Latest Brief from the Chief: COVID-19 Update - 17 June
Wed, 17 Jun 2020

Dear colleagues,

As the Government continues to ease lockdown restrictions and the country begins to re-open and move into what is being called a "new normal", the council will continue to play a pivotal role with regards to COVID-19.

When the crisis started back in March, the council was central to the response to coronavirus, locally, from life-saving public health work to supporting our most vulnerable residents - through the establishment of a network of community response hubs - and also ensuring businesses could survive the inevitable economic impact that came with the worst global pandemic in a century.

Like all emergency situations, the incident response gives way to the recovery and the council will be front and centre in these efforts as well.

Last week, the council's COVID-19 Recovery Plan was approved by Cabinet and we will now be stepping up our work to enact this plan.

The plan itself focuses on five key themes:

  • Economic Recovery - To stimulate economic recovery of key business sectors, including small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and restore the vitality of our High Streets following the COVID-19 emergency. To help local SME businesses to recover, grow, expand and prosper.
  • Community Recovery and Health Protection - To support and harvest the resources of our local communities to adapt effectively to the impact of COVID-19 in line with the Government strategy, particularly in those areas most at risk due to multiple deprivation, and consider the preparations needed locally for leaving the European Union towards the end of 2020.
  • Protecting the Vulnerable Recovery - To protect and empower the most vulnerable members of the community to begin to get back to normal and for as long as necessary to learn how to live well and safely with the enduring threat of the COVID-19 emergency.
  • Organisational Recovery - To ensure the council, as an organisation, recovers well from the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling it to thrive in the future. This is not just about recovering to where the council was before the pandemic but is about redesigning how we work and operate and catapulting forward - quickly.
  • Financial Recovery - To provide the financial management and governance to allow the council to redesign and restore its critical services, support communities, vulnerable people and the economy during recovery and restoration from COVID-19.

The plan covers the whole council and everyone will have a role to play in helping to not only shape the organisation's recovery but also its future - and also the recovery and future of the East Riding as a place, its economy, our local communities and the residents we all serve.

In the meantime, and as the Government continues to "refine" the current UK lockdown, we are already starting to resume some important front line services which had been stopped and we are planning how we can recommence others.

It must be stressed, however, that any recommencement or escalation of services in the East Riding is only implemented when we are sure there are safe systems of working in place which take into account social distancing and other coronavirus-related guidance from the Government and Public Health England.

The council is committed to doing all it can to support local communities, local businesses and the local economy and that is why we have tried to keep essential and important services operating wherever possible and it is why we are trying to recommence other services as soon as practical and - more importantly - as soon as it is safe to do so.

However the lockdown is "refined" in the near future, the council will have a hugely important role to play in keeping the East Riding as safe as possible.

For council staff and other workforces, that will no doubt mean a different kind of workplace and different ways of working to what we were used to before COVID-19.

Social distancing will continue to be the norm for the foreseeable future and that will mean more flexible working and more remote working for office-based staff so that workplaces are not too crowded when lockdown restrictions are lifted.

I outlined this in my Brief from the Chief column on 5 June, which can be read here.

It is also important to remember that, while some council services and sectors of the economy re-open, some workers are still very much dealing with the pandemic, including our staff working in social care.

Some of our staff may not return to their normal roles for some time, but will continue to play an active role in our shielding arrangements.

I have said it previously, but, again, I'd just like to pay special tribute to them for their continued hard work and dedication. What you are doing represents the very best of us and we cannot begin to put into words just how grateful we are.

To find out more about the Council's COVID-19 Recovery Plan, read Item 3 in the Cabinet agenda - Tuesday, 9 June.



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