News and Updates

26th March 2020

Leicestershire County Council Services Update 25th March 2020

The following is a summary of the latest situation for County Council services, focusing for now on the three main services:

 

  1. Children and Family Services

Schools

  • The Government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend. Schools are, therefore, being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children – children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the coronavirus response and cannot be safely cared for at home
  • Vulnerable children include children who are supported by social care, those with safeguarding and welfare needs, including child in need plans, on child protection plans, ‘looked after’ children, young carers, disabled children and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans. There are over 5,000 children who fall into this category in Leicestershire, and work is taking place to prioritise school places for those who are not able to be safely cared for at home. This assessment is being made by schools, social care and SEND staff
  • The Children and Families Department is working with schools on how to deliver the provision for vulnerable children and the children of key workers
  • The Department will be keeping a record of schools that are open, closed and pupil numbers attending those that are remaining open
  • The Department was informed of more than 159 schools that opened on Monday 23 March. Numbers are likely to be higher when the full returns come in. It is estimated that around 4,000 children who are vulnerable or of key workers are being provided with a school place
  • Head Teachers are prioritising places in order to manage the delivery of education as well as keep those children that need to be in school safe
  • Schools are working together across localities in order to ensure places are provided for children, where their school has had to close, and to support the continued delivery of provision for vulnerable and key workers’ children.

 

Services for vulnerable families

  • The Department is prioritising the delivery of services for child protection and safeguarding and to our most vulnerable families. Guidance is being issued to frontline staff across the Department to set out safe working guidelines to protect both children and families and our staff
  • All Children and Family Wellbeing Centres are now closed to the public

 

 

  1. Adults and Communities
  • There are 1.8m vulnerable people nationally who need ‘shielding’. We estimate that this is around 8,000 in the county. Yesterday, the NHS nationally sent text messages and letters asking those vulnerable people to register on the Government’s website
  • Upper tier local authorities are expected to set up an administrative hub. We are seeking further information from the Government about who are the people being contacted by the NHS and we are working with the local NHS. A dedicated team within the department has been mobilised
  • Responsibility for medicines will lie with pharmacies, food with two national delivery organisations and the Department of Work and Pensions providing support too
  • Local authorities (county and districts) will need to fill in gaps, and this will require agreement and coordination across the Local Resilience Forum
  • From tomorrow, locality offices will be closed to the public. Any essential face-to-face services, such as cash payments, will be delivered in a different way to mitigate the risk to vulnerable people
  • Access to all types of personal protective equipment (PPE) is now becoming critical for some providers. The national PPE delivery provides 300 masks to each registered provider regardless of size or demand

 

  • Revised discharge guidance is being implemented. NHS staff will be responsible for identifying people ready for discharge and arranging care. Social care will support arrangements, commission care on behalf of CCGs and follow up review any care. CCGs will fund all care for discharge

 

  • Flow through reablement services to support discharge are being maintained

 

  • Capacity in home care and care homes is stable. A small number of care homes have experienced coronavirus cases, but these have been contained

 

  • A dedicated provider helpline has been established. Providers have requested additional funding to the coronavirus response

 

  • An Emergency Care Team is being established with officers who have experience in directly providing care to support reablement and the wider sector

 

  • Providers will be asked to prioritise care based on individual needs and any informal support that is available to people

 

  • Arrangements are being considered to support people in receipt of Direct Payments and people who fund their own care, should their individual care arrangements break down

 

 

  1. Environment and Transport
  • All 14 Recycling and Household Waste Sites have closed
  • Waste transfer and haulage functions will be maintained, to ensure we can dispose of the household waste collected by the district councils, although at least one district service is stopping
  • For SEND and home to school transport we are providing transport for those children of key workers and vulnerable children still attending school.  We are now considering how we cover this function over the Easter holidays given our staff are on term time contracts.  We are likely to have to redeploy from other areas
  • We have extended concessionary pass use to allow travel before 9.30am so vulnerable people can access the specific hours supermarkets are allocating for their use
  • For highways work we are moving to provision of critical services only.  This covers services such as:
    • Repairing category 1 & 2 highway defects
    • Emergency and adverse weather response
    • Making safe damaged assets
    • Winter maintenance (gritting)
    • Urgent gully emptying and jetting, forestry work and street light repairs
    • Rural grass cutting for safety/visibility
    • Reactive traffic management
    • Statutory inspections where safe to do so
    • Fleet workshop and vehicle maintenance
  • Services that will cease include urban grass cutting and environmental works, carriageway and footway surfacing works, planned patching and bridgeworks, preventive maintenance treatments e.g. surface dressing and Section 278 developer works and improvement schemes

 

  • At the current time all car parking enforcement (provided by the district councils on our behalf) in the county has ceased with the exception of Charnwood, although that is expected to follow because of capacity.  We can request specific enforcement in an area if required and the district council will endeavour to provide a mobile patrol

 

 

  1. In addition to the main service updates above:

 

  • County Hall will close to members of the public from tomorrow
  • Government guidance allowing meetings to be held virtually has now been received – this also enables school appeal panels to be held
  • Wedding ceremonies at council venues have been cancelled
  • People will still be able to register deaths and further instruction is being sought from the General Registry
  • Access to the country parks through main entrances and car parks has ceased. Some parks have rights of way and open access which remains in place

 

 

  1. Full list of closures

 

For information on closures announced visit https://www.leicestershire.gov.uk/popular-now/coronavirus-council-updates

 

In summary:

  • Adult learning courses have been cancelled
  • Adult day services have been stopped
  • Children and family wellbeing centres have been closed
  • Country parks have been closed
  • County Hall and locality offices are no longer open to the public
  • Events have been cancelled (e.g. recruitment, find out about fostering and adoption, library events)
  • Leicestershire libraries are closed
  • Mobile libraries will not be operating
  • Museums and heritages sites are closed, as well as the Century Theatre and Beaumanor Hall
  • All recycling and household waste sites are closed
  • The Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland is closed
  • Wedding ceremonies have been cancelled
Local News

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *