19 May Ash Ranchhod – Connecting the wires
“I’m just the guy in the backroom connecting all the wires.”
“When I first came on board, we had six staff at national office and the Contact Service didn’t exist,” remembers Ash.
“Now we have an organisational structure at National Office level, Area Managers and specialist support workers in homicide, suicide and family harm all over the country. When Victim Support’s Contact Service first started, we had one phone line and one computer. Now we have five phone lines and up to 20 staff.”
Since joining Victim Support in 2008, Ash has been a one-man band as the IT department. This can be challenging in an organisation that provides access to support for victims of crime and trauma 24/7.
“If there’s an outage at 4am, I will get a call. My job is keeping the whole thing going,” says Ash.
Again, being somewhat modest he’s quick to point out that advances in software and computing have made his job easier.
Ash says, “technology has become more reliable and people are savvier, they can do a lot more stuff themselves and are more self-managing. I always encourage self-managing but it’s a bit like gun powder – a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing.”
Recently with the COVID-19 crisis, Ash was instrumental in transitioning Victim Support to working remotely with the entire National Office staff including the Contact Service working from home.
“The recent upgrade to the phone system that we did in January pre-empted it. It allowed as part of our business continuity plan for people to log into the phone system out of the office. It meant if we had an earthquake or other event where we are not able to access National Office, we had this contingency,” he says.
Ash is clearly excited about the future enhancements which will create more alternatives for those wanting to access Victim Support’s services.
“There are two or three more channels we are looking at the moment which include web chat and interactive voice response technology,” says Ash.
Far from being “just the backroom guy”, Ash is a popular figure at National Office and is also well-liked and highly respected by Area Managers, Service Co-ordinators and Support Workers throughout the country. He clearly believes in the organisation and puts his heart and soul into his work.
“What Victim Support does is phenomenal. Even though I am a contractor and have other clients I will always tell people I’m from Victim Support,” says Ash.
“The workforce itself has come a long way. We used to be a small organisation but now we have over 500 volunteers and 150 staff. We’re a really effective, good sized organisation with technology to suit.”