Brief from the Chief: COVID-19 Update - 24 March
Tue, 24 Mar 2020

Dear colleagues,

Following the Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement last night of a nationwide lockdown, I wanted to share this message with you all as we enter this unprecedented period.

The next few days, weeks and months are going to be a challenge like none of us has faced before and therefore all of us need to be united in a number of ways.

We need to be united in our support of the Government's latest measures to combat the spread and impact of the coronavirus.

We need to be united in how the council plays its part in the UK response to the virus.

And we need to be united as teams and individuals.

By that last point, what I mean is we need to look out for each other, our colleagues and ourselves. There are testing times ahead and we are all going to have moments of mental, physical or emotional fatigue.

At those times, do not be hesitant to let colleagues or your manager know you are struggling personally and to ask for a time out. In a world of 24/7 media and social media coverage and speculation, the emotional impact should not be under-estimated.

Likewise, please look out for your colleagues and, if you see any struggling, be there for them.

I appreciate this is made difficult by the fact that for many of us we will be working from home, or remotely from your normal team base in other ways, but please use whatever council or personal communications tools you have available to keep in touch with each other, not only to carry out your work but to keep that social contact going.

As our Public Health colleagues say, social distancing is physical distancing - we need to keep social contact going, with our colleagues as well as our families and friends.

For those colleagues who continue to operate in the field, carrying out essential services, thank you from all of us and please be mindful of all the Government and Public Health England guidance around your health and wellbeing.

As an organisation, we are moving to delivering essential services only, as we focus resource on where it is needed the most, and our frontline staff are going to be vital in supporting our most vulnerable residents and in keeping those essential services going.

However, I want to stress that I know there are thousands of employees across the council who are also going above and beyond, working "behind the scenes" as it were, in support of our frontline colleagues and our local communities. Thank you also.

The challenge ahead is going to take a gargantuan effort from all of us. Every day, every night will bring its own issues.

However the council and its partners have been extensively planning our response to coronavirus for some time and we have a long track record of successfully dealing with all kinds of emergencies.

We also have a tremendous workforce which is second-to-none and I am 100% confident that all of us will rise to the challenge.

By our very nature, working in local government, in the public sector, serving a common purpose is embedded in us.

Therefore I know you will all support the country's collective effort when it comes to respecting the guidance around sensible shopping and social distancing and in respecting the lockdown measures.

Many of you will be asked to step out of your normal duties in the times ahead, whether to support colleagues in essential services or to bolster the community and voluntary response across the East Riding.

I know you will individually and collectively respond with positivity, resilience, flexibility and a willingness to do everything you can to support the national effort, the council and our residents.

Our vision of Your East Riding - where everyone matters and our values of working with quality, pride and respect will never be more apt.

I will share further messages in the days to come and there will be lots of guidance and support about home working and keeping well at home and out in the field.

In the meantime, stay safe, look out for your loved ones, your colleagues and yourselves and make the East Riding proud. I know you will.

Thank you.


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