Council recognised for adapting well to national Covid challenges
9 February 2021Cheshire West and Chester Council has been recognised for having ‘adapted well to the national challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, continuing to provide essential services and support to residents, businesses and communities.’ *
The work that the Council has undertaken, along with its plan to support the borough to recover from the pandemic, has been reviewed by leaders from the local government sector.
The Council’s initial response has included working with partners to support 13,800 residents who were identified as clinically extremely vulnerable and advised to shield during lockdown, distributing over £69 million in Government grants to 7,428 local businesses and enabling 70% of staff to work from home (a tenfold increase on previous levels). The Council has also been one of 11 national Beacon Councils for rolling out a localised approach to Test and Trace through their Outbreak Management Hub.
Reviewers highlighted the way that the Council has engaged with local people and the strength of the community response across west Cheshire, with 2,000 people signing up as volunteers, and 300 people and organisations committing to be Community Champions.
The way that the Council has worked to engage local people and stakeholders in developing their Stronger Futures plan for recovery, and the consensus and support that this received from Councillors were also recognised. Reviewers commented that “The Council recognises the immense commitment and progress that has been made with partners in response to COVID 19, including the streamlining of partnership arrangements and sharing information.”
Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of the Council, said, “Local people, the Council, and our partners have all played our part in the fantastic response that we’ve seen to the pandemic locally. I’d like to say a huge thank you to all those partners for their support in responding to the challenges we’ve faced. We have a great foundation from which to plan for the borough’s recovery and it’s right that we are being ambitious for west Cheshire. The challenge for us will be to continue to deliver against our plans.”
The review was organised by the Local Government Association (LGA), the national membership body for local authorities which works to support, promote and improve local government. Experts reviewing the Council’s work included Councillor Stephen Houghton, Leader of Barnsley Council, and Gavin Jones, Chief Executive of Essex County Council.
*Cheshire West and Chester Council LGA Recovery and Renewal Panel, Key Reflections