Peter Golds and I sent the attached letter (& copied below) to the Mayor, Cabinet members and Council officers today as to what we think they need to do as regards Covid-19 given that the Council is responsible for Public Health in TH (not an NHS responsibility since 2013). It maybe that they have already agreed to do all of this in their meetings since the 30th January WHO announcement but to be sure we sent it to them.
It is based in part on information gathered from social media and ideas from you so if we have missed anything let us know and we will amend.
Draft Emergency Response to Covid-19 – Version 1
From Cllr Peter Golds and Cllr Andrew Wood
18th March 2020
I assume that these measures have already been put into place or are being planned but if not we believe this is what needs to be done:
Communications – we need to hugely ramp up our comms on this and involve the Council in community conversations underway already
Database of vulnerable people
We need to build a database of all vulnerable people, based on:
Adult Social Care
I assume you are aware by now of Facebook groups like ‘Tower Hamlets Covid19 Community Support’ as well as a number of WhatsApp groups trying to co-ordinate a community response and to help the vulnerable;
This is not the time for strikes and other disruption by Council staff or those providing essential services, if necessary delay ‘Tower Rewards’ for a year. It is a distraction. Push Veolia harder to sort out their issues.
Food delivery for those told to self-isolate
Retail/Panic Buying/Price gouging
We clearly need to be worried about:
Suggestions might include:
This section needs more work, how will we use extra money granted by government?;
The Church of England has stopped public worship and the Muslim Council of Britain strongly recommended the same the day before. Have we passed that advice onto all faith groups and facilities?
Gyms, Libraries, Public facilities
Registering deaths & funerals
4. Lawyers in Local Government and the Association of Democratic Service Officers have come forward with proposals to lobby to permit remote meetings in the event the current situation deteriorates to the point that all meetings are cancelled;
5. Tower Hamlets operates under an Executive Mayor and so decision making is different to most other councils;
6. There is no reason why full council meetings should only undertake business that it is legally required to do;
7. The May Annual Meeting can be restricted to electing the speaker ad appointing committees. There is no need for anything else to be on the agenda and the meeting can be formalised in a short time;
8. Obviously there will not, this year, be a reception following the meeting;
9. The Cabinet should meet but it’s deliberations can be web cast and members and officers can sit with wide spaces;
10. The regulatory committees; planning and licensing, have public involvement. Again, members and officers can sit and deliberate with spaces between them. The problem comes with public representation. Meetings can be webcast and limits can be placed on those attending the meeting, with public attendance limited to those making representation;
11. Parliament has placed restrictions on access to the parliamentary estate, this includes mass lobbies and no longer being able to enter the estate and access not permitted to non-pass holders who may only attend on parliamentary business.