Agenda item


The Vice Chairman gave an update to Members in relation to the latest position and Government’s need to look at further options to tighten regulations if required.  Some of the options to be considered:


·       introducing a 3-metre rule

·       wearing masks outside in busy areas

·       scrapping support bubbles

·       scrapping childcare bubbles

·       restricting school access to children of 'critical workers'

·       banning people from meeting to exercise

·       limiting exercise to one hour a day

·       increasing fines handed out for rule breaches

·       shutting nurseries for non-key workers

·       closing playgrounds

·       shutting car parks at country parks.


The excellent work of the Finance Team was highlighted with the current processing position being that 1,697 businesses have been paid a total of £7.666m to date with the following split:


·       Businesses with a Rateable Value: 1,332 paid to a value of £7.098 million

·       Businesses without a Rateable Value: 365 paid to a value of £568 thousand.


The Discretionary Grant Scheme closed at midnight on Sunday and the Council’s website had been updated to reflect this There had been a last minute surge over the weekend of around 70 applications taking the outstanding discretionary applications that morning to 246. Processing was expected to take up to 3 weeks.  Delivery of the scheme had been an enormous amount of work for staff and on behalf of the Panel, thanks were afforded to the Corporate Finance Manger (and Section 151 Officer) and the Chief Accountant for their diligence and professionalism throughout.


Latest coronavirus figures for the Ashfield District continued to drop.  As of 31 January, there had been an increase of 83 with 7757 having contracted the virus since the pandemic began. 


The Service Manager, Scrutiny and Democratic Services advised the Panel that the latest picture was ever changing but reiterated that people must not become complacent and continue to strictly follow the Government guidelines.


The Director of Place and Communities asked Members to consider how they might utilise their roles as Councillors to encourage residents to take up the vaccinations and stay safe.  They had influence within their Wards in their community leadership roles and had built up many contacts and networks over their time in office.  The Communications Team were also available to assist them as required and any assistance they could offer would be welcomed.


In relation to the Council’s Communication Team, Members were advised that the Senior Communications Officer currently attended two weekly meetings, one with the Local Resilience Forum in relation to Covid-19 communications across the County and the second, with Nottinghamshire County Council and the CCG regarding the vaccination roll out programme.


The Portfolio Holder for Streets, Parks and Town Centres had joined the meeting and advised that he was currently a Member on the Nottinghamshire County Council Health and Wellbeing Board.


Many older residents were confused as to the correct course of action to access the vaccination following receipt of their letters.  It was suggested that ‘Tech Buddies’ would be a help to residents who were struggling to get online and book their vaccination slots.


It was envisaged that vaccinations might soon to be administered by GP surgeries and pharmacies and the Council would be well placed to assist with this extension to the programme by reinforcing messages to local residents and publicising details of the participating sites on the Council’s website and social media platforms.


Concerns were also raised that Hucknall residents were being forgotten and it was imperative that Members and the Council continued to lobby the CCG for the provision of a vaccination centre in Hucknall.  The Panel also spoke of the need for an asymptomatic testing centre at Sutton in Ashfield as this area continued to report high levels of positive Covid-19 results.


In relation to the next meeting of the Scrutiny Panel it was suggested that invites could be sent to a couple of local charity representatives to enable the Panel to gain insight into how the pandemic has impacted their ability to fundraise and continue to meet their objectives for supporting local people.



a)    that the latest position in respect of Government guidelines be received and noted;


b)    that Cabinet be recommended to endorse:


·       the continued lobbying of the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to provide a vaccination centre in Hucknall;


·       the provision of a mass asymptomatic testing centre in Sutton in Ashfield, as part of a Middle Super Middle Output Area which is currently showing consistently high positive Covid-19 results.

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