That different black, asian and minority ethnic groups are being hit very hard by Covid-19 started to become apparent early on in the UK’s experience of the pandemic. With the publication of the second Public Health England report we finally have the first set of specific recommendations relating to those communities and Covid-19.
Janet Sillett, Head of Briefings LGIU, writes on the critical role of local government in managing the response to Covid-19 as lockdown measures are relaxed further, and asks whether councils have been given the powers and finance to fulfil that role effectively.
The result of Covid-19 is a situation where largely, food is still available in the nets and in the fields – but it is not reaching the shelves. Farmers and fishermen are turning to new methods of reaching customers, assisted by local government and communities who have played a key role in the approach.
The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted on disabled people’s health and their independence. Disability organisations have criticised the government and other players for ignoring the needs of the UK’s 13.7 million disabled people, and call on policy makers to engage with disabled people and their families.
A ban on evictions in England and Wales has been extended until August, while ministers sought to clarify how many rough sleepers are being helped by councils. More coronavirus news in this month’s housing and planning roundup, plus a critical MPs’ report on fire safety.
Are you abreast of recent ONS place-based statistics about your area – including demographic, economic, housing, electoral and wellbeing postings? What is ONS’s approach to Covid-19 data? LAs should ensure their intelligence capabilities are fit for evidence-informed decision-making and impending post-Covid-19 strategic recovery planning.
The role of local government in environmental and public health, and the importance of better integration of health and wellbeing considerations into our land use planning and development decision-making, may be able to make a positive contribution in the Covid-19 recovery phase.
Local authority planning responsibilities are not on hold, but Covid-19 continues to make their delivery substantially harder. Initial government guidance for planners was published on 23 March 2020, with an LGIU briefing issued shortly afterwards. This briefing draws together government announcements and updated guidance which have been issued subsequently.
Staff should be safe at work. Managers have responsibility to ensure that workplace practices adhere to both law and government guidance, as well as being concerned with the wellbeing of staff in the broadest sense. What is needed will continue to change as we move out of lockdown.