Ryedale District Council

 

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Our COVID-19 priorities

For information on the impact on services please see the COVID-19 impact on services page.

 

How the Council is prioritizing its services

During this period of emergency, Ryedale District Council is focused on two over-arching goals:

  • To support the citizens of Ryedale, especially those whose lives and livelihoods are most at risk as a result of COVID-19
  • To protect the health and welfare of those who work for the Council, both as a responsible employer, and so that the Council can maintain the level of staffing necessary for vital community services to continue

The Council’s approach is aligned to:

  • Government policy and guidance in relation to COVID-19, which is based on scientific advice
  • The health advice of Public Health England and the NHS (the lead agencies on COVID-19)
  • The strategies and operational plans of North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum. This is the established multi-agency group for emergencies, comprising North Yorkshire County Council, the District Councils, North Yorkshire Police, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, and health partners.

 

Staff health and welfare:

The Council has adopted the following measures in line with Government advice:

  • Instruction has been issued on self-isolation, eliminating business travel and avoiding in-person meetings wherever possible.
  • Additional cleaning routines have been adopted across all sites, and cleaning materials made available for disinfecting hard surfaces between routine cleans.
  • Wherever possible, staff are being supported to work from home in order to minimize social contact and transmission opportunity.
    • Those who fall into the most vulnerable categories (over 70s, those who are pregnant, those with an underlying health condition) have been identified and have been prioritized for home working
    • A significant proportion of the officer team at Ryedale House is now working from home
    • Additional IT and telephony equipment to extend home working has been procured to allow people to work from home with allocation of resources prioritised on the basis of critical services/workers
  • A variety of keep-in-touch methods have been adopted to prevent staff feeling isolated, and to continue strong line management relationships during home working or self-isolation. Additional teleconferencing have been rolled out in support of this.
  • National guidance from UNISON is being kept under review, to ensure that expectations around staff welfare is maintained throughout the period of disruption. RDC is also mirroring North Yorkshire County Council HR policy where that is relevant to our organisation.
  • Recruitment into vacant posts is continuing, with accommodation made for video interviews/assessments where appropriate.
  • Information is being regularly reissued to staff about Health Assured, the assistance programme for RDC employees and their families
  • Our intranet is being updated to inform staff about any new decisions or changes. This is being delivered via other means to shift workers.

 

Supporting lives and livelihoods

Work is ongoing to prioritize operational services in line with the over-arching goal of supporting those whose lives and livelihoods are most at risk from COVID-19. This is being done dynamically in response to current staffing levels.  Prioritized services have been identified as:

Ryecare

Ryecare is RDC’s Lifeline service, providing 24-hour call-centre support to the elderly and vulnerable, who often live alone.  We expect to see an increase in demand for Ryecare services due to prolonged periods of isolation for the elderly and infirm, at the request of the NHS or other partners as people exit secondary care to return home, or as a result of social distancing. 

  • We are prioritizing resource into the Ryecare service (call-centre, set-up for NHS referrals), with a view to ensuring we have sufficient DBS-checked and trained staff in place to deal with an uplift.

Safeguarding

  • We are linking with national/regional activity to identify the most vulnerable people, and put in place a multi-agency support package. We are prioritizing work into this area via the Community Team initially.  As the vulnerable become more reliant on outside help, we are prioritizing community work to prevent exploitation of vulnerable and elderly people at home.

Housing and tenancy services.

  • Ensuring people have a safe and stable place to live is essential in this time of self-isolation and social distancing.  We are prioritizing our services to keep people housed and prevent homelessness.

Benefits.

  • Numbers of residents are expected to experience significant financial hardship due to downscaling in employment and increased financial pressures.  Staffing to help ensure citizens can access housing and other applicable benefits has been prioritized.

Business engagement and support.

  • The government pledged packages of support in the Budget and subsequently and we are prioritizing staffing to get these paid.
  • We are also engaging with regional partners about potential additional support mechanisms that Ryedale businesses can access. 
  • Through our Economic Development Team we will actively engagement with businesses to ensure they know what help is available, and support them in making the appropriate applications.
  • We have pledged £20k of the emergency fund to provide membership of the Federation of Small Businesses to 100 micro-businesses. This gives access to the FSB’s services, which include a funding platform, debt recovery, cash advance and FSB Care.
  • We have put measures in place to ensure that we pay all our suppliers promptly to support them at a time when cash-flow may be an issue.
  • Where possible, as a default, we will use local businesses for supplies to show support for our local business base.

Grass-root third sector support and volunteering.

  • The role for voluntary sector support is expected to increase as self-isolation continues yet our contacts with local groups inform us that financial stresses are already taking their toll on local charities.  At the same time, there is considerable social motivation for community support, with individuals signalling a desire to help. 
  • We have prioritized working with the local Community Support Organisation, which is the national/regional structure to link those wanting to volunteer with local community anchor organisations. 
  • We have re-purposed an underspend on our current community grant budget (approximately £20k) and utilizing a further £20k of the proposed emergency funds to extend this to offer an emergency grant payment of up to £4k for local charitable and volunteer organisations to support vulnerable client groups and keep them in operation at a time when funds from fundraising events and service contracts have dried up. The process is being managed through the existing Community Grants process, but with Officer delegation for rapidity of payments.  Grants offered will be reported through the Grants Working Party.
  • We have identified spare capacity in the Ryedale House canteen over the coming weeks, due to large numbers of staff working from home. It is proposed that a scheme is developed to enable the canteen staff to prepare meals for vulnerable/isolated people and arrange for these to be delivered to the vulnerable client group, in partnership with the voluntary/community sector plans for shopping and medication deliveries. 

Public health services

  • Refuse collection will be prioritized for reasons of public health.  Publicity resources are being allocated to inform those who are self-isolating how to dispose of personal waste in a safe and hygienic manner.

 

Contact us


Ryedale District Council
Ryedale House
Old Malton Road
Malton, North Yorkshire
YO17 7HH

Email: Contact the Council

Phone: 01653 600666

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