Operational Services Covid-19 Update
The Committee were provided with an update against how the Council had responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, both in terms of specific activities in response to the pandemic and how the Council had managed to maintain service delivery across Council services.
The Assistant Director ( Operations) expanded further on the points made in the report:
- All of the core services were kept running over course of the year; during the December / January / February period the refuse team worked in excess of 30% of frontline staff being off due to the safety restrictions in place and the track & trace system. Overall, the teams at the depot had a very low number of cases of Covid and they were all isolated cases
- The Health and Safety practices put in place by the Senior Environmental Health Officer were very helpful and the teams adhered to all of them; all of the staff were actively engaged with and communicated to throughout the pandemic
- Some of the planned street cleansing works were not able to be completed over the autumn/winter period but the team were working to catch up
- A plan was in place to start to open everything back up (such as re-installing playground equipment) in line with the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown
- The summer weekend cleaning programme had been brought forward to late February/early March so that areas were clean moving out of lockdown
- All administration staff at the depot had been working from home and many systems had successfully been digitised
- A huge number of garden waste subscriptions were delivered
The Regulatory Services Manager added that he felt the work of the other three teams within his service should be commended for the scale of work that they had delivered throughout the pandemic. The Commercial Team led by Mandy Cartwright and Clare Reed led on Covid compliance in Gravesham’s businesses and they handled a large number of external complaints and enquiries which were detailed more within the report. The Environmental Protection Team also dealt with over one thousand nuisance related matters during the pandemic which was a large number to successfully deal with under the Covid restrictions.
In response to a Members question concerning the likely increased levels of people using the public parks, the Assistant Director ( Operations) explained that the team expected numbers to rise and the parking for each site was being considered. At Camer Park, the largest in Gravesham, the team were working to make sure the overflow car park was ready for public use, but the team were waiting for dry weather so that cars would not get stuck. Other parks such as Jeskyns and Shorne were not under Gravesham’s responsibility but the Assistant Director ( Operations) had a meeting planned for next week to discuss the impact parking around Jeskyns had on the area. It was hoped that local people could be encouraged to walk or cycle to the parks in Gravesham.
The Chair agreed with the comments made by officers and asked that the Committees thanks and appreciation also be passed down to the teams in Regulatory Services for their hard work.