A message from chief executive Caroline Lacey: Council's response to COVID-19
Mon, 16 Mar 2020

Dear colleagues

With the continuing escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic, I thought it appropriate to update you on what steps the council is taking in response to the situation.

As you will all be aware, the UK Government has moved into the "delay" phase of its response to COVID-19 but the situation is constantly and rapidly evolving, by the day and even by the hour.

The council will continue to follow Government and Public Health England advice and we have produced a set of FAQs for staff which are available on the intranet (or upon request via managers if you do not have access to the intranet).

These answer some common COVID-19 related questions which people have and they will be regularly updated as and when necessary.

We have to be as prepared as possible for COVID-19 impacting on our workforce, in terms of attendance and our ability to deliver services and, for that reason, business continuity planning is taking place and contingencies are being made for a range of circumstances.

The Corporate and Senior Management Teams have been tasked with updating business continuity plans and considering all the possible ways COVID-19 could affect business operations and how we can deal with this.

It is very likely that in the days, weeks or months to come we may need to refocus our resources wherever possible on the most essential and priority services and we all may need to play a part in how we would achieve this.

For example, we may need to ask some staff to carry out different duties to their normal roles so that we can provide our most vulnerable residents with as much support as possible or to help colleagues cope with increased demands on other essential services.

As well as staff sickness, our operations could be affected by the impact of COVID-19 on our partners and other organisations, for example health services, transport providers and suppliers of products and services.

Business continuity planning will need to take many things into consideration - including staff self-isolating, having caring responsibilities and agile working - and there is likely to be a need to make tough decisions on how we prioritise and organise our work if the situation escalates to the forecast levels.

There are potentially very challenging times ahead but I, the Corporate and Senior Management Teams and the political leadership, have every confidence in your ability to meet this challenge and to rally round to get through it together.

We are all going to have to be extremely resilient and flexible to deal with this but we all also need to be considerate and mindful of the needs of the people around us and the communities we serve.

The health and wellbeing of all employees and all residents will remain the absolute priority throughout this period so I urge you to keep this in mind at all times.

We all need to keep following the latest Government and Public Health England advice on hygiene and safety practices and this will be reflected in the FAQs I mentioned earlier.

Please keep doing the basics when it comes to this advice on hand-washing and the other simple measures to reduce the risk of spreading the virus and to keep as many of us as possible healthy and well.

We are starting today to let the public know that services, although currently operating as normal, may become affected by COVID-19 but that we will do our best to inform residents and businesses of any changes to service delivery as soon as possible.

These messages will need to be co-ordinated by our Public Health and Corporate Communications teams so please support them in that if the need arises.

Thank you to everyone who has already been involved in contingency planning and in dealing with the issue over the past several months. I know a lot of time and work has been put into this and it is very much appreciated.

It gives me great pride to say that I am constantly amazed and delighted by the efforts, expertise, dedication and passion of East Riding of Yorkshire Council staff across all services and I know you will all rise to this challenge.

I know you will have a positive, can-do attitude and that you will give total support to colleagues across the council, whatever the situation and whatever you may be asked to do to support essential and high-priority services.

I also know you will remain calm and professional and you will do your absolute best to keep providing the best possible services to our residents and communities through these challenging times.

Please rest assured that we will be continually monitoring the global, national and local situations and that I will provide more updates to keep you informed of our plans and actions at appropriate times.

Thank you.


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