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Cabinet thanks hidden heroes behind COVID-19 response

Date Published: 02 April 2020
Catmose offices

Rutland County Council's Cabinet has written the following open letter, thanking staff, contractors and volunteers who are responding to COVID-19:

All of us are now going through a period of major adjustment as households across the country look to follow the government’s guidance on social distancing to halt the spread of coronavirus – staying home to save lives.

These five words have ushered in sweeping changes to the way we work, shop, interact with one another and even educate our children.

Amidst these wholesale changes, we wanted to write to reassure you that Rutland County Council is continuing to work extremely hard, both for you and your community. 

While some of our most visible services, like libraries and other public buildings, are currently closed, it’s important that you know about work being done behind the scenes by hundreds of council officers and contractors who are working 24/7 to maintain essential services and support those most in need.

Unsurprisingly, our staff involved in providing health and social care are at the forefront of the fight against coronavirus. We are still caring for vulnerable adults, still providing help for older people returning home from hospital and still supporting children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. However, all of this must now be done with the added complexity of providing face-to-face support while simultaneously protecting service users from coronavirus. 

Our staff are also directly involved in supporting hundreds of extremely vulnerable people who will be shielded from coronavirus by remaining in their homes for the next 12 weeks. This is a vital logistical effort involving the delivery of food, medicines and other support.

Away from this ‘front line’ and as far as possible, we are continuing with any urgent highway maintenance work. This includes gritting and surface dressing, which are prioritised to ensure the safety of our roads. We are also carrying out important building control work and processing planning applications. 

Home to school transport continues for children of key workers, while our transport services have had to respond quickly where bus operators have been forced to make changes to their timetables. This includes the introduction of a free minibus service for essential journeys between Oakham and Stamford, for those who need it.

We have so far managed to maintain our normal schedule of waste and recycling collections, thanks to the incredible efforts of the crews who undertake this work. We know this is an important service and are doing all we can to carry on collecting bins as normal, without disruption.

None of this would be possible without the support of back office staff like IT, Human Resources, Governance and Finance, all of whom remain in post and hard at work. In fact, more than 70 per cent of all Council staff are either working on the frontline or from home to maintain local services.

Wherever we have staff or contractors operating in public, we would like to assure you that health and safety remains paramount, with full consideration given to government guidance on social distancing and infection prevention.

Residents who have questions about payments and support are still having these questions answered by our Revenues and Benefits team, who are also helping businesses to access the financial packages that HMRC are putting in place to protect the economy.

Although the doors to many of our public buildings are currently closed, so much work is still being done – both to maintain essential services and respond to the threat of coronavirus. In addition, all of this is happening against a backdrop whereby council staff and contractors have their own health and families to look after.

We are immensely grateful to them for all they are doing, to the countless local volunteers we are working with and for the many messages of support we have received from residents. Thank you all.

Rutland County Council Cabinet

  • Cllr Oliver Hemsley
  • Cllr Gordon Brown
  • Cllr Lucy Stephenson
  • Cllr Alan Walters
  • Cllr David Wilby

For more information, guidance and support please see our coronavirus page.

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