Why St Albans council staff play a vital role in supporting community during coronavirus pandemic

St Albans district council chief executive Amanda Foley explains why staff are so vital during the c

St Albans district council chief executive Amanda Foley explains why staff are so vital during the coronavirus crisis. - Credit: Archant

Council staff are providing invaluable frontline support during the ongoing coronavirus crisis, which means they are not automatically able to work from home.

St Albans City and District Council is considered a Category 1 responder, the same as the police, fire and ambulance services.

It is part of Hertfordshire Resilience, a partnership of over 60 organisations including the emergency services, other local councils, health services and volunteers, planning, training and responding to emergencies together.

It also runs a range of statutory services supporting the most vulnerable people in society, so maintaining a decent level of service is essential.

Chief executive Amanda Foley explained: “For this reason, just like the blue-light services, we have to take a risk based approach to homeworking, so we have enough people available on the ground to do what is necessary.

“Employees who are at high risk are given priority to work from home as are those who are carers for those aged 70 or over, pregnant, or in the high risk categories for flu. Employees at low risk are working on rota between office and home to help maintain front line service delivery.

“If staff need to self-isolate, they will be working at home. Many of our people will be classed as key workers and their children will be schooled. Others will need to work at home because of their caring responsibilities. We are also maintaining social distancing in the offices as much as we can. If we have gaps in our services, or a need for staff to step in to help with the response, our people are being redeployed.”

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In line with new measures to protect people at the highest risk from coronavirus, the council is heavily involved in the response, and needs to ensure people are available to do the necessary work on the ground.

Amanda added: “Council staff are doing an amazing job, and much will be expected of them over the coming weeks, so they need all of our support.”