The council headquarters in Epping High Street are working with reduced electrical power and some offices are unavailable to staff after a water pipe burst over the weekend.
Finance including, council tax, and housing benefits are among services affected.
The subsequent power shutdown also took the council website offline on Sunday. Some staff are making temporary arrangements to work in different parts of the building or at alternative locations while others have been asked to stay at home.
The Council activated its business continuity plan on Sunday morning. The supply to a water cooler in the planning area on the top floor of the 1960s part of the civic offices had burst. A large amount of water caused damage in the planning department and offices directly beneath it occupied by support services and finance. Damage to electrical cables temporarily cut the power supply to the whole building but supplies to the more recently constructed areas of the office were re-established on Sunday afternoon.
Temporary power supplies were installed to the telephone switchboard and cash office ensuring these essential services would be available on Monday morning. IT systems were brought back online during the course of Sunday afternoon and evening. The website was also back online by 9am on Monday.
Visitors to the civic offices are being warned of potential delays or disruption while further emergency repairs are carried out. Other services affected include legal, estates and valuation, land charges, accountancy, all areas of planning, building control and economic development, and the council’s internal printshop. However, services located in the newer part of the offices including housing, environmental health, safer communities, and the contact centre for refuse and recycling are largely unaffected.
Some staff usually based in the affected areas will be offering services from temporary accommodation in other parts of the building.
The meeting of the cabinet scheduled to take place in the council chamber at 7pm on Monday evening is expected to go ahead and will be webcast as normal.
Councillor Chris Whitbread Leader of Epping Forest District Council said:
“This is the kind of event that can hit any organisation. We have good business continuity plans in place and actually practised for a similar scenario only a year or two ago. It meant we had anticipated many of the potential issues and were able to respond very quickly despite the significant disruption.
We will have the insurance assessors in and there will no doubt be quite a few repairs but I am confident we will be back to normal very soon.
In the meantime, I would like to thank all those members of staff who worked throughout Sunday to make sure we could open on Monday, apologise for any inconvenience to our residents and ask everyone to bear with us while we do everything necessary to get all our services back up to speed.”