To receive a report which provides the Scrutiny Board with information relating to Business Continuity during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The report of the Director of Resources and Housing informed Board Members on how the Council’s Business Continuity Plans performed and supported the council’s critical services during the initial days of the COVID 19 outbreak and how the outbreak would inform business continuity going forward.
In attendance for this item were:
· Cllr. J Lewis – Deputy Leader of the Council, and Executive Members for Resources
· Marianna Pexton – Chief Officer for Strategy and Resources
· Nigel Street - Principal Officer Resilience and Emergencies
The Board was informed of the following key points:
· Prior to the pandemic all Heads of Service had been requested to review their business continuity plans as part of dealing with a ‘no deal’ EU exit, particularly in relation to loss of staff, and loss of key suppliers and supplies;
· On 5th March an email was sent to managers and officers responsible for LCC’s critical services requesting them to review their business continuity plans in readiness for the potential impact of COVID 19. Again paying particular attention to loss of staff, loss of workplace, loss of key suppliers and loss of supplies;
· As the cases of COVID 19 increased a major incident was declared, with Managers having to activate their business continuity plans. However, after 7-10 days special measures were required due to the global scale of the pandemic with rapid emergency support through new ways of working and service prioritisation;
· An Essential Service Planning Framework was developed to determine essential and non-essential services. Three overarching principles were established
o The protection of customers particularly the vulnerable;
o Protection of the health and safety of all staff;
o Ensuring compliance with Public Health and Government advice and guidance.
· A COVID 19 Silver Working Group was established, chaired by the Director of Resources and Housing supported by Chief Officers. The Silver Working Group continue to meet to explore how services which continued during the outbreak can be maintained and built upon in terms of their effectiveness and to oversee the resumption of services. The group are also preparing for a potential second wave;
· The Annual Business Continuity Report to the Corporate Governance and Audit Committee is due in December 2020, it will provide assurances that the arrangements are fit for purpose, are communicated effectively and are monitored.
Member’s discussions included the following:
· The use of a two tier approach when considering future pandemics;
· Service prioritisation and movement of staff to critical services;
· Looking at lessons learned to make the plans more resilient and robust;
· The need to move the digital agenda on to ensure staff are equipped to continue providing services;
· Staff survey and the wellbeing of staff;
· Getting staff back into the workplace, and the work continuing around social distancing;
· Air quality in the city centre;
· Social gatherings and movement of young people around the city.
The Board requested that a future meeting have an item to discuss agile working, to include policy and the impact on staff and services.
RESOLVED – To note the content of the report.