An extract of the information provided by Broadland District District Council:
The Council has a comprehensive mechanism to support vulnerability, utilising our existing help hub model, working with our partners, town and parish councils, community groups and hundreds of volunteers to coordinate our response. On Monday we launched the new County Council number for people to ask for help: 0344 8008020 and residents can also visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/coronavirus
Volunteering is now being coordinated centrally by Voluntary Norfolk and our hub model is supported by a network of mutual-aid groups that we have set up around South Norfolk and Broadland. These groups help us by allocating volunteers to support local residents and using local knowledge to feed in details of vulnerable residents. This work is key to ensuring we identify residents in our community.
Our partners in the voluntary sector are working with us to recruit volunteers for a county wide effort to respond to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis. Already, an additional 75 volunteers have been allocated to work in our districts.
NHS Volunteers- More information about this scheme can be found here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/participation/get-involved/volunteering/nhs-volunteer-responders/
We are working alongside all these volunteers to ensure that help is given to our most vulnerable residents and would like to thank everyone who is contributing to this effort.
Some of the things we can do to help:
- Emergency income to assist with purchase of essentials (Food) or utilities, up to £150
- One off payment to assist people whilst waiting for Universal credit or SSP to commence.
- All working age people in receipt of CTS receiving additional assistance. Further £150.00 deducted from all working age people who are in receipt of CTS. Where liability is below £150.00 this will be reduced to allow Council Tax liability to be zero
- Discretionary Housing Payment from £500-£2k
- Council Tax Assistance, up to 85%
- Discretionary Council Tax Relief
- Universal Credit
- Renters – We are encouraging anyone whose income has been impacted by COVID-19 to contact their landlord immediately, whether that be a registered provider such as Saffron or Clarion or a private landlord. We are aware that registered providers are keen to work with people however they will not know that their tenants are in hardship unless they are informed. Similarly, central government has announced that private landlords can ask their mortgage providers for a 3 month payment holiday when their tenants are affected by COVID-19, it is therefore expected that this saving be passed to the tenant. If landlords are not helping, our housing team may be able to assist, however we do ask tenants to speak to landlords first.
We have already seen a 61% increase in calls to our benefit teams with families starting to face financial difficulties. This will link into the hardship fund described above.
We have been contacting and supporting our businesses and local companies with help and advice on how to respond to the challenges they face.
The Councils have taken a step by step approach in working through the various criteria and have helped hundreds of businesses since the restrictions began. We have been able to successfully signpost them to the various affiliated agencies handling elements of the available support and explaining the planned payment mechanism for Council actioned support.
Where the Business Support Team has been critical, is in triaging those businesses that need further intervention at a local level, sometimes in the form of a friendly voice offering guidance and advice, and sometimes help in solving a real cashflow crisis.
There are several measures that have been announced by Government in the Budget, and subsequently, to support businesses as they face significant disruption because of coronavirus.
These measures include:
- A Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
- A Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs)
- A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
- Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
- Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
- The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
- More self-employed people will be eligible to apply for Universal Credit
- A new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
- The HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
- A £500 million Hardship Fund for residents to access financial support from the Council
- Insurance cover related to pandemics and government-ordered closure
This week, in total, we have distributed just under £8 million in grants to 504 businesses in South Norfolk and Broadland.
Supporting our vulnerable residents
This week we are averaged 550 calls per day to the help hub from vulnerable residents and those in hardship.
Over the last 10 days we have deployed volunteers on 1090 occasions to support residents with supplies of food and medicine. Most of the residents helped so far, have been over 70 years old, but we are expecting more families to start contacting us as finances become tighter.
We know that some pharmacies are experiencing problems with queues. If your local pharmacy is having issues, please contact us and we will try and help. We understand that there is not a problem with stock or supply, but that part of the problem is people stock piling medicines.
As well as receiving calls we have also contacted 638 of our most vulnerable residents. These have been identified by the NHS, the County Council and from our own data. The number of outward calls will increase as we receive more data from the NHS.
Nationally we have seen a rise in domestic abuse from two deaths a week to seven. Rural areas can be particularly vulnerable, and with families isolating we predict more cases, both men and women can be affected. Any issues please report directly to the police on 101. Support for housing can be requested via 0808 168 2222 (South Norfolk) 01603 430641 (Broadland) or go to the relevant District Councils’ website.
Virtual Meetings (Please see below and attached.)
The following provides a summary of the Statutory Instrument which enables meetings to be held virtually. This is the guidance that has just been release by central government to help councils, including town and parish councils to continue to hold meetings. This applies until 7 May 2021
The Local Authority can hold such meetings and at such hour and on such days; and alter the frequency, move or cancel such meetings, without requirement for further notice.
When an appointment is required to be made at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) such appointments continue until the next AGM or until the Local Authority determines.
Meetings are not limited to a place, can include; electronic, digital or virtual meetings i.e. internet locations, web address or conference calls.
Attendance counts when:
- Member can hear / see and be heard / be seen by other Members
- Member can hear / see and be heard / by seen by entitled to attend to exercise the right to speak – where practicable
- Member to be heard and where practicable be seen by the public attending
Attendance includes by remote access.
The Local Authority can make standing orders and rules about remote attendance at meetings including the provision for:
- Member and public access to documents
- Remote access of public and press
Being present includes by remote access.
Open to the public includes access to meeting through remote means including but not limited to video conference, live webcast or live streaming.
Documentation “open to inspection” includes being published on the website.
Publication, posting or making available of a document at council offices includes on the website.
Decisions and background papers made avaibale to the public includes through the website or any other such means as is considered appropriate.
We have also received, and attached, a PDF of a leaflet with advice from central government that is being distributed, by the government, to every household in the country.