Coronavirus: Providing Public Services in a Time of EmergencyNeil Hardie
Angus Council is working alongside partner agencies and local volunteers to face the huge challenges set by the Coronavirus Pandemic.
The primary goal is to keep all our people safe, particularly the most vulnerable among us, while maintaining the best level of public service that we possibly can.
Leader of the Administration, David Fairweather said coronavirus is an adversary like none of us has faced before – one that creates a “new normal” every day. He paid tribute to the outstanding response of the Angus public to what is being asked of them and saluted the way in which Council staff, emergency services and volunteers were responding to an unparalleled situation.
Cllr Fairweather said: “Coronavirus is testing us like never before at all levels of our society. These are uncertain times, frightening even. But I want to reassure our communities that every sinew is being strained in our efforts to support them and maintain business as usual wherever possible.
“Our staff and their families are not exempt from the impact of Coronavirus. We are seeing our resilience and ability to provide essential services tested every day and this will not be over in short order.
“It is right that where staff cannot come into work, they do not come in to work and, where they can work from home, they will work from home. Equally, where key workers can attend at work they most certainly are attending at their place of work to serve the public.
“I am in awe of our staff for the way they have responded to this emergency, both at work and at home. I am also massively encouraged by the fortitude that our citizens across the seven burghs of Angus have already shown.
“What is being asked of you is no mean feat but by staying at home, you will save lives and you will protect our NHS.
“Life has changed and Angus will not be left untouched by COVID-19, but I want people to be aware that a wide range of support and advice is available to them.
“Our website is being kept up to date with the latest news and service information. I would urge people to go our dedicated pages at www.angus.gov.uk/coronavirus or to our Facebook and Twitter pages to be kept informed.”
Angus schools remain closed to the majority of pupils but, as of Thursday (26 March), bespoke childcare hubs have been established in each town in Angus, as well as an additional location in Sidlaw.
These hubs will provide childcare for children whose families have already received confirmation of continued schooling; or children whose parents are both Cat.1 Key Workers, or of a single parent who is a Cat.1 Key Worker, and who have no other childcare options. Full details can be found in our Coronavirus outbreak: schools and learning updates.
Welfare rights and council tax
We recognise this an unprecedented financial emergency as well as a health emergency. Our Welfare Rights team is available to offer support and advice on money and debt issues. Please contact us to ensure you are receiving all the benefits you’re entitled to.
We also know that some people who pay Council Tax and Rent may have their incomes affected as a result of the measures taken in response to COVID-19. This could result in them having difficulty in paying their Council Tax or Rent. If you think you may have difficulty paying your Council Tax or Rent then please contact the council via our general enquiry form and we will discuss it with you.
There is also a Coronavirus outbreak: housing updates page. Mindful of the closure of libraries where our ACCESS points are normally based, it provides contact information and details about housing options and homelessness; for tenants experiencing financial difficulty, maintenance, repairs and utilities.
Our Coronavirus outbreak: business updates include valuable information with regards to the governments’ Business Support Fund, which is being administered by local authorities. An application for is available.
The page also contains guidance for food businesses who are looking to adapt to provide takeaway services so they can continue to trade.
Bin and recycling
Recycling centres have had to be closed and the service is under significant pressure. Our waste collection teams are working very hard to fulfil scheduled collections wherever possible. Where this is not the case, information and advice is updated daily on our Bins and Recycling pages.
Roads and travel
With the over-riding message being Stay at Home to Save Lives and to avoid unnecessary travel, our roads should be quiet and all indications are that they are.
Our priority at this time must be to keep our roads open and accessible for our emergency services and essential service providers. In support of this, we have small teams despatched on our networks carrying out essential road safety work.
We have also taken the decision to bag all of our off-street parking meters, taking them temporarily out of use with immediate effect. This allows us to re-deploy our Community Enforcement Team in support of delivering vital services to our communities.
Enforcement action for serious contraventions of road traffic regulations does remain available to us, but will only be taken where there is a significant infringement, or risk to public health and safety.
We will approach any enforcement with a high degree of understanding, particularly of the need for people to access essential services, such as pharmacies. But we also ask the public to support us in this by adhering to the rules of the road and effectively self-enforcing existing parking regulations.
For those using public transport, re-scheduled bus times can be found on our website, but please be aware they are likely to be subject to change. We have also brought a new morning mini-bus shuttle on-line from Kirrie to Forfar to assist key workers.
Normal service will resume in due course but please stay up to date with our Roads, parking and travel pages meantime.
Stay in touch and keep updated
Angus Councils phone lines are extremely busy and that’s likely to be the case for the foreseeable future. Wherever possible, please use our online services to Contact the Council or stay briefed via the website (www.angus.gov.uk/coronavirus) and social media.
Thank you again for your support, understanding and commitment to beating the Coronavirus Pandemic.