COVID-19 updates from Bristol City Council

26 March, 2020

Latest Government/UK Update  

  • The Government has launched a GOV.UK Coronavirus Information service on WhatsApp - this is an automated ‘chatbot’ service which will allow the British public to get answers to the most common questions about coronavirus direct from government [link].  

  • The Chief Executive of the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) has issued a statement saying that systems are being put in place that will ensure the Disclosure and Barring Service will prioritise applications for checks for those who are assisting in responding to this national emergency, making sure where possible, checks are carried out within 24 hours. DBS will also be checking the Barred lists to make sure applicants are not already barred from working in regulated activity [link].  

  • Sport England are today launching a nationwide, consumer campaign. Called ‘Join the Movement’ it will seek to bring greater attention to #StayInWorkOut - and inspire and inform the public about the many fun, and creative ways they can keep moving.  

 Important Bristol Updates    

  • Recycling centre and garden waste - In the interest of the safety of the public and their crews, Bristol Waste have closed both the Household Reuse & Recycling Centres with immediate effect. Visiting a Recycling Centre is not included in the reasons for leaving home under the new government guidance. Thanks to the dedication and commitment of their staff, Bristol’s waste and recycling collection services continue to operate as usual for the city. Bristol Waste have put out the following message: ‘We would like to ask everyone to avoid placing extra strain on our services and delay projects which may generate additional waste or recycling. Where possible, we would also encourage residents to compost their garden waste at home. Please continue to show your support for our crews by sorting your recycling properly and double-bagging and separating coronavirus related waste for 72hrs before putting out for collection.’ 

  • Homeless people - We are currently housing all homeless people regardless of their immigration status into temporary accommodation, including people with no recourse to public funds.  

  • Rough sleepers - We would urge all rough sleepers to make contact with the St Mungos Outreach team on 0117 407 0330 and engage with the help that is available to them. If a member of the public is aware of anyone that is sleeping rough they should contact StreetLink on 0300 5000914 or through www.streetlink.org.uk 

 Bristol Public Communication Updates  

  • Public events - Yesterday afternoon, the Mayor announced that all public events in Bristol will be cancelled until July – events after July will be reviewed with their organisers. 

  • Travel - We are working hard with bus providers to keep services running for key workers – find out the latest service updates on the TravelWest website. 

  • Bristol’s Film, TV and moving image sector – Bristol Film and the Bottleyard have put out a message to self-employed & freelance workers, including links to hardship support funds.  

  • Social workers - We’re calling on former social workers to consider returning to the sector to help with the current situation – if interested, please email cypsworkforcedev@bristol.gov.uk 

  • Foster carers - We need more foster carers – supporting vulnerable children is of huge importance – get in touch by calling 0117 353 4200 or via the council website here. 

  • Council housing repairs - based on government guidance we can only undertake emergency repairs on council housing at the moment. 

  • Supplies for those self-isolating - We’re working with the government and local partners to ensure the most vulnerable who have to self-isolate can get access to the essential supplies they need. 

  • Home-schooling - The Mayor also posted another blog from self-isolation, day 6, reflecting on home-schooling and ideas of peace in a difficult time. 

  • Waste and recycling – As mentioned above, Bristol Waste posted on twitter to assured Bristol residents that all essential waste and recycling services are still running. 

  • #HiddenHeroes - The Mayor began his #HiddenHeroes campaign on social media, including thanking the staff at WECIL Bristol who have been working tirelessly to ensure consistency of care and support to the city’s disabled community. He is welcoming nominations of organisations or individuals who deserve recognition of the work they are doing to keep Bristol running and people safe – email mayor@bristol.gov.uk. 

 Bristol Education & Skills Updates  

  • We are finalising local arrangements for Special Educational Needs and Disability provision, both in terms of support to pupils and Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) processes.  We are working within DfE guidance and the South West LAs through the Regional Schools Commissioner’s office.  We are aiming to publish to schools and on the Local Offer website on 27th March.  

  • Educational psychologists are now only providing online support given the closure of most educational settings. 

  • We are reviewing Free School Meals provision to ensure the safety of distribution systems.  DfE are updating their guidance relating to the meal voucher system.   

  • We are focusing on vulnerable pupils who are not attending schools or settings, despite there being places available. DfE have strengthened their messaging that children known to social care should be in school.  There is a joint approach with Children’s Services to co-ordinate our strategy to increase numbers of children attending school.  

  • We are working with Heads to consider cluster approaches, with small geographic communities, or Multi-Academy Trusts in order to share human resources.  

  • Co-ordinating a solution to the issue of lack of Protective Personal Equipment and hygiene equipment in some schools and settings. 

  • We are maintaining payment for home to school transport providers. 

 Bristol Adult Social Care Updates   

  • The Commissioning team is working closely with all care providers to ensure they are operating safely, managing and sharing resources and supporting individual homes where there are several residents with Covid-19.  A letter will be sent to all providers today. 

  • We are working closely with health partners to implement national requirements for hospital discharge. 

 Bristol Business & Economy Updates  

  • Bristol’s Business Improvement Districts, Traders Groups and other business support networks are working hard on communicating and supporting businesses within their area. 

  • There are concerns that some businesses, particularly small and independent businesses will not have the cash flows or reserves to meet financial outgoings and that delay in accessing the various grants and support packages being made available by Government will mean many will not survive.  We are in contact with the sector and will be making the case to government for help to reach all affected businesses. 


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