Coronavirus: council service information and advice

Information about changes to council services as a result of coronavirus

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This page gives you the latest information about services affected by the coronavirus outbreak, and the support available to residents and businesses in Portsmouth.

If you are in need of additional support during the coronavirus outbreak and can't find help online, please call our dedicated helpline on 023 9268 8004. This line is open from 9am-5pm Monday to Friday. There is also a text message option for people who have difficulties using a phone.

If you need medical help, you should still contact your GP practice, use NHS 111 online or call 111. If it is a medical emergency, call 999. If you are told to go to hospital it is important that you go to hospital.

Council services 

We will be reviewing updates from government as they are published and working out what they mean for council services. We'll publish information on these pages, or you can sign up for email updates to be the first to know. For the time being, we're encouraging people to follow the Government's latest advice.

Following Government instructions designed to help reduce the spread of coronavirus, the council has taken a number of steps to help ensure the wellbeing of customers, staff and the wider community.

This means some of the services you usually use will be closed, or will be operating in a different way. We understand the changes to our services may be frustrating, but the Government advice is clear that we all need to do what we can to stop coronavirus from spreading, helping to save lives and protect the NHS.

We are working hard to make sure the services you rely on are available wherever possible. We are putting additional measures in place to make sure that people who are more likely to be affected by the social distancing measures get the support they need.

If you need to contact us, our phone lines and customer service emails are available and we are keeping the website updated with information about affected services, and alternatives wherever we have them.

Service updates

Information on the status of council services (last updated on 7 May 2020):

ServiceStatusFurther details

Civic Offices

The Civic Offices are closed.

Check the latest information about who you can contact.

Adult social care

Services are running as normal.

We are advising only essential visits should be made to care homes.

If you can't find the information you need online:

023 9268 0810

ASCoppdAdmin@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Advice Portsmouth

The drop-in centre is closed

For advice, ring 023 92794 340, text 07789 550593, email  advice.portsmouth@theyoutrust.org.uk , or contact via  Facebook

Carers Centre

The Carers Centre is closed to the public. Our teams are still working, but will be relying on the phone and online tools to keep in touch with carers across the city.

023 9285 1864 (open between 8am and 4pm)

carerscentre@portsmouthcc.gov.uk 

Cemeteries

Cemeteries are open as normal.

 

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) 

CAMHS offer consultation and advice for professionals, parents and young people - up to 18 years old. This includes:

- referrals through telephone/web based assessments. 

-some face-to-face support for crisis cases

-maintaining telephone contact with all the families on their case load.

Available: Mon - Fri: 09.00 - 17.00

 

Phone support is also available for young people on a Thursday: 17.00 - 19.00

 

Contact: 0300 123 6632

Community centres

Community centres are closed. With exception to Little Bounders Nursery based in Paulsgrove Community Centre.

 

Council meetings

Some council meetings are now running virtually

View the council meeting calendar

Council Tax

Council Tax can be paid online or by phone. Read more about how you can pay Council Tax.

023 9268 8588

localtaxation@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Information about extra Council Tax support

Dog kennels

Kennels are closed.

If you find a stray dog, please call 023 9268 8181

Domestic abuse

Local domestic abuse services continue to offer support.

Keeping safe

Early help and prevention

0-19 duty health visitor, family nurse partnership and school nursing telephone line available for issues such as infant feeding difficulties, maternal mental health and concerns for any school-aged child

Solent NHS Trust 0-19 Duty Telephone Line - 0300 123 6629

Event

All events are cancelled postponed in line with government advice.

Event applications aren't being processed.

events@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Family hubs

The following family hubs are closed but are gradually re-opening for a limited number of appointments by invitation only:

- Milton
- Somerstown
- Buckland
- Landport
- Northern Parade
- Paulsgrove
- 4U Youth Group

New parents and parents-to-be:
Solent NHS Health Visiting and School Nursing Duty
0300 123 6629

Support for breastfeeding women:
Breastfeeding Network

First-time young mums and families:
Family Nurse Partnership
0300 123 6627

Mental health support:
Talking Change
0300 123 4125

Domestic abuse
Keeping safe

To text for help from a qualified nurse:
Solent NHS Pulse text messaging service

For parents & carers: 07491 163 275

For young people: 07491 163 276

Fostering

Virtual recruitment events are now taking place online, so that our dedicated team can talk to individuals from the safety of their own home.

Face-to-face events are still suspended until further notice. 

Details of our virtual events can be found here.

Freedom of Information (FoI) requests

There may be delays responding to some requests.

As always, we will answer requests as soon as possible but some responses may take longer than usual because of the impact of the coronavirus outbreak and the council's focus on critical services.  

Gardening and cleaning

Limited garden services are operating to ensure communal gardens and open spaces can be enjoyed by residents for daily exercise.

Cleaning services will operate a priority service.

 

Home to school transport

This service is running for a limited number of schools.

Parents should contact their child's school to discuss requirements. Visit our schools page for more information

Housing needs, advice and support

Service can still be contacted by phone and email

023 9283 4989

Housing.Options@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Housing offices

All housing offices are now closed.

Please call our offices or use our online services to:

- pay rent
- report emergency repairs
- report serious housing issues

View contact details for housing offices

If you can't call your housing office, read our advice

Independence and wellbeing

All face-to-face activities and groups offered by the  independence and wellbeing team have been suspended until further notice.

View our advice on looking after your wellbeing.

Dedicated support line: 023 9268 8004

Land charge searches

Available by email only

Email land.charges@portsmouthcc.gov.uk with the full post code, and type your company name and "personal search request" as the email subject.

Learning

The  Learning Place and Employment and Skills (at PCMI, Cosham) are closed.

 

Libraries

From Monday 6 July, the following library branches are open:

  • Central library
  • Southsea library
  • North End library

The other branches are closed until further notice. 
The mobile library service is also operating.

You can find more information on our Library Services page.

Licensing

The licensing office is closed to the public.

023 9283 4073

licensing@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Markets

City Centre Market, Commercial Road is now open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 8am - 4pm.

There is a fruit and veg stall in Palmerston Road every Wednesday from 8pm - 2pm.

The Cosham market, High Street is closed until further notice.

Some traders are also offering local deliveries - follow Portsmouth City Centre Market on Facebook for more information.

View more information

Museums

All museums are closed.

You can help museums record Portsmouth's experience of coronavirus.

Noise disturbance

This service is now running again. You can report a noise disturbance online.

 

Park and Ride

As of Wednesday 1 April 2020, our car park is now open for use by residents and owners of commercial vehicles.

View our parking advice for residents and owners of commercial vehicles

Parks and playgrounds

Our parks are open. Selected sports courts are open.

All playgrounds are closed and play equipment must not be used.

You can spend leisure time outdoors while staying 2m away from people not in your household, meet one other person from a different household while following social distancing guidelines and use outdoor sports facilities

Pest control

Services have been suspended.

Find advice for dealing with pests in your home.

Play and youth

Normal services are suspended.

We are working in the community on detached youth work.

Rant Music Studio is open.

If you are looking for things to do why not try some indoor exercises?

If you are a teenager and need advice please visit the Rise Above website for advice and games

Planning applications

We are now processing and registering applications, and consulting on new planning applications. The process is the same, with some changes to the way we will be consulting with local communities on planning applications.

View more information on planning services

Planning enforcement

Planning enforcement services are focussing on cases of urgent priority and irreparable harm. Requests to investigate other breaches of planning control may be delayed.

View more information on planning services

Port Solent Household Waste and Recycling Centre (HWRC)

The Portsmouth HWRC is open 9am-6pm.

Booking an appointment is essential. 

The HWRC doesn't accept textiles or chargeable waste streams (soil, rubble, plasterboard and asbestos) at the moment.

Visit our HWRC page for more information and updates

Portsmouth International Port

Passenger services have begun to restart at the port, with more destinations being added in the coming weeks.

The international cargo terminal, operated by Portico, continues to operate as normal.

For further information, please visit the  Portsmouth International Port website.

Public health

Services have changed from in-person to telephone and email support.

Portsmouth Wellbeing Service
023 9229 4001
wellbeing@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Drug and Alcohol Support Service
07951 497898 or 07557 753131
dass@secure.portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Recovery Hub
023 9229 4573
recovery.hub@ssj.org.uk

Family Support Project
0800 138 0355 or 07584 563004
family.support@ssj.org.uk

Sexual Health Service
0300 300 2016

Public toilets

Public toilets are currently open

View the locations of public toilets in Portsmouth

Recycling and rubbish collections

Services running as normal:

- Recycling and Rubbish collections
- Food waste collections (in trial areas)
- Garden waste collections
- Healthcare waste collections, but new referrals may be affected
- Bottle banks
- Carton recycling banks
- Salvation Army textile collection banks

Suspended services:

- Bulky item collections
- British Heart Foundation book and CD collection banks
- The Great British Spring Clean free kerbside textile/clothes collection is postponed.

Important: it may be tempting to de-clutter if you are at home, but services are limited. We ask for your cooperation in keeping your recycling and rubbish to a minimum and working with the council to ensure that it can be managed.

View more information

recyclingandrubbish@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

safecleantidy@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Register Office

The Register Office is open strictly by appointment only.

You can contact us via telephone on 023 9282 9041 (Monday to Friday 9am - 4.30pm) or email registrars@portsmouthcc.gov.uk 

023 9282 9041 (Monday to Friday 9am - 4.30pm)

registrars@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Update - registering a birth

Update - notice of marriage and civil partnership appointments

View more information

Register office - birth registrations

Following government instructions birth registrations can now recommence.

Find out about the new measures and procedure on our birth registration page.

Please complete the 'Register a birth' form online.

Find more information on our birth registration page.

School admissions

National offer day remains unchanged. Parents are advised of allocation via email (if applied online) or by letter sent on Thursday 16 April 2020.

admissions@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

View more information

Schools

Some primary schools in the city are now open to a wider range of pupils from 1st June including Years R, 1 and 6; and from 15th June secondary schools and colleges will be providing some face to face contact for Year 10 and Year 12 pupils.  All of this is in addition to the continuing provision schools and colleges are offering to children of key workers and vulnerable learners in all year groups. 

Parents should contact their child's school for more details.

Southsea seafront

The seafront road is closed and seafront car parks are closed to everyone other than residents and permit holders.

This was a joint decision with police to prevent people gathering in the area and make sure national social distancing advice is followed.

The Hard

The information point is closed.

vis@portsmouthcc.gov.uk.

Traffic enforcement

Enforcement of resident parking zones resumed from 1 June. There is a charge for council car parks and on-street parking.

View the latest parking information

Young carers

Young Carers is closed

youngcarers@secure.portsmouthcc.gov.uk 

Deaths from 30 March 2020 all death registrations will take place by telephone. Anyone who needs to register a death must telephone 023 9282 9041. An appointment will be made and further advice/instructions will be given.

Births: from 8 June 2020 birth registrations can take place. During the current pandemic period new parents can make a claim for child benefit or universal credit prior to the birth being registered and the statutory requirement to register a birth within 42 days no longer applies. Parents are advised that there will be no consequences if they are unable to do so within this timeframe.

Marriages: From 4 July 2020 marriage ceremonies and civil partnership registrations can take place. Please contact our ceremonies office on 023 9282 9041 for further guidance and information.

Notice of Marriage and Civil Partnership: From 8 June 2020 Notice of Marriage and Civil Partnership appointments can take place in Portsmouth.

This will be strictly by appointment only and for time critical notices only: for example if you have a provisional booking for a ceremony due to take place within the next three months.  Please telephone our ceremonies office on 023 9282 9041. We will arrange an appointment for you and confirm which documents you are required to bring with you.   

The Notice of Marriage and Civil Partnership procedure is a face to face interview with a registrar and you will be required to attend the register office in person.

We only require the person/s giving notice to attend and you must not bring other family members with you. If you or any member of your household is self-isolating or has any recent symptoms of Covid-19 please do not attend and contact us to rearrange your appointment

The City Centre Market will run a mixture of food and hardware stalls for people to access on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, from 8am-4pm located in their usual place on Commercial Road high street. Food stalls will provide a combination of fresh produce (e.g. meat, eggs, fruit and vegetables) and hot food to takeaway. There is also a fruit and veg stall in Palmerston Road every Wednesday from 8am - 2pm.

Customers must follow social distancing rules when queuing and to use contactless payments where possible. Stalls will be well spaced out with lines drawn for customers to stand behind. Anti-bacterial wipes will be provided and all goods will be handled by the traders using gloves.

Please note that Cosham Market has temporarily closed until further notice following government advice on the closures of non-essential services.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact  CityCentre@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Hampshire Household Waste and Recycling Centres are closed - Port Solent household waste and recycling centre at Paulsgrove is now closed until further notice. Please store items at home until the centre re-opens, and compost green garden waste.

The Great British Spring Clean free kerbside textile/clothes collection is postponed - if you have already sorted your clothes with the material we posted to you with your council tax bill, please hang on to them until restrictions on movement have been lifted and textile banks have been re-opened.

Important: it may be tempting to de-clutter if you are at home, but services will be stretched. We ask for your cooperation in keeping waste to a minimum and working with the council to ensure that we can manage the city's waste.

How you can help at home:

  • Are you recycling right? Now is a good time to become a recycling expert! Our recycling page has the information you need to recycle effectively. Check out our mythbusting page for answers to frequently asked questions, like why we only collect plastic bottles, when other councils collect all plastics.
  • Get composting. As we move into spring, it's a great time to compost your green waste. Composting is an inexpensive, natural process that transforms your kitchen and garden waste into a valuable and nutrient rich food for your garden. It's easy to make and use. If you're new to composting, here is a step-by-step guide to help you get started.
  • Store your glass recycling. Services will be stretched during this time and not filling up the bottle banks means we can focus on rubbish and recycling collections.
  • Love food. Hate Waste. Have you stocked up on food? From effective food storage to planning your portions, the Love Food, Hate Waste website has some useful tips on reducing your food waste and making it go further.

Advice if you are self-isolating

If you are self-isolating this is the national government advice detailing what you should do with your rubbish:

  • Personal waste (e.g. used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags. These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste within your own room. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in your usual external household waste bin.
  • Other household waste can be disposed of as normal.

The NHS has further advice for anyone who is self-isolating at home.

If you are unable to call your local housing office due to lack of credit or not having access to a phone you can use a payphone to make a reverse call.

The nearest payphone to the Civic Offices is Sainsbury's on Guildhall Walk which will enable a reverse call to be made. You can use any payphone to do this. Call 100 and have the telephone number 023 9283 4989 available to give to the operator (BT).

If you claim council tax support, you could get a further discount on this year's council tax, of up to £150. The is because of the hardship many people are suffering during the coronavirus crisis.

How does it work?

  • You don't need to do anything to get it, and it's paid whether or not you have suffered personal difficulties because of the coronavirus.
  • It's being paid by the council as part of a national scheme announced on 24 March.
  • It applies to people of working age (not old-age pensioners) who receive council tax support.
  • If your current council tax bill for 2020-21 is less than £150, then the new scheme means you won't have to pay anything. Any payment you have made already will be refunded (as long you have no arrears).
  • If your bill is more than £150, then your monthly payments will reduce to reflect the new discount.


Updated council tax bills are being sent out soon, which will include the discount.

New claimants of council tax support can also receive the discount by applying online.

If you need to contact us then you can call us on 023 9268 8588 or email localtaxation@portsmouthcc.gov.uk. We are currently dealing with a high number of requests and may not be able to deal with phone or email queries quickly. 

We are now processing and registering applications, and consulting on new planning applications. The process is the same, with some changes to the way we will be consulting with local communities on planning applications.

The service is making use of available digital technology while planning staff are working from home. Application decisions may be delayed due to restrictions that limit us from carrying out site inspections and meetings, as well as technical assessments or process amendments to proposals. For updates on individual applications please visit the Public Access website or contact the designated case officer on each application by phone or email.

All activities carried out by the service during the coronavirus outbreak will adhere to the government’s requirements and guidance on social distancing, public health and wellbeing, in order to help maintain the health of our staff and those in our community.

The council has adopted Standing Orders for ‘virtual’ planning committee meetings in terms of councillor involvement and voting, officer presentations, public viewing and public 'speaking' via written representations. Due to technical restrictions, deputations to the Committee are now required in writing in advance of the meeting. This will be kept under review as circumstances change

The virtual planning committee will only deal with major planning applications during the period of the coronavirus outbreak unless a ‘call in’ requests of other applications is agreed by the chair of the planning committee in consultation with senior planning managers. However, it is expected that this will be extremely rare during this period.

You can view our position statement on consulting and engaging on planning applications here.

Planning enforcement services are being focussed on only those most urgent cases where irreparable damage to Preserved Trees or designated Heritage Assets (Listed Buildings) is being caused, or similar where similar urgency that requires an immediate response is necessary. Other investigation requests may be deferred at this current time.

Planning policy services including any queries regarding the Local Plan can be contacted by email at planningpolicy@portsmouthcc.gov.uk.

We recognise that some people have disabilities or difficulties communicating which mean calling a helpline is not easy for them to do, as a result we have created a text message option for those people.

Simply text your name and a brief description of the support you need as well as whether you would like us to respond with a phone call or email - if you choose email make sure you tell us your email address.

The number to text is 07860 027785, this number is monitored during the times our phone line operates, 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, we will get back to people as soon as we can.

Please only use this number if you have difficulties making phone calls so we can use the service to support those who really need it.

General advice

Stay alert

We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:

  • Stay at home as much as possible
  • Work from home if you can
  • Limit contact with other people
  • Keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
  • Wash your hands regularly

Self-isolate if you or anyone in your household develops any of the following symptoms:

  • a new continuous cough or fever
  • anosmia - this is the loss of or a change in your normal sense of smell. It can also affect your sense of taste as the two are closely linked. 

There is more advice available on our advice for residents page.

Text message service

We recognise that calling a helpline is not easy for people who have difficulty in using the telephone to access support due to being autistic, having a communication difficulty or a disability, such as hearing loss. As a result we have created a text message option.

Simply text your name and a brief description of the support you need as well as whether you would like us to respond with a phone call or email - if you choose email make sure you tell us your email address.

The number to text is 07860 027785, this number is monitored during the times our phone line operates, 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, we will get back to people as soon as we can.

Please only use this number if you have difficulties making phone calls so we can use the service to support those who really need it.