Agenda item

Discussion: reflections on the presentation and how the Area Council can assist our communities in recovery


Members were reminded of the five strategic priorities and were asked to consider whether the priorities of the Area Council aligned and whether services could continue, perhaps amended.  In addition, Members were asked to highlight what might not align and may need to cease, or where there may be gaps that would require addressing.


Questions were raised around the financial impact of the pandemic, and whether area budgets may reduce to assist with the delivery of statutory services.  Members heard how the Council was in an unprecedented situation, and all non-essential expenditure had been halted.  All services were being reconsidered in relation to their contribution to the recovery effort, but the important role of the Area Council was recognised, with the current budgets being maintained.


The work of the Area Council and all Council staff was acknowledged in this difficult time.


Members noted the pressure on the local economy and positive impact of the Council in the effective distribution of support grants.  It was suggested that levels of unemployment may rise in the community, and the economy was an area which the Area Council and Ward Alliance may wish to provide support. However, it was important to avoid duplication with other services being provided, or those being planned.


The meeting discussed the benefits of meetings such as the Ward Alliance being held in person, such as the Town Hall, and it was noted that meetings were taking place to discuss the possible reopening of certain venues.


Discussion then centred around the impact on children and young people from the closure of schools, especially for those families who did not have internet access.  Also acknowledged was the impact on the mental health on young people.


It was noted that work had taken place to provide technology to families who did not have access to online learning, and Members were encouraged to provide feedback on any families with outstanding issues.  The ongoing costs of this were noted, and Members heard how discussions were taking place with schools with regards to this.


In relation to the mental health impact of the pandemic, Members were made aware that work on hidden harm was underway in the Mental Health and Resilience subgroup.  An assessment which considered impact across the life course was nearing completion and would be shared with Members in due course.


The need for further discussion was acknowledged and it was suggested that briefing with Members be established, with the outcome of this to feed into the next meeting of the Area Council.


RESOLVED that a Member briefing be arranged to discuss this subject in more detail, with any emerging recommendations to be considered by a future meeting of the Area Council.