Agenda and draft minutes
Venue: MS Teams Meeting
Webcast: View the webcast
Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest made by Members.
Agreed the minutes of the meeting held on 4 December 2019.
Chair's Urgent Business
There were no items of Chair’s urgent business.
Update from the Director of Public Health
Ruth Harrell (Director of Public Health) provided an update and it was highlighted that in Plymouth there have been cases of COVID-19 and lives have been lost. People have been badly affected and this was an awful tragedy for everyone concerned, however, the number of cases and deaths has been relatively low in the south west with social distancing having an impact.
There have been 44 deaths attributed to COVID-19 across the city with 400 cases of people infected. The testing centre opened rapidly in Plymouth and the next key focus would be on what happens next. There would be some guidance on coming out of the lockdown on Sunday in which we should see the gradual loosening of lockdown.
The more days people spend in isolation reduces the number of cases. This was a new disease and they were learning from research locally, nationally and across the world. The focus now on increasing the testing and people with any symptoms to self-isolate. There was a burden on asking people to isolate with a direct impact of COVID-19 on mental health, accessing other NHS services and impact on the economy could not be underestimated.
Questions by Member’s related to –
· Whether the city had the medical capacity to cope with a second wave?
· Does the population of Plymouth have the right technology required to download the Contact Tracing APP when available?
The Committee noted the update from the Director of Public Health.
Update on Plymouth City Council Response to Covid-19
Tracey Lee (Chief Executive) provided an update on Plymouth City Council’s response to COVID-19 and conveyed her condolences to those that have lost a loved one. Thanks were given to Plymouth City Council’s employees that have stepped up to ensure that critical services were being delivered and maintained as well as delivering new services. It was highlighted that –
· Gold, silver and bronze commands had been set up and were currently in the emergency response phase covering 4 objectives:
· preserving life
· keeping services open whilst keeping staff safe
· supporting the local economy
· visible and proactive leadership
· £8.4m funding had been received from central Government and were expecting £7.2 to cover the costs of COVID-19.
The Committee noted the update on Plymouth City Council’s response to COVID-19.
Update from Cabinet on Covid-19
The Chair invited each of the Cabinet Members to provide an update on COVID-19.
Councillor Peter Smith (Deputy Leader): It was reported that:
· they have implemented Government guidance for protecting staff and for staff to work at home. Measures would be put in place to support staff with mental health and emotional wellbeing;
· sport and leisure currently all closed. Everyone Active provide a daily podcast to encourage activity at home. Plymouth has been selected by Sport England to support children and young people to improve lives through activity and sport;
· VE Day 75 events on the Hoe had been cancelled, however there were on line events to help celebrate safely at home;
· History Festival event had been cancelled, however was available to view on line;
· Other options were being looked at for Mayflower 400 celebrations;
· Discussions were taking place on the completion of the Elizabethan House project;
· Library service was available on-line with 7,000 e-book and audio books downloaded since the lockdown.
Questions by Member’s related to:
· Whether the August Firework competition would take place?
· The health and wellbeing package for employees and what it entails to support employees during this difficult time?
· Feasibility of physical book service for those that do not have access to technology to access e-books from the library?
· Re-profiling outturn for 2019/20 and budget for 20/21 with regard to events?
Councillor Kate Taylor (Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care). It was reported that:
· Caring for Plymouth and alliance between Plymouth City Council, Livewell SW and community organisations have established an offer from 8 am to 8 pm to support Operation Shield. Thanks were given to each organisation and their staff for making a huge difference;
· Plymouth has 97 care homes across the city. Twelve of the care homes currently suspected or confirmed outbreak of COVID-19. The local authority has been in constant contact with these care homes from the start;
· Accommodation support for care home staff and infection control visits carried out. Corporate communications team providing support to care homes in terms of messaging;
· Staffing has been impacted and they were working with homes to support shortfalls with staffing;
· Livewell SW have provided IT support for residents to stay in touch with their relatives;
· Financial support for care homes to ease the pressures surrounding staffing and PPE;
· With regard to domiciliary care, they have 2,000 services users of which 725 were high risk. 5,000 visits scheduled to deliver care;
· Proud to Care recruitment drive with rapid enrolment to allow more staff back into the profession;
· Day services and outreach provision to ensure people were getting the support they need as well as balancing the needs of service users and families. They would be re-opening Colwill Lodge and Vine Lodge in a controlled way to support provision;
· Community beds were being made available following hospital discharge and private business were supporting this;
· St Luke’s providing pre and post bereavement services for families, briefing for care home staff and measure put in place to support ... view the full minutes text for item 47.
Scrutiny Response to Covid-19
The Chair reported that the purpose of this meeting was to set the scene for how scrutiny meetings would like place in the current climate and COVID-19 as a priority item for further scrutiny.
The Committee agreed that:
1. COVID-19 was a priority as an item scrutiny for Scrutiny Management Board.
2. Cabinet Members to provide a briefing sheet in advance of the meeting to enable Members to identify the key issues and to allow more time for questioning and answers.
3. Officers to work with Scrutiny Management Board to create a work programme. Items to include:
· Overview of Gold, Silver and Bronze command and the response to COVID-19;
· Complaints and concerns;
· Risk Register;
· How to proactively engage with the public and wider community.
4. Scrutiny Management Board meetings to initially take place every three weeks.