Posts in Category: COVID-19

APSE Awards – 2021 – Best Service Team: Environmental Health, Trading Standards and Regulatory Services (Caerphilly CBC) 

The APSE Awards are to recognise the best in public services and to share that best practice with all. In 2021 APSE received an overwhelming 320 submissions for the Awards, with each one demonstrating a clear commitment to the goals of continuous improvement and the delivery of excellence in public services. The APSE Awards are specific to frontline services provided by UK local authorities. The Awards are agreed by a panel of expert judges.


Caerphilly County Borough Council were shortlisted for the Award for Best Service Team: Environmental Health, Trading Standards and Regulatory Services, for their Contact Tracing Service.


The Councils Test, Trace and Protect team was created in unprecedented times to deliver community based contact tracing, employing local people to support the community during the pandemic.

The aim of the service was to work collaboratively to set up a Contact Tracing service to assist the social and economic recovery of our communities, in a way that is safe and protects our NHS and social care teams. Caerphilly started its service with a team of forty redeployed staff using a remote working model.

The team now operate a high performing, sophisticated contact tracing service, which is vital to our Covid response and offering comprehensive support and advice to our citizens to assist them in complying with self-isolation requirements to help to keep our communities safe.

22 June 2022 13:51:00 Categories: Awards Awards (Workforce) Caerphilly COVID-19

APSE Awards – 2021 – Best Service Team: Catering Service (Caerphilly CBC) 

The APSE Awards are to recognise the best in public services and to share that best practice with all. In 2021 APSE received an overwhelming 320 submissions for the Awards, with each one demonstrating a clear commitment to the goals of continuous improvement and the delivery of excellence in public services. The APSE Awards are specific to frontline services provided by UK local authorities. The Awards are agreed by a panel of expert judges.

Caerphilly County Borough Council won the award for Best Service Team: Catering Service, for the response to delivering free school meals during the pandemic.

In March 2020, the Welsh Government announced that all schools would close with immediate effect due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Caerphilly County Borough Council was faced with the challenge of how they would provide a service to over 6,243 Free School Meals pupils.

The local authority catering team showed true entrepreneurship, creativity and strong leadership skills by implementing a FSM home delivery service that involved partnership working with local suppliers and over 20 service areas within the authority.

22 June 2022 13:31:00 Categories: Awards Awards (Workforce) Caerphilly COVID-19

APSE Awards – 2021 - Best Service Team: Sports, Leisure and Cultural Services (Caerphilly CBC) 

The APSE Awards are to recognise the best in public services and to share that best practice with all. In 2021 APSE received an overwhelming 320 submissions for the Awards, with each one demonstrating a clear commitment to the goals of continuous improvement and the delivery of excellence in public services. The APSE Awards are specific to frontline services provided by UK local authorities. The Awards are agreed by a panel of expert judges.

Caerphilly County Borough Council were shortlisted for the award for Best Service Team: Sports, Leisure and Cultural Services, for the teams incredible attitude towards redeployment during the pandemic.

During a period of unprecedented challenge, the Sport & Leisure Services Team in Caerphilly did not only continue to deliver a broad and diverse range of outstanding sport and active recreation opportunities but have flexed and mobilised its resources to support the Councils’ response to Covid-19.

22 June 2022 13:02:00 Categories: Awards Awards (Workforce) Caerphilly COVID-19

Supporting Homeless People during the pandemic (All Wales) 

Welsh Government’s £10million fund, enabled local authorities to engage with all those sleeping rough and ensure that they had access to safe and suitable accommodation to meet the pandemic restrictions. Within the first two weeks of lockdown, local authorities had accommodated, or re-accommodated, over 500 households who had either been sleeping rough or were in accommodation unsuitable for social distancing, this figure has risen to over 1000 households since the pandemic began.


Local authorities reconfigured teams and redeployed staff to ensure effective provision of services and also to find new ways of working with partners. The mechanism of a centralised coordination cell within each council brought together partners such as health, registered social landlords, police & probation, third sector organisations etc to collectively plan and deliver services.


These experiences have helped to shape and plan for current and future provision of homelessness and housing related support services.

Continuing to support homeless people during the coronavirus pandemic: local authority guidance | GOV.WALES

West Wales Friend in Need (Carmarthenshire CC, Ceredigion CC, Pembrokeshire CC) 

During the pandemic the West Wales Friend in Need initiative was introduced with the help of funding from Age Cymru. The projects aim was to improve the ability for formal and informal volunteers to digitally connect with people across West Wales, in doing so reducing social isolation and loneliness. A regional project group was established for organisations to work together, the membership of the group consisting of Age Cymru Dyfed, Pembrokeshire County Council, Ceredigion County Council, Carmarthenshire County Council, Pembrokeshire Association of Voluntary Services, Carmarthenshire Association of Voluntary Services and Ceredigion Association of Voluntary Organisations. A total of eleven community and voluntary groups received funding from the grant resulting in over 1,100 individuals benefitting from the initiative with 155 volunteers spending 1,975 hours working within their communities. 

Commended Certificate for the School Procurement Award – WLGA and NPS Procurement of face coverings to Welsh school children 

The Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) and the National Procurement Service (NPS) have received a “Commended” certificate for the 'School Procurement Award' from the Education Business Awards for their collaboration in providing school children with face coverings. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the NPS worked with Lyreco, the WLGA and RotoMedical, the medical and protective equipment division of the Rototherm Group, based in Margam, South Wales, to manufacture and distribute a 3 layer face covering to Wales’ schoolchildren via the NPS framework for personal protective equipment. The WLGA highlighted a need to provide face coverings, to Welsh schools to the NPS following the issuing of a Welsh Government grant to Welsh local authorities to purchase these items. There was also a desire to have the face covering manufactured in Wales. Subsequently, the NPS and WLGA worked with RotoMedical to understand how they could help service the Welsh public sector in the fight against the virus. Lyreco purchased the products from RotoMedical on behalf of NPS and distributed them to customers utilising their own nationwide logistics network. Lyreco service their South Wales customers from their own distribution centre in Bridgend and North Wales customers from just over the border in Warrington.

Galw Gofal (Conwy CBC) 

Galw Gofal was established by Conwy County Borough Council’s Social Care and Education, Community Wellbeing Team to provide support in the home through telephone systems to improve peoples’ quality of life and independence. During the pandemic Galw Gofal services were extended to include those in the community who were shielding. In order to respond quickly to the growing need for support during the pandemic, Galw Gofal built on existing partnerships with organisations including Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Age Connects North Wales Central and Community & Voluntary Support Conwy. From March to August 2020 10,789 daily telephone check calls were made with staff responding to a range of enquiries from assistance with delivery of food and prescriptions to signposting to Community Wellbeing Teams for support to get online. 

Friend in Need (Bridgend CBC) 

During the COVID-19 pandemic Bridgend County Borough Council worked alongside Bridgend Association of Voluntary Organisations (BAVO) to expand the Community Companions befriending scheme recognising, the need to adapt approaches in relation to the pandemic and restrictions. BAVO and the Council wanted to provide support to individuals in different ways including telephone befriending to support social distancing particularly targeting older more isolated adults over the winter period. During 2020 there were 229 referrals received for befriending support. A total of 145 individuals were supported with befriending opportunities, with 102 volunteers involved in telephone befriending and 50 individuals involved in the pilot of the intergenerational pen pal scheme. This scheme has continued to grow despite the disruptions of schools closing and BAVO have made links with a local primary school during lockdown to write letters/drawings which were developed into postcards to send out to Community Companions beneficiaries and volunteers.

Connecting Communities (Bridgend CBC) 

Bridgend County Borough Council’s Connecting Communities programme has escalated the support provided to people and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bridgend Association of Voluntary Organisations (BAVO) working with the Community Navigators are supporting a variety of community needs. The key levels of support include: prescription delivery, shopping services, food bank support including providing foodbank vouchers and delivering food parcels to those most in need, along with educating people on other affordable food provisions like the Food Pantries, welfare checks and telephone befriending. BAVO and the Connecting Communities programme work with external organisations and support services ensuring those most vulnerable access the support they need. There is a partners list of 77 organisations that have supported the Connecting Communities and also in a series of impact checks regarding the Connected Community support 214 individuals, 99% were happy with the support, signposting and information and advice the navigators had provided.

Monmouthshire Community Volunteering (Monmouthshire CC) 

Monmouthshire County Council and third sector organisations worked together during the initial lockdown in March 2020 to build a support structure for community groups. The support structure involved training and screening volunteers for safeguarding, sharing information, building neighbourhood networks and providing a single point of contact in the council who could assist the groups with any challenges they were facing. Asset-based principles and belief and trust in communities were the foundations of the council’s strategy to manage lockdown. The strength of the council’s relationships with the existing community groups and new mutual aid groups meant that the council was able to benefit from the support of the communities in much more than shopping and collecting prescriptions. This type of approach led by the community and driven by personal relationships has inspired the creation of the county’s new Town Ambassador Programme. Organised by town councils, with support from the county council and GAVO, the programme sees local volunteers meet with those who feel uncertain about leaving their homes and walk with them around the town centre. The volunteers are given training so they can advise about the COVID-19 measures in place around the town centre and shops, chat about general wellbeing and signpost to local services.


Further details are captured in New Local study (Jan 2021): Shifting the Balance: Local adaptation, innovation and collaboration during the pandemic and beyond 

Gwynedd’s Community Spirit (Gwynedd C) 

Within the first two weeks at the start of lockdown in March 2020, over 600 people had registered to volunteer with Mantell Gwynedd’s Volunteer Bank. Gwynedd Council and third sector bodies held formal weekly online meetings and worked together in a more joined-up manner to serve the needs of communities by identifying gaps, sharing resources and stepping up to the demand. Although the nature of volunteering has changed since the initial lockdown with many people returning to work or education, the volunteering spirit has remained. Many of the people who originally registered to volunteer with Mantell Gwynedd at the beginning of the initial lockdown reached out to volunteer again during the Autumn Firebreak.


Further details are captured in New Local study (Jan 2021): Shifting the Balance: Local adaptation, innovation and collaboration during the pandemic and beyond

Well-Fed – from care home healthy meal provision to emergency food boxes (Flintshire CC) 

Well-fed is a partnership between Flintshire County CouncilClwyd Alyn and Can Cook – it is a food company dedicated to feeding everyone well. Since the COVID-19 crisis hit Well-fed has adapted its operation from supplying healthy ready meals to care homes to respond to the overwhelming need to provide emergency food in the county. Alongside healthy ready meals, the council has been delivering slow cooker bags and ‘Well-Fed safety boxes’ which were an enhancement on the Welsh Government Shielded boxes. The ‘seven day’ safety boxes were provided to those considered vulnerable, shielding for health reasons and those who needed food support for financial reasons and included a selection of ready meals, staple food items and toiletries.  

COVID-19 Unlocking Signs (Pembrokeshire CC)  

Pembrokeshire County Council have developed a range of ‘COVID-19 unlocking signs’ that are available to download from the councils’ website. The council have created the signs which cover themes including hygiene, social distancing and face coverings as part of a broader campaign to preserve community safety as restrictions ease. The bilingual signs have proven to be a popular resource for local businesses in the county.  

Regional Community Cohesion Service for North East Wales (Wrexham CBC, Denbighshire CC and Flintshire CC)  

Wrexham, Denbighshire and Flintshire councils have worked in partnership to deliver a Regional Community Cohesion Service (RCC) for North East Wales. The service supports around 40 community groups and third sector organisations that in turn actively support minority communities. 

Since March 2020, RCC has continued to support communities although as with most services, the focus has adapted to address the challenges posed by COVID19. In total around £20,000 has been awarded in grants to support specific schemes such as: 

  • provision of food parcels, personal protective equipment and online support; 

  • translated information packs; 

  • summer holiday socially distanced activities;  

  • support in relation to domestic violence and substance misuse during Covid-19; 

  • post Covid-19 volunteering and community engagement opportunities; and 

  • supporting the local Traveller Community during Covid-19 with remote education support. 

The RCC is not sitting back on its laurels. It has a seat on the Wales Council for Voluntary Action Emergency Covid-19 funds panel and is working with AVOW and key partners to identify and secure larger and more sustainable funds to support minority communities and individuals with projected characteristics. 

Development of the click and collect system for library books (Powys CC)  

Powys County Council libraries were unable to continue with the facility to reserve books through the Library Catalogue during the pandemic. A different system was urgently needed to allow customers to request ‘book collections’ to be picked up from selected libraries or delivered to their door, the council came up with the Library Order and Collect Service 

The council worked with the Library Service to develop a customer centred process which involves a customer facing web form triggering automatic workflow and emails to appropriate library locations. The council also developed an admin interface where Library staff can view the requests and select a date when the books will be available for collection. This action triggers an automatic email to the customer to notify them. Library staff then put together a collection of books suiting the customer’s tastes and leave them ready for collection on the date advised. 

There is also an ‘assisted-service’ version of the above developed for customers who prefer to interact by phone. This uses the same process and forms as the self-service version, but all communication is by phone. 

11 December 2020 12:49:00 Categories: COVID-19 COVID-19 (Libraries - Digital) Leisure and Culture Powys

Web-based food parcel and welfare calls system (Powys CC)  

The Web Team at Powys County Council developed a web-based system in response to assessing whether eligible people were in need of regular food parcel deliveries, monitoring the wellbeing of vulnerable residents on a weekly or fortnightly basis and responding to needs for support from Powys Social Care or Community Connectors volunteers. 

The system used ‘shielding people’ data and other internal ‘vulnerable individual’ data, which the council stored in a database. By clicking on a name from a list a web form opens for call handlers to record customers’ answers to questions based on an agreed script. The council developed automatic triggers to email Adult Social Care or Community Connectors or generate a food parcel request (if eligible) based on customers’ answers to the questions and the nature of the support needed.  

Between April 3rd and August 14th, a total of 23,791 calls were made by Powys County Council staff resulting in 

  • 649 Welsh Government food parcels being ordered 

  • 438 requests for a call back from the resident's local county councillor 

  • 459 requests for help with basic care needs which were passed on to ASSIST 

  • 1,654 referrals to PAVO's Community Connector Service (of these 1,076 wanted help with food, 373 needed help with their prescriptions and 205 wished to talk to a volunteer) 

  • 150 referrals over safeguarding 

Winter Well-being Hub (Ceredigion CC)  

Ceredigion County Council have created a new online Winter Well-being Hub to support the wellbeing of Ceredigion residents over the autumn and winter months.  

Activities and events that would normally take place during this time of year are no longer possible due to the pandemic. So, the Hub provides a range of activities to undertake on-line and includes information and videos on a range of topics such as available support, health and wellbeing, young people and learning.  

The Winter Well-being is in line with the Council’s Winter Strategy, to protect the health and wellbeing of our most vulnerable, including care services for the elderly and those whose medical conditions make them particularly at risk from COVID-19. 

Launch of the Carers Card (Ceredigion CC)  

Carer Card has been launched by Ceredigion County Council, for unpaid carers who look after family members or friends who would not be able to manage on their own without the support and care of an unpaid carer. 

The Carer Card is a photo ID card issued by Ceredigion County Council’s Carers Unit to carers aged 18 and over who have registered with the councils Carers Information Service. 

The card has been developed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. During the early months of the pandemic, many carers contacted the council to ask for something they could use to prove that they are caring for someone if they were challenged when collecting and delivering essential supplies for that person. 

Cardholders will have access to priority shopping opportunities with retailers who are participating in the scheme. A list of retailers and other benefits is available on the councils Carer Card page. 

Conwy Community Support Service (Conwy CBC) 

Conwy County Borough Council established the Community Support Service(CSS) helpline in March 2020, the purpose of which was to provide assistance to anyone within the community who wasn’t able to call on friends, family or neighbours to ask for help with picking up shopping, delivering medication etc. Assistance was initially provided through volunteer matching and we then moved on to using temporarily redeployed staff from other services within the council. Volunteers were encouraged to register with Community & Voluntary Support Conwy(CVSC) to be matched with local organisations. Conwy CBC have an agreement with a number of local shops and both Tesco stores in the county to take payment over the phone from individuals using the CSS for shopping requests. When the Conwy Staff are at the till, the shop ring the customer who then pay for their shopping over the phone. There is also a process in place to assist if individuals have no means to pay by card over the phone. The CSS service has been scaled back in line with easing lockdown rules and the number of requests we receive reduce. All surgeries and pharmacies have been informed and have been encouraged to register with the RedCross if they need assistance with prescription deliveries.

Neath Port Talbot Council supports schools with home learning (Neath Port Talbot CBC) 

Schools supported home learning throughout the lockdown period.

Neath Port Talbot Council surveyed all of their schools on their distance learning provision and a Continuity of Learning Plan was written and shared with all schools as a result.

The survey identified any shortcomings with regards to training and support required and council officers supported any school that required technical support in order to deliver distance learning.

The council has provided over 1000 devices for pupils with no appropriate IT equipment and / or internet access.

In preparation for re-opening, all NPT schools prepared recovery plans and risk assessments based on the guidance provided by the council school improvement team and Welsh Government, and the council provided guidance on Blended Learning. During reopening, the council ensured Headteachers received weekly support to update them on key developments and to discuss concerns. A dedicated FAQ portal was established.


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