COVID-19 (Coronavirus) - information for council providers
Ian Thomas, Chief Executive and Sarah Ireland, Director of Contracts and Communities share a message to all of our providers
The council is working hard to maintain its services, while adjusting its operations and working practices in line with the latest Government and public health guidance. This involves reprioritisation of our work and the redeployment of our workforce to deliver essential services. Our providers are a crucial partner to the council, and we will therefore want to discuss the challenges you are facing and how you can contribute to our local response.
We will be sharing further information with you over the coming weeks and months, but we ask that you please familiarise yourself with key guidance and check regularly for updates. The Government has resources on its dedicated website
We would also encourage you to make sure you are aware of the range of measures to keep your staff safe and to protect others, including guidance on staying at home, social distancing and shielding of vulnerable individuals.
Stress-test your operational readiness
We want to work with you to ensure business continuity during the current crisis and resumption of normal service delivery in due course. As part of this, we are reviewing business contingency plans with our suppliers, focusing on delivery of essential services. It is therefore important that your organisation reviews and updates your Business Continuity Plan and shares this with us. If you have not already had a discussion with your council contact, they will be in touch to discuss contingency planning.
Over the coming weeks and months we want to ensure we have sufficient workforce capacity across our essential services. If you are delivering non-essential services, please discuss with your council contact how your staff could be redeployed on a mutual aid basis. If you are not able to reach your usual council contact, please email [email protected]
To ensure service continuity during and after the current outbreak, we will be implementing the Government guidance on contract management of, and payments to, ‘at risk’ suppliers. The council may consider your organisation to be ‘at risk’ as a result of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak if:
you will struggle to meet contractual obligations
your ongoing viability is at risk due to issues with cashflow or liquidity, a reduction in your workforce capacity and/or disruption to your supply chains.
We will work with you to mitigate against these risks and may provide relief against current contractual terms, including exploring alternative payment terms to facilitate cashflow. If you consider your organisation to be ‘at risk’ you should alert your council contact as a matter of urgency.
The Government has announced a range of support for businesses, including a job retention scheme, deferral or suspension of various business tax payments, grant funding for small businesses, and loan schemes to respond to cashflow and liquidity pressures. Further details can be found on the gov.uk website.
In addition, the London Funders Alliance have pledged to support the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector and an emergency fund has been established to support organisations facing immediate financial pressures and uncertainty because of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak. Further details are available on the London Funders Alliance website.
We are keen to ensure its providers make best use of these initiatives; if you require assistance to access additional support, please liaise with your council contact in the first instance.
As we face this unprecedented challenge, it is unquestionably a difficult time for everyone in the country, but if we work together, we will invariably secure a better outcome. Please let us know urgently if you are facing difficulties, so that we can find a solution together. Thank you for your continued support.