Coronavirus (Covid-19) - Service Update - 20 November 2020

PLACE, NEIGHBOURHOOD & CORPORATE ASSETS: SERVICE UPDATES: Friday 20 November 2020

Assets and Facilities

Facilities Management

No operational change as a result of the move to Scottish Government Tier 4 restrictions.

Day cleaning staff continue to operate during the hours of 9am and 3pm across all school sites and 8am and 6pm in all Early Years Facilities. School catering service to allow all other pupils in Primary Schools the option to purchase a hot meal being put in place from Monday 30 November.

Property Maintenance

No operational change as a result of the move to Scottish Government Tier 4 restrictions.

The service is continuing to focus on the completion of voids and a programme of repairs across the educational estate. Additionally the service is escalating action to allow access to those small numbers of properties that have not allowed access for annual gas safety checks.

Assets & Estates

No operational change as a result of the move to Scottish Government Tier 4 restrictions.

Construction of the Kirkintilloch Community Sports Complex and Allander Leisure Centre is now expected to begin in January to reduce the cost impact of early mobilisation and stand down over the festive period.  Design and cost development continues to progress for the ASN project.

Asset Management is continuing to develop a programme of elemental replacement works across the school estate and to deliver a range of other capital projects across the operational estate.

Housing Capital

No operational change as a result of the move to Scottish Government Tier 4 restrictions.

The installation of integrated smoke detectors continues to progress across the Housing estate despite Scottish Government pushing back the date for completion and compliance with the new regulations.

Housing New Build

No operational change as a result of the move to Scottish Government Tier 4 restrictions.

Groundworks continue on the former TJH site and a PNCA committee in November approved the award of the Phase 3 (Lairdsland) contract with construction due to begin in January 2021.

Housing

Housing & Homelessness

No operational change as a result of the move to Scottish Government Tier 4 restrictions.

Homelessness and Prevention

New homelessness applications remain low; 155 applications to date since April 2020 (down 50% +). Currently 309 homeless households awaiting offer of settled accommodation. There are 78 homeless households currently under offer. Homelessness and Allocations Teams working closely with PM voids team to support households move to their new homes.

Homelessness Out of Hours Service continues to be busy; 220 calls received since April 2020 (during 2019/20 163 calls were received).  Ongoing work with key partners - Scottish Prison Service, Police Scotland, Criminal Justice and Social Work to support households leaving prison (11 scheduled releases to year end). No applicant was booked into B&B in last 2 weeks.

Ensuring suitable accommodation is available over the festive period is always a challenge and dependant on demand; team will work with key partners to ensure accommodation is readily available within supported accommodation i.e. First Stop, multi-occupancy units, Canal Project and Ravenswood.

Estates Team

No operational change as a result of the move to Scottish Government Tier 4 restrictions.

Continue to work with Property Maintenance (PM) - voids team to ensure the voids backlog is progressed as quickly as possible with new properties coming on stream each week. There have been 12 new sign-ups over the last 2 weeks and a further 4 set of keys returned from PM to allow viewings and new tenancies to be created this week. The team is also working with Legal, Police Scotland and Community Safety teams to deal with anti-social behaviour cases through requesting Short SST conversions.

Rents

No operational change as a result of the move to Scottish Government Tier 4 restrictions.

The Rents Team continue to engage with tenants to ensure rental income is maximised. Advice and support continues to be offered to tenants whose circumstances have changed as a result of the pandemic or are struggling to pay their rent. Some tenants do not pay and/or engage and the service is now issuing 1st and 2nd reminder letters to them.  There are no current court actions for rent arrears taking place, as evictions cannot take place until at least March 2021.  The rents team continue to support and assist as many tenants as they can with UC claims/verifications, DHP claims, putting affordable agreements in place and also referring to CAB when required, ensuring that income is maximised where possible. Current rent arrears are £1,377,681 (week 32).

Tenant Participation

No operational change as a result of the move to Scottish Government Tier 4 restrictions.

The next Taking Part newsletter is due to be issued in early December and the next online TPWG meeting will be held on 3 December 2020.

Land Planning & Development

No operational change as a result of the move to Scottish Government Tier 4 restrictions. 

As tier 4 allows the construction industry to continue to operate, the Development Applications Teams will continue to provide services in line with the relevant risk assessments to visit sites only where alternative evidence is not appropriate.  This includes minimising the need for travel out with the district.

The biggest immediate impact on resourcing and service delivery relates to the support for businesses impacted by the restrictions.   The Coronavirus Restrictions Fund is now closed with final applications now being processed.  The Strategic Framework Grants were launched on Friday 13th November at 5.00pm as instructed by Scottish Governments.  These grants are designed to be paid 4 weekly in arrears and align to the five tier framework.  Two one off furlough grant payments will also be introduced this week.  One covering the closure restrictions fund and the other for general application.  The payment is for £1,650.  Letters of offer have been issued to Local Authorities by the Scottish Government.  The Scotland Furlogh Support grant is now live.

Applications for the Contingency Grant to cover Nightclubs/Soft Play have been issued and these should be paid this week.  In East Dunbartonshire there are only 2 qualifying companies.

A number of queries/appeals remain in respects of Business Grants for Phases 1, 2 and 3 and latterly for the restrictions fund. Government has not yet confirmed a final date for reporting but have asked local authorities to complete property level data for all business support grants awarded in a pre-designed format.  This is significant piece of work and will require collaboration between business support and rates due to the type of data being requested.

Business Gateway continues with its normal service provision however it is experiencing increased demand for support across all sectors.  Redundancies and business closures are on the increase with trade not returning to the same levels for many businesses.

Latest information from Business Gateway National shows that East Dunbartonshire BG has the 2nd highest rate of attendance for it’s workshops across Scotland exceeded only by Aberdeen.

Neighbourhood Services

Waste Services -

No operational change as a result of the move to Scottish Government Tier 4 restrictions.

Household Collection

The current collection activity is in line with previous updates. The service continues to experience some disruption as a consequence of the ongoing Pandemic, however  waste collections are operating normally for residents, whilst social distancing restrictions continue to apply in vehicles.

Dry Recycling Collection and Food Waste Collection

Collections are operating normally for residents. 

Green Waste Collection

The service will recommence in March 2021.

Bulky Collections (Special Uplifts)

The Special Uplift service recommenced on Monday 16th November with teams engaged in collections for bulk uplifts and  household electrical items.   Members of the public are now able to book uplifts via the web and through the customer contact centre, in line with normal procedures. The uptake for this service has been positive and resources are being deployed daily to meet this demand. The Service will endeavour to meet the standard timescales for collection of 10 working days, however given the continued fluctuation in resources, there may be a requirement to revise this arrangement dependant on staffing levels across the service.

Bin Deliveries

The service continues to work through requests for replacement bins as resources allow, with priority given to residual bin deliveries.

Mavis Valley Recycling Centre

The household waste recycling centre will remain operational through the move to Level four restrictions and as previously advised, the service is now operating on  reduced opening hours through the winter months.

Christmas & New Year Operations

Work in ongoing in order to mobilise resources for the upcoming festive period. The service is actively engaging with staff in order to secure sufficient numbers to enable services to be caught up following the Christmas and New Year break. Further information and communications will be available in future updates, highlighting the delivery arrangements over the festive period.  

Fleet Services

No operational change as a result of the move to Scottish Government Tier 4 restrictions.

Fleet Management

The service continues to manage the legal operation of the Councils fleet including compliance with the Goods Vehicle Operators licence, Drivers hours’ management and maintenance regimes. Officers continue to progress work on the fleet replacement programme for the year, with a range of vehicles delivered and introduced to the fleet. Work is also taking place in order to de-fleet and dispose of outgoing fleet assets in line with the replacement programme.

Fleet Maintenance

The fleet workshops based at the Hilton depot continue to service and maintain all front line Operational fleet vehicles and plant on a rotational shift basis. There has been an increase in demand due to the reintroduction of further front line operations therefore work is being prioritised in order to ensure essential services can continue to be delivered.

Electric Vehicle update

Following on from recent updates, orders have now been placed for the 18 additional Electric Vehicles. Work is now underway in order to progress the supply and installation of additional charging infrastructure at Council locations, funded via a £60,000 Scottish Government grant. 

Transport Operations

The transport team continue to support colleagues in Education and Facilities Management for ASN School Transport and Meal Deliveries across the Authority. The team also continue to Manage vehicle and plant hire activities, supporting  front line services in addition to managing the Councils Triscan Fuel Management and Masternaut Telematics systems across the Councils operations.

Place & Community Planning

Community Planning

No operational change as a result of the move to Scottish Government Tier 4 restrictions.

The Team continues to respond to requests for community support for escalated or complex cases received through the National Assistance Line or as part of the Isolation Support through Test and Protect.  As we move into Tier 4 our partnership approach with EDVA continues to provide support to those who need it.  Food security and support to the most vulnerable in our community remains a priority.  Volunteer shopping and prescription support continues to be coordinated through the OPAL helpline.

Applications to the Community Grant Scheme, which closed on 30th October, continue to be assessed and prepared with officer recommendations for consideration by the Grant Advisory Committee (GAC).  Successful applications will have taken account of delivery through a COVID lens particularly at the moment given the high incidence and new Tier 4 restrictions.

Community development work and support continues remotely in all of our Place areas which is key to Community Planning despite the lock down restrictions and absence of face-to-face in our communities.

Environmental Health Team

No operational change as a result of the move to Scottish Government Tier 4 restrictions however there may be an impact on the level of enforcement activity due to any potential increase in calls relating to non compliance of individuals and businesses with the current Tier 4 restrictions.

The recent rise in Covid-19 infections within the community has in turn led to an increase in demand for Environmental Health services.  Environmental Health staff are also working with Education in contact tracing within schools in liaison with health board colleagues through local Problem Assessment Groups (PAG’s) and Incident Management Teams (IMT’s).  We are also being advised of clusters within occupational settings that require to be investigated to ensure the adequate mitigation measures are being put in place by businesses to prevent virus transmission.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 came into force on Monday 2 November.  This replaced previous legislation that closed all licensed premises (aside from licensed cafes who could operate but not sell alcohol on site).

East Dunbartonshire Council area has been moved from Level 3 to Level 4 of the tiered strategy within the regulations.  This means that all hospitality premises and non-essential shops and services will require to close for a three week period from 20th November 2020 at 6:00pm.

Whilst this is considered as a lock down it is not as restrictive as the first one earlier this year with schools and key industries such as construction still being able to operate

Environmental Health's programme of visits to hospitality settings to assess compliance with legislation and the Covid-19 controls will be paused for the next 3 weeks. The team have received requests from businesses for advise on what the new tier means for their operation. Environmental Health will continue to assess and monitor compliance by the hospitality sector for take away food and drink business over the coming weeks. Other routine service requests such a food complaints continue to be received.  The team are sampling foods from local businesses to assist in national monitoring surveys to ensure safety, composition and labelling is adhered to. The importance of food safety and food standards compliance continues to be paramount in public health even through out a pandemic to protect health.

Away from business regulation, officers in Environmental Health continue to deal with other environmental regulation and public health in terms of Air Quality, Contaminated Land and numerous noise, odour, smoke and dampness service complaints.  The team are also assessing relevant incoming planning applications and providing comment for Planning colleagues on environmental public health considerations to be accounted for. 

The Team monitors the ongoing EU Exit negotiations and associated trade deals as this will have implications for food safety work and businesses within the community.   Food Standards Scotland has given advance notice of the expectation for the food official controls recovery plan to be implemented by Councils. This is likely to generate very significant extra work over the winter months with the presumption that inspection programmes can begin in Spring.    Linked to this, two members of the team completed their studies for a qualification in Official Control Verification of complex food operations which officers must have going forward in food inspection. 

Trading Standards Team

No operational change as a result of the move to Scottish Government Tier 4 restrictions however there may be an impact on the level of enforcement activity due to any potential increase in calls relating to non compliance of individuals and businesses with the current Tier 4 restrictions.

Trading Standards Officers continue to provide individually tailored advice and guidance to all non-food businesses on the new COVID regulations and Scottish Government guidance. Officers are also dealing with complaints regarding compliance with the legislation from both the public and businesses.

On Friday 20 November at 6pm the East Dunbartonshire Council area will move to level 4 for a period expected to last 3 weeks. The restrictions for level 4 are contained within Schedule 5 of The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020. Non-essential retail is required to close and the Team has already received a number of enquiries from local businesses about whether they can continue to trade or not. In addition to the current Level 3 restrictions museums, galleries, close contact services, driving instruction, indoor fitness, studio, gyms and other indoor leisure centres or facilities must close at 6pm on Friday 20 November. Trading Standards Officers will continue to monitor compliance throughout the 3 week period and take appropriate action in cases of non-compliance.

Trading Standards also continue to receive a number of complaints and requests for advice from beauticians, hairdressers and barbers providing close contact services in the high risk zone.  This has proved challenging in terms of supporting the sector to understand their obligations and not to provide services which entail removal of a customer's face mask. The Service has therefore written to all retailers within this sector and used social media, to assist retailers and customers to understand the requirements that are presently in place. Close contact services are required to close under Level 4 restrictions.

Other COVID related work has included an increase in enquiries from businesses who work within people's homes and traders who operate from their own home. Complaints relating to a lack of physical distancing in retail premises and enquiries from non-regulated children's activity providers and those who provide adult classes have also featured heavily.

There has been an increase in the workload in the areas of scam prevention, product safety, fair trading and metrology, along with firework enforcement inspections. This year there has been a downturn in the number of firework licences issued with a number of supermarkets deciding to no longer sell fireworks. Officers carried out fireworks enforcement inspections to all businesses premises selling fireworks.

Despite continuing uncertainty surrounding EU Exit officers have also been undertaking Brexit e-learning courses on consumer protection issues, including fair trading, e-commerce, product safety, animal health, and cross-border matters to assist in the preparation for the significant legislative changes that are expected in the area of consumer protection.

The Team's Fair Trading Officers have continued to provide advice to consumers and traders over contractual disputes.  Many of these instances have arisen as a consequence of the coronavirus restrictions impacting on performance of contracts, particularly home improvement complaints. The current situation presents additional challenges when mediating between businesses and consumers to satisfactorily resolve complaints.

Licensing Advisers are continuing to deal with routine licensing consultations, complaints and enquiries. In addition this work they have been assisting Environmental Health with hospitality inspections and recently also completed a programme of spot checks at on-sale licensed premises in relation to the sale of alcohol.

Community Safety Team

No operational change as a result of the move to Scottish Government Tier 4 restrictions however there may be an impact on the level of enforcement activity due to any potential increase in calls relating to non compliance of individuals and businesses with the current Tier 4 restrictions.

The team continues to deliver a range of essential, emergency and re-commencing work. Service delivery activities will be now tailored and prioritised to coincide with the requirements of the level 4 COVID restrictions that will be in place across East Dunbartonshire over the next three weeks.

Investigation of instances of fly-tipping continue to feature heavily and officers have been working closely with colleagues in Police Scotland to take robust enforcement action in relation to a number of offences. The team has also deployed mobile CCTV in known fly-tipping hotspots for the purposes of helping to tackle this increasingly problematic issue.

Control of Dog matters continue to be investigated and an essential / emergency pest control service has also been delivered for residents on an on-going basis since the start of the original lock down in March.

For Community Wardens on-street enforcement for parking offences recommenced in the middle of August.  Charging and enforcement in off-street car parks then recommenced 14 September 2020.  During the forthcoming period of level 4 restrictions, the focus for the Community Wardens in relation to decriminalised parking enforcement will be centred upon our school estate. Essential patrols in relation to environmental incivility breaches as well as antisocial behaviour and youth disorder patrols in and around identified issue areas will also continue.

The team continues to provide a remote service in terms of neighbour complaints/disputes, providing advice by phone and email and liaising regularly with colleagues in other services including Housing, Social Work and Police Scotland.  As part of this the team will continue to carry out antisocial behaviour visits in the most serious of cases in order to tackle the significant increase in the number of complaints that have been received in recent months - however, alternatives means will be utilised wherever possible over the next three weeks with face to face visits only being carried out where absolutely essential.

In addition, a number of mobile CCTV cameras continue to be deployed across the Council area to try and help tackle ongoing issues in terms of antisocial behaviour as well as more serious criminal offences.  These cameras have been deployed in conjunction and agreement with colleagues in Police Scotland. During COVID pandemic there has been increasing amounts of antisocial behaviour in our communities.

Roads & Environment

Roads Network Operations

No operational change as a result of the move to Scottish Government Tier 4 restrictions. There will be no change to the delivery of Winter Maintenance Plan due to the Tier four status and this included carriageway and footway maintenance.

After review and amendment of operating procedures the team began the annual installation of Christmas Decorations on 16th October. As there are no formal switch on events allowed this year, the decorations will made live on phased approach beginning on the 26th November. The table below shows the programmed switch on dates for each location.

Location Switch on date Status
Bishopbriggs Thursday 26 November 2020 Complete ready for switch on
Kirkintilloch Friday 27 November 2020 Complete ready for switch on
Twechar Friday 27 November 2020 Complete ready for switch on
Milngavie Friday 27 November 2020 Complete ready for switch on
Bearsden Town Centre Friday 27 November 2020 Programmed for completion 27 November
Westerton (Bearsden) Friday 27 November 2020 Complete ready for switch on
Lennoxtown Friday 4 December 2020 Complete ready for switch on
Milton of Campsie Friday 4 December 2020 Complete ready for switch on
Torrance Friday 4 December 2020 Programmed for completion by 20 November
Haughead Friday 4 December 2020 Complete ready for switch on
Clachan of Campsie Friday 4 December 2020 Complete ready for switch on
Lenzie Friday 4 December 2020 Complete ready for switch on

In addition the Christmas Trees for Bishopbriggs, Kirkintilloch, Milngavie, Bearsden, Lennoxtown, Milton of Campsie and Torrance will be installed over 23rd and 24th November prioritised based on the go live dates. Again, this will be unaffected by the Tier Four status.

The Roads Network Team returned on a rota basis on 18th May to carry out essential road safety repairs where social distancing can be maintained. The team have also been carrying out the annual gully maintenance programme with all primary routes now completed. The team are progressing the secondary routes with Milngavie and Kirkintilloch routes also complete.

Roads Technical & Engineering

The Traffic Team continue to engage with Planning & Consultants to progress the new ASN school at Bankhead Road, Waterside. Minor repairs to traffic signs and signals are ongoing. The team continue to engage with customers about road safety matters.

The Drainage Team have programmed capital works for Crow Road and are starting a new drainage officer. The team continue to correspond with customers concerned with high levels of rainfall. The Golf View flood mitigation works are substantially complete. A permanent fence is to be installed and the grass area will be seeded in the spring. Meetings are ongoing about flood prevention for the housing site next to the Celtic Training Ground.

The Structures Team continue with Principal and General Inspection and to process abnormal load notifications.

Works include:

  • Works continuing on rebuilding/repointing Clober Road retaining wall Milngavie
  • Works continuing on repairs to Burncrooks Bridge, Cloberfield, Milngavie.
  • Works started on repairs to Shanks Burn culvert, Stockiemuir Road, following defects being picked up in an inspection.

The Tier Four status should have no impact on the aforementioned work, but the officer have been requested to assess new requests and these should be prioritised in line with guidance.

Streetscene Operations

Teams have completed Spring bedding preparation and planting.  Flood banking annual cut has been completed in the Kirkintilloch area.  War Memorial preparation and tidying of areas undertaken for Remembrance Sunday and 11th November. Leaf litter management underway.  Cutting of tree screens either completed or underway through the area. Teams provided assistance in relation to the removal of debris pre-and post- bonfires.  Safety checks on play areas continues as well as street cleansing operations, bottle banks, removal of debris from culverts and pitch maintenance. Cemetery operations continued, with maintenance teams assisting as required, and maintenance teams carried out a significant amount of turfing graves.

The Service does not anticipate any changes due to the Tier Four status and will continue to provide a reduced grounds maintenance and street cleaning service in line with available resources.

Streetscene Technical Support

In the previous two weeks the Streetscene Technical Support Team have been busy working with our contractors and colleagues to deliver various projects and improvements within our greenspaces. The team also continues to respond to a high volume of enquiries regarding open space, cemeteries, food growing, trees and biodiversity, as well as providing responses to planning application consultations. Project highlights from the last fortnight include:

  • Spring bulb planting completed on road verges and open spaces throughout the authority.
  • Wildflower plug planting has been completed at Heather Ave Open Space
  • An additional bench has been installed at Langfaulds North play area following requests from residents.
  • Continue to work through play area faults from the equipment audit carried out in the summer including the awarding of a contract to carry out repairs to play area surfacing.
  • Continue to assist Town Centres and Regeneration on implementation of new play area in Peel Park.
  • Bulb packs have now been delivered to all schools taking part in the annual School Bulb Competition.
  • Paving works have commenced at Meadowburn steps.
  • Path repairs at Lenzie Moss and Allan Glen path, Bishopbriggs have been completed.
  • Survey of trees in Etive Park has been carried out. 
  • Second verti-draining has been completed for 16 Leisure Trust grass pitches.
  • Installation of gazebo and paving works at Kilmardinny House.

Again, the move to Tier Four should have no significant impact on the work of the team as they will continue to work from home and only undertake site visits as required.

Mugdock Country Park

Regrettably, Mugdock will be affected by the move into Tier Four and it is the intention to close the Visitor Centre, Gift Shop and Toilets for the duration of the move into the higher tier. The local team will also liaise with the businesses within the park and will work with Corporate Communications to update the public via social media and the EDC website. At this time a number of businesses will remain open for carry out foods and Caulders Garden Centre will remain open but its café will be closed.

The park remains a heavily used site for those wishing to access open space and ongoing outside and online work is being maintained including.

  • Drainage work undertaken on West Highland Way by Countryside Rangers
  • Continued removal of salmonberry.
  • Wardens renovating fencing at children’s playpark.
  • Specification for renovation of the bandstand and path within the walled garden revised.
  • Sales for an online Panto ‘Beauty and the Beast’ launched.
  • Santa’s Workshop display in Courtyard overseen by Visitor Centre staff.
     

EDUCATION, PEOPLE & BUSINESS: SERVICE UPDATES: Friday 20 November 2020

Education

As East Dunbartonshire is in Level 4 restrictions, there are some additional measures which require to be put in place in schools and early years centres.

Staff, who were previously shielded, require to have their workplace risk assessment reviewed to ensure that all measures are in place to keep the workplace as safe as possible.  Head Teachers and managers will arrange to review the risk assessment for all staff, who were shielded and any further adjustments will be made.   Support and advice will be provided by HR Case Advisers.

If a child was previously on the shielding list then it is recommended that they do not come to school without a risk assessment which is informed by the clinical team caring for them. If a child does have to remain at home while the area remains in Level 4 then the school will ensure that work is provided for the child.

There will be no indoor PE while we are in Level 4 and outdoor learning will remain a priority for all our schools and nurseries. 

The Scottish Government has published up dated scientific advice on the transmission of the virus in schools and nurseries:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-evidence-on-children-schools-early-learning-and-childcare-settings-and-transmission-from-covid-19---summary-report/

This report provides details in relation to the risks to staff in schools as well as the risks to children. It details that the biggest risk in schools is from adult to adult transmission and to a lesser extent from adults to pupils.     It also states:

The risk of transmission from children to children and children to adults in primary school and ELC settings appears low, particularly when effective infection control measures are in place.

The report states that the Chief Medical Officers for the UK state:

Control measures such as hand and surface hygiene, cohorting to reduce number of daily contacts, and directional controls to reduce face-to-face contact remain key elements of maintaining COVID-19 secure school environments and minimising risk.

There have been a number of positive cases in schools and centres and head teachers are supported to carry out a risk assessment by officers from Education and Environmental Health, who then link with Public Health.  All contacts are then notified that they should self isolate.

The attainment visits to secondary schools are taking place using remote access.  All secondary schools have comprehensive programmes in place to support children who are self isolating.  This includes the provision of home learning and digital learning, there is an increasing use of some live online lessons.   Pupils in the Senior Phase are provided with a learning loss programme; this includes a range of approaches including supported study sessions, online support in the evenings by teachers.  It is clear that the support has to be tailored to the individual needs of pupils due to the dynamic situation caused by Covid.

There is regular engagement with the trade unions both teaching and non teaching to discuss concerns and resolve any issues.  Advice is being prepared for teachers in relation to the revised arrangements for the SQA qualifications.  There are a number of issues that require to be addressed including ensuring that those pupils, who have been absent from school for extended periods due to Covid, have their absences logged as part of evidence of exceptional circumstances.

The Education Committee, at its recent meeting, requested information on the support being provided to support employability.

Employability support is being provided remotely to individuals who are looking for help to access training and jobs. This is mainly one to one support, help to access online training and in work grants. Funding for this work comes via the Scottish Government and European Social fund.

The Scottish Government has announced further funding to address increased unemployment as a result of COVID-19. This includes additional funding to support parents living in poverty and a new Youth Person's Guarantee.

The new Young Person's Guarantee will aim to offer all young people under 25 either a job, apprenticeship , education, training place or voluntary work. New grant allocations to local authorities to help develop the Guarantee are currently being finalised. As part of this the council are contacting  local employers to gauge  interest in creating jobs for young people under the UK Government's "Kickstart" programme which will provide the full wage costs (at minimum wage levels) to employers who create additional jobs for young people for 6 months.

The Young Person’s Guarantee will also provide additional resources to secondary schools to support the Developing the Young Workforce agenda focussed on ensuring good quality school leaver destinations.

Organisational Transformation

Procurement Team

No operational change as a result of the move to Scottish Government Tier 4 restrictions. The Procurement Team continues to support tender and contract requirements across all services with significant workstreams around major assets, Property Maintenance contracts and other needs across services such as Education, Housing, Business & Digital Change Projects, City Deal and Roads. Renewal and award of various contracts continue with various key ICT system requirements being progressed at this time.

The team continues to monitor supply chain for PPE stocks and other critical supplies. The centralisation of PPE Procurement to Broomhill Stores is currently facilitated by the Procurement Team, co-ordinating logistical requirements for PPE to HSCP, Education, Operational Services, etc.  This is carried out through close working with the Senior Health & Safety Adviser, ensuring updated guidance is reflected in PPE items required for our workforce.

Business Grants, School Clothing Grants, Education Trip repayments, Early Years grants, Care providers additional funding requests, etc continue to be processed via the Procurement Support team supporting achievement of Government payment commitments. The team also continues to support the payment processes for Social Isolation payments and planning for the Christmas Holidays food support payments.

Health & Safety & Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

No operational change as a result of the move to Scottish Government Tier 4 restrictions. The Health & Safety Team continue to support the review of schools’ risk assessments and the infection control arrangements that are in place when positive cases arise, and where there are concerns of possible links between cases. These visits are carried out in conjunction with Education and Environmental Health officers. Recommendations are made to the school and the authority where any issues are identified.

Priority focus continues to be support to Education by reviewing COVID-19 guidance according to tiered system, individual risk assessments and visiting schools to support queries regarding ventilation and other COVID related issues.

The Team has developed a streamline approach to Display Screen Equipment and are supporting members of staff in an individual capacity. The Team is working alongside ICT Team to deliver this.

The Team has worked to provide COVID-19 Risk assessments updates for several key areas such as Health and Social Care Partnership specifically Care at Home, Home visits and Criminal Justice. The team has supported a number of other areas including EDLC Multi sport program and swimming. Additionally, continuing to support services selecting suitable COVID-19 mitigating equipment aligned to Scottish Government and Public Health Scotland guidance.  The Team continues to support the Roads department in their internal training ahead of Winter Maintenance.

Social Work Commissioning Team

No operational change as a result of the move to Scottish Government Tier 4 restrictions. The P&D team continues to support the HSCP and commissioned services including Care Homes, Care at Home and Third Sector organisations – essentially to ensure that during the pandemic and thereafter, services are safe, remain open and are sustainable in the longer term.  

P&D has an integral role in the HSCP’s daily Care Home Oversight Group – which involves compliance, monitoring, compiling daily reports to help inform local and national requirements.  The team continues to liaise regularly with the Care Inspectorate regarding inspections, feedback sessions and establishing joint action plans to help support and monitor service improvement. 

P&D is currently working with providers to resume building based day care services - where it is safe to do so and in line with national guidance.  The process involves reshaping and financially re-structuring service delivery models to accommodate and balance individual needs, risks, Care Inspectorate registration requirements, Public Health and legal obligations

The P&D team co-ordinate and progress Social Care Sustainability Payments. Providers are able to submit additional payment claims relating to infection control, PPE and staffing costs, whilst Care Home occupancy payments will be tapered from September to November.  A Governance Panel to consider the latest claims will meet late November/early December – with approved claims captured within the HSCP’s Mobilisation Plan. 

In line with national requirements, P&D continues to support the HSCP and providers to transition from Planned to Actual payments, however, following increasing pressure from the sector, the Scottish Government is reviewing its agreed approach – an update is expected shortly with new arrangements to be implemented from 1st December 20.

Engagement continues with providers and other Local Authorities to understand the challenges and strategies deployed in other areas.

Human Resources & Organisational Development

No operational change as a result of the move to Scottish Government Tier 4 restrictions. The team continues to support the return to work for employees and monitor the measures in place in partnership with Managers and Head Teachers.  Preparatory work for consideration of impact on Services is in progress for the requirements for implementation of Tier 4.

Absence analysis and support continues with priority focus within HSCP.  Detailed scrutiny of the absence performance across all services continues with engagement taking place to understand required support and actions for improvement. Wellbeing information extended on the Employee Zone to reflect current campaigns for healthy working lives. Updates are being made on a regular basis. The team continues to receive calls on COVID reporting for various circumstances.  The implementation of a 7 day cover rota reflects the required response from the team to take action at the earliest point.   Advice and guidance to employees and managers on COVID related issues and absences continue to be supported by the HR & OD teams.

Cases are progressing where deemed appropriate for Discipline, Grievances and Absence with an assessment on whether these require to be virtual or in an office environment with all relevant safety measures being considered.

Business & Digital Change Team

No operational change as a result of the move to Scottish Government Tier 4 restrictions. The contract extension for Helping Hands has been completed.  This system helps manage the provision of local support to vulnerable people in the community as part of the Council’s response to COVID-19.

The team are working with Services on enhanced processing improvements. Some of these improvements can be seen in the digitalisation of forms which has provided an enhanced customer experience. 

A variety of workshops are being held to help refine the requirements specification for a new housing management solution to replace Saffron Housing. Work continues at pace to upgrade the CM2000 app for our homecare staff. This new application will be deployed to all relevant staff by the end of November 2020. Business Systems continue to support ongoing transformational priorities including Smart Working 2020.

Legal and Democratic Services

Democratic Services

No operational change as a result of the move to Scottish Government Tier 4 restrictions.

Registration – the move into Tier 4 restrictions allows 20 attendees at a wedding or civil partnership ceremony (including the couple) but prohibits receptions.  Attendance at a ceremony is excluded from the travel ban and so there is no immediate impact from the move to Tier 4.  However, it is anticipated that some ceremonies may be postponed until such time as it is possible to have a celebration or reception afterwards which may impact on demand in the new year.

Information Management – the Team is managing and supporting services in a higher than usual number of FOI enquiries.  It is anticipated that the move to Tier 4 may increase this further as both the public and journalists submit requests for details of planning, impact of Tier 4 etc on the Council and its service delivery.  This increase is also being impacted by the impending EU Exit.

Democratic Services – the Team continues to support and co-ordinate the Council’s civil contingency work.  The imposition of Tier 4 restrictions means that the Council is very much on a response footing as opposed to planning for recovery, however recovery planning work is proceeding in parallel to the response.  Whilst Tier 4 does not apply nationally, it does cover the Local Resilience Partnership and the wider regional arrangements and as a consequence the Team is covering an increased number of meetings and subsequent actions.  This work is being balanced and prioritised against the business as usual work including the ongoing committee cycle.

2021 Election – the move to Tier 4 has brought a sharper focus on the challenges of administering an electoral event in the midst of a pandemic and associated restrictions on movement and gathering and the need for physical distancing.  The Team has fed comments back to the EMB regarding draft legislation to be considered by the Scottish parliament shortly.  The bill includes consideration of polling over a number of days, increased absent voting and powers for the Presiding Officer to postpone the election for up to 6 months.  It also considers the prospect of an all postal vote election.  Detailed planning is underway to identify what these proposals mean for election planning in East Dunbartonshire and more generally in preparation for the election.

Legal Services

No significant operational change as a result of the move to Scottish Government Tier 4 restrictions.

It is anticipated that contractors involved in the Major Assets and other projects are likely to behave cautiously and for those contracts not already concluded, they may look for additional contractual relief, thereby involving the Team in supporting the Major Assets team in further negotiations and contract drafting.  For those contracts that have already commenced then it is likely to ramp up social distancing, cleaning and welfare facilities etc which may cause delays to projects and/or increased costs.  The Commercial Team will have to spend time negotiating and documenting changes to existing contracts.  The contracts recently put in place should cover most of such eventualities as they have been anticipated in drafting over the last few months.

Signing – as a consequence of home working the Teams have had to amend processes for having documents validly signed by an appropriate officer.  It is expected that Tier 4 restrictions may make the process of delivering and receiving documents by courier and mail more elongated.  There will be additional safety and risk processes to adhere to which will have to be incorporated into the Commercial Team's timescales when trying to get documents signed.  This will be necessity lengthen transaction times and potential settlement dates.

Tier 4 will again impact on some of the most vulnerable in society and it is likely that the commercial team will be asked to urgently deal with documentation for emergency grants, new software to support critical and/or essential services and negotiate and review data protection agreements with various agencies to ensure the smooth sharing of information.  This work will take precedence and so will have a knock on effect on business as usual work.

Procurement – the Service expects an increase in requests for legal advice on critical procurement purchases.  It may be that supplies of certain items and/or services are required urgently and the Commercial Team will have to provide legal advice on the procurement aspects of these purchases.  Again this will be prioritised over other work any may impact on business as usual.

Litigation - the courts will remain open and this may lead to some cross authority travel in the event of any in person hearings.  At present none are scheduled beyond today (20th November) but this may change as actions progress. 

Licensing - the demand for liquor licensing is expected to be low and the usual pre-christmas applications for extended hours etc are not expected.  However, the downtime in the trade may be used to reconfigure current offerings and this may result in applications for variations etc as a result. 

Taxi licensing – it is intended that these applications will continue to be processed as usual and appointments will continue to operate out of Bearsden Hub. 

Social work - during the first lockdown the requirement for SW support increased and this has continued to be the case.  The Litigation & Licensing Team is expecting this increased demand to continue into these new Tier 4 restrictions given the additional pressures on families and individuals and the time of year.

Housing – the heritable court is still not fully functioning and it is expected that the move to Tier 4 will push this back further.  This combined with the restrictions around eviction actions may result in additional pressures for the Council in dealing with challenging tenants.  The Team is expecting an increased demand for support from colleagues in Housing.

General Litigation – none of the civil courts or tribunals are operating at pre COVID levels and the move to Tier 4 will most likely delay this further.  Some tribunals eg Employment Tribunal have transitioned into virtual hearings and this seems to be working well, however this is not the case across the board and it is likely that some ongoing litigation will be further delayed.  The Team is currently making representations to the DPEA Reporter regarding the format of the public inquiry for the Nithsdale CPO and a further Technical Note will be issued to Members once the outcome of these representations is known. 

Customer & Business Support Services

Shared Services
No operational change as a result of the move to Scottish Government Tier 4 restrictions. The Transport team continue to support both Social Work and Education in the provision of transport across the area.  The work is challenging, as arrangements continue to be impacted due to COVID positive tests and self isolation cases on service users, drivers and providers.  The team continue to support a range of business as usual services including Direct Payment audits; administration of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA); maintenance of Social Work care packages and payments to a range of suppliers.  The School Support coordinators are supporting the school estates with teacher recruitment and school fund audit process.

The General Team continues to support the National Helpline, providing support to shielding and vulnerable people during the crisis. The exercise to gather names of individuals entitled to Vitamin D supplement has now been completed with 85 requests submitted. In addition to receiving incoming calls, the team is making outgoing calls to offer support to those individuals who are required to self isolate by the National Contact Tracing Centre (NCTC).  To date, we have received 879 unique individuals to contact and have made contact with over 88% of them within their isolation period which has resulted in 103 requests for help.  The Education support team is continuing the work of contacting parents of children who are entitled to free school meals and self isolating to arrange payment of £4 per day while the pupils are away from school.  The Social Work team continues to deal with increased call volumes for referrals to all services, including Homecare and administering the high volume of virtual meetings for the various conferences the service require. The Letting Team are contacting customers to advise that all outdoor Lets will be cancelled from 6pm Friday 20th November until the 11th January 2021 due to the Level 4 restrictions around contact sports.

Revenues and Benefits
No operational change as a result of the move to Scottish Government Tier 4 restrictions. The Scottish Welfare Fund team continues to cope with unprecedented demand, dealing with over 300 claims, including almost 180 crisis grants. We are now a few weeks into administering the Self-Isolation Support Grant. This has brought additional challenges to the team, but we are ensuring the funding applications are given priority.

Non Domestic rates is continuing to see higher than normal levels of work considering the pressures facing businesses. The Small Business Bonus Review is now concluded. We have cancelled 360 and revised rates bills have also been issued, however, we appreciate a number of ratepayers may not be able to access premises at this time and we will be making allowances for this and reinstating any awards once we are contacted by the ratepayer.  We are issuing the first recovery notices for rates on 23rd November 2020.

We continue to work with our colleagues in Business Gateway on all the various Scottish Government grants to support businesses during the current period.

The Benefits team are still processing high levels of applications for Council Tax Reduction. We continue to work through the Housing Benefit Accuracy Awards programme and will have reviewed all the required cases by the end of February 2021.

Our Council Tax summary warrant has now been signed by both courts and 3,600 summary warrant letters were issued on 13 November 2020. We are now dealing with enquiries on these and will work with customers to try and reach mutually acceptable arrangements before accounts are progressed to the Sherriff Officer. 

ICT
No operational change as a result of the move to Scottish Government Tier 4 restrictions. The Team continue to provide support to Corporate and Education estates including the provision of security patching and hardware swaps.  The Corporate Support team are assisting the Business and Change Team in the roll out of the new CM2000 app to mobile phones for the Homecare Team.  A large focus of the team is supporting Education in the provision of 1200 devices to pupils for blended learning.  The team have delivered the first batch to primary schools with deliveries for other schools planned over the next two weeks.  The same team continue to support the Cashless Catering project by installing new equipment in schools and supporting the installation of software at the new locations.  The Education Support team have been enabling the roll out of Google Meet across the Education estate and deploying new hardware in the schools.  We also continue to provide support for the major assets projects at Southbank, new Boclair High School, and the 3 new early years builds.  The team have completed the installation of new equipment at the Killermont Extension.

Corporate Performance & Research

No operational change as a result of the move to Scottish Government Tier 4 restrictions. The Corporate Performance & Research Team continues to support data collation and analysis across all Council services and the HSCP social care services to meet ongoing Covid-19 reporting requirements for regional and national returns. Data also continues to be recorded for local performance indicators and performance reporting for statutory returns.  Quality assurance work and data cleansing also continues across data systems used to ensure accurate data is recorded and provide confidence in data returns.  The team continues to engage with National Records Scotland in relation to census planning – the next census has been moved from March 2021 to March 2022 as a result of the impact of Covid-19.    Support is currently being provided across all services for conclusion of 2019/20 performance reporting ahead of preparation and publication of the Public Performance Report for 2019/20.  Ongoing insurance work also continues including responding to insurance enquiries and liaising with our insurers and claims handlers in relation to claims and claim outcomes.  The team has been supporting services with data and research for reporting and for the development and updating of policies and in the preparation of FOI responses.  Work is continuing with the GIS team in the development of interactive mapping for the area.

Communications

No operational change as a result of the move to Scottish Government Tier 4 restrictions. Communications support continues to be provided to all Council services and to the HSCP and EDLC Trust, 24/7 where required, including out of hours and emergency/contingency communications.

The Communications Team continues to respond to the key messaging required in relation to Covid-19, sharing key communications from Scottish Government, NHS and stakeholders in relation to the latest Covid-19 messages and guidance with East Dunbartonshire audiences. Regular internal communications are also being delivered including guidance published to the Employee Zone of the website and Employee News for the workforce on the latest guidance and reminders. Over the past fortnight communications support has been provided in relation to messaging for the move to Level 4 restrictions.

The team continues to support the live streaming of public meetings, working closely with Democratic Services and ICT Services to stream meetings through the Council’s you tube channel, with support scheduled for the upcoming meetings and boards in November.  Meetings streamed over the past fortnight have included:

The Education Committee on 10 November (19 views, a peak of 12 concurrent viewers and the average duration/view was 23 minutes)

The Planning Review Body on 11 November (24 views, a peak of 15 concurrent viewers and the average duration/view was 21 minutes)

The PNCA Committee on 12 November (21 views, a peak of 9 concurrent viewers and the average duration/view was 10 minutes).

Social media messaging continues to be an important tool for informing residents of key Council communications and sharing partner communications.  The Council currently has 17,224 Facebook followers and the three posts with the highest reach were a post urging residents to follow the rules and help stop the spread of Coronavirus (15k reach, 319 interactions), a job advert for day time cleaners for our schools (14.3k reach, 198 interactions) and a post alerting residents that our special uplift service was resuming (13.7k reach, 221 interactions). Overall, our Facebook posts reached an audience of over 524k during the past fortnight. Twitter has 18,489 followers and the three most significant posts this fortnight have been the post about East Dunbartonshire moving to level 4 restrictions (28.3k reach, 28 interactions), a post asking for businesses and residents to fill in a Covid-19 Economic impact survey (26k reach, 6 interactions) and a post about our updated school holiday calendar (25.5k reach, 337 interactions). 

crowd control    crowd control

The team continue to provide information to and respond to enquiries from national and local broadcast and print media and to proactively issue media releases on latest developments/initiatives. From 5 November to 19 November a total of 21 media enquiries have been responded to and a further 3 media releases issued, including:

https://www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/news/wreaths-laid-across-east-dunbartonshire-mark-remembrance-day

https://www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/news/council-offers-support-16-days-activism-campaign

Customer Services

No operational change as a result of the move to Scottish Government Tier 4 restrictions. The Emergency Response Centre continues to provide customer support 24/7 for the hour care alarm service, CCTV monitoring and emergency communication across services out of hours as required. 

The wider Customer Services team is responding to changing numbers of daily enquiries, which correlate to service changes and reintroductions and local measures in place in response to Covid-19.  Call volumes vary dependent on service changes and reintroductions and enquiries include seeking information on services not yet able to be resumed.  Clear signposting continues to be provided to NHS and Scottish Government sources in relation to current health guidance and the national position in relation to restrictions in place to control the continuing spread of Covid-19.

Customer Service delivery continues primarily through digital and phone channels in line with current guidance.  The appointment only based approach that has been introduced for licensing at Bearsden Community Hub continues to work effectively for the checking of original documents and issuing of plates/licences. 

Registration services (delivered by Assistant Registrars in Customer Services) continue to provide 5-day service delivery during the Covid-19 Recovery phase, in line with current guidance on how registrations can be conducted.  Death registrations continue to be delivered remotely by the Assistant Registrars based in Kirkintilloch Community Hub with access to registration stationery for the provision and issue of official certificates and documentation.  The Assistant Registrars are also conducting birth registrations, now being undertaken in real time with the backlog having been addressed.  A strict appointment based system is also in place for the registration of marriage paperwork and ceremonies are being delivered at the former Registration Office on Southbank Road which has been risk assessed and appropriately signed for this service.  All other registration appointments take place in Kirkintilloch Community Hub and are conducted in line with current guidance. 

Finance and Audit

This update is provided on the basis that all of the business as usual updates as previously reported to Elected Members continues to be progressed.  This included a range of activities across all financial teams ranging from Annual Accounts to cash flow management.  Particular focus is given in this update to the notification of the Council moving into Tier 4.  This will necessarily have an extended impact on our workload as new forms of funding are announced and processes developed to support new or revised policy direction.  This will increase the workload of all Accounting Teams as the levels of Service support will require to be enhanced with any financial impacts monitored.  With work ongoing in relation to a number of additional grants it will be necessary for the Council’s internal audit team to validate and consult on new control processes.  This may also extend to those processes that require appeals with independent review being called upon for the team.

The Council’s Chief Finance Officer continues to work with COSLA and the Directors of Finance to represents the best interests of Local Government and the Council.  A number of Tier 4 policy decisions directly impact the work of our teams with additional work likely to be required to discharge their requirements.  This requires engagement with these teams through our Command and Control arrangements to ensure that resources are in place so that timescales and reporting requirements can be met.

Technical Accounting

The team continues to work on maintaining and improving the Council's financial systems and controls.  The focus of this work may change with the potential for new processes to be developed following the Tier 4 announcement.  The technical team continue to provide support to the business support teams and revenues benefits teams in discharging associated grants to business and individuals.  This includes the development of guidance and completion of returns.

Revenue Team

The team continue to support the development of expenditure expectations in relation to Covid and tracking the various income streams to establish whether this funding is additional to support the anticipated financial gap or in the form of a grant to offset new, additional and required expenditure.  Having reported on Period 3 at the start of October next steps are to finalise Period 6 reports for the Policy and Resources Committee on the 26 November. 

With new restrictions in place following the Tier 4 announcement further engagement with all services will now be required and projections of year end spend updated accordingly. Work is ongoing to develop previous reports to provide clarity of the Council’s overall financial position despite the challenging circumstances which continue to change and new funding announced.  In addition the team is starting to compile initial expectations and documentation in relation to the 2021/22 budget with benchmarking information being collated between all 32 Councils as well as through external economic advice.  This is being applied within the Council’s financial model to provide initial expectations of future financial gaps albeit this remains at a very high level given the variability within the economy.

Treasury, Capital & Housing

The team are now focused on the impacts of Tier 4 restrictions on the Council’s cash flow including the impact of any intended borrowing decisions with Capital works continuing to slow.  The treasury team continue to monitor cash flow closely due to the increased financial transactions due to Covid ensuring that there is liquidity for all Council activities.  This including putting in place the new controls and procedures for paying the daily isolation grants and also the opening of our new bank account to enable enhanced cashless catering processes at our schools.

The Capital & Housing Team have now completed all audit requests and are now working on completing various year end returns for Scottish Government, along with the submission of our City Deal claim.  The team continues to work on producing and distributing our monthly capital & housing budget monitoring reports.

The Capital & Housing team is also currently working on 2021/22 budgets.

Internal Audit and Fraud

Internal Audit, whilst continuing to provide some support over new processes such as the Transitional Support Fund, were previously moving to a recovery phase and starting on audits that have been planned pre-Covid.  This will now need to be reviewed in light of any new requirements following the Tier 4 announcement.  The team had also started to follow up on outstanding audit actions from previous years where this was possible but there is now additional pressures across Council services resulting from recent events; this may not now be possible.. Audits that have recently commenced include Health and Safety and the Highways Code and the team is also seeking to finalise audits that were commenced pre covid such as Road Works Consultancy, ICT Contract Management and HSCP Financial Planning.

The Corporate Fraud Team continue to investigate various reports of fraud and undertake vetting on all applications received for licences, housing, and school places. Corporate Fraud is also liaising with the relevant services and undertaking preparatory work in respect of submission of data for the forthcoming National Fraud Initiative data matching exercise. 

HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE PARTNERSHIP (COUNCIL DELEGATED SERVICES): SERVICE UPDATES: Friday 20 November 2020

HSCP Business Continuity & Recovery / Transition Planning

All departmental and overarching Business Continuity Plans were updated during September as part of surge planning.  This is to ensure that lessons learned during the first active phase of Covid-19 during March to July 2020 can enhance service response to the current resurgence in community transmission and the challenges of winter.  A Covid-19 annex to the HSCP Business Continuity Plan provides more detailed information on essential service prioritisation approach, team consolidation plans, public protection arrangements, arrangements to support and sustain commissioned services, arrangement for sustaining staff capacity and communications.  Local resilience planning and reporting continues to be undertaken through the HSCP’s fortnightly Local Resilience Management Team.  Virtual management team meetings are also well established and the HSCP Board resumed business from its June 25 meeting, albeit by virtual means.

Annual (2019-20) and Quarter 1 (March to June 2020) HSCP performance reports were considered by the HSCP Board at its September meeting, which provides indications of service activity and outcome impacts as a result of Covid-19, across HSCP functions and services.

In line with the Council’s COVID-19 Strategic & Operational Planning, an HSCP Transition and Recovery Plan has also been developed, with a focus on service remobilisation wherever safe and possible to do so.  This will be updated iteratively in line with Scotland’s Strategic Framework and the development of more detailed guidance.

The annual Flu Vaccination programme continues to roll out, which this year is available to approximately double the number of people in the community than usual due to a lowering of the age range (c.22000 people).  This has been logistically challenging for the Partnership, but feedback has been highly positive with 94.4% of people attending for vaccine reporting that they were extremely satisfied with the care they received.  Experience drawn from this extended flu vaccination programme will contribute to logistical planning for Covid-19 vaccination arrangements.

Arrangements for personal protective equipment (PPE) continue to be in place for all services that require it. 

Public Protection

Public protection work, which includes child and adult protection, drug and alcohol services, and a range of justice services, continues to be prioritised.  It has been observed that protection referrals have returned to pre Covid rates and in some cases are now in excess of this. 

The Public Protection Chief Officers Group (COG) continues its more frequent meetings, but with an agenda narrowed to focus on key areas of risk.  The Public Protection Leadership Group established at the outset of our Covid-19 response has continued to meet fortnightly and reports directly to COG.  This ensures management oversight of all operational matters and statistics relating to Public Protection.  This group has included work to support early release of prisoners in collaboration with Housing services. 

Practices and processes for protection functions are updated in line with revised national guidance and the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020. A specific public protection covid-19 risk register has also been developed to support ongoing work.  Items of concern are noted and escalated to COG. 

Service Delivery Impacts

Most social care services continue to be delivered on a business as usual basis e.g. statutory assessment and supervision services, care at home and residential care, although the way that these services are delivered has been impacted by social distancing constraints.  During the first wave, a number of services were suspended or reduced in line with social distancing requirements such as day services, group work, overnight residential respite and Unpaid Work.  Many of these fall into the category of congregate services, which has been the subject of separate Elected Member Technical Notes and direct correspondence with service users and families.  National guidance has been provided in relation to day services and respite services.  A Greater Glasgow-wide strategic approach has now been established to ensure consistency and best practice for the delivery of day services, in line with this national guidance.  Significant responsibility regarding the remobilisation of both purchased and directly provided services rests with local risk-based decision-making.   Alternative services have been provided where needed, with families and informal carers also stepping in to provide increased levels of support.  Voluntary support has also been arranged to provide ongoing contact and monitoring of need.   

The HSCP is working with EDC colleagues to consider the necessary risk assessment, trades union negotiation and practical amendments to enable more direct work with customers to resume as the waiting lists for service continue to rise.  The restarting of congregate services will be particularly carefully managed in the context of Covid-19 community transmission levels.

On 3 November, the Scottish Government published an Adult Social Care Winter Preparedness Plan.  This plan sets out the measures already in place that must be retained and those that the Scottish Government believes need to be introduced across the adult social care sector, to respond to the expected pressures over winter.  This plan has significant impact for the HSCP and Council delegated services. 

Assessment and Care Management

Social Work assessment and care management referrals reduced sharply during the early stages of lockdown in the Spring, similar to the reduction in referrals to NHS services.  Referrals returned to pre-Covid levels and assessment activity increased significantly during the summer, but the second wave has impacted once again on referral and activity numbers, albeit much less than during the first wave.  This trend is also being seen with fewer people presenting at hospital emergency departments.   The main Social Work Assessment and Care Management Teams continue to deliver their statutory services, mostly working from home, with physically distant customer contact wherever possible.  Adult physical disability and older people social work services have moved to a locality-based delivery approach from November, which should further improve links with primary health care and general practice.  New support planning tools have been launched in early November which support the HSCP’s Fair Access to Community Care Policy and allow us to more effectively capture and report how well we meet eligible support outcomes.

Contact and Monitoring is being maintained through digital mechanisms and phone calls wherever possible, whilst fulfilling the requirements of statutory orders and public protection requirements, although in line with Scottish Government guidance face to face contacts for the most vulnerable and at risk has been increased.

The Persons at Risk Database (PARD) that was been established to identify HSCP service users requiring ongoing contact during the Covid-19 response time period continues to be actively used. Numbers on the PARD remain static at around 5700 people. Those who do not receive a direct and ongoing care package e.g. home care, are contacted on a frequency that is defined by the assessed level of risk to their welfare and levels of need.

Direct Services

All of the Council’s in-house social care services continue to operate, with the exception of day services - Kelvinbank Day Service and Milan remain closed with staff providing cover into the care at home service albeit plans are underway to resume scaled back service delivery to those with a critical need for additional support.  The Outlook and Outreach services operate an emergency response to families and individuals in crisis.  The remobilisation of services that are currently suspended for safety reasons will be taken forward in line with the guidance and approaches set out above, with alternative support being provided in the interim, in line with assessed needs.

A pan NHSGGC group on day services has been convened, led by the ED Interim CO, and has produced a document setting out the shared and collective approach to day services over the winter period.

Testing for Social Care Staff

There is access to testing for all social care staff who are symptomatic.  This testing is available regardless of who the staff member is employed by and includes the third and independent sector registered services.  The referral link has been shared with all registered service providers and in house service managers. 

In addition to the testing that has been rolled out to all care home residents and staff (services for older people and others such as mental health and learning disability services) where an outbreak is confirmed or suspected, as well as on a weekly rolling programme the national testing strategy continues to develop and we continue to respond to any new requirements this brings.  There has been some variability in turnaround times for laboratory results which has impacted on our ability to respond. The Scottish Government is looking to extend lab capacity on a regional basis to support this and we expect to transition to new arrangements next week. 

Support to Care Homes

A high level of support continues to be provided to care homes. Enhanced clinical support from the HSCP is routinely provided 5 days a week and over the weekend where this is required. In line with Scottish Government requirements the HSCP has in place a daily safety ‘huddle’ to oversee the position of each local care home. Following publication of the national winter plan this group’s remit has expanded to cover all registered care services.

The Large Scale Investigation under the Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007 previously referred to at one facility in the area has now been concluded. The care facility in our area which had been subject to Enforcement Action by the Care Inspectorate has now demonstrated the required improvements have been made and a re-inspection last week has re-graded the services to a 3 ‘adequate’. A further care home in the area was subject to a follow inspection on 17 November. This has resulted in the issuing of a ‘letter of serious concern’ and a follow up visit will take place on Monday 23 November. The HSCP is actively providing support to this home which is also contending with a significant covid infection outbreak. A further small number of homes within the area have recently experienced covid outbreaks and we are working to support them to respond to this, with support from Public Health, however these have not been on the same scale.

Support to Home Care

The home care services continues to be increasingly busy, with a noticeable trend towards referrals for more complex and staff intensive care inputs. Challenges of caring for covid +ve customers has been a feature recently but all required PPE and support for safe use of this continues to be in place. The staffing impact of the Test and Trace system is beginning to be felt across the service and business continuity plans are being refreshed to support effective responses should this become a significant challenge.