As you'll be aware the government has eased some lockdown restrictions, particularly around people returning to work under certain circumstances. For the councils however we will be continuing with the status quo as the vast majority of our staff have successfully been working from home. The latest government advice to employers published this week is that "everyone should work from home unless this is not possible".
On this basis and until government advice changes, we will not be reopening any of our offices now or for the foreseeable future. We will however update you as and when the advice changes.
We've now paid out over £31 million to over 2,300 business across South and Vale, which is the overwhelming majority of eligible business that have approached us for support. There are however a few hundred cases where we're having to ask some follow up questions to check eligibility and payment details, which can be time-consuming. We are aiming to have all of these resolved in the next week or two.
New discretionary grants scheme
You'll no doubt be aware that the government has announced a new discretionary grants scheme for those businesses affected by COVID-19 but were not eligible for the first round of funding.
We are currently waiting for the detailed guidance needed to launch our application process, and until then we cannot accept any applications for the scheme.
Once we receive the guidance, we will need time to review it and create an online application process based on the prescribed eligibility criteria. This may take a little time initially but will ultimately mean a much quicker process for determining applications and releasing funding to successful applicants.
Online committee meetings
From the end of May, we will start to hold committee meetings remotely via video conferencing and we're starting with Planning in both South and Vale.
We will be sending out details of the full meeting procedures very soon, which will include information about public involvement.
We're aiming to introduce full public participation in due course once councillors and officers are comfortable with the process and we can confidently control meetings using the technology.
The first of our virtual meetings will be:
- Vale Planning Committee - Tuesday 26 May at 10.30am
- South Planning Committee - Thursday 28 May at 4.30pm
Your VE Day pics
Thanks to everyone who sent in a photo of their VE decorations. We had lots of submissions from town and parish councils, district councillors, staff and residents - here's a video of everybody's efforts: https://youtu.be/MNaVeT0BhMo
Posted: Wed, 13 May 2020 17:21 by Guy Langton