Agenda item

Coronavirus response


Ian Keating updated the board to the work that lead members and officers have been doing since Covid-19 became a local government crisis.


Officers gave the following updates:


Early Years

  • Early Providers have really struggled financially during COVID-19.
  • Accessing wrap around care is an ongoing issue for parents.



  • Concerns about children catching up on the missed curriculum, while ensuring teachers are feeling the increased pressure of catching pupils up.
  • School transport will be a challenge during the easing of the lockdown and older children using public transport to get to school.
  • Free school meals not continuing over the summer would be a crisis for vulnerable children.
  • Safety in schools is a concern with teachers and parents raising these issues nationally.


Children’s Social Care

  • The LGA is commissioning a piece of work around collecting the voice of children and their experiences during Covid-19.
  • Reducing referrals to children’s social care, and numbers of children coming into care of the council, during Covid-19 is a concern.
  • Pressures on the workforce in Social Care the longer the crisis goes on is an ongoing concern of councils.


Children’s Health


·       We have managed to secure agreement from the NHS that health visitors and school nurses should be returned from redeployment to their original roles. However, we know that some redeployment remains and are working to support local authorities with this. In the future all redeployment decisions should be agreed by Directors of Public Health, as agreed by NHS England.

·       On this basis local authorities are expected to start phasing back healthy child programme visits and development checks. Priority for home visits should still be given to new birth visits and those families thought to be ‘vulnerable’.

·       NHS E and are leading the childhood immunisation plan and we know there will be a major catch up programme from especially for school aged children from September. We are working to ensure local authorities are consulted in the plans.


CYP Mental Health


  • A successful webinar on peer power and youth justice was held, highlighting how we hear the voice of the child. More will be organised as the crisis continues.
  • Understanding the mental health of the whole family when dealing with mental health of children.
  • There is an increase in child anxiety and depression, leading to a higher risk of suicides.


Members had the following comments:

  • Wrap around care provision is a massive problem with key workers who used to get the care for their dependents but no longer can access it. While it is reassuring the LGA is taking up this issue, but the pressure needs to be kept up.
  • Teacher safety in schools is an issue that needs addressing as the lockdown is eased.
  • Schools ensuring their pupils can work online during the lockdown has come at a massive cost to schools and they will need urgent financial support.
  • Outdoor study maybe critical in the summer months for safety of all staff and students.
  • Student emotional wellbeing is declining with students who have little outdoor space or other siblings at home to interact with.
  • SEND support has been a board priority and needs to be adapted to the new climate around COVID-19.
  • The voice of the child needs to be centred in the work of this board.
  • Authorities and schools should be thanked for their hard work during this crisis. Schools never closed, they were always supporting key worker children.
  • School is about much more than education, it is also about the health and wellbeing of the children. The health of the whole family doesn’t seem to have had much thought in COVID-19 preparations.
  • Growing inequalities around children who have English as a second language will only have gotten worse being outside of formal education. BME communities have been hit the hardest in this crisis.
  • The demand in social care referrals when lockdown is eased will be an issue for councils.  Whole Council Budgets need support. MHCLG need to fund Councils as promised so that we can cover all costs and not cut back in crucial areas.
  • A lot of good practice has been developed across this crisis and needs to be collected by the LGA for the whole sector.





Members noted the update.




A report on children’s health issues, pulling together all known concerns during lockdown to be drafted by officers.


Supporting documents: