Lancashire Under Diktat?

Lancashire County Council has announced that it is to review a range of activities and services because of the Covid-19 outbreak. All formal meetings of the council, including cabinet and committees, are also to be cancelled. Lancashire County Council has cancelled all formal cabinet, council and committee meetings “until further notice”. It is understood that use will be made of the provision in the authority’s constitution for the leader or relevant cabinet member to “deal with matters of urgency which cannot await a meeting of the cabinet”.

And staff are being encouraged to volunteer to ensure people who are on their own or in care homes always have regular contact and every day help.

Angie Ridgwell, chief executive and director of resources, said “Our clear focus is on providing the essential services which support the most vulnerable people in Lancashire. To that end we are reviewing some of our non-essential services, and we are moving to a managed closure of some services through the crisis, such as older peoples day centres, in line with national policy and medical advice.

“At present we are developing detail plans and will be communicating shortly with affected individuals. These are challenging times and we will continue to carefully evaluate each service given the unprecedented and changing circumstances we are facing. We are also encouraging, where possible, staff to work from home, and will be calling on our wider workforce to support the services we provide to our most vulnerable residents.

“No-one will be asked to do anything that would put them or a vulnerable person at risk. We expect to be asking staff to support in a number of ways including phoning vulnerable residents to make sure they are OK, calling round to deliver some shopping, or helping out at a residential home”.

Cllr Driver the leader of Lancashire County Council, said “Our staff do an amazing job, and make a real difference to the lives of thousands of people across Lancashire day in, day out. This is an extraordinary situation we find ourselves in and I am sure we will rise to this challenge to ensure that our most vulnerable residents continue to be supported and protected in these difficult times. We recognise though that we will also need help from our communities and one of our next steps will be to arrange with our partners to access and grow our existing volunteer networks”.

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