Coronavirus | LocalGov

Rotheram threatened over Covid restrictions


Liverpool City Region mayor Steve Rotheram was assigned 24-hour police security after he received threats during the Covid pandemic, he revealed today.

LGA claims ‘so much more could have been done’ in pandemic


Councils were held back from effectively tackling the challenges of the pandemic by central Government, it has been claimed.

Councils unprepared for lockdowns


Councils were unprepared for the Covid pandemic lockdowns, according to a survey by the Local Government Association (LGA).

Half of children saw emotional skills worsen during pandemic


The first year of the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on the social and emotional skills of almost half of children, according to a new study by IFS.

Lloyd: Pandemic simulation kept secret from sector


Lessons from a Whitehall-run pandemic simulation exercise in 2016 were kept secret from local government, the UK Covid-19 Inquiry has heard.

Pandemic planning 'insufficient,' says public health chief


The Government’s lack of planning and top-down approach hindered directors of public health during the pandemic, the UK Covid-19 Inquiry has heard.

Hancock: Whitehall oversight of care was terrible


Whitehall oversight of adult social care before Covid-19 was ‘terrible’ and officials had no understanding of whether councils could cope, Matt Hancock admits.

Poor pandemic planning criticised


Public health directors have criticised the Government’s Covid-19 preparedness – warning Whitehall must utilise council expertise to avoid repeat.

What the Covid inquiry can learn from local government


Richard Machin, lecturer in Social Work and Health at Nottingham Trent University, looks at what the Covid inquiry can learn from Nottingham City Council.

NHS volunteer programme expanded into social care


The NHS Volunteer Responders Programme is set to be expanded to help the struggling social care system, the Government has announced.

MPs warn of 'lost decade' for disadvantaged pupils


The educational gap between disadvantaged pupils and others could take a decade to return to pre-pandemic levels, MPs warn.

Austerity left Britain ‘unprepared' for pandemic, TUC say


Years of austerity left Britain 'hugely unprepared' for the COVID pandemic with tragic consequences, union leaders have claimed.

Seven in 10 children experiencing poverty in working households


The number of children suffering poverty has shot up since support given during the COVID pandemic came to an end, according to new figures.

Westminster council takes on tax avoiding candy stores


Westminster City Council has declared war on US-style candy and souvenir stores that are failing to pay business rates or selling illegal or unsafe goods.

Auditors call on Scottish councils to ‘radically change’


Scotland’s local authorities need to ‘radically change’ how they operate if they are to improve service delivery, auditors say.

MPs press for council incentives to recover Covid cash


Councils should keep some money recovered from Covid grants paid in error or due to fraud, MPs have said.

Diabetics face ‘stark health inequalities’, charity warns


Huge numbers of people with diabetes are not being given the routine checks they need, according to a new report on health inequalities.

Ascendant Solutions gets royal seal of approval


A Doncaster-based technology company, which became an unsung hero of the Covid-19 pandemic, has been honoured with the first ever King’s Award for Innovation.

COVID revealed extent of school nurse shortage


The COVID pandemic revealed that more school nurses are needed to carry out vital child protection work, researchers say.

School support cuts impacting attendance, council chiefs warn


Cuts in pastoral support in schools are making it harder to encourage children to return after the COVID pandemic, council leaders have told MPs.

Schools report 60% increase in safeguarding referrals


Schools in England saw a 59% increase in safeguarding referrals and re-referrals made to children's services between 2020-21 and 2021-22, according to survey.

Staff propped up care system during pandemic, study finds


Many care home staff worked overtime without extra pay to prop up the system during the pandemic, according to a new study.

Austerity undermined local response to COVID-19, study finds


The hollowing-out of local capability by a decade of cuts left local government struggling to cope with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study says.

COVID support prone to ‘error and fraud’


Support schemes during COVID were prone to fraud and error because of a rushed timetable and a lack of shared plans between local and national government.

Teacher vacancies nearly double


Vacancies for teachers have nearly doubled this year compared to before the COVID pandemic, according to the latest figures.

Post-COVID work scheme saw ‘missed opportunities’


Prospects for people getting back into work after pandemic would have been much better if councils had been able to take the lead, council leaders claim.

Local health chiefs warn of ‘second health emergency’


The increase in costs of essential food items and energy has created a ‘second health emergency’ after the COVID pandemic, local health chiefs have warned.

Council chiefs call for ‘structural change’ to tackle racism


Structural change is needed to reduce inequality in health affecting black, minority and ethnic communities, according to local government leaders.

Growth for pension pool despite Covid


One of local government’s biggest joint pension partnerships has now pooled £47.5bn of the £60bn assets under its management.

COVID business relief fund ‘carnage’, says report


Less than a quarter of local authorities have paid out their full grants from the COVID relief fund for local businesses, new research reveals.

Tycoon’s planning application creating 'climate of fear'


A former nurse paid £2bn by the Government for PPE gear has been accused of 'riding roughshod' over a Bedfordshire village with her plans for new stables.

Children’s services deal with nearly 220,000 urgent referrals


Children’s services dealt with 217,800 of the most urgent referrals – those in which significant abuse or harm is suspected – during 2021-22, study reveals.

Manchester introduces post-COVID ‘toursim tax’


Visitors to Manchester will be required to pay a ‘tourism tax’ as part of a new initiative to support the city’s accommodation sector after Brexit and COVID.

Care home deaths fall to pre-pandemic levels


The number of deaths in care homes has fallen back to pre-pandemic levels, new figures have revealed.

Children’s health experts warn of pandemic’s ‘lasting impact’


The majority of professionals say they are seeing an ongoing negative impact on babies’ and young children’s social skills due to the COVID pandemic.

Council chiefs warn of winter ‘twindemic’


Local authority leaders are urging people to get their flu and COVID vaccinations amid fears of a joint influenza and COVID-19 pandemic this winter.

Council chiefs warn of long COVID impact


Local authority leaders have called on the Government to do more to understand the effects of long COVID as new figures reveal above average excess deaths.

Thousands of businesses still waiting for COVID relief funds


Thousands of businesses promised business rates relief through the £1.5bn COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF) are still waiting to receive council support.

Councils support small businesses with over £21bn COVID support


Local authorities have allocated £21.3bn in COVID support grants to small businesses, a new report has revealed.

Care home residents first to receive COVID booster jab


Care home residents and people who are housebound will be the first groups to receive the COVID booster jab, NHS England has confirmed.

Think tank calls for urgent COVID boosters to ‘avoid catastrophe’


All adults in the UK should receive a COVID-19 booster in order to help relieve the stress on the NHS this winter, think tank says.

Ofsted calls for social care workforce strategy


The watchdog the need is ‘more urgent than ever’ as it published a report looking at the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on children’s social care.

‘Parallel pandemic’ of mental ill health cost North £2bn


The number of mental ill health cases in the North of England were much higher during the pandemic than in any other part of the country and cost £2bn.

Employers warn against local pay deals


Councils have been warned against undermining the ‘fundamental integrity’ of national talks by agreeing local deals as pressure grows on pay.

'Agile working policies' prompt council move


A post-pandemic office move expected to save a council more than £2m over the next 10 years has been given the green light.

Ofsted rates Kent children’s services ‘outstanding’


Kent children’s services rated ‘outstanding’ with inspectors recognising the council cares for ‘unparalleled numbers’ of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

Welsh bus industry receives £48m boost


The bus industry in Wales is set to receive £48m to help it recover from the pandemic and cope with the financial challenges, Welsh government announces.

Councils urged to share post-pandemic cultural activities


The LGA is calling for councils and local partners to share examples of their work in using culture to support the post-pandemic recovery and levelling up.

Council apologises after leaving cancer patient and children in bedsit


Croydon Council has apologised after a mother who was recovering from cancer was left in a bedsit with her four children throughout the pandemic.

COVID cost ethnic minority children early learning opportunities


The COVID pandemic led to ‘considerably more’ children from ethnic minority and disadvantaged backgrounds missing out on formal early learning, study reveals.

Five high streets join pilot to boost local business


Five high streets have been chosen to join a pilot scheme aimed at supporting local businesses and reviving town centres.

Outer London left behind in post-COVID recovery


Ethnically diverse local authority areas on the outskirts of London are being left behind in the post-pandemic recovery, think tank warns.

Unions demand 'substantial' pay increase


Councils will be consulted this month after local government trade unions demanded a ‘substantial’ pay increase amid rising costs of food, fuel and household bills.

Councils urged to draw on crisis management skills


Scotland’s councils should draw on their COVID-19 experiences when handling the new challenges posed by service backlogs and rising inflation, watchdog says.

COVID inquiry chair requests changes to investigation’s focus


UK COVID inquiry chair Baroness Hallett has written to the PM proposing changes to the inquiry’s Terms of Reference in order to emphasise inequality.

Council pays family threatened with homelessness £6,000


Bromley council has agreed to pay a family threatened with homelessness £6,000 after an investigation concluded that it did not do enough to help them.

Council chiefs call for locally led pavement licensing regime


Local authority leaders have called on the Government to introduce a permanent but locally led pavement licensing regime for cafés and bars.

Government confirms it won’t appeal COVID care home ruling


Government won't appeal a court decision which found the policy of discharging patients from hospitals to care homes at the start of the pandemic was unlawful.

Discharging patients into care homes was 'unlawful', High Court rules


The High Court today ruled that the Government’s policy of discharging patients from hospital to care homes at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic was unlawful.

MPs warn of ‘eye-watering’ levels of fraud in COVID scheme


The Government is ‘complacent’ about preventing ‘eye-watering’ levels of fraud in the COVID Bounceback Loan Scheme (CBLS), new report by the PAC concludes.

Ofsted to increase focus on early years education


The schools watchdog will increase its focus on early years education over the next five years as part of the effort to help children impacted by the pandemic.

Experts warn of spike in COVID-related mental health problems


Adults are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact of the pandemic on their mental health as one third say their mental health has got worse.

All regions told to take asylum seekers


All regions of England, Scotland and Wales will be expected to take a share of asylum seekers under a new system of ‘full dispersal,’ the Government has told councils.

Burnham will support Manchester Airport ‘any way we can’


Mayor Burnham has attempted to reassure passengers stuck at Manchester Airport that the GMCA is working to ‘support them in any way we can’.

Council defends £237,000 COVID vaccine festival


A London council has defended a COVID vaccine festival that cost over £200,000 to put on but only saw 435 people jabbed.

Council staff on £100,000 increased during pandemic


Senior pay is decided in a ‘transparent way’, council chiefs say in response to report that the number of council staff receiving over £100,000 increased.

There is no more cash for COVID, Government confirms


There will be no more funding to help councils deal with outbreaks of COVID, the Government has confirmed.

Over 300 theatres and museums receive £35m support


Cultural organisations from across England have received a share of a £35m emergency support package to help overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Council chiefs call for ‘urgent’ extension of COVID fund


Council leaders and directors of public health have called for an urgent extension of local outbreak management funding to help with rising COVID-19 rates.

Glasgow tops list of most economically resilient cities


Glasgow has proven to be the city with the most resilient economy in the face of the pandemic, a new study has revealed.

Ministers urged to reverse public health cuts


The Local Government Association (LGA) has urged ministers to reverse public health cuts amid warnings the COVID-19 pandemic has left staff exhausted and exacerbated recruitment difficulties.

Uncertain future for Scottish councils' finances


The Accounts Commission found councils were grappling with funding reductions and restrictions as they prepare to meet significant challenges.

Week-long strike over pay to hit local government sector


Council workers are expected to strike for a week this month in the first coordinated industrial action to hit the sector in a decade.

COVID business rates relief ‘a total joke’


Hundreds of thousands of businesses promised business rates reliefs through a £1.5bn relief fund are still waiting to receive support, analysis reveals.

Warnings over unmet care needs


Social care services could be put under further pressure due to unmet needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research.

Councils to have access to new online PPE portal


Local authorities are to be given access to free personal protective equipment (PPE) through a new website, the Government has announced.

Government’s youth employment scheme branded ‘chaotic’


Government scheme for helping young people into employment has been ‘chaotic’ and has failed to support as many people as first predicted, PAC says.

Dealing with complaints became ‘casualty of crisis’, Ombudsman says


COVID-19 ‘magnified stresses’ that councils were already faced with before the pandemic and dealing with complaints became a ‘casualty’, report says.

‘COVID-19 hasn’t gone away,’ council chiefs tell PM


Local authority leaders have urged the Government to ensure that councils have the necessary resources to deal with potential future COVID-19 outbreaks.

Councils call for local outbreak funding as part of 'Living with COVID' strategy


Councils have warned they will be forced to stand down public health teams unless the Government extends local outbreak management funding.

Public health directors warn of dangers in ending COVID-19 testing


The Government is reportedly looking at scrapping free tests as part of its national post-COVID plan.

A third of bus services could be cut without emergency funding, experts warn


Councils have warned nearly a third of bus services will be axed unless emergency funding is extended beyond the end of March.

DfE welcomes improvements in children’s well-being


Children’s well-being in 2021 saw improvements when compared to the year before, but research suggests there was a decline over the decade before the pandemic.

Commissioner reports rise in children ‘struggling’ with mental health issues


More children are struggling with their mental health due to the impact of the pandemic, the Children’s Commission has warned.

Government set to scrap mandatory vaccines for care staff


The Government is considering scrapping compulsory COVID vaccines for health and care workers in England.

DLUHC 'almost wilfully blind' to state of local government finances warn MPs


A ‘chronic’ lack of funding for council services amid soaring demand means many communities face a ‘long slog’ out of the COVID-19 pandemic, MPs warned today.

Restrictions on care home visitors to be removed


There will be no limit on visits to care homes and self-isolation periods will be cut from Monday, the Government has announced.

Where does place-making fit into post-pandemic life?


Merton LBC has completed its widest-ever engagement programme on what a post-pandemic borough in south London looks like. Council leader Mark Allison and CEO Hannah Doody explain.

Risky business: Look local to learn lessons from the COVID-19 crisis


Duncan Shaw calls for a more effective ‘whole of society’ approach to managing and assessing risk.

City centres lose nearly a years’ worth of sales due to COVID-19


Businesses in city and large town centres have lost more than a third (35%) of their potential takings due to COVID-19, think tank finds.

Council chiefs warn vital health services ‘at risk’


Vital frontline health services are at risk due to a lack of certainty around councils’ public health funding, local authority leaders have warned.

Sheffield chief apologises for Whitehall leaving do


The chief executive officer of Sheffield City Council has apologised for having her Whitehall leaving do while coronavirus restrictions were in place.

Staff shortages are ‘excessively high’, warn care providers


Homecare providers are warning that they are having to refuse new requests for home care because of Omicron and ongoing staffing problems.

Scottish councils pledge to deploy staff and capacity to social care services


Scottish councils have warned some services may be paused or reduced in order to protect critical social care services.

Council staff asked to provide care services amid workforce crisis


Derbyshire County Council has asked its employees to help the local authority provide care services amid the UK-wide shortage of care staff.

Council finances fared better than expected in COVID crisis, says IFS


The cost of COVID for councils has been far less than expected, research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has found.

Council calls on staff to volunteer for social care roles


North Yorkshire County Council has urged staff working in non-critical services to volunteer for social care roles due to the pressures caused by the spread of Omicron.

Councils to deliver £700m grants to businesses hit by Omicron


Councils will deliver £700m to businesses most affected by the Omicron variant in the next few weeks, the Government has announced.

Sandwell calls for action on test shortage


A council has written to ministers after it was forced to step in to alleviate a shortage of COVID testing kits.

Care providers call for ‘emergency army of volunteers’


Independent care providers have called on the Government to create an emergency army of volunteers to help solve the social care staffing crisis.

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