To receive a report on managing the public health emergency.
The Chief Executive gave a summary of the report which set out a brief overview of the work of the Council, so far, in responding to the public health emergency.
In response to questions from members, the Chief Executive said the outcome of the formal review of how the Essex Resilience Forum had responded to the public health emergency could be reported to the Scrutiny Committee. At present it was difficult to tell where the focus of the Scrutiny Committee might best be served within the Council, but an internal review would be carried out.
In response to member questions, the Chief Executive said staff were being supported in a range of ways, including encouraging them to take appropriate precautions, keeping in touch with them and ensuring that they were fit and well. Staff who could not work were still retained on their full salary. It was informally reported that staff felt there was a greater sense of trust in them since they began working from home during the lockdown, but that some staff were having trouble feeling that they could adequately separate their home and work lives.
In response to a member question, the Chief Executive said some business grants took longer than others to process because the applications were much more complex. Of the £20 million allocated for business grants, £18 million had so far been allocated. The Director – Finance and Corporate Services said some businesses had been reluctant to claim, but the Council was encouraging them to do so. The government allowed 5% of the business grants allocated to be distributed at the Council’s discretion to those businesses that did not meet the criteria for grants.
In response to a member question, the Chief Executive said queues at recycling centres were to be expected given the social distancing guidelines in place. The Director – Finance and Corporate Services said there was currently no green bag collection service in place.
In response to a member question, the Chief Executive said the Council would in time reflect on its response, both in terms or what went well and what could have been done better, and the findings would be reported to the Scrutiny Committee. The Chair asked that the matter be on the agenda at the September meeting.
In response to a member question, the Chief Executive said officers were working with other stakeholders to assess how to manage traffic in crowded areas. Several Traffic Regulation Orders had been applied for.