Whoops! I’m duty ILO! – a day in the life of the Independent Living Coordinator

Published: August 24, 2021

“Whoops! I’m duty ILO!” is the subject line of an email I recently sent to colleagues across the organisation.

Iain McGregor
Iain McGregor

It was midday on a Wednesday and I was the duty Independent Living Officer (ILO) from 10am to 1pm that day, responsible for responding to general enquiries to the Independent Living service, which I also manage. The whole team takes turn as duty ILO and Wednesday morning is mine.

It had completely slipped my mind to send out the usual reminder, in fact, I’d half convinced myself it was Thursday and not Wednesday and I was focused on completing a quarterly report to one of the local authorities which funds our service. Excel spreadsheets will do that to you…

There’s no routine day in my week and that’s probably what I enjoy most about my job, although it’s not without its challenges. As coordinator, on any given day I deal with leave requests from my team, the aforementioned funding reports, development meetings with colleagues and enquiries from social workers and other practitioners while also managing my own case load of service users.

A look over my shoulder at my laptop screen, you’d often find me scheduling Zoom meetings with my team while, in my web browser, I’m posting a new Personal Assistant (PA) job for a service user in one tab and looking up some employment law advice for a different service user in another.

Like the majority of my colleagues, since late March 2020 I’ve been working from home and while the work I do hasn’t changed, how I do it has. I’m virtually paper-free now (good bye Post-It notes stuck to my office window) and spend a lot of time on the phone and on Zoom.

The biggest difficulty for our service over the pandemic has been the loss of home-visiting. It was a big part of our days, visiting people in their own homes, where they are most comfortable and because, in many cases, they can’t make the journey to our offices in Leith.

My team and I are now working on procedures we can put in place to allow essential home-visiting to recommence for service users that really need it and we’re trying hard to balance the needs of service users and the team to ensure safety for all.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to work from home, trying to keep track of what day of the week it is!

And a thank you to my colleague Emma who’s suggestion that “Whoops! I’m duty ILO!” could be the title of my autobiography, was the inspiration for this post.

Iain McGregor

Independent Living Coordinator

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