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Furlough due to Covid-19

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Has anyone had to furlough staff or have been furloughed?
asked by (420 points)

1 Answer

0 votes
The Powers that be have furloughed our staff without bothering to consult all the Councillors
We have basically shut up shop and left the Parishioners to it despite a wages bill of over £250,000 and over £200,000 in the bank

Meanwhile at Borough level some staff are working 18 hour days

Without any help from the Parish Council over 1000 volunteers from scratch have printed a leaflet out put one in every door and are supporting our vulnerable Parishioners

If there was ever a case for a major restructuring of local government this is it
There’s so much Parish Councils could do to support their Parishioners
answered by (850 points)
The contrast between those parish councils that care and those that don't is embarrassing. As Chairman of my local parish, I've activated our Emergency Plan, set up a helpline and leafleted every household with basic safeguarding information and offers of help. Local farmers have donated potatoes, leeks and apples, which we're distributing to the self isolated. We're collecting medication, doing shopping, making welfare calls etc, as so many other parish councils are across the country. We see this as part of our core function.

Two neighbouring parish councils have decided it's better not to get involved. Apparently all vulnerable people have a strong support network already, so if the council interfered, it would upset the status quo and the council might be left holding the baby for ever.

Thankfully, members of these communities are starting to establish local schemes without the support of their parish councils.
Its a tricky one as you also have to consider the safety and welfare of the councillors and staff, as well as the residents of the parish.  Our council is made up of a number of over 70s and some with underlying health conditions and the staff (a total of 5 part time employees) include 2 over 70, 1 getting close to retirement, one apprentice and me (the Clerk).  So with that in mind, you have to look at helping the parish with the limited resources that we have.

So we have assisted a local resident in printing a whole host of information on local businesses, help for self isolators, ideas to maintain mental health and are running an online campaign on health and wellbeing.  We are also included in the Borough Council's weekly meetings and will promote any service that comes into force as we know that they have undertaken all due processes and procedures.  I'm not sure what else we can do as there is a ban on non-essential travel which means that I am personally restricted from travelling to the parish too.
The challenge for me personally, is getting a response from any of my Councillors who have effectively shut up shop themselves!  The staff are still working but it is impossible to get responses from emails and phone calls!
This wretched virus has laid bare the generation gap in my communities. We were aware of the almost universal absence of younger people amongst the doers, but many of the people I had assumed to be in their sixties are actually well into their seventies. We'd never recorded dates of birth and, as a relative newcomer to these communities, I lacked the historical context to place them in the correct age band. On the plus side, I've made a number of ladies of a certain age very happy by suggesting they are far younger than their birth certificate implies!

I have issued my volunteers with key worker certification to enable them to travel without fear of falling foul of the new legislation and I advise all councils to do likewise. Collecting shopping and medication for us involves journeys to neighbouring villages and market towns, sometimes crossing county boundaries into different police force areas, so whilst we know the local police, we will encounter others who don't know us.

The lack of response from councillors is an ongoing challenge for me. I still have too many who believe that the role of a councillor is limited to attending six meetings per year.
DtC and MrsAbster - you are both decent people and a professional member/employee of your councils.  I applaud you both for helping our seniors!

Sam
Thank you Sam

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