Mental Health, the impact of Covid-19 and key Cabinet decisions featured in Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Thursday 15 October.
Stephanie Rea, from the Essex Partnership University Trust (EPUT) West Essex, briefed councillors on the work of the trust during Covid-19 and its plans to continue and improve services. EPUT saw a rise in both new patients and those with existing health issues using its services. Contacting patients in new ways meant no service needed to be stopped.
Councillors also heard how the mental wellbeing of EFDC employees is being supported. As well as Council resources for staff and their loved ones, 97% of managers have undergone mental health training, and others have become Mental Health First Aiders.
It’s OK not to be OK
If you or someone you know needs mental health support, help is out there.
Civic Offices, Epping
Building work continues to transform the council offices into a more bright, open and welcoming space. Work placed with local contractors is also supporting the local economy and safeguarding jobs.
The latest Housing Apprenticeship Scheme is currently recruiting. Council apprenticeships are currently supporting 23 local young people.
Leader of Epping Forest District Council, Councillor Chris Whitbread said:
Since 2012 EFDC has been very lucky with the hard-working apprentices who have joined the organisation. Every group of new apprentices has been first class. I hope we can continue to build on our apprenticeship scheme for the future and help the younger generation of Epping Forest.
Working more effectively
Despite slight Covid-19 related delays, Qualis Management reported that projects are on track to the original timelines and it is reaching out to local businesses. Latest feedback on the transfer of the Housing Repairs services is very positive.
Councillor Holly Whitbread, responsible for Housing and Community Services said:
Since the move to Qualis, the housing repairs team has been able to work more effectively. Staff have reported being able to complete 2 to 3 more jobs per day thanks to the new systems in place, meaning waiting times for our residents have been reduced.
We have grown as a council
Essex recently moved into Tier 2, High Covid Alert Level. Commenting on the latest O&S Covid-19 update, Council Leader, Councillor Chris Whitbread said:
The last 9 months have been tough on everyone. We, as a council, were fortunate that most of our services were able to carry on uninterrupted by the Covid restrictions. The services that did have to be suspended back in March, such as the sport centres, our museum and housing maintenance, are now thankfully back up and running with new Government safety measures in place.
We were one of only a few local authorities that managed to continue with its waste collections as normal. I’d like to thank Biffa for their support and cooperation to help us achieve that.
I believe we have grown us a council, which is evident in how quickly we were able to react to the challenges lockdown presented; the business grants were distributed efficiently; we set up virtual meetings with members to help continue our services; helped our more vulnerable residents with essential deliveries and much needed shelter; and helped our high streets operate safely as restrictions began to ease.
As we approach the winter and enter a High Alert Level, we are aware of where others may need more support and we feel better prepared to provide that to those who need it.
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