The report was introduced by the Chief Executive and the Director of Public
Councillor Mallory referred to the financial section in paragraph 6.8.1 and
noted that while there had been a £53.2m financial impact, only £18m had
been received leaving a gap of £35m. He urged for robust financial monitoring
and asked for updated information. The Acting Chief Finance Officer reported
a further £3.2m had been received as a share of a national allocation and that
the next income return would be prepared at the end of July.
Councillor Campbell asked if a public health communications strategy was
being formulated as the borough headed out of lockdown. Councillor Millbank
added that a summary of lessons learned was required as well as consistent
data management. The Chief Executive explained that the borough was
mirroring Londonwide messaging which reflected NHS provision and timing
provided by Public Health England.
The Chair pointed out there was likely to be new rules on social distancing
and public behaviour including the requirement to wear masks in shops and
he asked if the communications strategy targeted likely affected groups.
Councillor Codd underlined the need to collaborate with local communities,
the rapid introduction of traffic calming measures being a prime example of
The Chief Executive indicated a new Director of Programme Management
would tackle some of the issues raised and indicated there were lessons that
could be learned on air quality and traffic calming.
Councillor Muldoon highlighted a review of BAME Health inequalities to be
undertaken by Birmingham City Council and Lewisham and he issued a
general invitation for nominations to be made to both an Academic Board and
an Advisory Board.
Councillor Curran raised three questions, asking when normal Council
meetings might return; what had been the financial impact on major town
centre developments such as the A205 realignment and was it possible for
emergency signage to have details of sources of further information.
The Chair indicated he thought the next step for the return of meetings would
be a hybrid option and he asked for an update on the feasibility of this to be
considered in August. The Acting Chief Finance Officer said information on
the financial impact on town centre developments would be provided
subsequent to the meeting. The Chief Executive said revisions to road closure
signage could form part of a wider communications strategy.
Councillor Bernards raised concerns about the increase in the numbers of
rough sleepers. He noted steps already taken by Councillor Bonavia with
regard to those with No Recourse to Public Funds. He pointed out those who
lacked access to digital technology might be prevented from making Council
Tax reduction claims or from accessing Homesearch facilities.
The Director of Public Services responded by explaining safeguards had been
put in place for the digitally excluded including all Universal Credit claimants.
A comprehensive telephone service was in place for all Homesearch queries.
Councillor Bell, the Cabinet Member for Housing explained that in terms of
assisting rough sleepers the policy was now mandated as ‘Priority Need’
rather than the previous ‘Everyone In’. He reported on steps taken to assess
and assist all rough sleepers apart from a small minority who refused to
Councillor Campbell asked if greater communication could take place with
residents with prevention messages for harder to reach groups. The Chief
Executive said all communication channels including social media outlets
were being used reflecting Londonwide messages on social distancing. She
said she would ask the Director of Public Health to provide an update on
translations which were available.
Councillor Sorba sought fuller details of the Summer Activities programme. He
also asked if the road safety measures introduced during the pandemic would
be reviewed in September.
The Executive Director for Children & Young People said a guide on Summer
Activities would be produced shortly containing fewer but more targeted
(1) the update on the Council’s response to COVID-19 be noted; and
(2) a further update on the the Council’s response to COVID-19 be received in