Caerphilly - Coronavirus - Message From The Leader And Chief Executive

Caerphilly - Coronavirus - Message From The Leader And Chief Executive


Tuesday 31st Mar 2020


We hope you are all keeping well and doing your bit to help tackle the spread of coronavirus in our community.

We are pleased to report that the authority is responding positively and is adjusting to the various restrictions and limitations that have been imposed on us to help combat the outbreak.

Our workforce has responded accordingly with many staff now working from home and undertaking their normal duties remotely. Essential workers continue to deliver key services across our communities and we would like commend all our employees for their ongoing efforts.

Over the course of a few days we have reshaped and repurposed the council so it can respond to the ongoing national emergency.  We are a big organisation and to turn a big ship like ours so quickly is quite breath-taking!

In terms of key developments, we would like to share a few highlights with you:

  • In a matter of days, following the closure of our schools, we established new childcare hubs at six sites across the area. These facilities are amazing and our essential workers can be reassured their children are being well cared for. 
  • We also quickly turned around an alternative Free School Meal service for local children. Over 4,000 meals are being delivered direct to their homes and this will continue for as long as it takes in order to provide our children with healthy, nutritious meals.  
  • Our refuse, recycling and cleansing teams are continuing to deliver crucial frontline services. It’s challenging for us given the requirements of social distancing, but again the ‘can do’ attitude of staff is great to see and we are currently working through these challenges together. 
  • A volunteering hub has been developed with over 80,000 ‘kindness cards’ delivered to every home across the county borough.  We have an army of volunteers who we are now supporting those most in need. The telephone lines are going crazy with over 500 requests for help made only yesterday! 
  • The crucial role of our social care team has really been demonstrated over recent days. The professionalism and compassion they have shown whilst dealing with the most vulnerable in their homes is just exceptional. 

This evening there will be a ‘national salute’ at 8pm when everyone is being asked to open a window or step into the garden and offer a round of applause for all of those frontline workers. I do hope you will join us to recognise those who are doing their very best to look after our people and our place.

In terms of disruption to our services, we thought it would be useful to provide an up-to-date list of everything that has been impacted to date (please see below).

Unfortunately, it has become impossible to sustain our normal level of service delivery in light of the escalating situation. Coronavirus is a significant threat to the whole community and we must all do our bit to prevent the spread, even if it means disrupting our day-to-day services.

Please continue to stay in, stay well and help protect our vital NHS and public services.

Cllr Philippa Marsden                                     Christina Harrhy
Leader of Council 
                                          Chief Executive      

Coronavirus – Disruption to CCBC services

Essential services such as social care and refuse/recycling collections continue to be delivered with minimal disruption.

However, we have had to take difficult decisions about a number of other services in order to limit the spread of coronavirus and ensure sufficient resources are available to support priority areas:

Libraries

All closed for the foreseeable future.

Customer Service Centres

All closed for the foreseeable future. 

Country Parks and Municipal Playgrounds

All closed for the foreseeable future – Clearly it is impossible for us to physically close many of these facilities, so we are appealing for the support and co-operation of the community to respect this decision.

Leisure Centres

All closed for the foreseeable future.

Municipal Cemeteries

All closed for the foreseeable future except for planned internments. I fully appreciate that this is a sensitive matter, but unfortunately we continued to see large numbers of people visiting our sites – many of whom were in the vulnerable category of risk. This is a difficult decision, but it is the right decision.

Schools

All schools are closed to pupils, however 6 sites have remained open as community hubs to provide childcare for essential workers across the county borough.

Civic Amenity Sites

All closed for the foreseeable future.

Bulky Collection Service

We are not offering this service at present so that we can redirect resources towards our core refuse and recycling collections.

Visitor attractions including Blackwood Miners’ Institute

All closed for the foreseeable future.

Penallta House and other corporate sites

Closed to the public, but key staff will remain on site to provide essential services.

Social Services buildings

Open to appointments only and pre-arranged visits/

Registrars

The team will not perform weddings or naming ceremonies until further notice.

Environmental Health

The Environmental Health team are currently not able to deal with:

  • Fly tipping
  • Pest control (unless critical - will undertake as long as the homeowner is happy)
  • Pollution 

Housing offices

All housing offices are also closed to the public, although critical services are continuing to be provided remotely. Tenants can report any issues to our centralised repair team or the Control Room outside normal working hours.  

Housing operations

We are continuing work in some void properties, but prioritising the ones needed for emergency allocations, e.g. people leaving hospital, domestic abuse, homelessness etc.

Regenerations hubs

The following sites are closed - Hafod Deg, Graig y Rhacca Resource Centre and 43 Attlee Court, Lansbury Park.

Pay and display sites

We will not be servicing pay and display machines. Those required to undertake essential travel or key workers are able to use our car parks and do not need to pay and display.

Civil Parking Enforcement

We will only enforce where there is an obvious health and safety risk from parking or where there is an obstruction for emergency service vehicle access.

Public Transport

Services are all operating reduced services. Please check the transport providers website before undertaking any ESSENTIAL travel.

Free School Meals

Packed lunches have been provided this week, but next week we will move to an improved delivery model where frozen meals will be provided to direct to the children.

Allotments

Advice has been issued to the allotment federations with regard to social distancing measures.

Customer Services / Switchboard

We are currently experiencing significant demand on our phone lines, so where possible, residents are encouraged to use our online services all of which are detailed on the website (www.caerphilly.gov.uk).