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Issue 19: 17 August 2020

Latest Updates on Salford Council's response to the COVID-19 outbreak

A level results

An urgent meeting was held at Greater Manchester Combined Authority with Greater Manchester College Principals, on Friday 14 August, to discuss the A level results. The Greater Manchester Mayor, via GMCA, is considering litigation regarding the discriminatory algorithm that has resulted in so many pupils receiving grades that do not reflect their past academic performance. Today we have been notified he is taking legal advice, has instructed leading Counsel and is expected to write to Ofqual to initiate action.

In Salford we are looking at next steps with Salford City College prior to the GCSE results due to be released on Thursday 20 August.

Household gatherings

The current rules on social gatherings will continue in parts of the North West, West Yorkshire, East Lancashire and Leicester following consideration of all local restrictions last Thursday (13 August) by government and councils.

This means that people in these areas will continue to not be permitted to mix with other households (apart from those in their support bubble) within private homes or gardens. People are still able to meet others in groups up to 6 individuals, or 2 households, in outdoor public places.

Face coverings regulations

The Government has amended the previous Face Coverings Regulations and it has become a requirement since Saturday 8 August to wear a face covering in the following additional places: Indoor places of worship; Community Centres including youth centres; Crematoria and burial ground chapels; Public areas in hotels and hostels; Concert halls, exhibition halls and other public halls; Cinemas; Museums, galleries, aquariums, indoor zoos and visitor farms, and other indoor, or indoor parts of, tourist, heritage or cultural sites; Bingo halls; Public libraries and reading rooms.

NHS Test and Trace service to strengthen regional contact tracing

NHS Test and Trace and Public Health England (PHE) will extend its partnership with local authorities in order to reach more people testing positive and their contacts, the government has announced today.

This will give local areas dedicated ring-fenced teams from the national service. These dedicated teams of NHS Test and Trace contact tracers will focus their work on specific areas, alongside the relevant local public health officials to provide a more tailored service.

If the dedicated national team cannot make contact with a resident within a set period of time, the local public health officials can use the data provided by NHS Test and Trace to follow up, which in some pilot areas has involved local authority teams and voluntary partners visiting people at home.

This integrated national and local system has already been successfully used in Blackburn with Darwen, Luton and Leicester and is now being offered to all upper tier local authorities who are responsible for public health locally.

PUBLIC HEALTH UPDATES

Coronavirus Cases

In line with the regional picture, Salford continues to see an increase in new cases. As of Sunday 16 August, 1,645 people in Salford have tested positive for coronavirus (an increase of 5.58% since last Monday 10 August, 1,558).

Testing

The numbers of people being tested in Salford has increased in line with the regional increase from mid-June 2020.  Recent weeks have seen a rise in cases in Salford that has outpaced the rise in testing, leading to an increasing positivity rate.  The figures suggest that the increase in cases seen in Salford throughout July 2020 cannot be explained by more testing alone, the figures are now similar to mid-May 2020 on cases, tests and positivity.

KEY SERVICE UPDATES

A full list of information about council services and access by the public can be found at council services information.

Spirit of Salford network

As of 14 August, the hotline has received 14,038 telephone calls, along with 1,579 requests for support from the website. There has been just one food box request recently, 3,210 have been supplied during the pandemic.

Cloud, coffee and chat sessions were started in June, offering face to face chats with a member of staff, in one of the locality teams, via video calls to replace the drop in BetterOff sessions usually held in our Gateways.

Our advisors provide support on council tax, business rates and benefits or can help put people in touch with a wide range of services that can help such as housing and health and well-being. There have been 291 appointments booked since the start.

Place Services
Customer services now open in the Gateways and Broughton Hub 

Our customer services team is back in the Gateway centres to help residents face to face with urgent council related enquiries. Residents can safely visit Broughton Hub and the Gateway centres in Swinton, Eccles, Pendleton and Walkden.

We will limit the number of customers allowed in at any one time to keep everyone safe and priority will be given to transactions that cannot be carried out online or through the Spirit of Salford Helpline 0800 952 1000.

Gateway opening times are Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm, but we’ll continue to run digital appointments until 8pm so even when the customer service reception is closed, help is still available.

Not all services in the building are open and some other services in the buildings, such as libraries, will re-open gradually over the coming months.

People Services

Summer Programmes for young people are being delivered using outdoor provision or spaces.  Youth service staff are working with partners including Salford Community Leisure, Voluntary Organisations and Neighbourhood Managers to plan for summer activities in parks using national guidance – these are reporting to Neighborhood Resilience Meetings where elected members are in attendance.

Schools and childcare

A total of 18 Early Years settings and 58 childminders have remained closed as of last week Monday 10th August 2020.  Although some early years settings re-opened in the summer term, others will  remain closed until September 2020.

GOVERNMENT

Funding for Home to School transport

Thousands of students will be supported with new dedicated school and college transport to get them to school or college for the autumn term, the Education Secretary said today.  Local transport authorities will receive more than £40 million funding.

This funding will help them create extra capacity and allow students to use alternatives to public transport, while social distancing measures remain in place.

Students and staff who have the option to walk, cycle or use a scooter are encouraged to do so, benefitting from £2 billion of government investment to increase active travel. This will be supported by a new campaign due to be launched shortly to reduce demand on public transport at peak times and minimise overcrowding.

NHS Volunteer Responders open to referrals from housing professionals

Social housing staff can now directly refer tenants who need help with collecting shopping, medicines or other essentials for support from the NHS Volunteer Responders. The scheme will continue to be in place until at least December 2020.

Local Authority Emergency Assistance Grant for Food and Essential Supplies allocations

The guidance for councils on how to use their allocation of the Local Authority Emergency Assistance Grant for Food and Essential Supplies has been updated (4 August 2020) to include the list of grant allocations to councils. Salford has been allocated £403,701.

Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery Scheme

As part of the £2 billion Green Homes Grant Scheme announced by the Chancellor on 8th July to help fund energy efficient upgrades to households across England, £500 million has been set aside specifically for delivery through a Local Authority Delivery (LAD) Scheme. This scheme opened 4th August.

£1.3 billion investment to deliver homes, infrastructure and jobs

Nearly £1.3 billion of investment was confirmed, last week, to help fuel a green economic recovery.

Over 300 successful projects in England are being told they will receive a share of the £900 million Getting Building Fund, which was announced by the Prime Minister in June, to invest in shovel-ready housing and infrastructure projects.

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority has been allocated £54.2m from the GBF for a wide-ranging package of projects that will deliver a much-needed boost to the local economy. Projects include Port Salford Early Infrastructure Works Salford.

To deliver a further 26,000 new homes while protecting greenfield sites, the government has also confirmed a £360 million investment in Mayoral Combined Authority areas through its £400 million Brownfield Fund.

A further £8 million of funding has also been announced to help speed up the delivery of these new homes on brownfield sites and the government is inviting ambitious bids from the Mayoral Combined Authorities for the remaining £40 million of the fund.

CELEBRATIONS

FindMyFuture

A new online information hub has been launched, called #FindMyFuture to help young people in Salford age 14 - 24 take their next steps. From training to employment and wellbeing, finance, and travel, it brings together all the support available from Salford organisations to create a one stop shop.  

Our skills and work team has been working closely with various partners across the city to ensure there are useful resources for all young people from school/college leavers, aged 16-18 and classed as NEET (not in education, employment or training) to those aged 18-24 who are NEET.

This initiative is in response to fears that young people will struggle to find good work and training opportunities due to the pandemic. We’ve already seen a reduction in the number of apprenticeship opportunities alongside more young people claiming unemployment benefits.

We are calling on all businesses small or large to support our young people so that we can ‘build back a better and fairer Salford’ to grow, work and live. Employers are encouraged to get involved by providing resources for young people from aspirational videos to online mentoring.

#FindMyFuture links young people to work, training and local businesses as well as a recycled bike scheme called Riding to Success.