Venue: Virtual Meeting
RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 10 March 2020 be confirmed.
Declarations of Interest
Please note that, in accordance with the Members' Code of Conduct, when declaring interests members must disclose the existence and nature of the interest, and whether it is a disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI) or personal and/or pecuniary.
No declarations of interest were received.
Paul Carrick, Neighbourhood Manager, presented a document entitled ‘Our Befriending Service During Covid-19’, which set out a bespoke service designed and implemented by the City of Lincoln Council to support those residents likely to experience extreme isolation, loneliness and vulnerability as a result of the lockdown measures imposed nationally in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
From the work of the Council’s teams in tackling isolation in the community, and the previous scrutiny review of this Committee into Social Isolation, it quickly became apparent how vital it would be to respond quickly but with a robust plan that would effectively support people who were facing extreme loneliness and vulnerability. It was also clear at an early stage that it would not just be those people who had existing isolation needs, but other people who had not faced isolation before and consequently had no coping mechanism.
The creation and implementation of the befriending service was not about being strategic or innovative, it was an impassioned response to what was, for some, a difficult and frightening time. The key elements that the service sought to achieve were:
- a trusted service to support those who were most isolated in Lincoln’s communities;
- a service that would provide mutual benefits for Lincoln’s residents and staff;
- effective working with a signposting service, created to aid and support organisations to deliver vital help to those most in need.
The service was an excellent example of bringing staff together from across all skill backgrounds and departments to design and run a service that would maintain or even improve residents’ lives. As part of the service the Council’s staff and residents were more connected, had more support when they wanted and needed it and, above all, were listened to when they felt that they had no one to talk to. Whilst the intention was for light-hearted conversation to ease the potential loneliness of lockdown, the friendships and meaningful conversations that were created as a result of the befriending service could never have been anticipated.
The Council’s staff indicated that they felt supported throughout their involvement with the service and enjoyed undertaking the role. Feedback from residents also highlighted that almost every user had enjoyed receiving the calls and got on well with their befriender, as well as feeling that their mental wellbeing was supported.
In terms of the service’s achievements, the following points were noted:
· 54 members of staff across ten different service areas were deployed as part of the befriending service, representing a true example of One Council. This style of work was completely outside of the normal remit of the majority of staff who volunteered to work as part of the befriending service;
· in addition to the Council’s officers, the service received excellent support of Ward Councillors, again highlighting the Council’s passion and desire to support communities in the city;
· over 18,000 people across the city were contacted to established whether or not they wished to receive calls as part of the service. 2,500 of ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
Overview of Integrated Communities - Going Forward
Graham Watts, Democratic and Elections Manager, provided an update on the Community Leadership Scrutiny Committee’s Integrated Communities scrutiny review which it commenced earlier this year.
Two meetings held been held to gather evidence for the review from the Council’s officers, external stakeholders and partners. A survey to residents had also been carried out, which generated in excess of 100 responses. The Committee had not met since March 2020 due to Covid-19 and it was agreed that the evidence collated as part of the review, given the circumstances relating to the pandemic, would be out of date and no longer relevant to the situation currently facing communities in the city. It was agreed that this review should therefore be postponed at this time.
Mr Watts agreed to investigate what progress had been made with the development of a webpage on the City Council’s website to signpost residents to the various activities, events and services available across the city from the perspective of community engagement, as recommended as part of the Committee’s scrutiny review into Social Isolation.
It was RESOLVED that the scrutiny into Integrated Communities be postponed.
Topics for Discussion
Councillor Jane Loffhagen, Chair of the Community Leadership Scrutiny Committee, in view of the postponement of the Committee’s scrutiny review of Integrated Communities, invited members to put forward suggestions for further topics to review.
The following topics were suggested:
- alcohol and substance misuse in Lincoln, particularly in light of Covid-19;
- the prevalence of racism in Lincoln and the Black Lives Matter movement;
- the promotion of Lincoln’s tourism offer and attracting more people to the city;
- Support to businesses, the impact of Covid-19 on the high street and what support the Council could provide;
- The Council’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and lessons learnt
- Local Government Reorganisation.
It was agreed that, from a community leadership perspective, the Committee should consider a topic in relation to Covid-19. It was acknowledged, however, that the implications of Covid-19 impacted everything the City Council did and all of the City’s residents, so it was a significant subject for the Committee to consider. Also acknowledged was the uncertainty surrounding the virus in terms of how long it would continue to be an issue for the country, what further lockdown measures or restrictions would be put in place and what further guidance would be issued by the Government moving forward in response to the pandemic.
The Chair and Vice-Chair agreed to meet outside of the meeting to consider a more detailed scoping of the proposals put forward in relation to Covid-19 and share this with all members of the Committee in due course. It was noted that the following key stakeholders would be useful contributors to the review from the business community:
- Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce;
- Lincoln Business Improvement Group;
- the Bailgate Guild;
- the Federation of Small Businesses;
- Business Lincolnshire.
It was agreed that meetings of the Committee should be held on a monthly basis with a final outcome report scheduled for March 2021, prior to the pre-election period.
It was RESOLVED that the next topic of review by the Community Leadership Scrutiny Committee be focussed on Covid-19 and that this be further scoped by the Chair and Vice-Chair.
It was RESOLVED that a schedule of meetings be programmed on a monthly basis to accommodate a scrutiny review into Covid-19.