Issue - meetings

Meeting: 30/07/2020 - COVID-19 Response and Recovery Scrutiny Panel (Item 2)

2 COVID-19 Response and Recovery pdf icon PDF 402 KB

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Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed everyone present to the inaugural meeting of the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Panel. 

 

The Panel had been established by Council following recommendations made by Cabinet, with the purpose of reviewing the Council’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to take an active role in respect of the Council’s agreed recovery plans.  The Centre for Public Scrutiny (CFPS) and the Local Government Association (LGA) had both welcomed this course of action.

 

The terms of reference for the Panel were outlined in the report including a summary of what the Council had done so far accompanied by guidance released by the Centre for Public Scrutiny on the establishment of a COVID-19 related scrutiny panel.

 

 The Chairman reiterated that he wanted the Panel to consider and make deliverable, tangible recommendations to Cabinet and did not wish to the see the meetings become ineffective with unnecessary talking and little action.  The Council would need to be fully prepared for a second wave of the virus should it arrive and be accompanied by the inevitable local or national lockdowns.

 

The Chairman particularly wished to assist local businesses as much as possible to reinvigorate the Ashfield’s economy and would be paying special attention to any opportunities that may arise to offer the Council’s support where needed.

 

Members were reminded that the meeting would enable them to consider the Council’s first response to the pandemic and determine a suitable work programme for the Panel over the next four months.

 

Congratulations were placed on record for the amazing work undertaken by employees during the lockdown period and in particular the waste collection team, Charles Edwards, the Council’s Environment and Cemeteries Manager and Helen Carlton-Ashton and the customer services team who had dealt with over 40,000 enquiries during that time. 

 

The Vice Chairman also spoke about the resilience and care that had been shown by Ashfield’s residents and all the NHS heroes that had gone above and beyond to keep the public safe.  The Council had facilitated the distribution of over £18 million pounds of grant monies to assist local businesses during the outbreak and had recently commenced opening up the Council’s high streets and town centres to welcome customers back and restart the local economy.

 

The Service Manager, Scrutiny and Democratic Services gave an outline of the expectations for Member-led scrutiny through the COVID-19 recovery period and reiterated that Members would play a large part in shaping the recovery and response framework.  Priorities would need to be set based upon feedback from residents (and local communities) and what deliverable outcomes could be achieved within the Council’s capabilities.

A request was also being made to the Leader of the Council for a COVID-19 recovery item to be placed on each Cabinet agenda for the foreseeable future, to enable the Panel to provide responsive feedback and recommendations for action as required.  

 

The Scrutiny Research Officer screen shared a suggested work programme which outlined four potential meeting dates and topics for consideration.  Members were reminded that local communities  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2