What we have prioritized during COVID
During the Covid-19 pandemic, we have focused on two key areas:
- Supporting the Ryedale community, especially those whose lives and livelihoods are most at risk as a result of COVID-19
- Protecting the health and welfare of those who work for us, both as a responsible employer, and so that the we can maintain the level of staffing needed to deliver vital frontline services
What shaped our approach?
- 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 North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum’s plans – the multi-agency group for emergencies, including North Yorkshire County Council, the District Councils, North Yorkshire Police, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, and health partners.
Services that support lives and livelihoods
We have prioritized services that support those whose lives and livelihoods are most at risk from COVID-19 such as:
Many residents are experiencing significant financial hardship and increased financial pressures. We are prioritising staffing in this area to make sure you can access housing and other benefits.
Housing and tenancy services
In a changing situation when it might be necessary to stay at home or self-isolate, it is important to have a safe and stable place to live. We have prioritised our services that keep people housed and prevent homelessness.
Our Ryecare Lifeline service provides 24-hour call-centre support to the elderly and vulnerable, who often live alone. During the pandemic we diverted some resources into our Ryecare service (call-centre, set-up for NHS referrals), to make sure we have enough DBS-checked and trained staff in place to deal with the increase in demand for this valuable service.
We have worked together with national/regional organisations to identify the most vulnerable people and put a support package in place to help them.
Business engagement and support
During the pandemic we:
- Prioritized support to businesses and distributed £45m in business support grants to more than 7,500 Ryedale businesses
- Worked with businesses to make sure they know what help is available, and supporting them with applications
- Provided advice and guidance to businesses about reopening safety, and how to apply government guidance
- Paid our suppliers promptly to support them during this time when cash-flow may be an issue
- Used local businesses for supplies where we could, to show support for our local business base
Public health services
We have prioritized refuse collection for reasons of public health. We set aside extra resources to let people who are self-isolating know how to dispose of personal waste, safely and hygienically.
Grass-root third sector support and volunteering
- We have prioritised working with the local Community Support Organisation, which helps to link those wanting to volunteer with local charities and community groups
- We created a special fund of £20k, which we paid out to local charities and community/voluntary groups, to support them at a time when they could not fund-raise as normal, or were facing additional pressures on their services
Our own Council staff’s health and welfare
We have adopted the following measures, in line with Government advice:
- We have supported the majority of our staff to work from home to minimize the possibility of transmission
- We have introduced distancing measures in our buildings in line with government guidance, including additional cleaning across all of our sites. We’ve also provided cleaning materials to disinfect hard surfaces between routine cleans.
- We have eliminated business travel and reduced in-person meetings wherever possible
- We have continued to recruit, but with video interviews and assessments, where appropriate
- We have ensured staff and their immediate familities have access to a 24/7 telephone counselling service to provide support when needed