There have been numerous updates to the communication system, Neighbourhood Alert, over the last decade. Updates were discussed and agreed by VISAV and their Information Providers at annual Development Board Conferences, the first being in 2016. You can read more of the conferences we have sponsored and hosted on our Alert websiteA new, substantially improved “version 4” has been in development since October 2019. Testing of v4 began in April 2020 by 37,000 volunteers, who currently use version 3. Additionally, each of our Information Providers have been invited to join a Practitioner Group to provide feedback during the trial.

In 2020 VISAV Ltd took on two consultants, Chris Davis and Sue Sambells, to support with project delivery. Chris took on overseeing the development of v4 liaising with the IT Director and lead developer, Jon Shaw and assisted Mike Douglas, Product Director, with issuing regular updates to their clients and practitioner group. In addition to Alert, VISAV has a myriad of other projects and remains based at Sherwood's very own "Sherwood Business Centre“.

As we are all well aware, 2020 is a challenging year but VISAV have continued offering our high standard of service with business as usual for version 3 Alert to our 42 (and growing) partner organisations whilst continuing with the testing and improvements from feedback to version 4. The first half of 2020 has seen VISAV sending 55 million emails to over 840,000 registered members. In March 2020 the system experienced its highest demand ever with a total of 11.2 million emails sent as partners around the UK communicated with the general public in the fight against Coronavirus.

Additionally, in February 2020 we surveyed Neighbourhood Alert members about their communication preferences and experiences of receiving alerts. We received valuable data and insights from the 104,233 responses. Details can be viewed on our website.

We are now planning the formal launch of the new Alert version 4 for spring 2021 (COVID-19 allowing!) at a conference for our valued clients, followed by a black-tie dinner and awards presentation in the evening.