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Agenda item

COVID-19 Final Update

Report of the Chief Executive to follow.



Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of the Council and Cabinet member for MCI, Economic Development, Heritage, Arts, Tourism and Health & Wellbeing introduced the report which provided a summary of the key activities to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus in Wiltshire since the last update to Cabinet in March 2021.


The Chief Executive explained that since the last report the roadmap for exiting lockdown has been followed with further relaxations coming into place. Support for businesses, vulnerable groups, care homes and educational settings continued.

The Cabinet noted that this would be the final update report as a separate report on this subject and work to address the legacy of the pandemic will be embedded into the council’s new business plan.


The Chief Executive reported that the final stage of relaxations set out in the roadmap is set for midsummer’s day (21 June) and conditional on the data continuing to move in the right direction. Government will make its decision on this the week beforehand (14 June). Wiltshire Council is working closely with its partners in English Heritage and Wiltshire Police to ensure that summer solstice events such as that at Stonehenge can go ahead if it is permitted.


The Chief Executive reported that the recent elections in Wiltshire were one of the largest elections in the country and a significant logistical challenge; however, the Council ensured these were held in a COVID-19 secure way. It was noted that residents were encouraged to, where possible, vote by post
and this messaging would continue for the forthcoming Police and Crime Commissioner election to be held on 19 August
. He thanked all the staff involved for the significant effort undertaken to deliver one of the largest set of elections in the country.  Developments since the last report were summarised in the report and in appendix 1 under the following areas:


·       Test and Trace and isolate

·       Community (asymptomatic) testing

·       Mass vaccinations

·       Outbreak management

·       Public Health support to Schools & Educational settings

·       Community spaces and engagement

·       Wellbeing Hub

·       Care Homes

·       Education and Skills

·       Economy

·       Excess Deaths

·       Health & Care

·       Safe Spaces

·       Homelessness

·       Organisational Recovery


Cllr Laura Mayes thanked officers for their outstanding contributions, continued hard work and resilience during this difficult and testing time. She urged officers to take a break in order to look after their health and mental wellbeing.


Cllr Graham Wright, Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee, reported that the Committee met on 25 May 2021 to consider the Cabinet report. Robust Scrutiny was undertaken, and the Committee were satisfied with the updates and responses to questions received and supported the proposals in the report. Select Committees would consider details about their areas of responsibility during the forthcoming round of meetings.


Cllr Ian Thorn, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, echoed the comments of others paying tribute to officers across all services, and taking time out was vital for all officers. In particular he paid tribute to officers involved in the elections and the remarkable efforts in delivering successful elections.


In response to questions from Cllr Thorn, about (i) the help being offered to businesses; (ii) the development of community groups and how they could continue to operate into the future; (iii) Teacher assessments; Cabinet members and officers explained that (i) resources were being allocated to a total of £4m over 4 years to help businesses with the recovery phase of the pandemic; (ii) Members recognised the importance of the local groups continuing, and the Wellbeing Hub would continue going forward; and (iii) the Council recognises the impact on teachers and how hard they have worked during the pandemic, especially with the assessment of pupils of exam age. It was noted that information would be provided about the processes being followed for assessments, so that students and parents would have confidence in the system being employed. 


In response to questions, comments and issues raised by other Councillors, officers explained the following:


  • The need for the adult population to be double vaccinated. Community testing using rapid lateral flow devices helps to identify those people who are infectious but asymptomatic and unaware they may be spreading the disease. This helps trace their contacts, support them to isolate and prevent transmission to others.
  • The rates of successful contact tracing for COVID cases across Wiltshire remained high, with 98% of Wiltshire cases being successfully reached by either NHS Test and Trace or the Wiltshire Local Tracing Partnership, delivered by the Public Health Team.
  • Engagement with residents and service users is essential along with the provision of mental health services tailored to the individual.


Cllr Clewer thanked all officers for their efforts in combating the pandemic along with the many officers associated with the recent elections in May 2021.






  • To continue to encourage all residents to download the NHS Test and Trace app on their phone.


  • To continue to encourage all residents to answer a call received from 0300 456 0100 as it may be the local contact tracing team within the Council


  • To continue to encourage all residents to follow national guidance


  • To continue to encourage residents to attend for vaccination when invited and to continue to follow national guidance after vaccination


  • To thank residents that voted in the recent elections and encourage use of a postal vote for the upcoming PCC election on 19 August


  • To note the work underway as we approach the final stages of the government roadmap



Reason for decision:


Wiltshire Council continues to work closely with partners to deliver in a rapidly
changing environment

Supporting documents:




This website