Madeline Homer, CEx introduced the item and said that it 2020/21 had been a year like no other in terms of challenges for the public sector and that local government was no exception to that. Ms Homer then gave an overview of some of the achievements made by Thanet District Council as part of the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Ms Homer said that the Council was already dealing with the pandemic prior to the national lockdown at the end of March 2020. Prior to that, the council had already conducted the following:
The CEx said that when the national lockdown was introduced; whilst for most industries this meant reduced work; for TDC it meant everyone stepping up and working that little bit harder. Within the first week the council had:
This set the pattern for how the council would be responding to the challenges posed by the pandemic, for 2021 as TDC responded to the announcements from the daily government briefings. The council carried out the following activities:
Business stats on enforcement work
Since January 2021 the Enforcement Team had:
· Since 26th October 2020, 4 covid wardens were assigned to patrolling the towns and open spaces 7 days a week between the hours of 10-6pm;
· Since the 6th November 2020 to 19th April 2021;
· 851 businesses were spoken to (For guidance or non Compliance advice);
· 1861 members of the general public had been spoken to (For guidance or non Compliance advice);
Interactions with the public had increased over the last month, particularly in the last week in line with the roadmap changes, as expected. Over the last month, interactions with the public had doubled. Typical issues encountered daily were non compliance with social distancing and people not wearing masks. Large groups gathering on open spaces and drinking alcohol and general antisocial behaviour (ASB). Wardens would advise and report through to Police where needed.
Officers had also been key in the Kent Wide Response, (which Ms Homer chairs), the vulnerable people and communities cell, while officers were key players in the enforcement, environment and finance cells as well as various task and finish groups. This enabled the council to drive the best interests of Thanet at the county level as well as shape the county response.
The following Business Grants were administered by the Council:
Ms Homer then set out the review options for the Panel to consider if the Members still wanted to pursue review work on this topic. These arte set put below:
OPTION 1 - The Panel could receive a presentation on ‘Our Response to COVID’ March 2020 - March 2021.
OPTION 2 - The Panel could undertake a ‘How did we do’ review of TDC initial response to the first lockdown March 2020 - June 2020 including continuation of service delivery and our engagement with Kent Resilience Forum as part of the emergency response.
OPTION 3 - The Panel could how we have managed the government’s COVID funding streams including Business Grants; Safely Opening High Streets; CEV funds.
OPTION 4 – The Panel could review our Community response during the pandemic specifically the work of the Community Hub and our engagement with the voluntary sector.
Councillor Lynda Piper proposed, Councillor Paul Moore seconded and Members agreed Option 4.
The Chair requested that at the next Panel meeting, the CEx could suggest the terms of reference and an approach to tackling Option 4. Members could still request support at a later stage to consider Option 2.