Living with covid

The requirement for people who test positive for COVID-19 to self-isolate has ended, with people expected to take personal responsibility if they may have the virus, as part of government plans to phase out all legal restrictions in England over the coming weeks.

Local authorities will continue to manage local outbreaks of COVID-19 in high-risk settings, as they do with other infectious diseases.

We know that councils and directors of public health are continuing to work tirelessly to keep communities safe and to manage service pressures, including critical staff shortages, particularly in social care and public health.

With the removal of national COVID-19 regulations in England, we are promoting the vital role council-led local public health provision has had over the past two years, and the significant work we will be undertaking in the coming months on areas including vaccine uptake. 

We are making the case to government that councils need continued support, including with staffing cover across key frontline services, while rates of transmission remain high and service delivery challenges continue. 

We are also seeking urgent clarity on whether much-needed outbreak management funding – which has helped councils to reduce the spread of the virus – will be extended beyond March, to ensure areas can continue to drive down the virus and protect vulnerable communities.

As national systems are scaled back, it’s important that local public health teams still have the tools they need to respond to new variants and tackle outbreaks, particularly in higher risk settings. 

This won’t require the same level of funding as the Government has provided so far, but an extension of part of the funding is vital so councils can continue this work and ensure staff with expertise in this area are retained.

I would also like to pass on my thanks to Cllr Nick Forbes, Leader of the LGA’s Labour Group since 2015, and of Newcastle City Council since 2011, who will be standing down at the May elections. He has been a good colleague, working constructively across party for the benefit of councils and our residents. This is a sad loss to all of local government and we wish him well for the future.

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