Wednesday 6th May - Police Conduct
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) oversees the police complaints system in England and Wales. We investigate the most serious matters, including deaths following police contact, and set the standards by which the police should handle complaints. We use learning from our work to influence changes in policing, are independent, and make our decisions entirely independently of the police and government.
You can find out more by visiting our website https://www.policeconduct.gov.uk/
I am the Senior Stakeholder Engagement Officer for London and am contacting you in light of these challenging and exceptional circumstances and the increase in police powers, to make you aware as to how the IOPC is currently working.
The main changes affect the way we carry out investigations, appeals and complaints - We have had to temporarily change the way we work however, we remain committed to fulfilling, in a proportionate and pragmatic way, our statutory obligations.
We are prioritising maintaining our on-call capability and deployment to incidents, which will continue for the most serious matters and we will use other methods of independent oversight where appropriate.
Our urgent telephone referrals number remain the same - 0161 246 8504 during normal working hours, and 0845 300 1972 out of hours. Owing to staff working from home, our customer contact centre will not answer calls directly but will respond to voicemails as soon as possible.
If you are aware of any arising community tensions in your Ward or are uncertain of the rights of individuals to make a complaint about the police, please do get in touch and we can explore how we can share this information with your constituents through digital and online engagement.
Please be assured, whilst we do not want to add any further pressure to Police Services by increasing complaints against them, it is important that people are made aware of their rights if they are not happy with any police interaction during this period.
Further information about how to make complaint can be found here https://www.policeconduct.gov.uk/complaints-and-appeals/make-complaint
I am available by email or on my mobile if you have any further questions or to support issues that may arise.
Senior Stakeholder Engagement Officer (London)
Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC)
10 South Colonnade
Mobile: 07778 126257
Tuesday 5th May 2020
Bob Stewart writes a daily post on his website: https://www.bobstewart.org.uk/ Today's article is below:
Tuesday, 5 May, 2020
Yesterday, along with other local MPs and by telephone, I was briefed by the Council Leader, Chief Executive and appropriate Directors of Bromley Council about what they are doing to help residents during the Coronavirus emergency. This briefing now takes place weekly at 11 am on Mondays. Essentially, we were updated on 4 subject areas:
• Testing and Contact Testing for Coronavirus.
• Waste and Environmental Services.
• Shielding and Volunteering.
• Financial Support for Local Businesses.
First, we started with a report on Coronavirus Testing and Contact Testing. For this we were briefed by Nada Lemic, Director of Public Health. She said that now a lot of testing for the presence of Coronavirus is happening locally. I understand there are three differing ways this is being achieved:
• Testing is now routinely taking place of all NHS and Care employees and also some other key workers as well. People over 65 years of age with Coronavirus symptoms are being tested too. This seems to be going relatively well.
• Testing is now being aimed at all forty-six Care homes within the Borough of Bromley, especially those in which there have been more than one case of Coronavirus. In addition, and superimposed on this, Public Health England is starting the trial testing of everyone resident in or who works in all Care homes locally; a double whammy so that nobody is missed hopefully.
• Testing is also starting of everyone who may have been in contact with a Coronavirus victim (so-called Contact Testing). I gather we are a bit of an experimental borough for this. It is again being led by Public Health England along the lines of an already on-going trial on the Isle of Wight. This trial has been widely reported in the media.
May I put out a warning here though? All this testing does is inform us if someone is suffering from Coronavirus at that moment. It does not show if the virus has come and gone; neither does it show if a person is immune to the germ.
In my post on Saturday I mentioned the Army run Coronavirus Pop-up Centre that was located in Norman Park last Friday-Saturday. It was only there for two days and it goes around London as directed from a headquarters somewhere near Woolwich. It is likely to return again – depending on demand. I was told that 205 people were tested there on Friday. The feeling was that its use was heavier on Saturday but the Council doesn’t know yet how many people went through there then.
Secondly, we were briefed about Waste and Environmental Services by Colin Brand, Director of Environment and Public Protection. Here there was some good news:
• Waste collections are now back to normal.
• The two recycling sites at Waldo Road and Churchfield Road are open again. However, residents must book a date and time slot when they can go there. As people can imagine such slots are going quickly. Constituents need to reserve their date/time via the Bromley Council website. Yesterday I applied at 11:45 am and was able to get myself a slot a week hence, at 09:45 am on next Monday 11th May. As I have just said there is a lot of demand at the moment. (Full details below, points 2 and 3.)
• Garden waste collection sites have been re-established in the Borough in what are the usual places.
By the way going by car to get rid of waste does not offend the Government guidelines on staying at home. The Police are aware of this too.
Thirdly, we heard about local Shielding and Volunteering from Kim Carey, Director of Adult Services. We were told that 922 very vulnerable people have now been directly matched with 840 local volunteers who look after them by visiting frequently and helping as necessary. There are actually 4,878 local people on the Government’s Very Vulnerable List with 1,769 of these people needing food or medication delivered. By the way many people on the Government’s Very Vulnerable List have told Bromley that they are happy to look after themselves. Apparently, some did not realise they had been ‘pinged’ by their doctors!
Ms Carey also told us that overall, within her responsibility things were going pretty well and she mentioned that she did have enough excess capacity within the Care system. That is good news too.
Finally, we were briefed on Financial Support for Local Businesses by Pete Turner, Director of Finance. At this point may I remind local businesses, that are looking for help, to ensure they do so via the Bromley Council website under the Home Page tab of COVID-19 Business Services. I say this because Mr Turner said that he knows there are still some 500 local businesses yet to make contact with his Department.
We were told that Bromley has now paid out £32 million in COVID-19 support for local businesses. In addition, I gather additional funding from Central Government is being made available to support firms whose rates are disguised within rents to places like business centres. By the way, market traders, leisure and hospitality companies and owners of B&B’s are also eligible for support.
I may not have picked up all the nitty gritty here but I suggest anyone in any doubts about their situation should contact the Finance Department at Bromley Council. From Mr Turner’s briefing I gather they are now acting (sending the money) within 2 days of being approached which is very good.
Perhaps I must end by again expressing my thanks to the way Bromley Council is tackling this incredibly unique and very challenging Coronavirus situation. Our Council is doing its very best to serve us and I am very glad that I live here.
2. Household Waste - Churchfields and Waldo Road to reopen by appointment only (not for garden waste):
A booking system to enable both Household Waste and Recycling Centres to re-open is to be trialled, with visits being restricted to by appointment only for the foreseeable future; along with stringent social distancing measures being set in place at both sites.
Residents needing to dispose of waste can book an appointment to attend either Waldo Road or Churchfields Road Household Waste and Recycling Centres, with initial appointments being accepted from Monday (4th May), with residents being able to book an appointment via the website.
Residents are also respectfully advised that without a prior booking and being in possession of a valid Bromley Council Waste pass, they should not attempt to visit either site until further notice, as you will unfortunately be refused entry.
The limited opening hours of the Waste and Recycling Centres, with ‘social distancing’ measures set in place to protect both members of the Public and Staff alike, will see a strictly limited number of visitors for the first week of operation, with a fuller roll out planned at the earliest possible opportunity, as soon as the changes have been fully tested and bedded down.
Councillor William Huntington-Thresher, Executive Councillor for Environment and Community Services said, “We are obviously aware that residents remain extremely keen to see both Waldo Road and Churchfields re-opened at the earliest possible opportunity and with staffing numbers now permitting, the time is right to try and do so.
As the first Borough in London to attempt to re-open our sites, we are approaching this exercise cautiously, as it does remain something of an experiment for now which we may very well have to learn from and quickly adapt to over the course of coming days, so please stick with us.
There will obviously be a need to clean the sites at frequent intervals during the course of each day and we absolutely need residents to understand the limited basis on which we are able to re-open the service, if we are to make this work between us.”
As part of the booking process, residents will be asked to only attend the site with a passenger from the same household if this person is required to physically help lift items from the vehicle, with staff only able to assist at a distance.
Both sites will open with restricted opening times of 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 3pm on Saturday and 9am to 12pm on Sundays.
Until further notice, residents will only be able to arrive in a nominated vehicle, with the registration number needing to tally with the registration number given at the time of booking.
To enable social distancing to take place, residents will have limited options when on site to dispose of items, with staff then re-sorting items to extract recyclable material after residents have left.
Residents who are self-isolating due to COVID-19 or appear to be unwell should please not attend as you will not be permitted access to the site.
Visitors with a pre-booked appointment to the Reuse and Recycling Centres are pleased asked to:
a. Plan their visit - Arrive on time – If you miss you appointment you may need to re-book.
b. Ensure that you take your Bromley Council Waste permit with you.
c. Do not book a visit to dispose of Green Garden Waste - a further announcement advising of the temporary reinstatement of the Green Garden Waste satellite sites at Shire Lane, Cotmandene and Norman Park will be made on Monday. These sites are designed to relieve any possible pressure on Churchfields and Waldo Road.
d. Stay safe and protect others - visitors are asked to stay in their vehicles until directed to start disposing of material and also to keep their distance from staff and other residents whilst on-site. The number of people in a vehicle must be kept to a minimum, with only 1 passenger from the same household allowed to assist with lifting an item out of the vehicle.
e. Respect the staff – they are doing an important job in difficult circumstances. Staff will not be able to help residents unload their cars and deposit their items in the right place as much as they normally are – so please be patient and recognise that staff will be doing the best to help in challenging circumstances.
Residents are also advised that a limited number of bulky waste collections will be able to pre-booked, with this booking service re-starting on a limited basis, with bookings starting from Monday. This service allows residents to dispose of bulky items of waste, for a fee, without needing to make a special journey and without needing to clean their car afterwards. During this time the scope of this service will be reduced to protect staff and residents.
3. Temporary Re-Opening of Green Garden Waste Sites at Weekends in May
Bromley council is pleased to advise residents that a limited number of green garden waste sites will be open for the remaining weekends in May.
The temporary opening of green garden waste sites, with accompanying social distancing measures, are designed to help ease the pressure on demand during the phased reopening of the borough’s two household waste and recycling centres at Churchfields and Waldo Road.
Residents will need to be able to remove their own green garden waste from their car and bring their waste permit.
Residents will also be asked to only attend the site with a passenger from the same household if this person is required to physically help lift items from the vehicle, with Veolia’s staff only able to assist at a distance.
The following locations will be open at the weekend at the following times:
Saturdays 9 – 30 May 2020, 11am to 4pm, and Sundays 10 – 31 May 2020, 8am - 12noon
Bromley: Norman Park, Hook Farm Road (off Bromley Common)
Green St Green: Salt Depot, Shire Lane Spur (off Sevenoaks Road)
St Paul's Cray: Cotmandene Crescent car park (off Chipperfield Road)
Councillor William Huntington-Thresher, Executive Councillor for Environment and Community Services said, “We obviously operationally remain in challenging times, but as we work out of the London wide waste centre shutdown, restoring services, this is the logical next step to assist residents, providing them with an opportunity to clear their stored green garden waste.
Although queues can be expected and strict social distancing measures will be in operation at all times to protect members of the public and our staff on duty alike, the more people who use these satellite sites for their green garden waste the better, as it supports much needed extra capacity at Churchfields and Waldo Road for those who have no choice other than to access them.
We will keep this under review but in a similar way to our experiment to partially re-open both of those sites from today by using an innovative booking system supported by compulsory ID requirements, re-opening our green garden waste sites will only work if those depositing waste work co-operatively and follow the instructions of the staff on site at all times for obvious health and safety reasons.
I hope that I can count on your support as I know that by working together we can make this work and by so doing, keep the sites open as we are all so keen to do.”
Simon Moore, Regional Manager for Veolia Bromley, said, “Veolia understands that the household waste and recycling centres network is very important to the community. We want to be able to help residents who cannot keep their waste at home safely, help to ease the pressure on local kerbside collections, and discourage fly tipping. We have worked very hard with Bromley Council to carefully plan the reopening of the sites to ensure they are a safe place to work for our team and public to visit.
“We are asking all site users to support our hard working teams on the front line by following the guidance on their council’s webpage and any information or instructions provided at the site.”
4. A new Phlebotomy Drive-in clinic - Four clinics a week are for vulnerable and shielding patients and one clinic per week for those with covid-19 related symptoms. To book an appointment call 0203 930 0245 For more information view our website. https://bromleygpalliance.org/new-drive-in-phlebotomy-service/
If I can help with anything, or if there is specific information you would like me to circulate, please do let me know.
46 Church Avenue
Beckenham BR3 1DT
Telephone: 020 8658 9444
Monday 4th May Ade Adetosoye OBE update
I am pleased to report that the appointment system which has enabled the Council to re-open both Household Waste and Recycling Centres at Waldo Road and Churchfields Road has gone well. Within hours of managing to get the booking system live over the weekend, there were enough bookings to know that we would be fully booked today, with staff from APCOA, our parking contractor, helping to manage traffic, with Veolia and Bromley colleagues supporting residents within both facilities. We will be carefully monitoring operations over the coming days but the initial feedback from residents is that this has worked well and we are hopeful that we will be able to increase the number of appointments over time as everyone gets used to the system. Residents wanting to understand more about this can read about the launch of the booking system on our website
where an appointment can be booked.
To also support the limited capacity at Waldo and Churchfields Road, we have been able to open our Green Garden Waste sites from this weekend with all 3 sites open on Saturdays and Sundays for May, which will help residents dispose of their garden waste in this period of high seasonal demand as nationally we seek to enter a new recovery phase, which is something I highlighted from a local perspective last week. Details of the times that the sites will be open are on our website, along with other details
and the supporting rationale. We know that demand for garden waste disposal is high as it is every year, which is partly why we also restored the green garden waste collection service as quickly as we were able and we are grateful for resident’s support, including for the social distancing measures at these sites when they open.
Following various questions, I wanted to outline how the mobile coronavirus testing facility established in the Norman Park car park on Friday and Saturday worked and confirm that this location remains available for Government if it proves needed in the future, with the Leader confirming this. In summary, around 350 people were tested in the 2 days, with the operations going to plan and you can see in the picture how this process operated when Col Bob Stewart MP visited the site having gained clearance from the Coronavirus Emergency Control Centre and thank you to Bob for sharing this picture.
The responsibility for establishing the mobile testing centre rests with Government, with a number of sites operating in and around London at any one time, which as well as supporting our care work and staff are located where there is predicted demand for testing. We may therefore see the Army return at some stage and will be notified shortly prior to their arrival if this proves to be the case and I will share this information with you when we have it.
Finally, please see the attached the policy tracker for April 2020, which is part of the way we seek to ensure that managers are aware of the key national legislative and policy issues, with an emphasis on what is relevant to us as a local authorities. I share this with you for interest, which also indicates the extent of the policy initiatives that colleagues are responding to so we support both Members and residents as best we can. You will see that the policy tracker includes a number of COVID-19 related items for Member’s awareness.
Ade Adetosoye OBE
Latest Update from Education, Children and Families
Good Afternoon All,
We are at the end of another busy week and we’re starting to see the numbers of children in school start to rise. We had anticipated this and the capacity to expand is in place. Serious thought is being given to the question of when and how schools reopen. Much of what you may read in the press is speculation and I’ll keep you informed of both National and Local decision making as it happens.
You’ll see from our update below that the service is managing well and our vital work around supporting vulnerable children and families continues. The current way of working has presented challenges to the way we protect those children but I am extremely proud of the way our service has adapted to utilise innovative methods and new technology to keep these communication channels active. We are very excited to be working with partners to develop a free to download and use App which focuses on keeping children safe. It will be available for Designated Safeguarding Leads, teachers and staff, parents and carers as well as social workers and those in community safeguarding roles.
This is another example of how the Department has adapted to overcome the challenges we face. It’ll be a great and useful piece of technology and I’ll keep you informed of our progress.
Finally, my thanks again to the staff in the Education, Children and Families Department – their work continues to be exemplary and I know they hugely value your support. I had some comments last week that it was nice to end the update with a positive story so here is a video from Wickham Common Primary School that they sent to the team in Bromley. It’s been created by the school to say ‘thank you’ to the staff here, in the NHS and Key Workers right across the Borough - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P31hB2nY7oc
The numbers of children attending Bromley schools has continued to increase with more than 800 pupils now attending each day. This includes increased numbers of children of key workers and vulnerable children. This is in part due to social workers encouraging families to send vulnerable children to school unless we agree it is safer for them to be at home. The Directorate continues to focus on the monitoring and support of vulnerable children and young people that are not currently attending schools. We continue to remain in daily contact with schools and to offer support and guidance.
The Secretary of State’s answers to the Education Select Committee referred to the phased return to schools currently being considered, with no date yet set for this to commence. We are capturing the views and suggestions of Bromley schools to inform our discussions with regional and national agencies, ensuring the Bromley voice is heard during this vital planning exercise.
Our online form for parents to request a place has seen an increased number of requests, with the increased demand continuing to be met.
Safeguarding of vulnerable children remains our top priority and Children, Education and Families services continue to work closely with schools and partners for the safety of our children.
Free School Meals
The Secretary of State acknowledged that the service provided by Edenred had not been good enough and reassured the Education Select Committee that this was being addressed. Schools have continued to ensure that children have access to food or vouchers, either through the Government scheme or locally sourced arrangements.
The number of EY settings and providers has continued to increase with nearly 150 settings now open for eligible children, including the Council’s two maintained nurseries. Bromley Early Years Team continues to prioritise vulnerable children and work closely with providers, settings and childminders.
The hotly anticipated modifications to the Children and Families Act has come into force, following publication of the Secretary of State’s Notice. This modifies the duty on local authorities to secure special educational provision and on health commissioning bodies to arrange health provision in accordance with EHC plans, so that they can discharge this by using their ‘reasonable endeavours’. We are reviewing the detail of this over the weekend and will update our guidance documentation on the Local Offer early next week.
Bromley special schools and additionally resourced provisions continue to provide access to care, where collaborative risk assessment indicates children and young people cannot be safely cared for at home. Those children open to CSC continue to have their statutory needs met in accordance with regulations and our practice standards. We will continue to support our children, young people and their families.
Access to online resources for vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people
We are currently working with the DfE on the scheme to provide devices and 4G internet where there is no access to a suitable digital device for:
• Care leavers
• Children with a social worker (including pre-school children)
• Children in year 10, ahead of GCSEs next year
The DfE has indicated that the majority of the devices will be provided from June. We will work creatively with schools and partners to provide access to learning opportunities until the devices are received.
Councillor Peter Fortune
Deputy Leader of the London Borough of Bromley
Executive Portfolio Holder for Children, Education and Families
Thursday 30th April 2020 LBB
Norman Park (Hayes Lane entrance) car park temporarily closed to support Covid testing programme
Published Thursday, 30 April 2020
A mobile coronavirus testing facility seems almost certain to be established in the Norman Park car park from tomorrow morning, Friday 1st May, subject to any last minute change of plans by Government
Permission to use the car park has been given by the Council in support the Government’s testing programme, with only the car park set to be closed to park visitors for the duration of unit being needed. Suitable signage confirming the new arrangements will be erected as needed, with pedestrian access to the park remaining unchanged.
Councillor Colin Smith, Leader of Bromley Council said, “With so much work going on nationally, locally and individually to fight this dreadful virus on all levels, when asked for assistance to find a suitable space, this was a very easy decision to make, despite the slight inconvenience to regular park users for which I obviously apologise.
If this proves to be needed, having a more locally available option for Bromley's frontline workers who would otherwise have had to trudge over to the O2 for their appointment is the very least we can do for them I hope we all agree, as well as helping with the overall testing strategy Government have outlined to us all.”
The Leader continued, “Clearly Government is welcome to use this site for as long as is needed, whilst Norman Park, in line with all our parks, remains very much open for exercise and this will continue to be the case.
I would urge people who might have used this car park to park responsibly elsewhere, so that local residents and those needing to drive through the area are not unduly inconvenienced.
Could I also take this opportunity to implore all park users across the Borough more generally, to please, please maintain your discipline in terms of social distancing.
So many people have given so much already since the lockdown began, some their very lives, that it would be an absolute tragedy to throw all that sacrifice away now by abandoning our collective responsibility prematurely.
Be in no doubt that this virus remains absolutely merciless. No-one, no family and no group of friends are safe from it so please stick with the programme and continue to keep doing do the right thing for the greater good, no matter how tedious that routine has become.
This moment will pass all the sooner the more of us comply and being a selfless team player has never been more important, or had greater meaning in our lifetimes.”
In addition to the temporary closure of the car park, the recycling banks in the car park are also temporarily out of use whilst the army operated mobile testing facility is in operation.
Editor’s notes: Details about getting test for Coronavirus (COVID-19) are available on the Government website https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested#who-can-be-tested
For media enquiries, please contact Andrew Rogers, Communications Executive, on 020 8461 7670 or email email@example.com
Wednesday 29th April 2020 Matt Hancock
At yesterday’s daily coronavirus briefing I announced a further expansion of our testing programme.
Testing is now available to all over 65s and members of their households, if they have symptoms.
Additionally, any worker who needs to leave their home in order to go to work, and their households, if any of them have symptoms can also get a test.
This means construction workers to emergency plumbers, research scientists to those in manufacturing – can now be tested.
If this applies to you, or anyone in your household, please go online now and apply for a test.
This new expansion of testing, made possible due to rapidly increasing testing capacity, will help protect our most vulnerable, our healthcare staff and keep people safe.
Matt Hancock signature
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
Monday 27th April 2020 LBB Ade Adetosoye OBE
As today’s Government briefing outlined, with the gradual decline in the death rate nationally and the downward trend in London in hospital admissions, there is cause for cautious optimism for the future. Clearly there is much work to do nationally, with our local focus remaining on operating the services our residents rely on, including responding to enquiries from businesses and residents and those who need shielding. It is also clear that much of this work, albeit at varying levels, will continue for some time to come.
In addition to Saturday’s collection for residents who did not receive their scheduled paper collection earlier in the week, I am pleased to note that Veolia were able to operate a full paper recycling collection service today. We anticipate that Veolia will be able to operate a similar service throughout the week which will largely restore our waste collection services to normal. We do not think this will affect many residents at all but residents will not still not be able to report missed paper collections this week, with the advice being if we do not collect, to store the paper for recycling in a dry place until the next scheduled collection. Colleagues are monitoring Veolia’s performance but unless there is an unforeseen development, we anticipate being able to re-introduce the ability to report missed paper collections from next week and I will confirm in due course.
Also over the weekend, our parks and greenspaces have again been used by residents as part of their exercise regime and colleagues continued to monitor activity with our parks security contractor patrolling in the usual way, with the vast majority of visitors continuing to comply with the requirements and guidelines.
Finally, you may have already seen in the national media that there will be a minute's silence across the UK at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow, on Tuesday, to remember key workers who have lost their lives to coronavirus. In my briefing note to staff, I will ask them to briefly pause at this time and observe this silence if they choose to, as a way of paying tribute to those who have lost their lives and of course remembering the importance of public service, which of course, is also very dear to our hearts.
Ade Adetosoye OBE
London Borough of Bromley
T: 020 8313 4197
Monday 27th April 2020 LBB Jim Harra
Dear Christine Harris,
Wages for furloughed employees are now being paid through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, just six working days after claims opened.
Payments for claims made on Monday 20 April will be in employers’ bank accounts by tomorrow (28 April).
If you have already made a claim
Don’t worry if you haven’t received payment yet – it takes six working days from when you claimed. Please don’t call us to chase payment as we won’t be able to update you before the six working days have ended.
You don’t need to do anything to receive payment. It will automatically be sent to the bank account you nominated in your claim.
Please retain all records and calculations for your claims in case we need to contact you about them in future, as we continue to check claims made through the scheme.
If you have not yet made a claim
You can still claim online for a grant for 80% of your furloughed employees’ salaries, up to a maximum of £2,500 per
employee, per month. You will receive the funds six working days after you claim, provided your claim matches records that we hold for your PAYE scheme.
Please read all the available guidance before you apply. To find this, go to GOV.UK and search for 'Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme'.
HMRC will check claims made through the scheme and will act to protect public money against anyone who makes a dishonest claim.
Please continue to keep your furloughed employees informed and ask them not to contact us directly – we will not be able to provide them with any information.
A word about scams
Stay vigilant about scams, which may mimic government messages such as 'Stay at home' and 'Stay home, stay safe', as a way of appearing authentic and unthreatening. Don’t give out private information or reply to text messages, and don’t download attachments or click on links in texts or emails you weren’t expecting. You can forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to HYPERLINK "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org"email@example.com and texts to 60599.
I wish you all the best at this challenging time.
First Permanent Secretary and Chief Executive – HMRC
Thursday 23rd April 2020 LBB
Veolia have been working hard to completely restore the paper collection service for residents, including making collections today to most of the scheduled collections rounds. We are determined that all residents as far as possible will receive their scheduled paper collection service this week. To assist with this, where residents have not received their paper collection earlier in the week, Veolia will be working on Saturday to pick up paper in roads which they were unable to complete as part of the scheduled work. This will then put us in a good position for next week where we can build on progress being made. Feel free to make your residents aware that where a scheduled paper collection has not taken place this week, we will look to collect on Saturday. Information confirming this will be on our website tomorrow.
You might be interested to note that we have seen increased demand in the last month from people who have come forwards as homeless, with 45 placements being required, which is roughly double what we might expect. Of these 29 were homeless for a variety of reasons, with 16 being identified as rough sleepers, with our strategy to find them accommodation. All 16 rough sleepers have been supported and found accommodation, even including one of our really entrenched rough sleepers. We have a multi-agency panel for rough sleepers made up of Housing, Public Health, Thames Reach and Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to protect them from Covid-19. We are following the guidance from the Government in terms of triaging and ensuring we have accommodation for all rough sleepers, as well as a strategy in place for when we start to recover from Covid-19. More information is on our website at HYPERLINK "https://www.bromley.gov.uk/info/200052/housing_advice_and_options/674/rough_sleepers"Rough Sleepers and I will update tomorrow.
Tuesday 21st April 2020 - Bob Stewart
Today Parliament reconvenes. Thank goodness for that but, and there is a big but, it’s in virtual form. MPs are to get together remotely and are told to stay at home. It is the best we can do under the circumstances. We shall have to see how it works out.
I telephoned my old Army buddy yesterday. He lives in Sweden, 40 minutes or so from Stockholm. I asked him how things were going there; mindful that Sweden is in what some might call as lockdown- very light.
He said that things were much as normal with sensible precautions. He told me that he still visit friends but they are careful. Swedes customarily greet one another with a hug. They don’t do that for the moment and they sit a wee bit apart. He still goes frequently to the local athletics track but just keeps away from people. It seems life in Sweden is not too severely affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
That is because Sweden has not followed other European countries in so far as it has not been draconian in the way it has directed its citizens. True gatherings of more than 50 people are banned and sports events as well as cinemas are closed but children are still going to school and restaurants are still open with some social distancing rules applied. People can also linger in parks – provided they maintain that 2-metre gap. Workers can also go to work. The Swedish economy is not in standstill.
The Swedish Government has followed the medical/scientific advice of Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s State Epidemiologist. He proposed the Lockdown-very light approach and the Government accepted it.
But many in Sweden are now questioning that decision. As of last Monday Sweden, had lost 1,540 people to Coronavirus whereas equivalent figures in Nordic neighbours was as follows; Norway 165, Finland 94 and Denmark 355 deaths. Put in a more understandable way, for each one million of population the Nordic countries had death rates as follows: Sweden 154, Norway 31, Finland 17 and Denmark 61 per million. Norway, Finland and Denmark are in strict lockdown and Sweden is not. Sweden has got it wrong? The facts speak for themselves – or do they?
Now look at other European countries further South. Per million of population we in the UK have a death rate of 241, then France 294, Germany 55, Italy 392, Spain 425 and worst of all Belgium with 495 people dead from COVID-19. Like us the other European countries I mentioned are also in strict lockdown too. The German figure really does buck the trend too. So, things may not be as they seem and the facts may not speak for themselves.
I think the leaders of every European country have based their Coronavirus policies on medical science. We all understand why they did that because they had no choice. How could they disagree with their country’s top experts in the epidemiological field?
However, it does seem there are quite a few differing experts as well as sciences around. In the UK the Government took great heed of the suggested way ahead emanating from specialist modelling out of Imperial College, London but Oxford University specialists have been putting out a different scenario based on their own, somewhat different modelling. As I know, from my military days, results from modelling are hugely dependent on the assumptions fed into them.
Our own Government was shocked by Professor Ferguson’s Imperial College paper of 16 March which warned that unless we went rapidly into lockdown the population could be decimated. The result was a U-turn; away from the lockdown-very light being adopted in Sweden to the severe conditions we have today.
Sweden’s approach posits that we will have coronavirus amongst us forever and we need to build immunity to it. Tegnell suggests that Sweden’s rather higher death rate compared with its neighbours will, in the long run, be less than others because his own country’s men and women will be hardened against coronavirus quicker. The Swedish approach seems to be to take it on the chin in the hope that it will be largely over thereafter and immunity would come faster. On Norwegian television a week or so ago Tegnell stated that about 10-30 per cent of Stockholm’s population may already have had COVID-19 and been unaware of it. He maintains that by mid-May the Capital of Sweden could have considerable protection from Coronavirus – what some call herd immunity.
I gather that approach was close to our own Government’s position until the Imperial College paper of 16 March put the frights under it. That is no criticism. If I was in the Government, I would have made exactly the same decision on a change of approach.
Of course, the Government must opt for safety and follow what it perceives to be the finest professional medical judgement in the country. We chose one option, Lockdown - along with every other European country. Sweden selected another option, Lockdown-very light. Each countries’ individual decision was based on what it felt to be the best medical science it had available.
In truth though, we are unlikely to know, until the virus has run its course, what option would have been the right one.”
WASTE COLLECTION UPDATE
Non-recyclable, food and green garden waste collections are now operating normally. Green box (plastic, cans and glass) should be operating normally from this week so put green boxes out on your normal collection day.
It's proposed that collections of paper and cardboard will recommence this week on a limited basis so put paper/cardboard out on your normal collection day. If the green box or paper/cardboard waste is not collected on your usual collection day, leave it at the boundary of your property as additional, ad hoc collections may take place on other days of the week, subject to availability of crews and vehicles and the amount of waste being collected.
Please accept out apologies for any inconvenience or irritation the disrupted service has caused you in recent weeks.” I’ve received some queries regarding staying at home, so thought it would be useful to include the guidelines below:
Stay at home
You must stay at home, only leaving for the following very limited purposes:
Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible.
One form of exercise a day – for example, a run, walk or cycle – alone or with members of your immediate household.
Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.
Protect the NHS
You must stay at home to protect the NHS:
The NHS only has a limited number of doctors, nurses and specialist equipment.
We are working around the clock to increase NHS capacity.
The more people who get sick, the harder it is for the NHS to cope.
We must slow the spread of the disease so that fewer people are sick at any one time.
You must stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. The police will have the powers to enforce the following restrictions:
Dispersing gatherings of more than two people in public, excluding people you live with.
Issuing fines to anyone who does not comply with these rules.
Closing shops that are not essential, as well as playgrounds and places of worship.
Full guidance on staying at home can be found at www.gov.uk/coronavirus
You can find the most up to date medical advice at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus
You can find the answers to frequently asked questions about what you can do and can’t do during this pandemic here.
18th April 2020 LBB
Bromley schools continue to impress us with their dedicated focus on vulnerable children and continued provision over the Easter period. Our Director of Education, Jared Nehra continues to provide daily advice and guidance and an escalation point to the DfE for any significant issues or queries that arise. Just over 40 schools have remained open over Easter, including bank holidays. This has included a number of schools acting as a hub for children from other schools.
Our online form for parents to request a place is now well embedded and I am pleased to confirm that we have been able to accommodate all eligible requests to date. The department is anticipating an increase in requests from next week and is well prepared for this. We are aware from regular discussions with the DfE, Ofsted and other local authorities, that the number of vulnerable children and young people attending schools is low across the country. In Bromley, we are working with families to increase the number of vulnerable children accessing schools and additionally focused on ensuring regular contact with our vulnerable families and signposting to a comprehensive offer of support.
Safeguarding of vulnerable children remains our top priority and Children, Education and Families services continue to work closely with schools and partners for the safety of our children.
Primary National Offer Day 2020
Primary National Offer Day went ahead as planned on Thursday 16th April and I am delighted that we once again maintained a very high level of parental preferences for 2020 admissions with more than 98 percent of children receiving a preference named on their application. This is ahead of the London average which stands at 97 per cent.
That figure includes 3,347 families who were offered their first preference, taking the percentage of first-choice placements to more than 85 per cent. Over the first three preferences, Bromley achieved an impressive 96.5 per cent, more than a percentage point above the London average.
Over the coming weeks, the Bromley Admissions team is on hand to help with any queries. The lines for the admissions team will be open Monday - Friday 12 noon to 3pm on 020 8313 4044.
Free School Meals
The Government’s national voucher scheme for free school meals is in place and many schools have been able to utilise this service to support families. However we have received some reports of issues with the service provided by Edenred, which were immediately escalated to senior DfE officials. I am pleased that we secured confirmation that schools can continue to reclaim the cost of locally sourced arrangements from DfE, which will help ensure that families can continue to access this support without delay.
Bromley Early Years Team continues to work closely with providers, settings and childminders and are supporting them through this challenging time, including ensuring continued access to funding. In excess of 100 settings will remain open for eligible children from next week, including the Council’s two maintained nurseries.
We continue to work closely with special schools and additionally resourced provisions to continue providing access to care, where their collaborative risk assessment indicates children and young people cannot be safely cared for at home. Those children open to CSC continue to have their statutory needs met in accordance with regulations and our practice standards. The Local Offer has been updated with details to assist our families with timely access to support and advice. We have also issued the special edition of our SENDMatters newsletter, providing frequently asked questions and details of a variety of services and support.
Councillor Peter Fortune
Deputy Leader of the London Borough of Bromley
Executive Portfolio Holder for Children, Education and Families
17th April 2020 LBB
As this Bank Holiday week draws to a close, Veolia’s waste collection crews will be working tomorrow as per the advertised schedules, collecting recycling and refuse from households where their normal collection is on a Friday.
Alongside food waste collections and non-recyclable refuse collections, all scheduled green box collections were made again today, which is positive. We have been in contact with ward Members in Orpington about some outstanding green box collections which will be made tomorrow for their understanding.
Following consultation with the Environment Portfolio Holder, we will be starting paper collections on Monday, albeit in a very limited way and our messaging next week will be that we are re-introducing paper collections in a strictly limited way, thanking residents for their continued patience and understanding. I will report progress to you about the re-introduction of the paper collections next week.
You will recall that I referred earlier in the week to the increased testing which is coming forwards and the Government have announced today the welcome news that they extending testing for coronavirus to more frontline workers, including to local authorities and those working with vulnerable children and adults. This will help us retain resilience over the coming weeks.
15th April 2020 LBB
During the lockdown trading standards officers have been making reassurance telephone calls to residents known to us having been victims or targets of scams and doorstep crime in the previous two years. We have identified many of who are not on the “Shielding” group and therefore reliant on family and friends to support them.
Residents have welcomed the calls and the advice about current scams, especially those frauds which are associated with COVID 19. Where relevant, we have registered the resident on the LBB volunteer support scheme, for example if they need help with shopping or collecting parcels etc. We are ensuring we avoid any face to face to contact at this time, although one resident has asked one of my officers to get her some shopping as she does not trust anyone else at the moment having been the victim of a particularly nasty rogue trader.
These calls have impacted in a positive way, for example, we have identified a resident who has informed us that her boiler broke down but she cannot afford to replace it. She had scalded herself a couple of times because she is boiling water in the kettle to be able to wash. As a result of this we have asked local police to make a reassurance visit and we also made a referral to the LBB volunteering scheme for longer term assistance. We have made a referral to housing grants to see if she will be eligible for support to get the boiler replaced and we spoke to the Red Cross who have delivered some emergency heaters, as she is struggling to move the two small electric heaters she has from room to room as she needs them.
One resident said "it’s reassuring to know someone to contact in dark times".
We supplied one resident with a call blocker because she was being plagued by scam telephone calls, and we also referred a resident to the London Fire Brigade to have smoke detectors fitted after she disclosed she had a "small fire" in her home when she knocked over a candle.
We received a call from a man in Asia on the rapid response phone who was trying to find support for his elderly parent who lived alone in Bromley so we were able to refer him to the volunteer scheme.
We have been emailing our contacts across Bromley to keep them up to date on frauds and scams, including:
550 NHW coordinators
22 Safer Neighbourhood Teams
Oxleas NHS Trust
And many local groups who we have previously given awareness talks to.
Just prior to the lockdown we were at Croydon Crown Court to see a rogue trader plead guilty to two counts of fraud where two elderly Bromley residents had been defrauded of thousands of pounds for bogus roof repairs. His sentencing has been deferred. One of his victims told us “Before this incident I was very trusting. I am a lot less trusting of people that I don’t know now. The money that was taken from me was my life savings that I was hoping to pass on to my son. I now live solely off my pension and have no money to fall back on if needed. Two years have gone by since this happened to me and I still feel anxious. I will never feel comfortable at home because of these men”.
We are receiving complaints about price gouging, so we are writing to traders to remind them about the need to behave responsibly and also inform them we were considering legal sanctions which may be available to us should we find evidence of persistent practice in this area.
We are also investigating claims about deep cleaning guaranteed to kill the covid19 virus made on social media.
There's a lot of work going on across the division in response to COVID 19, for example officers in Public Protection are responding to the new business closure regulations introduced during the lockdown. We are receiving enquiries from residents, businesses and employees of businesses asking about the business closure regulations and they apply, as well as social distancing concerns. We had an officer from the Community Safety & ASB team linking up with police to carry joint patrols of the Easter weekend. Food officers have been conducting virtual visits to food outlets, and the business as usual work is still getting done, eg licensing, noise complaints, bonfires etc.
Hope this all helps,
Head of Trading Standards & Community Safety
Public Protection Division
020 8313 4785
12th April 2020 LBB Rob Vale
Dear Heads of Service/Adult Safeguarding Managers
Beware of COVID-19 scams
We need your help to spread the message……that scammers are operating in Bromley and targeting members of our community.
Unscrupulous criminals are exploiting fears about COVID-19 to prey on members of the public, particularly older and vulnerable people who are isolated from family and friends.
Trading Standards are warning people to remain vigilant following a rise in coronavirus-related scams that seek to benefit from the public’s concern and uncertainty over COVID-19.
Please see the identified scams below and also attached is a letter that I urge you to share with your teams. We hope that they will share the information perhaps via email, on the phone or by providing a copy of the letter to those they come into contact with including clients, patients and work partners as well as their own network of family, friends and neighbours.
We encourage all staff to get in touch with Trading Standards if they come across someone they think needs our assistance with regard to scams.
Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or if you need help urgently for example, to report someone going door to door, contact the Rapid Response on 07903 852090
COVID-19 scams identified include:
Criminals targeting older people on their doorstep and offering to do their shopping. Thieves take the money and do not return.
Doorstep cleansing services that offer to clean drives and doorways to kill bacteria and help prevent the spread of the virus.
Email scams that trick people into opening malicious attachments, which put people at risk of identity theft with personal information, passwords, contacts and bank details at risk. Some of these emails have lured people to click on attachments by offering information about people in the local area who are affected by coronavirus.
Fake online resources – such as false Coronavirus Maps – that deliver malware such as AZORult Trojan, an information stealing program which can infiltrate a variety of sensitive data. A prominent example that has deployed malware is ‘corona-virus-map[dot]com’.
Companies offering fake holiday refunds for individuals who have been forced to cancel their trips. People seeking refunds should also be wary of fake websites set up to claim holiday refunds.
Fake sanitisers, face masks and Covid19 swabbing kits sold online and door-to-door. These products can often be dangerous and unsafe. There are reports of some potentially harmful hand sanitiser containing glutaral (or glutaraldehyde), which was banned for human use in 2014.
As more people self-isolate at home there is an increasing risk that telephone scams will also rise, including criminals claiming to be your bank, mortgage lender or utility company.
There have been reports of thieves extorting money from consumers by claiming they are collecting donations for a COVID-19 ‘vaccine’.
Illegal money lenders are expected to prey on people’s financial hardship, lending money before charging extortionate interest rates and fees through threats and violence
Read it. Share it. Prevent it.
Head of Trading Standards & Community Safety
Public Protection Division