As more of our services start to reopen, now seems a perfect time to thank council staff for the incredible amount of work they’ve put in managing the city’s response to Covid-19.
The past few months has shown the value of key workers in the UK’s public sector.
Council staff don’t always get the credit they deserve in this, but they have been at the forefront of the city’s response.
From distributing protective equipment, securing accommodation for homeless people, paying out business grants, helping distribute food and emergency supplies, supporting some of our city’s most vulnerable people, and redesigning the city’s open spaces so people can move around safely. The list goes on.
It is an extraordinary situation and it’s been an extraordinary amount of work. Much of which has been very complex and challenging.
It has involved a refocus of every council service and, working with partners across all sectors, a new way of providing vital services through an ever evolving situation.
All council staff have had to adapt to a different working environment while supporting this response, with most now working from home.
They’ve had to learn new skills and act fast to enable new legislation, sometimes within hours of it being announced.
Where services have had to temporarily close, many staff have volunteered to support the city’s residents in other areas.
As with residents, many staff have been affected by the pandemic, whether shielding themselves or protecting their families, and services are still operating at reduced capacity.
I’d like to thank residents and businesses for bearing with us and helping our officers by following physical distancing and hygiene advice.
And now, as we move into the recovery phase, officers have been supporting retail and food businesses to reopen safely, and preparing public buildings for safe reopening, including the Royal Pavilion and leisure centres.
Next week, we’re reopening our two central libraries. Things will look different but visitors will be able to use the computers and borrow books, in addition to the brilliant digital resources that have been available throughout the pandemic.
There will be no face-to-face contact, so redesigning the buildings and systems so they can be used safely has been a huge task in itself.
Please bear this in mind when using council services, and please treat all our staff with the respect they thoroughly deserve.
Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty
Leader of the council