In the middle of what is an unprecedented public health crisis affecting all of us, I want to thank every councillor and council member of staff for their continuing hard work on behalf of their local communities.
I know you are working night and day to help the most vulnerable, prioritise vital local services, coordinate and lead local partners, support our heroic public health services and local NHS, prop up local businesses, and keep everybody safe, as we all battle to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
At the LGA, we are doing everything we can to help you in this vital work, by working directly with government ministers and others, and advising them on how best to implement new measures and reduce other burdens on councils, so you can focus on COVID-19.
We are also providing direct support to you, our members, with daily coronavirus updates available via e-bulletins from myself and LGA Chief Executive Mark Lloyd; a coronavirus hub with information and resources (www.local.gov.uk/coronavirus); and two-way communications and intelligence sharing via principal advisers.
Across the country, councils and their staff – including social workers, transport drivers, community coordinators, public health officials and refuse collectors – are on the frontline in the battle against this disease.
For elected members, our role as community leaders has never been more important, and the LGA has published guidance on how we can best help local efforts (see www.local.gov.uk/publications).
On a practical level, we know our wards best, and can use our local knowledge and contacts to identify people who need help, feeding this intelligence back to our town halls and acting as a vital bridge between councils and communities.
The local services and support that councils provide have never been more vital for the people we serve. I know the coming months will make huge demands of all of us connected with local government. So please also make sure you take time to take care of yourselves.