South East Incident Coordination Centre



  • In response to the risk of Coronavirus back in March 2020, NHSE/I put in place a national and seven regional Incident Coordination Centres (ICC) to help control the emerging situation. They were to be used as ports of communication, dissemination of key information and decisions made regarding the disease and the changes in the NHS that would need to be made in response.

  • To ensure the smooth running of the SE ICC, processes and procedures needed to be defined, a battle rhythm created, and a team put in place to oversee all communications.


  • Adaptable – roles were undertaken as required, learning rapidly at the beginning and switching between each throughout each day. (See list of roles below in Outcomes.)

  • Flexible – the project began slowly while the number of infections was low and the necessary guidance, regulations and restrictions were unknown. However, as the infection spread, demand for information increased, and the work pattern changed drastically at short notice. Shifts stretched beyond 0900-1700 before splitting into two shifts, an early and a late, and weekend working became necessary. We also moved from working in an office to working from home in order to safeguard employees.

  • Focused – on some days we received more than 600 emails through the SE ICC mailbox. It was key while training new members of staff to remain focused. They needed to be caught up while completing BAU tasks and ensuring important messages and tasks weren’t missed and replies went out in a timely manner


  • Worked multiple roles as necessary:

    • Single Point of Contact (SPOC) for the SE ICC mailbox, triaging emails in order of priority to ensure those higher in the list would be actioned first

    • Task Manager, actioning emails as appropriate

    • Sitrep Manager (before the introduction of the Sitrep Team), creating templates for sitreps and returns, collating and chasing information when necessary

    • Death Validation team (before this was outsourced), recording and validating deaths and updating our Comms Teams daily

    • Team trainer, training new SPOCs and TMs when the SE ICC expanded

    • Operations Coordinator, supporting SPOC/TM Team and assisting the PMO Team in the development of new processes and guidance

  • Created a comprehensive onboarding pack showing training requirements for each role within the SE ICC team, including important information for new members (i.e. team breakdown, relevant resources, glossary of key terms)

  • Wrote and defined processes for handling the SE ICC mailbox and outbreaks

  • Created Query Handling Guidance, a comprehensive pack that contains instructions on how to deal with all BAU emails and a returns tab with all information on BAU and ad hoc returns

  • Reviewed processes and guidance, including SOPs and Action Cards

  • Participated in lessons learnt exercise


“Clarity were really quick in responding to our need. The consultant they assigned, Thea Maxwell, was quite exceptional - a really high performer and a brilliant team member who quickly became a critical part of the ICC operation.”

Ben Krempel, ICC Manager, SCW CSU

“Thea has been a true asset to the NHS South East Incident Coordination Centre during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Having joined the team during the very early days of the Pandemic, she was instrumental in the development of many of the processes that were used throughout.  She has an excellent ability to collate and interpret data to maximise decision making and has been an integral part of the team. We have been lucky to have her with us at this challenging time."

Andy Wapling, Regional Head of Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response,

NHS England, NHS Improvement (South East)