Report of the Strategic Director of Communities and Environment
The Committee received a report and presentation providing an update on lessons learned from service delivery during the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact on communities and place.
From the presentation, the Committee were provided a summary of lessons learned and how the pandemic has shaped the way the Council delivers services. The Committee also received information in relation to how the Council will work in the future having identified areas of best practise.
A service update on a variety of Council departments was also reported, this included shielding hubs, the Holiday Activities and Food scheme, libraries, leisure, housing and waste services.
Two video clips were shown to the Committee, these clips showed how communities have pulled together to support each other during the pandemic, an example of this effort included the ‘dance on your doorstep’ event. The Committee noted that despite inequalities across the borough there have been great examples of community cohesion. The Committee were also provided with an update on the Council’s Covid household impact survey results, it was noted that Councillors had also been invited to a Corporate Advisory Group on this matter.
It was asked what support was being offered to residents in the supply of hot meals for those in need. Officers advised that many community organisations are offering such support, an example of those being Age UK. It was further noted that the Council, via its shielding hub network continue to provide information, advice and guidance to residents and this includes support for food and the cost of utilities.
The Committee thanked officers for their hard work and efforts during these challenging months; it was acknowledged that there is still a way to go and that there are areas of improvement needed but given the circumstances the work being done is excellent.
It was asked whether the alternate number plate system could remain in place post-Covid, it was suggested that this system is working well. Officers advised following the meeting that whilst there has been some support from residents for this there have also been a number of complaints. The Committee were advised that this system will remain in place as long as it is deemed necessary with the aim of returning to the former system.
A comment was made noting that a resident had attended on of the waste sites on the wrong day and was turned away when they were at the skips. Officers advised following the meeting that complaints have been received from residents who had been refused access when busy but then witnessed other residents going in on wrong day when it is less busy. The Committee were advised that the system needs to be applied equally for everyone or it creates ambiguity.
Additional queries were received on the implementation of a new permit scheme for the waste grounds. It was also asked whether vans are excluded from the number plate rule. Officers advised that hired vans are exempt from the odd/even system as residents have no control over the registration of the hire vehicle on the day they hire it. It was noted that resident’s own vehicles that require a permit are required to comply with the odd and even rules. It was stated that the new permit system is being tested in January 2021 with implementation as soon as possible. It was also confirmed that Suez are carrying out regular customer care training/tool box talks
(i) The Committee noted and agreed the contents of the report.