Agenda item

Covid-19 update


1.    That the following be noted:


(a)  The projected financial impact of Covid-19 for 2020/21 as set out in section 1.


(b)  The service updates provided in section 2.




2.    The approval of £76,000 (over two years) additional funding for Citizens Advice Dacorum.




1.    That the following be noted:


(a)  The projected financial impact of Covid-19 for 2020/21 as set out in section 1.


(b)  The service updates provided in section 2.




2.    The approval of £76,000 (over two years) additional funding for Citizens Advice Dacorum.


Monitoring Officer comments

The Monitoring Officer continues to monitor the key issues raised by legislative changes and relevant government guidance and ensure that effective policies and procedures are in place to assist services to continue to deliver during the pandemic and subsequent recovery phase.

S151 Officer comments

The Financial Implications section of the report have been written by the S151 officer and will continue to be monitored as actual costs become clearer.  Members will be regularly updated on the financial implications of Covid-19 as they develop.


Councillor Williams introduced the report to members and highlighted the recommended to make additional funding available to the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) for two years to recognise the increase in workload for them, especially in providing financial assistance.

C Hamilton added to the report to tell members that the Incident Management Team (IMT) continues to meet twice a week and the membership has been expanded to include a Communications representative to ensure that the information is cascaded appropriately after the meetings. Efforts are ongoing to identify staff to work in the local Track and Trace centre and work continues with Hertfordshire County Council to identify premises for a vaccination centre in the borough. The Environmental Health team continue to do a great job and are visiting premises to ensure they are following guidance. There continues to be a concern from county that people are reluctant to self-isolate when they have been told to and there is an increase in cases amongst the over 60s. The council continue to liaise with Everyone Active on their finances and a report will be going to Finance & Resources OSC this week. The Homeless Team are under continued pressure and the Tenancy Sustainment Team are dealing with an increase in domestic abuse cases. This is all closely monitored through IMT and members will continue to be kept up to date.

M Gaynor commented on the pressures on CAB. They are seeing an increase in case load due to increased redundancies, furlough and people moving onto Universal Credit and the delays in getting payments. Although it keeps getting delayed, there is also the threat of private landlords being able to evict tenants. There has been a 300% increase in cases at CAB.

J Deane highlighted some of the financial implications. The overall pressure has reduced from £2.5 to £2.2 million and a lot of the pressure is forecast on the income side. There is an additional pressure this month from the Alternative Financial Model (AFM) funding from Hertfordshire County Council which is an incentive to increase recycling and divert waste from landfill. The department are collecting significantly more waste due to more people staying at home which increases the waste going to landfill so the payments are reduced. The budget allowed for an income of £300k but this has been reduced to £50k. The pressure on car parking income was reduced due to the lockdown but it is showing signs of recovery.

Councillor Tindall referred to the AFM payment and asked if this would be likely to continue or was another consequence of covid.

J Deane said the AFM is an incentive for councils to divert waste from landfill but the current situation is causing more waste to be collected and this is pushing up the county’s costs.

Councillor Tindall said that the county council gave a briefing about the potential of continuing to allow staff to work from home to reduce office costs. He asked if there was a prediction for what would happen across the borough if other companies followed this trend.

J Deane said the increase in working from home would reduce AFM income and the general AFM income stream will be reduced on an annual basis. It is too early to understand any longer term plans.

Councillor Williams said that pre-covid, the AFM is something that the county sought to reduce. It is not compulsory for county to share the benefits of enhanced recycling with districts. It would be safe to assume that this income stream will not recover.

Councillor Anderson added that Herts has been considering reducing this funding for a while and this has been raised through the Herts Waste Panel and the Leader and made the point that it would no longer be in our interests to recycle.

Councillor Griffiths asked if the increase in waste is because people have been at home sorting through their houses and it is household waste or are people not separating their rubbish from recycling.

Councillor Anderson responded that there has been an increase of a third in both residual and recycling waste so people are producing increase volumes of both kinds of rubbish. When the AFM formula was produced, no one could predict the current pandemic so it is unfortunate that it is now working against us.

Councillor Williams added that an increase in residential waste is offset by a decrease in commercial waste but this is a chargeable collection.

C Hamilton added that the council were looking at the impact of covid on local retailers and their services in an economic recovery strategy which will be brought to members in due course.

J Deane said that in some cases, local shops are doing well as people stay local. There is big uncertainty in relation to a recession and how this impacts on the success of shopping centres and significant job losses.

Councillor Williams said local businesses have been able to claim one off grants and have had a year’s business rates holiday which could be masking any financial issues.

Recommendations agreed.


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