More than 2,000 businesses get £23m help; 1,300 households get Hardship Funding; 500,000 bins collected during pandemic
Council chiefs speak of ‘enormous challenges’ on front-line services as authority adapts to coronavirus pandemic.
Council chiefs have spoken of the “enormous challenges” of keeping front-line services moving during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Following the Government lockdown in March, local authorities have been forced to change the way they deliver services for residents.
In South Tyneside this is no different, with waste collections, schools, businesses, leisure centres and car parks affected due to social distancing rules.
This week, the council’s ruling cabinet heard an update on work that has been taking place during the public health crisis.
“It goes without saying that the past eight weeks have been enormously challenging for the delivery of frontline services across the council,” Corporate Director of Regeneration and Environment, George Mansbridge, told cabinet on Wednesday, May 20.
“It’s important to say that the vast majority of services have continued to be delivered successfully despite reduced staffing numbers and in a constantly evolving environment with new guidance and legislation coming out about every day.”
During the pandemic, the council has maintained regulatory services with Trading Standards and Environmental Health taking on new duties around dealing with potential breaches of coronavirus lockdown rules.
Councillors also heard about the scale of work in South Tyneside during lockdown restrictions, from bin collections to supporting the most vulnerable.
Collecting over half a million bins (both general waste and recycling). Continued provision of care and support to vulnerable adults and children. Supporting more than 500 requests for medication. Accommodating more than 50 residents who were at risk of homelessness and supporting nearly 200 others. Handling more than 25,000 calls through the council’s contact centre. Processing 5,000 benefit claims. More than 1,300 households in South Tyneside helped through a Hardship Fund. South Tyneside Homes completing more than 5,000 emergency repairs and contacting every resident in Housing Plus units. A new hub to support businesses seeing the council provide support to more than 2,000 businesses with £23 million worth of financial assistance.
As government restrictions have eased, some services have restarted following detailed risk assessments.
This includes garden waste collections and the council’s Recycling Village at Middlefields with more than 5,000 vehicles using the site in the first ten days after it reopened.
Council officer George Mansbridge added: “I just want to stress that we bring these frontline services back in a measured and risk managed way.
“This is not a return to normal, this is us learning to deliver services through Covid-19 and it remains vital that residents continue to follow national guidance and maintain social distancing.”
Council leader, Coun Iain Malcolm, added the council will keep services under “constant review” including the recent reopening of coastal car parks.
“It’s about delivering frontline services within a new norm at the moment, keeping members of staff safe and also keeping members of the public safe but recognising that there are frontline services which the council must continue to deliver.”
For more information on South Tyneside Council’s Covid-19 response visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/article/69129/Coronavirus-COVID-19-