Latest Updates on Salford Council's response to the COVID-19 outbreak
The main council information page on the Coronavirus is updated daily.
Evictions: ban extended
The government announced on Friday (21 August) that the ban on evictions will be extended for another 4 weeks, taking the total ban to 6 months.
The government also intends to give tenants greater protection from eviction over the winter by requiring landlords to provide tenants with 6 months’ notice in all bar those cases raising other serious issues such as those involving anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse perpetrators, until at least the end of March.
Greater Manchester Leaders had written to the Government earlier that week calling for an extension to the temporary evictions ban over fears of a surge in people at risk of becoming homeless.
Greater Manchester Leaders actually called for numerous things from the government:
- Ensuring the Courts enforce Pre-Action Protocols for Landlords who are looking to evict, and consider all reasonable prevention action, working in partnership with Local Authorities and other support organisations;
- Finding a route through the welfare system to write-off rent arrears caused by the immediate consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic to help landlords and renters to work together to sustain tenancies;
- Providing emergency prevention monies to Local Authorities (in the form of Housing Options COVID Burdens monies or Discretionary Housing Payment top up) to increase their capacity to advise, mediate, and support people to avoid eviction and rent arrears.;
- Removing or suspending the operation of the benefit cap, which has seen a 93% increase in application in the 3 months to May;
- Restoring the link to the 50th percentile of local market rents for Local Housing Allowance, recognising the increasing numbers of households who are, or will soon be as a consequence of COVID-19, reliant on Universal Credit or other benefits to help meet their housing costs, and the limited supply of available affordable accommodation;
- Allowing direct payment to landlords (private and social) as a default for Universal Credit, while giving all claimants to opt out if they wish;
- Improving communication between private landlords and DWP to assist in resolving and preventing arrears arising unnecessarily;
Similarly, Greater Manchester Leaders acknowledged that as many of these things hadn’t been addressed and the government hadn’t progressed the Renter’s Reform Bill it was right and proper to extend the eviction ban to avert the further worsening of an already existing homelessness and housing crisis.
PUBLIC HEALTH UPDATES
Salford has stabilised regarding the number of cases compared to the previous week. As of today (Wednesday 26th August 2020), we remain in the top 10 local areas on the national watch list as an area of intervention.
As of today Wednesday 26 August, 1,742 people in Salford have tested positive for coronavirus (an increase of 3.81% since last Wednesday 19 August, when there were 1,678 people who had tested positive).
As there will still be data coming in for the last few days, we are tracking the 7 day and 14 day rates or infection (see table below).
Local restrictions announced by the Government on Thursday 31 July remain in place for the following districts in Greater Manchester – Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside and Trafford.
There remains a considerable challenge for Greater Manchester in bringing down the infection rate for COVID-19. While the 7 day rate of positive cases per 100,000 population across the whole of Greater Manchester has shown a slight reduction this week, there are clear differences in infection rates between different local authority areas. Due to different rates of testing between the different areas, we are comparing the numbers being tested per 100,000 population, and the numbers testing positive per 100 tests undertaken (which is the positivity rate). Just as an example, compared to Wigan which has come out of the local restrictions, Wigan had 1% positivity and tested just over 800 persons per 100,000, while Salford positivity is 3% and tested 1100 persons per 100,000 in the previous week. This shows that the more we test, the more we can find; and we are doing our best in Salford to keep the virus visible for contact tracing.
The evidence from contact tracing suggests that household and community transmission is a dominant factor in driving transmission. This is because people can get in contact with the virus elsewhere and then bring that back into the household where the virus takes hold. The current local restrictions are meant to reduce the risks of transmitting the virus from household to household which can take hold in communities. In Salford and other areas of Greater Manchester, household transmission continues to be a key challenge with evidence of clustering of cases in private residences. The intervention to restrict interactions in private dwellings and gardens is meant to reduce the numbers of interactions overall to prevent new or ongoing transmission from the breaches elsewhere. If we can halve the number of household and social breaches, we can mitigate the breaches elsewhere. Increasingly, we will see the impact of breaches in shops, pubs, restaurants and other public places where face coverings and social distancing are being breached.
KEY SERVICE UPDATES
Spirit of Salford network
As of 21 August, the hotline has received 14,353 telephone calls, along with 1,595 requests for support from the website. There have not been any additional requests for food boxes, 3,210 have been provided since the start of provision. Cloud, coffee and chat appointments have been made by 335 people.
The detached youth team is now working regularly with staff in neighborhoods to look at preventative work with other youth workers. The detached youth team is on call for the weekends and are able to respond to anti-social behavior, in partnership with Police and Neighborhood Managers.
Schools and childcare
A total of 16 Early Years settings and 56 childminders have remained closed as of Monday 24th August 2020.
Public Health England and the Department for Education have confirmed that businesses, including childminders, can operate as normal during the local ‘lock down’ implemented across GM, this means that we can continue to support children of ‘critical workers and our vulnerable children, to access childcare places and/ or holiday provision.
Updated guidance from the Department for Education has been issued, outlining how to fund childcare providers in the 2020 autumn term. Any settings that choose to remain closed during term time will not be funded.
Schools across Salford are looking forward to welcoming back pupils next month. Whether this be children returning to school or children who are starting a new school, the government expectation is that all children and young people will return to school and they have given guidance to schools to make changes to their buildings and processes to keep everyone safe. We’ve published some information on our external web pages to support children and their families. This information covers helpful top tips for returning to or starting school, videos and activities that children can do on the lead up to September.
GM Living with COVID-19 Plan
Living with COVID-19 Plan is due to be published in September. The Greater Manchester Living with COVID-19 Resilience Plan is a one year delivery document, which considers the impacts arising from COVID-19 and captures the actions to be taken in the short term to build resilience and begin to respond to those impacts.
The Living with COVID-19 Plan provides a bridge between the existing Greater Manchester Strategy and the refresh now due to take place next year. The one year plan is not intended to be the long term strategy for Greater Manchester, it is a delivery plan to support Greater Manchester’s people, places and businesses over the next year, building resilience for further outbreaks of the virus or other emergencies and supporting Greater Manchester to rebuild and develop our economy and society.
More than half a billion pounds to help people return home from hospital
People needing additional follow-on care after being discharged from hospital will be supported by a £588 million fund to cover adult social care or the immediate costs of care in their own home.
From 1 September, the NHS will be able to access the funding in order to provide up to 6 weeks of additional support so people can receive ongoing help with their recovery and rehabilitation after they leave hospital. This could include support in their home or access to services such as physiotherapy.
New guidance has been published to help hospitals safely discharge patients into the appropriate setting to maximise their independence and ensure they can remain in their own homes as much as possible.
Guidance for parents and carers of children attending out-of-school settings
The government has updated guidance for parents and carers covering changes to after-school clubs, holiday clubs, tuition, community activities and other out-of-school settings for children and young people over the age of 5 during the coronavirus outbreak.
The guidance is now applicable into the autumn school term and includes a change to the protective measures which will be effective from the point at which all pupils return to school in the autumn, making clear the position on group sizes.
New National Institute for Health Protection
Last week (18 August) a new organisation whose primary focus is public health protection and infectious disease capability is being established by the government.
The National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP) will start work immediately, with a single command structure to advance the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
It will bring together Public Health England (PHE) and NHS Test and Trace, as well as the analytical capability of the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) under a single leadership team. This is the first step towards becoming a single organisation, focused on tackling coronavirus and protecting the nation’s health.
In order to minimise disruption the organisation will be formalised and operating from spring 2021.
The new organisation will support local directors of public health and local authorities on the frontline of the coronavirus response.
£5 million for social prescribing
The National Academy for Social Prescribing has been awarded £5 million in funding to support people to stay connected and maintain their health and wellbeing following the coronavirus pandemic.
The funding will connect people to initiatives in their local communities to improve their mental health and wellbeing in response to the impact of coronavirus, including improved green spaces, singing and physical activities as well as access to tailored debt advice.
New round of Health and Wellbeing fund
Applications open last week (21 August) for a share of a £3.3 million fund to support community projects in England aimed at tackling obesity, reducing smoking and improving learning among mothers and young babies.
This new round of the Health and Wellbeing Fund has been launched with the theme of ‘starting well’ to improve outcomes for mothers and babies in deprived areas or from BAME backgrounds from preconception to up to 2-and-a-half years of age.
The Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and Improvement, and Public Health England are inviting applications from voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations to join the VCSE health and wellbeing fund Starting Well.
The successful projects will be fully funded through the scheme throughout their 3 years. The deadline for applications is midday on Friday 30 October 2020.
Since the start of the pandemic our refuse teams have been inundated with fantastic recognition from our residents. Not only have they received written compliments and recognition over social media but people have gone out of their way to say thank you through pictures and visuals in their windows. This household went out of their way to thank our essential workers, with a fantastic window display.
Welfare rights and debt advice
I’d also like to thank our colleagues in the welfare rights and debt advice service who have been adjusting to working from home whilst providing a fantastic service to residents experiencing a very worrying time. They have provided specialist advice to people who have been furloughed, lost their jobs or denied the financial support they are entitled to, even representing people at appeal hearings by telephone and online whilst the courts are closed.
I also just wanted to remind you that if you are working with clients who are struggling to make ends meet or who have lost income because of the pandemic you can refer them to our welfare rights and debt advice service in complete confidence. The service is open to any Salford resident.