Below is a briefing on the Covid-19 “Council Resilience Centres” which should start opening today. The key message here is that residents should use email and other online methods to report routine problems (missed bin collections etc). This will enable Council staff to focus on those most in need. My contact details are above – just email me any non-urgent issues you want addressed.
Council resources are being reorganised to support citizens in crisis, freeing up officers to provide critical advice and support to those in the most urgent need.
We are doing this to ensure we can support our most vulnerable residents, minimise risk to colleagues and their families and maintain essential services and direct them to where they are needed most.
Our advice line is available for urgent requests, with support for those most at risk and hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak to be prioritised in all circumstances.
We are encouraging members of the public to delay making routine and less urgent requests for as long as possible. Where-ever possible we need people to make those requests via email, webforms or other channels to allow officers to prioritise those in most critical need.
We are also making changes to the way we prioritise and operate services in the locality offices.
From Monday 23 March 2020, Council Resilience Centres will be established at the Council’s locality offices at Captains Road (South East), Niddrie Mains Road (North East), West Pilton Gardens (North West), Westside Plaza (South West). An additional centre will open in Leith at the Kirkgate Centre later in the week. Resilience teams will operate between 10.00 and 16.00 hours initially.
These centres will provide a base for a team of Council officers to work from so that they can target support and advice, manage urgent housing issues, respond to homelessness and provide support vulnerable households. We are looking at how we can best provide food vouchers through these centres. Further details of this will be released in the coming days.
Access to these centres will be carefully managed to limit the risk of infection and to ensure the safety of staff and residents. There will be no direct access to these centres. A controlled access protocol will be in place to assess risk and requirement on a case by case basis.
The teams will be supported by a small team of professional officers and customer staff and will be managed by an onsite duty team manager. Two teams will be established for each centre to allow them to rotate. Staff currently working at home will be held in reserve and will be available to further reinforce these teams.
Our colleagues in these centres will have to deal with extraordinarily difficult situations in the most difficult circumstances. They will become tired and stressed at times. They will also be affected by requirements to self-isolate for 7 and 14 day periods if they or someone in their household develops symptoms.
I know Councillors will want to support them as much as possible. You can best do that by encouraging residents who have routine and less urgent needs to use the Council advice line and other channels to make service requests. And please wherever possible show your support for colleagues providing essential and critical services. They are showing enormous dedication and determination. Your support is really important to them now and in the weeks and months ahead.
Our member services team will set out arrangements next week for members who wish to make a service request on behalf of constituents. These arrangements will ensure that these requests are assessed and dealt with by the appropriate service. This will allow the Centres and other front-line response services to focus on the most critical needs of residents.
We will be reviewing the operation of the centres on a daily basis. It will have adapt as we learn and as the issues and circumstances our communities face change.