Councils are responsible for many of the essential services that could be affected by the outbreak – ranging from care homes and residential care, children’s social services, waste collection, to local benefit distribution.
At the same time, they will have a huge role to play in the national effort. Below are some examples of what actions councils have taken over the the last few weeks:
- Stepping up efforts to identify the elderly populations and those with underlying health conditions in their communities, and drawing up plans how best to protect them and make sure they still receive council services during the coming period of enforced self isolation for these ‘at risk’ individuals.
- Playing a key role in marshalling the volunteer effort in local communities. This includes a signposting role, and ensuring that those who most need support from the volunteer community receive that support. Email here if you would like a template from a county council on their plan to support the volunteer effort.
- Putting in place plans to ensure that local care markets are sustainable, and that care providers do not collapse.
- Exploring options to acquire extra bed capacity in local areas for those requiring adult social care to free up NHS capacity for Coronavirus.
- Ensuring that all essential services continue as they are currently doing.
- Acting as conduits for the government in getting across key guidance and announcements to their local communities.
- Protecting the health of staff and councillors by suspending all large meetings with immediate effect, and beginning to ensure staff are working from home wherever possible, in a staged manner. Where this is not possible, they are introducing social distancing within the workplace.