Category: Parish Council

Councils given new powers to hold public meetings remotely

No Comments

HM Government has brought in new Regulations in part to relax the requirement that Parish Council Meetings must be held ‘in-person’. The new regulations allow Parish Councils to hold meetings, in particular via Video Conferencing. Your Parish Council in anticipation of the change in the law has been trialing Video Conferencing systems and is ready to go ahead with the next meeting in April using his method. Details of how residents can attend the meeting remotely will be published as soon as possible.

The text of the Government Announcement is given below:

  • Local Government Secretary confirms local authorities can hold public meetings remotely by video or telephone

  • Government removes requirement for physical attendance at meetings

  • Public will still have access to public meetings through remote means

  • Change ensures effective local decision making and transparency during the national effort to fight the coronavirus pandemic

Local authorities in England have been handed new powers to hold public meetings virtually by using video or telephone conferencing technology from Saturday (4 April 2020).

The government has temporarily removed the legal requirement for local authorities to hold public meetings in person during the coronavirus pandemic. This will enable councils to make effective and transparent decisions on the delivery of services for residents and ensure that local democracy continues to thrive.

Meetings will remain accessible whilst ensuring that councillors, staff and the wider public are able to follow government advice by staying at home to stop the spread of coronavirus to protect the NHS and save lives.

Local Government Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:

Local authorities are the backbone of our democracy and they are playing a vital role in the national effort to keep people safe. This change will support them to do that while maintaining the transparency we expect in local decision making.

Councillors and staff are already doing the right thing by following our advice to stay home, protect the NHS and save lives. This includes working from home wherever possible, and the new powers to hold meetings virtually will make that easier.

It’s critical that they continue to provide essential services and find innovative ways to maintain important economic functions they perform like the planning system and they will now be able to do so.

We’ve given local authorities across England an additional £1.6 billion to help their crucial work in the national effort against coronavirus, and we are continuing to ensure they get all of the support that they need at this time.

Local Government Association Chairman Cllr James Jamieson said:

Councils are working tirelessly to support their communities as they rise to the unprecedented challenge of the coronavirus crisis.

Giving councils powers to hold meetings remotely is important to maintaining local democracy and allowing critical decisions to be made during this public health crisis. Councils need to respond quickly and make very many key decisions. They can now do so while remaining open, transparent and accessible to the public.

Remote council meetings will crucially help ensure all those taking part stay at home, helping to prevent the coronavirus from spreading and save lives.

The change applies to all local authorities in England and covers all categories of public meetings including annual meetings, cabinet and committee meetings.

The requirement for public meetings to be made accessible to the public remains, but it will be up to each local authority to decide how they conduct meetings, how voting procedures work and how to ensure that the public has access.

The government is also working to bring in new law so that by-elections, local polls and referendums cannot be held before 6 May 2021. The Coronavirus Act 2020 has already postponed local and Police and Crime Commissioner elections scheduled in the UK for Thursday 7 May 2020 until 6 May 2021.

Further information

  • The change applies to all local authorities in England, which includes county councils, district councils, combined authorities, parish councils, joint committees constituted to be a local planning authority, fire and rescue authorities and national park authorities. They apply to meetings of a local authority, an executive of a local authority, a joint committee of two or more local authorities, and a committee or sub-committee of any of those bodies.

  • The regulations also enable Police and Crime Panels in England and Wales to take place remotely, so they can also continue their important work in local areas.

  • Existing rules about the number of councillors or members of a group required to attend to make a meeting valid will remain, but virtual attendance will count.

  • We are working with the Local Government Association and other representative bodies who are considering developing guidance for local authorities about holding remote meetings.

  • This announcement applies to England (and to Wales for Police and Crime Panels). Whilst local government is a devolved matter, the Department has been engaging closely with colleagues in the devolved administrations.

  • Saturday 4 April 2020 is the day that the local authorities gain the power to hold remote meetings. However, for most local authorities the practical effect will be from the start of the working week when they hold most meetings.

  • The Regulations were made in Parliament on 2 April 2020 and apply to meetings taking place before 7 May 2021. The government is able to legislate to bring forward this date if medical and scientific advice leads to the relaxation of social distancing rules.

  • We’ve provided local authorities with £1.6 billion to help them respond to coronavirus pressures across all the services they deliver. This includes increasing support for the adult social care workforce and for services helping the most vulnerable, including homeless people.

Tree work at the Grange

No Comments

The Parish Council have received a number of enquiries from concerned residents about the the tree work at the Grange. Permission had been sought for the work and granted from Rushcliffe Borough Council.  The Borough Councillor Officer, responsible for granting permission for work on trees has since visited the site and confirmed that the work is in accordance with the permission that has been granted.

 

Verge and Grass maintenance suspended.

No Comments

The maintenance of our grassed areas and roadside verges which the Parish Council maintain usually start in April.

Our contractor has advised us that they are suspending operations following Government advice on the Coronavirus situation. They will review the situation in two-weeks time, even if they resume operations in two weeks time (which at the moment appears unlikely) the earliest we can expect the programme to start is May, 2020.

The areas affected are:

The Green (Ivy Row)

Roadside Verges on:

  • Old Grantham Road (including Whatton Bridge)
  • Church Street (junction with Old Grantham Road)
  • Dark Lane
  • Beverleys Avenue

The Green on Green Walk is maintained by Rushcliffe Borough Council we have not received any information as yet about any changes in their programme, but suspect their maintenance will be halted for the time being.

A quiet day

No Comments

Whilst there has been a number of Government notices issued today they have been on technical issues.

The Prime Minister’s statement this afternoon largely about testing and of course Staying at home, Social Distancing and Washing your hands.

On a positive note the call for 250,000 NHS volunteers yesterday has resulted in 405,000 volunteers in just 24 hours.

Please remember all the instructions previously laid out, on the Royal Assent of the Coronavirus Act scheduled for tomorrow will carry the full force of the law.

Stay at Home (if you can), following the rules on Social Distancing (a minimum of 2 metres) and wash your hands. Also remember that the rules also apply to children as well as adults.

 

A big day for announcements

No Comments

IMPORTANT: CERTAIN COMMENTS IN THIS POST ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THOSE OF THE PARISH COUNCIL.

Yesterday we had 31 announcements from the various arms of the Government ranging from specifications for ventilators for the NHS. guidance for educational settings, suspension of driving tests, guidance on free school meals and many other, mostly of a technical nature all in the fight against the coronavirus.

This morning we have had two so far two both on the relaxation of HGV Driving hours. we expect many more before the day is out.  The point we are making is that the Government and as  importantly the Civil Service are working flat out to fight this virus and judging by the times we receive the notifications throughout the day and night.

There were of course other announcements yesterday for which we are awaiting official guidance one of course was the largest and most wide-ranging intervention ever by any UK Government in supporting employees (and the self-employed to a lesser extent) through protecting wages, salaries and jobs, in addition to helping the cash-flow of businesses throughout the UK.

The second was of course the enforced closure of Pubs, Bars, Cafes etc.  For those of us who have been following, perhaps more closely, the development of this epidemic reluctantly expected this move. The Government advice had been not to congregate in Public Houses, Bars etc., and whilst the majority of us followed the advice a number thankfully a minority in our society decided such advice did not apply to them in all likelihood resulting in a larger spread on the virus.

The first and predominant rule in this emergency is:

DO NOT DO ANYTHING THAT MAY PROMOTE THE SPREAD THE VIRUS.

Whilst of course the NHS are on the front line of the fight against the Coronavirus, as mentioned above so are the Civil Service, the HGV Drivers who deliver the food to the Supermarket, Supermarket staff, Supermarket delivery drivers and of course the Farmers and of course all those who support those services.  Everyone of us can play an essential part in defeating this contagion by following the science based advice given by Government.

We will continue to post information received from HM Government, Public Health England and the NHS which is relevant to residents.

Please stay safe, keep an eye on your vulnerable neighbours and help where you can always remembering not to do anything that may spread the Virus.

 

 

Closures of schools, childcare and other education settings.

No Comments

The following information has been issues by Her Majesty’s Government and we have reproduced it in full. You should be aware however, that the situation Is constantly changes as Government reacts to different scenarios. We will try and keep on top of any changes but we cannot promise to do so.

Information for parents and carers about the closure of schools and other educational settings following the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). This will be updated as we have further information available.

1. Closures of schools, childcare and other educational settings

1.1 What age groups does this cover?

The changes cover children at registered childcare providers (including nurseries and childminders), primary and secondary schools and further education colleges. This is for both state-funded and independent schools.

1.2 Will it be mandatory for all schools, colleges and registered childcare providers to remain open in some form?

We are asking schools, colleges, nurseries, childminders and other registered childcare settings to remain open for children of critical workers and vulnerable children where they can.

We understand that some may be unable to do so especially if they are experiencing severe staff shortages. We will work with local areas to use neighbouring schools, colleges and childcare providers to continue to support vulnerable children and children of critical workers.

1.3 How long will schools and colleges be closed for?

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, schools, colleges and childcare providers will be closed to the majority of pupils until further notice.

1.4 Will this apply to independent schools and boarding schools?

Yes. We are asking independent schools and boarding schools to do the same as state schools and remain open for critical workers and vulnerable children.

1.5 Will registered childcare providers, schools and colleges be open over Easter holidays for holiday clubs and childcare?

Where possible, we would encourage childcare providers, schools and colleges to continue to look after critical workers’ children and vulnerable children throughout the Easter holidays.

1.6 I am a critical worker or have a vulnerable child – can you guarantee that my child will attend their usual school or childcare provider?

We are expecting the majority of settings to stay open for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children so they can continue to attend their usual provider, but we acknowledge this will be impossible for some – such as small rural schools.

Where a setting is unable to stay open, we will work with the local educational authority, regional school commissioners and neighbouring providers to find an alternative setting for their pupils.

1.7 I am a critical worker or have a vulnerable child – how will my child get to school if the only school open is not nearby?

We are working closely with local authorities to ensure that children can attend the best setting for them, and will provide transport arrangements to support them.

1.8 I am a critical worker or have a vulnerable child but I don’t want to send my child in to school or childcare, do I have to?

Many parents working in these critical sectors may be able to ensure their child is kept at home. Every child who can be safely cared for at home should be.

This is an offer to parents and carers and there is no requirement for parents and carers to send their children to school if they do not need or wish to do so.

For vulnerable children, your child’s social worker will work with you to assess the best option for your child.

1.9 Does this affect universities and other higher education institutions?

Universities and other higher education providers should make their own judgements based on latest Public Health England guidance. Vice chancellors are well placed to make decisions about their own institution, and many have already moved all their teaching online. The government is supporting them with these decisions.

Advice continues to be that all student accommodation should remain open unless advised otherwise by Public Health England. Many universities provide homes to international students, estranged students and care leavers who might not have anywhere else to go.

The Department is working with the Home Office to avoid individuals and institutions being penalised if online provision inadvertently leads to non-compliance with Tier 4 visa rules.

1.10 Does this apply to special schools?

We recognise that children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND) and their parents and carers are facing numerous challenges as a result of coronavirus. We are encouraging local authorities to keep open both residential special schools and residential specialist colleges wherever possible. In addition, we want to keep the majority of day special schools and colleges open, including moving staff into these settings to avoid closure.

Special schools, colleges and local authorities are advised to make case by case basis assessments of the health and safeguarding considerations of pupils and students on an education, health and care (EHC) plan. For some, they will be safer in an education provision. For others, they will be safer at home. We trust leaders and parents to make these decisions and will support them as required.

The government acknowledges that in many cases, the insurance that early years providers have will not cover them for income lost during COVID-19-related closures.

That is one of the reasons why it announced on 17 March that government would not claw back early years entitlements funding from local authorities during closures, or where children are withdrawn because of COVID-19. This protects a significant proportion of early years providers’ income.

In addition, the government has set out a range of support for businesses to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on them. This includes a business rate holiday for all private childcare providers for one year from 1 April. Local authorities will be fully compensated for the cost of this.

In light of these steps taken already, we are asking providers to be reasonable and balanced in their dealings with parents. The government is urgently keeping what further support businesses may require under close review.

2. Exams

2.1 What will happen to exams?

Primary assessments, including SATs, and exams including GCSEs, AS levels and A levels will not go ahead this summer.

We are working with the sector and Ofqual to ensure young people get the qualifications they need. Further details will be provided shortly.

3. Vulnerable children

3.1 Is my child counted as vulnerable?

Vulnerable children include those who have a social worker and those with education, health and care (EHC) plans.

Children who have a social worker include children in need, children who have a child protection plan and those who are looked after by the local authority. We will work with schools, early years, FE providers and local authorities to help identify the children who most need support at this time.

We know that schools will also want to look to support other children who are vulnerable where they are able to do so.

3.2 What will happen with free school meals for those not in school and colleges?

We know that free school meals are important for many families.

To make sure eligible children can continue to be supported, we will give schools and colleges the flexibility to provide meals or vouchers to children eligible for free school meals. They will be reimbursed by the Department. As soon as possible, we will put in place a national voucher system.

More information on support for pupils eligible for school meals is available.

4. Critical workers

4.1 Will I be counted as a critical worker?

Critical workers include NHS staff, police, farmers and food retail workers, who need to be able to go out to work.

In order to continue to offer critical services as part of the country’s ongoing response to the virus, children of workers who form a central part of effort – such as NHS workers, police and delivery drivers – will also continue to attend school, college or childcare provider.

A full list of critical workers and further information is available.

4.2 If only one parent or carer is a critical worker, can I send my children in to school?

Children with at least one parent or carer who are identified as critical workers by the government can send their children to school if required.

5. Resources and support

What support will be available to parents to help them educate their children at home?

More information will follow about what DfE is doing to support parents. We are working with the BBC and others to provide resources for children to access while at home. For parents with children under five years old see hungrylittleminds.campaign.gov.uk

5.1 There is too much pressure on broadband connections in my area – how can my child do online learning?

The government is having regular calls with the major fixed and mobile operators, and with Ofcom, to monitor the situation and ensure that any problems on the networks are rapidly addressed and rectified.

We fully understand the importance of having reliable internet connectivity at this time, so that people can work from home wherever possible and access critical public services online, including health information.

Categories: Parish Council

Coronavirus, Diabetes and Self-isolation.

No Comments

Being over 70 and suffering (if that’s the right word) from Type 2 Diabetes I fall fairly and squarely into the ‘Vulnerable’ category.

But it is useful to put the current situation in perspective, hard though it is. With that point in mind, below is the text of an e-mail I’ve received from diabetes.co.uk. It’s worth (in my view) a read.

These are unprecedented times. People in every street, in every town, in every nation are impacted by COVID-19. Times may be uncertain but you are certainly not alone. We are a community, and we are together – in the good times and in those where there is a national stockpiling of toilet paper.

As the Government advises those with underlying health conditions that would increase their risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures, it is vital not to get caught up in stress and worry. We will continue to update our coronavirus page daily.

First things first, it’s not all doom and gloom. Yes this is serious, but we are resilient and we can, and will beat this. Read an interview with Andrew, who has T1D and beat coronavirus.

Protect your mental health. Take steps to care for your wellbeing. With so much news about coronavirus in the media, across newspapers, radio, TV, websites and social media – it can take a toll on mental health.

Try to take time out for yourself. Spend time in nature, try a new hobby, meditate, read a book, sing, start a blog, walk your dog or someone else’s. There may be months of coronavirus news ahead, and you don’t want to burnout. Get out in open green spaces, exercise, eat well, stay hydrated and keep your cool.

Remember that you have plenty of support. Make sure to stay in touch (remotely if necessary) with family and friends. The Diabetes Community is open 24/7 and there are hundreds of thousands of topics to browse through. Find support, share experiences and ask questions with over 316,000 other people with similar experiences.

You won’t be surprised to read that the coronavirus discussion is this month’s most popular thread. That’s closely followed by 2 threads on whether people are managing to eat their usual foods and how people will be self-isolating over the next 12 weeks.

During this time of self-isolation, stay connected with people. We hope you and your loved ones are taking care of each other.

Be thoughtful, respectful and compassionate. We are side by side in this, even if we are a safe distance apart.

Enjoy the day,
Charlotte, on behalf of Diabetes.co.uk

 

Categories: Parish Council

Parish Council Meeting is cancelled

No Comments

In line with Government advice on ‘Social Distancing’ the Parish Council meeting scheduled for March 24th 2020 has been cancelled.

The Parish Council is supporting the National Association of Local Council’s initiative to Government to relax the ‘in-person’ requirement of Parish Council meetings to allow such meetings to take place ‘virtually’ on a temporary basis. There appears to be some movement in the Government considering relaxing the requirement for the Annual Parish Council meeting and some committees. The Parish Council and NALC would like the Government to go further by applying such relaxation to all Parish Council Meeting. Given the current advice without the relaxation of the ‘in-person’ requirement, it is unlikely that Parish Council meetings can take place for some time.

In the meantime, the Parish Council are introducing measures to ensure that the business of the Parish Council can continue.

The future meeting dates have been left in place and a decision as to whether they can take place will be made closer to the date and subject to the them available advice.