Agenda item

COVID-19 Multi-Agency Recovery


(1)                  Mr Gough said that the work carried out by the Kent Resilience Forum was governed by the Civil Contingencies Act and that upper tier authorities, such as Kent County Council were designated as the lead agency for the recovery phase of any emergency.  Mr Hill said the Kent Resilience Forum (KRF) was a partnership that brought category 1 and category 2 responders together, however its actions were subject to the individual governance arrangements of each partner organisation.  Oversight of the KRF by KCC Members included weekly meetings between the relevant Cabinet Member and corporate director, regular briefings to the Growth Economic Development and Communities Cabinet Committee and the Scrutiny Committee and monthly reports to the Kent Leader’s Group.  nationally prescribed organisation chaired by KCC which had a statutory responsibility to lead the recovery phase of an emergency.  David Whittle (Chair of Kent Resilience Forum’s Recovery Co-ordinating Group) introduced the report which provided an update on multi-agency recovery arrangements.  He also gave a presentation which is attached as an appendix to these minutes.  He drew attention to the short timescale in which the recovery plan had been drafted, the consultation underway with partners, Kent Leaders, Kent Chief Executives and others prior to its final consideration by Kent Leaders on 6 August and the KRF Strategic Go-ordination Group on 12 August.


(2)               Members were supportive of the report and commented on the high level of partnership working.  In addition, Mrs Bell said that some elements of Covid-19 response, such as enabling decision making close to the point of the issue, should continue.  She also said technology had enabled agile decision making, and its use to support older residents should continue in the recovery phase.  She said disabled people were more likely to depend on voluntary hubs which would be wound down and it would be shame if the goodwill, kindness, and enthusiasm displayed by volunteers during the response phase was lost.  She expressed concern at the increase in the number of male suicides and highlighted the importance of the Suicide Prevention Strategy. Mrs Chandler said she had paid close attention to the recovery cell dealing with issues relating to children and young people and drew the Cabinet’s attention to the increase in inequalities among children and young people during the lockdown.  She also said that she hoped that actions relating to opportunities and mitigating actions would be inter-linked and not be considered in silos.  Further support for the report was expressed by Mr Whiting and Mr Hill.  Mr Hill also said the co-located Kent Resilience team and the Kent Community Safety Partnership had created opportunities to build relationships between partner organisations which meant that Kent was well-placed to responded to the crisis caused by the pandemic.  In response to comments, Mr Whittle said that efforts were being made to capture the positive aspects of lockdown and the agile ways of working developed during the response phase. This included working with the NHS to continue the involvement of the voluntary sector in providing services in the community; and ensuring that the integrated recovery plan avoided siloed thinking. He paid tribute to his team and staff across all partner organisations who had undertaken work in the various recovery cells and contributed to the proposals for recovery.  Mr Gough thanked Cabinet Members for their comments on the report and said.  Much of the work relating to the recovery phase, particularly the Renewal and Recovery Strategy was already familiar to Cabinet Members.  He said it was important to draw on lessons learned during the response phase of the crisis and to retain improvements in ways of working.  He also said that the cross-agency partnerships, developed in advance of the current crisis, particularly planning for a ‘no deal Brexit’, had been deepened during the the crisis.


(3)     Resolved that the update on multi-agency recovery arrangements be noted.

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