NALC has updated its dedicated webpage on the coronavirus. This includes a letter to local (parish and town) councils from Robert Jenrick MP and information on getting testing and homeworking. See the updates below:
Letter to local councils
On 30 April, Robert Jenrick MP, secretary of state for Housing, Communities and Local Government, wrote a letter to local councils thanking them for their work supporting communities during this pandemic. Cllr Sue Baxter, chairman of NALC, responded saying “I am pleased the local government secretary has acknowledged and praised the fantastic response from local (parish and town) councils across England in supporting their communities during this pandemic. I welcome the recognition of the financial challenges facing local government and the need for support. We will continue to discuss how best to address this with the government and the Local Government Association.”
The government guidance on getting tested for COVID-19 is available which includes information on who would be regarded as an essential worker and so be prioritised for testing.
As an employer, if the council provides homeworking expenses for your employees, you have certain tax, National Insurance and reporting obligations. The council as the employer is has the same health and safety responsibilities for staff working from home as they do for those in an office. The Health and Safety Executive has useful information that could inform your approach.
This information forms part of a NALC’s dedicated webpage on the coronavirus. It should not be used as a substitute for government advice, however, there are some practicalities specific to local (parish and town) councils where we hope this information will help you plan ahead and manage your risks. If you would like further advice and support on any of these topics for your local council then please contact your local county association. This is a fast-moving situation and we will be updating the webpage regularly.