The impact of COVID-19 on the work of Argyll and Bute Council was considered by the Business Continuity Committee (BCC) when it met yesterday (25 June).
A report to the BCC shows that responding to the pandemic has brought considerable change for council services, employees and the support needed from the council by local communities.
Putting national health guidance into practice has required changes that include:
Putting face-to-face council services on hold or on-line
Employees working from home rather than from council offices where possible
Council meetings held on-line
Setting up a helpline and delivering support for people who are shielding or vulnerable
Developing home learning support for pupils now, as well as options for blended learning and now full return for the new school term in August
Ensuring access to funding support for local businesses (to date £31 million+)
Making training available on-line to help local businesses prepare for moving on from COVID-19 restrictions
Taking on new responsibilities and powers in relation to social distancing, to help businesses operate/re-open safely where lockdown requirements allow
The report also recognises the important role communities themselves are playing, in particular in helping others to access food, medicine and other support.
Councillor Rory Colville, Policy Lead for Support Services, said:
“The scale and speed of changes required of the council have been huge. Millions of pounds issued to businesses, thousands of support calls answered, hundreds of visits paid to local companies, employees working away from their teams at home.. I could go on.
In these very difficult circumstances, employees, both junior and senior and in both frontline and support roles, have shown fantastic flexibility and dedication to getting the job done.
The response of local people too has been commendable – it is only with the help of volunteers and community groups that we have been able to provide the support needed by vulnerable people across the area.
Thank you to everyone who is playing their part in helping people who need it in these unprecedented times.”