Agenda item

Scrutiny Panel Chairman

Councillor David Hennigan


The Chairman and Vice Chairman of the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Panel gave an update to Cabinet regarding the work undertaken at the first two meetings of the Panel.


Key Worker Memorial

The Panel were very keen to see the installation of a suitable memorial to commemorate the bravery and excellent work carried out by all key workers and volunteers during the Covid-19 outbreak.  It was unlikely that S106 funding would be available to purchase and install the memorial but officers were still considering the possibility of funding through public realm contributions.


Panel Meeting – 30 July 2020

This was an introductory meeting setting out the terms of reference for the Panel and an overview of what the Council had done so far.  Members of the Panel also agreed that they would set a Workplan, outlining specific areas of interest for the year. 


Ruth Dennis, Director of Legal and Governance and the Council’s Strategic Lead for its COVID-19 response was in attendance and talked through the work undertaken by the Council thus far in response to the outbreak. 


Congratulations were placed on record for the amazing work undertaken by employees during the lockdown period, including the facilitation of over £18 million pounds of grant monies to assist local businesses. The Panel also acknowledged 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.


To conclude, Members agreed to consider in more detail the suggestions for a memorial to commemorate and honour the unstinting commitment and bravery shown by all key workers and volunteers during the pandemic. This was an area that the Panel were extremely keen to progress.


Panel Meeting – 3 September 2020

At the second meeting, all of the Council’s Senior Management Team were in attendance to provide both an overview of the work undertaken in their respective Directorates and allow Members to put forward any questions. The meeting was opened up to questions from the public, of which approximately 10 were received, all of which were answered at the meeting.


Areas for concern were raised by Panel Members to be considered in further detail and explored with officers. These were:


·       what further support could be offered to small businesses;

·       what support could be offered to charitable organisations and Churches;

·       homelessness and rent arrears and the real possibility of it escalating;

·       potential impact of a second wave.



Letter of Thanks

The Panel requested that a formal letter of thanks to be sent to all foodbanks and community groups.


Next Panel Meeting

At the next meeting of the Panel, it was agreed to invite representatives from businesses across the District to attend the virtual meeting and put forward their views and comments on the Council’s response and recovery plans.


Local Government Reorganisation

Panel Members were intending to consider local government reorganisation at its next meeting, in line with the Panel’s terms of reference.


A meeting was also due to be held the next day at Nottinghamshire County Council to agree to request the Secretary of State to invite the Council to apply for unitary status.   It was also intended to submit a motion to the next Council meeting at Ashfield on 1 October 2020 to state the Council’s opposition to this request for unitary status.