Agenda item

The Council's Response to COVID-19

Report of the Chief Executive attached.


This special meeting of the Scrutiny Committee has been called by the Chair pursuant to Paragraph 4 of the Scrutiny Procedure Rules in Part 4(e) of the Constitution, to consider the Council’s COVID-19 response and recovery plans. Special meetings of the other scrutiny committees have also been called for the same purpose.


The Cabinet will consider comprehensive reports on this item and the following item of business (Item 5 - Initial Local Financial Assessment of COVID-19) at its meeting on 9 June 2020. Copies of these reports are attached to assist the Committee in considering relevant matters and the decisions of the Cabinet in respect of each report will be circulated to each of the scrutiny committees in advance of their meetings. The relevant Cabinet Members and senior officers will be available to answer questions at the meeting of each committee.


The draft minutes of this meeting of the Policy and Resources Scrutiny Committee will be reported to the meetings of the Place Scrutiny Committee and People Scrutiny Committee to be held on 15 and 16 June 2020 respectively, for information. However, members should note that each scrutiny committee must focus on the Council’s COVID-19 response and immediate recovery plans in respect of its specific areas of responsibility.



The Chair reported that he had called the special meeting of the Committee pursuant to Paragraph 4 of the Scrutiny Procedure Rules in Part 4(e) of the Constitution, to consider the Council’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its plans for recovery.


The Committee considered Minute 24 of the meeting of Cabinet held on 9 June 2020, which had been referred direct to Scrutiny, together with a report of the Chief Executive detailing the action taken by the Council to respond to the pandemic and its approach to the restoration of services and the provision of support for local residents, businesses, staff and the borough in general.


Councillors were advised that the report was to be considered by each of the scrutiny committees during the current cycle of special meetings and were reminded that, in considering the action taken by the Council in response to the pandemic, each scrutiny committee should focus on its specific areas of responsibility. The relevant members of the Cabinet and chief officers were in attendance to answer questions raised by councillors at the meeting. In response to questions raised by councillors that couldn’t be answered at the meeting, the Chair requested that details be provided by way of written response.


The Committee received a presentation from the Policy Manager and the Interim Head of Corporate Strategy, together with an updated version of the report of the Chief Executive, which also set out proposals to address arrangements for local COVID-19 outbreak planning and highlighted the role of the Council in supporting the NHS test, trace, and isolate programme. The report also detailed a proposed approach to driving recovery from the impact of the pandemic, through the use of the Southend 2050 programme.


On behalf of the Cabinet, the Leader thanked all officers of the Council for their commitment in responding to local issues arising from the pandemic and for their contribution to the delivery of new, adapted and existing services in difficult circumstances. The Leader also extended his thanks to National Health Service staff and other key workers for their dedication in responding to issues arising from the pandemic




That the following decisions of the Cabinet be noted:


“1. That the action taken to date in response to the Covid-19 crisis, be noted;

2. That, in the light of the impact of Covid-19, the proposed approach to recovery, including the use of the Southend 2050 programme to drive the Borough and Council’s recovery phase and in that context undertake a review of the Southend 2050 outcomes and roadmap content, be approved;

3. That the residents, staff, businesses and partners be thanked for all their efforts to date in responding to the pandemic;


4. That the governance arrangements for overseeing preparations for a local outbreak of Covid-19 and the production and implementation of a Local Outbreak Control Plan be put in place, as outlined in paragraph 4.15.5 of the submitted report.   This will see the establishment of an Outbreak Control Oversight Board and a Local Health Protection Board as sub-groups of the Health and Wellbeing Board; and

5. That it be noted that the executive decisions, that would otherwise go to Cabinet, relating to the arrangements for local outbreak planning, the Council’s role in supporting the NHS test, trace and isolate programme and associated matters, will be dealt with under the Council’s SO 46 procedure, with additional consultation with the 4 Group Leaders in the case of strategic matters.”

Note: This is an Executive Function

Cabinet Member: I Gilbert






Supporting documents:


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