary sessions and workshops. And it is not just the conference either; we are also looking at how a virtual awards ceremony can be held too.
Thank you for bearing with us as we work through the options available and thank you for all the work you have been doing to keep services going through the Covid situation. It reflects so well on the knowledge, professionalism and dedication of local authority officers that services have been maintained to such a high level and standard.The LARAC Conference will return to its usual format on the 6 and 7 October 2021 and 5 and 6 October 2022 at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole.
So for now keep the 2020 LARAC Conference dates in your diary for a possible virtual event and watch this space for further announcements.