Covid-19 - cabinet agrees plan to go from response to recovery
31 July 2020
Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet has approved a draft strategy to help the county borough move from responding to the Covid-19 crisis towards recovery.
Approved on Thursday (July 30th , 2020) it sets out three key areas of focus:
- Test, Trace, Protect.
- Resumption of Council services and functions.
- Understanding and responding to the impact COVID-19 has had for citizens, businesses and other organisations across Neath Port Talbot
After a strong immediate response to the crisis, the council sees the next 18 months as a period of stabilisation with the strategy setting out a general framework to support a consistent and co-ordinated approach as the Council moves towards recovery.
Neath Port Talbot Council Council Leader, Cllr Rob Jones, explained: “I’m immensely proud of the way the Council’s workforce and our communities adapted to the severe restrictions placed on us all.
“The efforts across the county borough to sustain critical services and to support those most at risk have been extraordinary. We are now entering a period where we’ll need to make further adjustments while awaiting an effective vaccine.
“It’s crucial we all embed the public health measures that reduce the spread of virus into our daily routines involving maintaining good personal hygiene; continuing social distancing; redesigning our services and working environments; continuing to support those who need to shield from the virus and co-operating with advice to self-isolate and get tested if we develop Covid-19 symptoms.
“This strategy sets out how the Council will begin this work – work that will be subject of continuous review as new evidence and policy responses emerge.”
In March 2020, the council mobilised a major emergency response to the developing COVID-19 national emergency. An immense effort ensured the council was able to take action in step with policy decisions from the Welsh and UK Governments
A number of key actions were taken including the establishment of a seven-day-a-week enhanced communications service, the closing down of council services to help cut the spread of the disease as well as focusing regulatory services on ensuring compliance with emergency laws and guidance by local businesses and other organisations.
The number of staff using remote technology quickly jumped from an average of 50 per day to more than 1,500 per day in just the first four weeks of the outbreak.
The Council Leader took part in the network of meetings established by the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) designed to co-ordinate the local government response across Wales.
Due to the lockdown measures imposed by the UK and Welsh governments suspending all council meetings, decisions were undertaken under urgency and emergency provisions contained within the council’s constitution.
The council quickly moved to resume key meetings digitally, using Microsoft Teams. The council’s professional leadership and governance arrangements also adapted to ensure the council was able to mobilise its emergency response quickly with the Chief Executive setting up and chairing a seven-day-a-week Incident Management Group (IMT) to provide professional leadership.