Coronavirus: council service information and advice

Information about changes to council services as a result of coronavirus

This 12-point action plan was announced on 17 March 2020, we will be adding updates alongside each point as progress is made

Portsmouth City Council's Leader, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, has announced the following 12-point plan to address the current situation.

The Leader said: "This 12-point plan outlines some of the initial actions we will be taking to ensure our most vulnerable residents are protected. The people of this city are our utmost priority and we are committed to reducing the chance of residents becoming infected with the virus and providing whatever support we can to those that do."

The 12-point plan

1. The City Council is setting up a helpline to direct residents to the correct professional medical advice on what to do, so residents can get this advice and not rely on rumour.

UPDATE: The latest official advice including links to further information are now available on the council's coronavirus webpages. A dedicated phone line has also been set up to support residents who do not have access to the internet, the number is 023 9268 8004. Staff answering this line only have the information that is available on the council website.

 

2. The City Council's website and Facebook page will prominently show this advice and sign post residents to accurate sources of information. We will also use the HIVE to co-ordinate volunteers across the city.

UPDATE: The latest official advice including links to further information are now available on the council's coronavirus webpages and regular updates are being shared on the council's Facebook and Twitter accounts. The HIVE is co-ordinating volunteers and information on this is available on The HIVE website.

 

3. The City Council will work with Foodbanks in the city to give them access to the very generous offers local residents have made of food and volunteer time.

UPDATE: Working with the HIVE, we are offering support to six local foodbanks. We have helped them to contact local referral agencies, and to set up an email referral process for agencies that are unable to give customers a paper voucher. It's more difficult for foodbanks to get donations at the moment, so we are working with the providers to help coordinate donations and ensure they have all of the essential items for residents who can't afford to buy food.

 

4. Services are looking to reduce the number of face-to-face meetings needed and will try to carry out these meetings by phone.

UPDATE: This is being done across the council.

 

5. We are looking at opening up extra beds at City Council run homes to allow residents to be transferred out of QA to free up beds. This is expensive and will rely on Government financial support.

UPDATE: We are in conversations with partners about how this could be managed.

 

6. I have written to all the main supermarkets to ask to meet with them to understand how we can protect supply of goods to all residents and how we get food to people who are self-isolating at home.

UPDATE: The council Leader has also written to the Prime Minister regarding supermarkets, follow this link to see the letter to the PM. Since the Leader's letter was sent to supermarkets they have jointly issued a public letter reassuring residents about stock levels, you can see information on supermarkets here.

 

7. In the same way we will look at removing the 9.30am start time for concessionary bus passes to allow more elderly and vulnerable residents to shop earlier when supermarkets may be quieter.

UPDATE: We have agreed this with bus operators, information on all-day travel for concessionary bus passes can be seen here

 

8. We are increasing the cleaning in Council run buildings to try to stop infections spreading.

UPDATE: Extra cleaning is being done in our buildings.

 

9. Services providing food for the homeless are being hit with a loss of volunteers. The City Council will look to step into this area and provide meals for people who rely on this service.

UPDATE: Working with the HIVE, we have contacted local community meal providers and soup kitchens to understand any gaps in provision, we have found an alternative location to a regular service that has stopped operating, and are working with volunteers to ensure it continues.

Our Homeless Day Service is also providing an evening meal every day for up to 50 homeless people. 

 

10. We are looking to see if we can provide food for children currently receive free school meals if schools are closed for an extended time.

UPDATE: We have worked with schools and suppliers to find an effective way to provide this, information on free school meals can be seen here.

 

11. In care homes we are looking to reduce the chances of infection by increased cleaning and discouraging nonessential visits.

UPDATE: Extra cleaning measures are in place and staff are working with residents and families to ensure visits are carefully managed.

 

12. Finally the City Council will write out directly to all elderly and disabled residents to let them know what the City Council is doing, to give them advice and offer them help.

UPDATE: We have already written specifically to all residents with disabled or older person's concessionary bus passes and further information will be delivered to every home in the city. It is important we share information with vulnerable residents and people who do not have access to the internet and Public Health England advise it's highly unlikely coronavirus can be spread through items such as packages/letters. The people delivering the leaflet are closely following the national advice about hygiene. Links to the letter and leaflet are at the bottom of this page.