Council to review coronavirus response as ‘new normal’ beckons

North Norfolk District Council leader, Sarah Bütikofer, and councillor Richard Kershaw. Senior counc

North Norfolk District Council leader, Sarah Bütikofer, and councillor Richard Kershaw. Senior councillors will review the council's response to the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

Thousands of prescriptions delivered, millions of pounds handed out and hundreds of calls made - the coronavirus has seen a total change in the way a council operates.

And now senior members of North Norfolk District Council are set to review the authority’s response to the crisis at a cabinet meeting on July 6, as it transitions to a way of working being dubbed as “the new normal”.

A council officer’s report, which can be found in the meeting’s agenda, said: “There is always scope for learning and improvement and the council is therefore undertaking a ‘lessons learned’ review to capture learning from this event to date, the learning from which will be applied as we move through the recovery phase and manage any local outbreaks of infections in the months ahead.”

Between early May and mid June the Liberal Democrat-controlled council, led by Sarah Butikofer, undertook measures including:

-Paying out almost £52m in government small business grants;

-Running a helpline and setting up 10 co-ordination centres to support more than 2,500 shielding and vulnerable people;

-Delivering more than 2,900 prescriptions and food parcels to 490 people who were self-isolating;

Most Read

-Continuing to provide accommodation to 13 rough sleepers and homeless people throughout the lockdown;

-Making ‘companion calls’ to more than 450 people who were shielding to check on their well-being;

-Launching a £2.76m discretionary grant scheme to help market traders, pubs, B&Bs, day nurseries and others for whom other government support funds fell short. As of June 20, 224 applications for grants had been made through the scheme;

-Developing a ‘You are Welcome’ campaign to help keep visitors safe and encourage high street trade as the lockdown eases.

The report said the strength of ‘good neighbour’ schemes and groups set up by people in the community to deal with the pandemic had been “crucial” in helping people at a local level, and that the council should think about how to support these groups in the future.

The report also said the council would also have to undertake a medium-term financial review in light of the impact the lockdown has had.