Council report gives first snapshot of virus impact

Packing boxes at foodbankLambeth Council has just published a report outlining its response to the crisis since the coronavirus took hold six weeks ago.

The report “Lambeth united: Our response to Covid-19” outlines achievements, lessons learnt and how council services have been maintained while new measures were put in place to support the borough’s different economic sectors and social groups.

It also highlights the work of Lambeth’s voluntary and community sector, the work carried out to support business, culture and enterprise and showcases the inspiring work in neighbourhoods delivered by and for residents, including Mutual Assistance Groups.

The council says it will soon be collecting data to help examine the disproportional impact of Covid-19, as well as directing resources to help local people adjust to the social distancing.

Cllr Jack Hopkins, Lambeth Council Leader, said: “I’m incredibly deeply proud of the way Lambeth council has responded, keeping critical services going despite huge challenges and creating new ones in a matter of days. In particular, distributing food and care packages to more than 7,000 vulnerable people.”

He thanked staff and councillors for their commitment while acknowledging the importance of working with others in the community “our businesses, our public sector partners like the police and the NHS, our academic institutions, our voluntary sector and community faith communities.

“It shows that Lambeth’s resilience is ultimately a sum of all its parts and their relative strength.”

The report identifies as key achievements:

  • Distributing more than 8,000 food and care packages to vulnerable people
  • Creating the new Lambeth Business Taskforce
  • Offering accommodation to every rough sleeper, housing 104 people
  • Allocating £1m for discretionary housing payment
  • Enlisting, verifying and mobilising 1,000 volunteers
  • Stopping any evictions or enforcement action for council tax arrears
  • Introducing three-month rent relief for 318 local businesses and community sector tenants

One of the emerging trends from the response to coronavirus has been the adoption of digital technology and working from home (most of the council’s workforce are working from home).

Last month on 22 April Lambeth became the first council in the country to appoint its Mayor via webcam (see brixtonblog.com). Digital conferencing allowed council decision making to continue. The report says the wide-spread changes are unprecedented and will re-shape the future of local government.

Cllr Hopkins said: “This report sets out what has been done and shows what has worked, but also identifies where we need to do more. The Lambeth recovery strategy has not been written yet because it will require shared endeavour from right across the borough to come together to make sure it is right for the journey ahead.”

To read the full report visit lambeth.gov.uk.

 

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