Renfrewshire Council

Text transcript: Emergencies Board 17 April 2020

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Welcome to the Emergencies Board.  This is the first meeting of the board that has been recorded. This is an important step for the board. Now I'm going to introduce the members of the board and I will be calling you by your proper name. Councillor Alistair Mackay, Councillor Eddie Devine, Councillor Iain Nicolson, Councillor Michelle Campbell and myself my name is Councillor Marie McGurk. 

As you know we have not been able to hold our meetings in public due to the government guidance in relation to social distancing and the restriction on travel for non-essential purposes. Therefore it is important that we take steps to make the proceedings of this board open to scrutiny not only by the public but also by the other elected members of the council who are not members of the board. And I can advise that the recording of this meeting will be available to watch on the council's website later this afternoon. 

Can I hand over to you Ken to give the  rest of the advice to members? Thank you. 

Ken Graham:
Thank you Councillor McGurk.  Members will be aware of the approach that we've adopted for the running of the meeting and I have four additional points that I would like to bring to your attention that are really for members' attention so that the recording of the meeting can progress as well as it possibly could. So the first one is that essentially it's now even more important that the elected members who are not speaking have their microphones on mute. This is because the screen that 
is available for recording will only show the person who's actually speaking so it doesn't look like the screen that you will have available to you just now. It means that if somebody else has got the microphone on and there's some background noise there is a risk that that the camera will then switch to the source of the noise so will detract from the experience of the person viewing the meeting. For the same reason, it's also important that there's a short pause between speakers so if you're invited to speak by the chair if you just maybe count 1 or 2 in your head before you start speaking just to give the camera the chance to focus on you as a speaker. The third point that I ask you to note is that any instant message that you send so for example when you want to indicate that you are asking a question that will also be recorded as well so it will be part of the recording that's publicly available. And the other point is that when the recording is to end, Councillor McGurk as chair will announce that that point has been reached.The recording will end. This will typically take place prior to the start of the private session of the meeting so it's just to emphasis that the private session of the meeting will not form part of the recording. Otherwise the procedures that have already been agreed for Skype meetings will remain in place and with that I will hand back to Councillor McGurk. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Okay, thanks very much. Right, can we go to any declarations of interest? 
Convenor? 
Yes Councillor Campbell. 

Councillor Michelle Campbell:
Thank you Convener. I work with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde but not within this Health and Social Care Partnership so I will be staying and participating on all items. Thank you. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Thanks very much for that. Now can we go to the actual minute of the previous meeting? Can we agree the meeting? Yes? Thank you. Yes. Thank you. Thank you very much. Councillor Mackay, can you agree the  minute from the previous meeting? 

Councillor Alistair Mackay:
Yes I can. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Thank you. Councillor Nicolson? 

Councillor Iain Nicolson:
Yes agreed. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Thank you very much and myself too. 
Item 2 - can we have an update on Covid-19? Sandra, can I hand over to you please? 
Thank you.

Sandra Black: 
Thank you Councillor McGurk and good morning members. I hope you're all well. This week's update provides the latest position on the council's response to the virus and there are a few matters I'd like to draw your attention to specifically. First of all the paper was distributed just before the announcement that the national lockdown will remain in place for a further three weeks as anticipated. There have been no relaxations on movement of people and no relaxation of restrictions placed on essential work only. Therefore the council's current approach to service delivery will continue with a focus on the delivery of critical and essential services only and an emphasis on home working wherever that is possible and I appreciate the board's support in this as I appreciate this becomes more difficult as time progresses. Coming back to the report itself can I draw your attention to section 3? You will see that since our last report to board there has been almost a doubling of confirmed hospital cases and deaths at both a UK and Scottish level. As you can see from the graphs in the report that the pattern  is very similar in both Scotland and the UK. 

The report also highlights that this week has seen the first report from the National Records of Scotland which records the total number of deaths in Scotland were Covid-19 was a factor rather than only hospital deaths which have been the figures published so far. The figures are much higher with 62% of death in hospital, 25% in care homes and 13% at home or other settings. Members will also note that 70% of all deaths have been in people aged 75 or over. You'll also see from the report that this profile is not unique to Scotland and is replicated across the UK and there has been a lot of coverage of this particularly about the percentage of deaths in our care homes. Chair, I know that board members will have questions on this area and with permission I'd like to bring in Shiona Strachan to update members on the position in our own care homes and the measures put in place to try and maintain an up-to-date picture across all the care homes in Renfrewshire, Council run or privately owned. If you don't mind, I'd like to bring in Shiona Strachan, Chair at this point. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
That would be fine. Shiona come in please. 

Shiona Strachan:
Okay, as highlighted in the report and in the national reporting the situation is subject to considerable movement with the most significant changes happening over the last week and in particular over the holiday weekend and we have a total of 22 care homes and with a total number of beds available of 1320 plus 96 extra housing units, extra care housing units in our establishment. We also it's worth highlighting, have an additional group of sheltered housing across all of the communities in Renfrewshire. These sheltered housing groups while people are not in the very high-risk group, are people who should be shielded and are in the older people's population at highest risk and we are now working with those housing providers to ensure that we are monitoring and managing the situation as we go forward. From report preparation, we have had a further movement and we now have 10 homes with reported Covid-19 related symptoms affecting 77 residents from a possible 648. We have a cumulative figure now of 42 deaths since the beginning of April and these figures have now been confirmed. In our internal care homes and extra care housing units we have no reports of any Covid-related symptoms or deaths. Direct reporting of infection, deaths and care issues is to the Care Inspectorate at national level. In addition to the steps in the report which outline what the service is doing to try and mitigate and manage as best we can a very moving and rapidly forming situation, we are now sharing daily reports to verify our figures with the Care Inspectorate and we have a weekly face to face meeting with the regional team at the Care Inspectorate now in place and that was held yesterday and that allows us to monitor movement and process across the system and to share as much information as we can about the providers and how well they're doing both in staffing terms, PPE compliance, health and safety. We've also been in touch with Public Health Scotland and we'll maintain that contact and information as they're being shared on a daily basis with the GP group to ensure that GPs have an oversight of each of the care homes and their current position. I'm very happy to answer any additional questions members may have. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Do any members have any questions for Shiona? No? 

Councillor Eddie Devine:
Can I ask a question please? 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Can Councillor Devine come in? 

Councillor Eddie Devine:
Is the contact for our care homes Peter McLeod? 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
No Peter's the Director, Shiona 

Shiona Strachan:  
Peter's the chief executive of the Care Inspectorate at the national level. We do have local inspectors but we also have a regional team who manage across the west coast of Scotland and the connection that we've had Councilllor Devine we have daily contact anyway with the local inspectors that they tend to inspect only maybe one or two homes in our area and what we've done is just uplifted that to the regional level so we've got an overview of rates of movement within our own care homes. We're verifying the figures that they verify at regional level with our figures that we're gathering on a daily basis and we're also gathering any other kind of information that we need and gathering good practice across the piece.

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Okay then.

Councillor Eddie Devine:
I don't think any of us ever expected ourselves to be in this position. We were actually talking about  basically hundreds of deaths and being a councillor 
I want to pay tribute to the workforce and the managers for the work they are doing and all the care homes and hospitals so I think we should we should mention that. They are doing an incredible job and in terrible circumstances and I salute them for that. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Thanks very much for that Councillor Devine. Councillor Campbell you wanted to come in?

Councillor Michelle Campbell:
Yes thank you Convenor. It's just a small question but I think it's an important one and obviously for the care staff that are having to deal with these circumstances and having to offer that support to these families and then in that typical environment you become very close to the residents that you end up looking after. I'm really concerned about their well-being through this and so it's just to ask what conversations are taking place either at that regional meeting or otherwise about the supports that are going to be in place for those staff and also if there's anywhere where they can get advice as to how they can support the relatives that they're helping through these times. Thank you. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Shiona?
  
Shiona Strachan: 
Okay over recent days I've been in touch with our internal HR service to re-emphasise the level of support that is available. The HR service are making 
themselves available to staff on an individual basis within the care homes and within the services and there are a number of national help lines available 
and we are just about to circulate further information to staff on the front line about the places that they might be able to go to for help but the managers are also very very close to the front line at the moment and have a clear presence. We've also enhanced the management capacity within extra care and across the housing services and across our care at home services so the service is not structured the way it was. 

We have managers who've been deployed directly across to the front facing services in order to provide some additional care and support and we are 
seeing an increase in levels of anxiety being reported by staff and a number of staff we have supported to step back because they are reporting distress 
in these circumstances.

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Councillor Campbell, are you okay with that? Do you want to ask anything else? 

Councillor Michelle Campbell:
No thank you very much. I do appreciate that it's a really hard time. I feel reassured by that response. Thank you Convenor. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Okay Councillor Nicolson, you wish to come in? 

Councillor Iain Nicolson:
It's just a question for Shiona. I know the providers meeting took place earlier this week and I think the issue over PPE access and the hub is getting a lot smoother. The minutes appear to agree that they meet fortnightly. Can I ask if that's a suitable enough time space given everything moves that quickly 
in this world? Whether the providers meetings with your team Laura and company shouldn't really be taking place weekly? Thanks. 

Shiona Strachan: 
So for our providers we have a daily phone call now with the contracts team and they ask a series of questions, a series of direct questions to each provider who's contracted to us and that's over 80 providers just now that are contacted in this way and we ask a very specific question about availability of PPE and use of PPE in terms of the numbers of infections and Covid related deaths and additional medical support. There are daily phone calls from the liaison team which is a nurse led team, led by the district nursing service. For those homes that are most badly affected at the moment there's a twice daily contact by the district nursing service into these care homes again to ensure that PPE is present that they have sufficient supplies and there are no other things that we can assist them 
with we have also over the last couple of days added in some additional support offer in terms of contact with families because the staff within the care homes who would normally do all of the contact and obviously busy and providing direct care at the moment so some of the locality staff are starting to step forward to do some of the liaison work. I know that's slightly more than you've asked for but that's where we are at the moment so we do keep some normal business flowing underneath all of this but on top we have supplemented where we need to.

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Okay, thank you. Councillor Eddie Devine wanted to come back in. Eddie you need to undo your mic.

Councillor Eddie Devine:
The question is that you mentioned a day last week where we had enough PPE to do us and how are we fixed for PPE supplies Shiona? 

Shiona Strachan:
I have a morning call with all of the services within the HSCP that are front facing and we have confirmed this morning that there's sufficient PPE and we are operating on a multi order system across the week so I always check how far in advance we are and where there are shortages we attempt to address that and the flow is a lot better than it was it's still not completely smooth and we also with the providers check every day that they have sufficient and where there are difficulties we have been supplying to providers directly in order to make sure that we've got an even and consistent supply across the service areas. This morning we have sufficient supplies and some additional in some of the areas to do us until the deliveries which are due next Monday. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Okay Councillor Devine? 

Councillor Eddie Devine:
6.3 I don't know if you can bring that up? About people who don't normally need PPE, if somebody asked for PPE because they're worried or scared, would they be provided with some you know like masks or gloves something like that you know to ease their worries? 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
I think the answer is yes to that but I will let Shiona answer that. 

Sandra Black:
I think that's thinking of non health care settings. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Is it non health care Eddie? Sorry you need to take your mic off.

Councillor Eddie Devine:
It says in 6.3 the Council's health and safety team. It's just a general question. I'm not trying to catch anyone out. It's just that some people are anxious and you know like the bin men or people like that if they requested a mask would we be open to them getting one? I know they get gloves. It's just a general question.

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Yes, okay Sandra? 

Sandra Black:
Yes I mean as the report suggests Councillor McGurk we are carrying out detailed risk assessments across all services and obviously trade unions and the workforce are involved in in those assessments so we do try and take a collaborative approach to which PPE is needed and what the workforce feel comfortable with so we would try and address any concerns that the workforce have in the distribution of PPE in any service.

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Councillor Devine?

Councillor Eddie Devine:
That's great. Thanks very much Sandra. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Okay thanks Sandra I wonder if I could just ask one question and you might not have an answer for it yet but one of the things that seems to be coming forward from some of the community regarding the care homes they would like to be able to see their resident member family there whether it was done through a video or I know that they get regular phone calls which is excellent but sometimes people need to see their members in the care homes. Can you advise on that? 

Shiona Strachan:
I can pick that up Councillor McGurk In internal care homes and extra care at the outset of this situation we supplied each of the care homes with ipads to Facetime. It's also possible to see people. Some of the care homes have large window areas, It's also possible to see people in those circumstances. We appreciate how difficult this is. Family members are allowed in in restricted conditions where it is likely that someone will imminently die and facilitating palliative care visits but it's an extremely awkward and difficult situation for people. Families in general have been very very good and what must be a very distressing time for them. They certainly have been very supportive of the staff in carrying that out and we have and with the external providers we have again monitored that they are adhering to the national guidance in relation to the lockdown and visiting. It's really important to be able to try and manage potential groups of infection in and out of the care home. I do appreciate this. It's just some people have asked if they can visually see and they've not been able to but I will make sure that they find out that they can. I think if they speak to the registered manager, we will find a way of doing it, It is not always easy and for people with dementia the Face Time elements are actually quite confusing and distressing so they're not always the best way but we will do whatever we can. 
Thank you very much for that. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Any more questions members on this subject? No? Sandra, can I go back to you? Thank you Shiona for that.

Sandra Black:
Thank you Chair. Just moving on then to section four of the report we've provided an update on the support that's been provided to our shielded residents and you will see that we now have contact numbers for them from NHS and are actively contacting everyone where that is possible. As discussed last week the new national helpline for other vulnerable people was launched this week and calls are now being redirected to all councils for support to those people to the numbers at the moment are still very low but there is a leaflet campaign being launched next week by Scottish Government on this and we expect that that will increase the numbers quite significantly and the table at 4.6 hopefully provides a helpful summary on the total support to those residents in Renfrewshire and what's being provided to date.

At the paragraph 4.7 of the report we've also provided an update on public protection arrangements across Renfrewshire which of course remain a top priority for the council and our partners at this time and you will see the online meetings are replacing the normal committee and chief officer group meetings to ensure that we maintain as much oversight and partnership working as possible during the lockdown. The report notes that there has been a reduction in protection referrals to Social Work and we understand this as an issue for other parts of Scotland too. It is of course of concern to us and with your permission Chair, I'm now going to bring in John Trainer the Chief Social Work Officer to update members on this subject and the measures that we are putting in place to raise awareness of child and adult protection in these difficult circumstances. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Before you bring John in, Councillor Nicolson? Do you want to ask your question on what has been said already or would you like to wait until John Trainer is finished? 

Councillor Iain Nicolson:
I'm quite happy to wait 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Thanks. John Trainer please come in. 

John Trainer:
Thanks Councillor McGurk. I just want to provide some context and reassurance in relation to the issue of child and adult protection and how we are managing 
that on a daily basis. If I could start first by addressing the issue of the reduction in referrals and obviously we are three weeks in to the the current crisis of lockdown so it's probably too early to take too many messages from the information we have but we have seen what we would consider to be a significant reduction in expected child protection referrals particularly after the holiday weekend we would normally get a number of referrals. This year compared to last year we're seeing about a 40% - 45% reduction so that is a concern for us. Around general referrals to Social Work we're seeing a 20% reduction. In adult protection the numbers are not quite as stark and we'll do a bit of double checking on those figures because we had I think a few late referrals that came through and so we're not experiencing the same concern but any reduction in child protection referrals does pass us a worry. So how are we managing that? 

Currently children's social work service and adult social work services are both operating as normal in terms of staff being able to visit children on the child protection register and vulnerable adults and all children on the child protection register have been categorised as priority one along with children who are looked after at home. We have visited all of the children on the child protection register each week since we entered lockdown and we are also maintaining other contact with those families using technology telephone calls and in some cases video calls. Adults, we are prioritising the visits that are required in those visits have been made on a risk assessed basis For children who are looked after at home we have prioritised those that we consider most vulnerable and in 
agreement with those families formal  risk assessments are undertaking visits so I'm reassured about the children that we currently know that we're providing 
the right services for. It's therefore the the children who are not known to services currently who may be experiencing challenges that we were 
unaware of or haven't yet been drawn to our attention.

I've spoken to the Chief Social Work Adviser at the Scottish Government highlighting the reduction in our referrals and that's here we've got the information that suggest the other council areas are also experiencing similar numbers.  The social worker officer working with COSLA, SOLAS and Social Work Scotland and government will be looking at a public campaign to promote the awareness across the community of the importance of reporting concerns and I suppose my message would be that you should never feel badly about making a referral if you're genuinely concerned about child make that referral to Social Work in our contact details are on the council website. Locally with Louisa's team we have put out a few messages about public protection issues both for children and adults and we'll continue to do that on a regular basis and we had a meeting yesterday with the police and with the Scottish Children's Reporter administration and they've agreed that what will happen is at the point we put out a message on our social network systems they will put that message out via their own systems as well so we're beginning to get a high level of coverage area across the council area so hope that helps but happy to respond to any questions.

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Okay then Councillor Nicolson, I'll let you in first and Councillor Devine when Councillor Nicolson is finished I will ask you to come in 

Councillor Iain Nicolson:
Hi it wasn't a question specifically for John. It was to do with item 4 which is the assistance for the Group ones and Group twos. Yes, well the question I really have is specifically about 4.2 and I understand in some other local councill areas and I know Sandra has just said they've now got the information of the people who receive the national food support but I've not yet had an indication. There's been some sort of discussion that some people are not getting the food in other council areas and also about the delivery of it. It's 18 kilograms and how is the food being taken to people's homes. So what's happening when the food gets actually delivered to the house especially if it's someone who is frail and elderly? What's the process involved in that to make sure the food is taken inside and stored or whatever is happening after that event? It's just so that we know that in Renfrewshire that there's nobody sitting there and who we think has had a food delivery but we should know they have it and we should know that they have been able to utilise it and access any support that is there for them, thanks. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Yes I'll get that question answered first before I allow you to come in Councillor Devine. Sandra who would you like to answer that question? 

Sandra Black:
Thanks Councillor McGurk. Just to clarify the contact numbers that we've been given are for everyone on the shielded list not necessarily those that have signed up for the the Brakes food delivery, I've not spoken to Laura in the last 24 hours but the last time we spoke we hadn't been told at that point in time which specific residents had actually signed up to the Brakes delivery so how the process was supposed to work in a way that the council would be available to assess anyone who couldn't carry the box into their home. As far as I'm aware to date we've not been advised to prove who those people are. If I could bring Laura McIntyre in and she'll be able to provide the most up-to-date position. Thank you. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Yes, thanks for that. Laura? Thank you. 

Laura McIntyre:
Thank you Councillor McGurk. Just to confirm we, as Sandra has mentioned, we did receive confirmation earlier this week that approximately six hundred local people have signed up to the national SMS system and Brakes delivery which is the food parcels that Councillor Nicolson is referring to. We have signed up as a council to a data sharing agreement which will allow us to receive more detailed information in terms of the individuals that have received deliveries to date. We have not received this so our approach as a council is that we are continuing to provide food and support as required for the shielded over and above  the Brakes deliveries to make sure that there are no vulnerable people who are not receiving a food parcel. 
  
We have received multiple phone calls from people within the shielded group who have signed up for the Brakes delivery who seem to have had some issues with that delivery process in terms of boxes as Councillor Nicolson has indicated not being lifted in or they haven't been left at all so there are potentially some initial teething problems with the national delivery service and but where those issues  are identified and people are calling in we are offering to provide support so that people can receive foods and any other wider support that they require 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Okay, thank you for that. Councillor Nicolson do you want to come back in? 

Councillor Iain Nicolson:
No, I've just typed up a quick thanks for that because I think it's welcome news to know that we still provide some level of cover to cover some of the gaps that may appear with some of this process and I know it's all trying to do all the right things but whenever gaps appear I think we need to be very sure that we'll make sure as much as we can that we plug all those gaps until the system gets up and fully fully working so that's appreciated. Thanks. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Thanks very much for that. I was made aware earlier in the week that you were continuing to do that Laura so thanks very much for that. Councillor Devine, is your question in relation to that or something else? You can direct it to Sandra. 

Councillor Eddie Devine:
No, it's directed at John Trainer. John it's to ask our young adults, young adults in our care coping with this with the lockdown. I've had questions asked about a particular, and I'll call it a home. I'm happy to speak to you after about it and they don't seem to be coping  very well with it. I think it's getting to them quite badly. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Okay. John Trainer? 

John Trainer:
Thanks Councillor McGurk. Thanks Councillor Devine. It's mixed Councillor Devine as you can imagine. So if I could give a general comment that our children's houses and our support for care leavers our services are continuing to operate normally. We are not experiencing any problems in terms of staffing within those units so they have been staffed well and continue to operate. The young people as you can imagine, like many young people in family homes, are experiencing different challenges in terms of the lockdown. But we are not experiencing significant challenges. Most young people are actually co-operating very well with the stay at home advice and are supported to do so by the staff and I'm aware of the unit that you have mentioned and I'm happy to have a further conversation with you in relation to that and they're having some challenges. That's because that unit is a semi-independent unit it's not a children's house and young people are probably a bit more isolated and are seeking out some support and we are working on a plan to ensure they stay within the house but that they have appropriate support to deal with any challenges they are facing and particularly in terms of isolation because they are living on their own and so they have 
very limited contact elsewhere which is why so many people have chosen to leave. If they do leave we support them back in a planned way addressing the social distancing issues and give them support to make sure that they don't go out after that. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Okay Councillor Devine now. Do you want to come back in? 

Councillor Eddie Devine:
It was just to say to John I can imagine these youngsters have been through a lot in their lives and it must be very very difficult for them to try and cope with this so I'll speak to you later about it. Thanks very much for your answer. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
I think the important thing John is to make sure that we've got support networks around  regardless of where they are if they're in an independent living or not. 
Councillor Mackay you wanted to come in as a question to John or to another officer? 

Councillor Alistair Mackay:
My question moves around paragraph 4.2 about Group One people. Is that okay?

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Yes thanks very much. Sandra? 

Councillor Alistair Mackay:
Thank you. I was wondering if there's been a check to see if all the Group One contacts have been notified that they fall into that group and the SMS service is available to them? I would imagine that unless they've actually received a letter through the door and it was saying they fall into that group then they won't know that they're falling into that group and I'm just concerned that maybe some have slipped through the net. Can you tell me what facilities are in place just to make sure that those Group One people are familiar with the situation.

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Thank You. Sandra? 

Sandra Black:
Thank you Councillor McGurk. The letters informing residents that they're on the shielding list don't come from the council of course. They come from the the national agencies who identified them a as a result of underlying health issues and so on. As we understand it, that in those those have effectively so far gone out in four different phases and n the latest ones as I understand it have gone out as a result the original lists being reviewed by GPs based on their own local knowledge of the people that they are seeing individually. So we're really relying on national agencies and the GPs ensuring that the coverage on the shielding list is complete and when the council is given the contact numbers for those people we are doing our best to contact them all as soon as possible to find out if they need any further support but what I would say is if anyone that members are aware of believe they should be on the shielded list and they've not received a letter then we're happy to take that up on their behalf. 

Councillor Alistair Mackay:
Okay, thank you. And another question revolving around the deliveries of aid to the front doors. Are you experiencing a shortage of volunteers or do you have enough because I understand the Red Cross and Engage Renfrewshire seemed to be oversubscribed with volunteers so I'm wondering how your volunteer situation is? 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Sandra? 

Sandra Black:
Thank you Councillor McGurk. No, there is a large number of volunteers coming through both the National scheme and the local scheme which has been 
administered by Engage Renfrewshire. Leonie Bell, an officer in the council is currently leading on the engagement with local and national agencies to ensure 
that we start to bring the volunteers and make use of them but I don't have the exact numbers to hand but I think that there are close to a thousand volunteers available in Renfrewshire with various skill sets and we're going to work with the British Red Cross and Volunteers Scotland and Engage Renfrewshire to try to ensure that as many of them can be used as possible but yeah there are a large number and I think that's generally the picture across Scotland. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Councillor Mackay, are you okay with that? 

Councillor Alistair Mackay:
Yes, thank you very much for that. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
You're very welcome. Councillor Devine, you wanted to come back in? 

Councillor Eddie Devine:
Yes, just a quick one. One lesson I've learned from this is if something like this happens again we really need to have a central point where everybody feeds into and then us councils we can go in and take  information we need and give it out you know because it seems to be all over the place. We're looking there and we're looking there and we are reporting to this then to that. My opinion is we should have a central area where we can all go for the information and say we the council and put it out there, not just locally but nationally. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Sandra? 

Sandra Black:
Thanks Councillor McGurk.  Yes I mean I think all agencies it's something we've never experienced a crisis of this nature and length before and I've certainly asked our officers to maintain a list of learning points and I'm sure when we get through this first part of the crisis then to more recovery and so on that all of this can be learned from for the future. Thank you. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Thanks very much for that Sandra.  Do you want to continue now with the report? 

Sandra Black:
Yes thank you thank you Chair and just moving on down to section 5 of the report it provides an update on the good progress that the council is making in processing the two business grant programmes on behalf of the Scottish Government and also provides a short note on this week's announcements on further grant support to business and the details of that will become available from the end of month. Section six provides a further update on the guidance on supply of PPE across all health and social care partnership and council services and specifically the recent engagements on the use of masks for a care workers which we are of course following and as we've already discussed members will also note the current revised arrangements for the sourcing of stocks of PPE and as of yesterday the stock levels available to us and obviously Shiona has already covered a some of those issues earlier on. 

Section six of the report then goes on to advise members normally that the Right for Renfrewshire programme has been temporarily suspended and note that the operational changes already agreed for 2021 have not been able to be progressed due to the lockdown arrangements and as a result we are currently writing to all staff due to leave the council's employment this year as a result of those changes to ask them to extend their employment with the council until the 31st of March 202. The remainder of the report outlines the redeployment measures put in place across the council family to redirect staff wherever possible to care services in the council and also the impact that the virus is having on the availability of our own workforce at this time and section seven provides the normal 
service updates and there are of course officers on-hand to answer any questions that members might have today. Thank you very much Chair. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Thank you for that Sandra. Councillor Devine, you wish to come in? 
  
Councillor Eddie Devine:
Several questions. On 5.1 and 5.2, can you give us some reasons why we reject grants for both the small business grant and the retail hospitality grant. How much money did we get as a council to distribute? 5.4 why is there a cut of 75% and all subsequent properties and 5.6 and this isn't a criticism, just a question, why does it take so long to set this small business grant up? 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Okay Sandra Councillors Nicholson and Mackay also want to ask questions. Would you like to come in with your questions Councillor Nicolson? 

Councillor Iain Nicolson:
Hi there, yeah thanks. Questions on section 5. I think it is to be welcomed the additional money to help businesses during this time and in particular the  self-employed section of it. I know I've had discussions with Sandra and some of the officers over the week and I know the huge amount of work that's been put into by officers to try and get the process working. It's just because in the report it says newly self-employed and it's just a question around is there cut-off dates when that starts 
and stops? I know all the issues about self-employment you go a whole year before you need to submit and so it's for the ones who fall outside the HMRC side of it all. So it's just a question of what does it mean by newly self-employed 
and it's just to try and say that I fully appreciate and understand the amount of work that's been done at a national level as well to try and bring the processes in as fast as possible an element of potential fraud that could come in at the back of this 
one given the nature of the self-employment of that and I know Sandra went on to section 6 as well and it's just if I can just put a question in just now and 6.2 it says "frontline workers must have..." 

I think it'd be helpful if we had it, and it probably will be there somewhere, but if we had a clear definition of what a frontline worker is with regards to access to PPE. I think that's something an awful lot of people get sort of stuck in a corner trying to find just exactly what is classed. It may be defined in the guidance somewhere but it's always useful to bring this forward out of the paper to explain what is defined as a frontline worker, thank you. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Councillor Mackay you wanted to ask a question too? 

Councillor Alistair Mackay:
Yes I did but I'll hold mine back 'til all the answers have been given to the previous questions because my questions don't actually relate to what has been mentioned at the moment. My questions relate to what's not being mentioned. 
  
Councillor Marie McGurk:
Okay, I'll come back. Sandra, one thing I will say is that a business woman who contacted me two weeks ago quite distressed and all I would say is Alan and Ruth and the team worked really hard for the last couple of days and that lady phoned me just before we came on air to let me know that her business has survived and her employees and the service that she provides for Renfrewshire which is quite exceptional so you know it does work and they have been working exceptionally hard to do to achieve what they've done today but Sandra would you like to come in and answer questions from Councillor Devine and Councillor Nicolson please? 

Sandra Black:
Yes I'll do my best and I might bring some officers in to help me with some of these. Councillor Devine you were asking if the amount had changed for the business grants that are already available I think and that's the £10 and £25,000 grants 
so those amounts haven't changed. Those grants still stand but the change that's just been announced this week is that if you have more if you fall into these categories and have more than one property for your business under the original guidelines you could only claim the grant once and the change now for people with multiple properties you can claim the grant for all of those but it is going to be paid at 75% of the ten and twenty five thousand so that's actually in response I think to complaints that we've had across the country about the unfairness of that aspect of the guidance and to be fair to Scottish Government they have responded  positively to that so that will go down well certainly with local businesses in Renfrewshire and it's seventy five percent I think just simply because that's what was decided by Scottish Government and seemed a fair level to set that at. It has not been set locally. I'll bring in Alan and later in terms of the number of grants rejected to see if he has any and give him a bit of a heads up on that. I'll  bring him in on that in a few minutes in terms of Councillor Nicolson's question on the self-employed. It is newly self-employed and the dates that are applicable are that if you became self-employed on or after the 6th of April 2019 and were still actively trading on the 17th of March 2020 then you would be eligible for this new grant that is being brought in in the next couple of weeks. In terms of the time that it takes to get these schemes up and running, we're obviously very aware of the pressure that local businesses are under and the need for cash as quickly as possible and particularly some of the self-employed people across Renfrewshire and Scotland but I have to reassure members that this is the absolute quickest that we can get this done.The scheme itself has been agreed between Scottish Government and local government COSLA over about three or four days and agreed with ministers and then we have to go through the process of designing the application, getting the guidance right and then getting it communicated to the business communities so the opening of those schemes on 30th of April, it's just to reassure members that actually that is very fast compared to normal procedures. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Sandra, it's the 30th of March I think is the date? 

Sandra Black:
30 April for the opening of the new self employed scheme. 5 May for the multiple properties for the business grants that the application systems open for that. I'll bring in Alan to see if he knows anything more about the reasons for the rejected grants. I have to assume it's because they're not eligible or they haven't provided the right evidence but I'll bring in Alan Russell if that's okay? 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Yes thanks Alan 

Alan Russell:
Yeah I mean without I suppose stating the obvious Councillor Devine, it is because a business will not fall within the criteria that the Scottish Government have set and that can be for a number of reasons. It may well be that the business entered the valuation role after the 17th of March which was the point at which the government struck position for this scheme. It could be that business concerned does not fall within one of the specific categories that have been identified by the Scottish Government as qualifying for the scheme so for example in the larger grant, the £25,000 grant you need to be in one of the three sectors hospitality, retail or entertainment and there are specific  categories of the non-domestic rates 
valuation role that are identified as qualifying within those categories and equally in even for the smaller £10,000 grant, there are a range of a specific categories that qualify and some that don't and so there are anomalies being identified by councils and as we progress, the applications and there is a mechanism  to feed queries into the national arrangement where we believe an application that we hold is rejected for the moment under the strict interpretation of the scheme has been rejected but we are making representations where we believe an application does actually in our view meet the spirit of the scheme but strictly under the defined criteria they don't meet it and local authorities do have a degree of discretion built in to the scheme and will use that but there are instances where it's very clear that an application fails the criteria but we have made representations from one's like that where we believe there is a strong case to be made for qualifying and I suppose one of the most evident ones we've had that you may have heard about was some businesses in the shopping centres that are categorised as a stance which means they don't qualify but if they are a kiosk they do. In Renfrewshire, certainly in Braehead there's a number which are categorised as stances. In other areas of the country similar arrangements are classified as kiosks. We've made representation for that and we've agreement to allow those to progress through to payment. So it can be for a wide number of reasons Councillor Devine but strictly speaking it's because they don't fit within the criteria but where we believe that that's unfair we will make representations to the government.

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Okay thanks very much for that Alan. Councillor Devine? 

Councillor Eddie Devine:
No, that's great. It's good that Alan keeps me up to date with these things because I've got one for him for later on. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Okay thanks very much for that. Councillor Nicolson? 

Councillor Iain Nicolson:
Thank you. So the other question on frontline workers. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Yes,  you did. I'll ask Sandra to answer that. Councillor Mackay are you wanting to come in with your question or will you wait? 

Councillor Alistair Mackay:
I'll wait so I am not breaking the chain of thought. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Okay thanks very much. Sandra can you address the question regarding frontline workers 6.2? 

Sandra Black:
Yeah I believe that the guidance relates to health and care workers that specific piece of guidance but maybe David Leese would like to say a bit more about how that might be defined in the guidance? 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Okay thank you for that. David can you come in please? 

David Leese:
Certainly we believe that all our staff are very clear on the guidance that we've briefed before that the last time the guidance was updated for Health and Social Care staff was on the 2nd of  April and we've been operating consistent since then on the basis that we are operating in a period now of sustained community transmission to therefore make sure that staff are operating with full access to and full use of PPE in circumstances where it's appropriate to do so.We've also given staff license to use PPE where they feel it gives them that sense of self confidence and self-assurance but also gives service users, patients, residents that same sense of confidence that they have being appropriately supported and cared for by staff utilising PPE. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Thanks for that David. Councillor Nicolson? 

Councillor Iain Nicolson:
Thanks for the answer. I think it is more the question of is it defined what is a frontline worker? Outside those that obviously work in acute settings or those who work in care at home so it's really just that question in my mind as to do we all know what the definition is of a frontline worker as it is known to be assessed because we keep seeing issues popping up about you know are our bin men considered as frontline workers? Are certain other classes of employees outside the health and social care partnership defined as frontline workers? It's really just from the Council's perspective. We understand what is defined in the guidance as a front line worker and if I can be supplied ie by an email that would be helpful. 

Sandra Black:
Probably just a confusing term that we've inadvertently used in the report that there are two separate pieces of guidance. Specific guidance for health care workers and that does cover care workers for example in sheltered housing and so on so certainly able to give you a list of the job roles in the council and in the Health and Social Care Partnership that are covered by the health care guidance and then all other a job roles in the council covered by the the non health care guidance and clearly some of those are still frontline workers in such as you've suggested Councillor Nicolson it's just different guidance that applies to them so I'm happy that we take it offline and we give a clear definition of which job roles fall into which piece against if that's helpful. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Thanks Sandra that would be helpful and I recommend that you share it with all members. Thank you. Do you want to come back in? No. Okay thanks for that. Councillor Mackay are you ready to ask your question or do you want to let Sandra finish the report? 

Councillor Alistair Mackay:
I thought she'd finished the report actually. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
We've still got item 8 to do. Sandra, did you do item 8? 

Sandra Black:
Sorry Councillor McGurk. I've finished the presentation but I'm happy to take questions on any part of the report. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
That's fine.Councillor Mackay? 
  
Councillor Alistair Mackay:
Yes, hello. At the risk of sounding like a broken down record I'm going to ask about drive through testing facilities again because I understand that the one at the airport was set up with the UK Government as opposed to any other authority and I understand that it's being underutilised and I was wondering whether Renfrewshire Council has approached them to see whether they could use the facilities being provided for Renfrewshire Council front line workers and essential workers because I would imagine that drive-through testing is going to be more streamlined than just testing in the workplace I appreciate that not everybody will have a car but if you've got drive through testing that would relieve some of the workload for workplace testing. Could you comment on that please? 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Thank You. Alex? Sandra? 

Sandra Black:
Thank you Councillor McGurk. As outlined last week I have no direct involvement in the testing facility at Glasgow Airport. What I have this morning I've been involved in a discussion with other chief executives were testing was being discussed. I think there is likely to be further guidance and information coming out on that in the coming weeks over the next three weeks with this lockdown as the country starts to move towards the recovery phase from the current arrangements and so I think that it's going to be a model built which will be applied on a national basis but applied locally and there will be a pipeline of key workers and key businesses which will be tested in a certain order depending on how the lockdown is released over a period of time so I don't have any further information on that I think it's still at an early enough stage but it's something that locally we would want to make sure that our own local priorities were identified in terms of who is tested and in which order but that will have to comply with the release of the lockdown at a national level. Thank you. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Sandra I think in addition Councillor Mckay was asking about the venue that they have in the airport for current testing. Would we have access to that or could that venue be used within Renfrewshire? 

Sandra Black:
It's not available to us at the time being. I've got no current plans to contact the airport in that regard but it possibly is a facility that will be available to the West of Scotland as we move forward. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Okay Councillor Mackay. Do you want to come back in? 

Councillor Alistair Mackay:
Yes I'm a bit puzzled because here's a UK government funded facility yet and the airport is sat right in the middle of Renfrewshire. I struggle to understand why Renfrewshire Council hasn't entertained the possibility of using this facility before now and why they're waiting to see what happens. I would have thought this was quite a beneficial scheme and it's on the face of it, it doesn't bring any additional cost to Renfrewshire Council because it's a UK funded scheme would you 
please enlighten me. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Sandra, thank you. 

Sandra Black:
Yes, I've got nothing further to to add Councillor McGurk. This is a public health led response to the virus and we will take guidance from the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Adviser on what is the right approach and when is the right time to start testing Council staff and local residents.Thank you. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Councillor Mackay, do you want to come back in? 

Councillor Alistair Mackay:
I'm not really happy with that answer but anyway let's just move on I've got another question that was sort of fairly I would have said fairly low priority but it is mentioned in the Chief Executive's report about fly tipping and I've been approached by a number of councillors and the public to ask what the likelihood in the near future subject to staffing levels of being able to open the amenity sites on a controlled basis. I know social distancing should be achievable quite easily because people drive there in a car and the car's length is more than the social distancing regulations and I know the amenity site staff generally step back whilst cars are being unloaded anyway and I've been asked to ask you if there's any possibility of the sites being opened in the near future to relieve the amount of fly tipping that's going on and obviously people are starting to build a backlog of refuse owing to working from home. Could you answer that question please? 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Sandra thank you. 

Sandra Black:
Yes, I'm bringing in Gordon McNeil.

Councillor Marie McGurk: 
Thank You Gordon would you like to come up please. 

Gordon McNeil:
Thank you Chair. Just think of the position both in Renfrewshire and it's also the national position. When the lockdown first came about, at that point we closed our HWRC sites across Renfrewshire. As did all the local authorities in Scotland, as Sandra said at the start of the meeting. For the lockdown period of three weeks and therefore the criteria hasn't changed in any form. It's still non-essential travel and social distancing and for that reason our HWRC sites remain closed for the continuation of this next three-week lockdown period and that remains the position at this point in time across Scotland. 
  
The Waste Managers Network is liasing with the Scottish Government and COSLA on a regular basis just around this particular topic and waste in general just to ensure that we're all following the national guidance and best practice so in summary we won't be opening up but our HWRC sites because of that guideline that's been set following the lockdown and we'll continue to follow national guidelines around that. I'd just like to re-emphasise that the collections we still continue to provide a full collection service in Renfrewshire. We understand that residents are generating more waste in their house but the principles that we set out when we changed the service 18 months ago remain. 70% percent of the waste that's been produced is recyclable material and we would ask our residents to do what they can to flat pack their recyclable materials as much as possible to create additional volume capacity. A good example would be around milk cartons and you know most folk are probably going through more milk cartons at the moment being in the house. They take up a large volume in the bin so we would ask folk for example to crush and squeeze that which would increase the capacity so we put out social media messages and comms on that basis asking folk to do everything they can to recycle and to try to flat pack and squash to create that additional capacity for the folk generating more in the house.

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Okay thank you for that. Councillor Mckay do you want to come back in? 

Councillor Alistair Mackay:
Yes, thank you for that. Unfortunately the message about flat packing plastic bottles and things is not getting through to people as is evident from the bulging waste bins that litter the streets but at least you're making the effort which is good. I was wondering whether you could perhaps put extra emphasis on that because people do seem to struggle with the ability of flattening a bottle. I don't know why. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Thanks we can maybe do something with comms around that. Councillor Devine, your next with a question then Councillor Nicolson. 

Councillor Eddie Devine:
I just  want to say I've had residents about the tips as well. When they're going to be reopened. I'm sure everybody's had that request as well but I know you know about this as well. Some people I suspect are turning to burning rubbish I know you know who I'm talking about and I don't want to mention addresses and that.

Councillor Marie McGurk:
I can actually give you an answer to that. So in that particular case waste legislation doesn't cover being able to do an enforcement. We are doing a media comms things over the weekend to try and encourage people not to burn rubbish in their gardens but I'll maybe let Louisa come in towards the end if that's okay but we've got response to that one that might be satisfactory. Are you finished Councillor Devine? 

Councillor Eddie Devine:
Yes, it would be helpful to have cases we could talk about. If people could tell us who is doing that. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Yes, we're able to resolve this but through this issue, there's a bigger issue so we thought we would try and resolve that. Councillor Nicolson? 

Councillor Iain Nicolson:
Yes it's on the the the question of the the amenity sites. I think something that's missed here and I know that all the members are getting people you know demanding the sites be reopened because some reason I don't follow. I understand that people decide to empty cupboards or keep themselves busy by you know remodeling bathrooms and kitchens then turn round and say to the council open up the amenity sites. I think the real message that's been missed here is the fact and Gordon touched on it. It's about the essential travel side of it and also about keeping the message quite clear and concise across the whole of Scotland because we sometimes get compared to other councils for doing different things from them when it comes to household waste but I've had to explain to quite a few of my constituents when they complain about their bin only getting emptied every three weeks and I say no. It gets emptied every week  and what you need to do is utilise your bin properly every week to manage your waste so it's a joint effort between the council and the vast majority of the public do understand that but there's a small minority that's doing the fly tipping and the ones who don't want it and go by the rules and they don't want to help us manage this situation through but I think the the most important message here is that across the whole of Scotland we have to try and be clear about the message about essential traveling and I think that's an area where people say well open up the civic amenity sites so I can get rid of these black bags I've just created for no apparent reason and I think that's the wrong message so I think Gordon's right in the sense we need to be sure that we're opening up the amenity sites at the right time, pace and in a coordinated fashion with the rest of the local authorities so we're consistently trying to maintain that message of lockdown and minimise the amount of interaction that people have with each other. If it's not necessary then we don't need to do it so I think that's a message that has to come out of this. The reasons why we won't open up the amenity sites is because we are being particularly rigid about it or whether we don't have the staffing to do it because all the staffing are transferred to try to maintain the household bin collection service but it's about the message about essential travel that I think is a key thing has to come come through this so I just wanted to get that point over.That Renfrewshire Council is doing its best along with other councils to maintain that national message about lockdown. Thanks for that. Just a quick speech. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Councillor Campbell you wanted to come in. 

Councillor Michelle Campbell:
Yes thank you convener and it's probably aligns with Councillor Nicolson's perspective to be honest. We've seen across Scotland and particular different local authorities taking different approaches and to try and best serve their communities I feel and it will be biased because I'm in Renfrewshire but I do feel that the approach Renfrewshire has taken should be commended. We've seen other councils having to do u-turns on their decisions because their communities are feeling a particular stretch and strain not just because amenity sites are closed but because of the way they changed their their collections as well and I do appreciate families will feel pressure and maybe slightly uncomfortable because of the waste collection as it is but given that I sat in a category of  essential worker and I have a lot of colleagues who are putting their lives at risk every day as we do in the council and HSCP as a whole I really refuse to accept this. We need to put their lives first and by opening those amenity sites for a couple of individuals who have to feel the behavior it can be quite selfish at times they need to understand the impact that opening those amenity sites even if it was to be done by appointment the risk that that increases on people's lives at the moment given that the death toll is still rising at this moment in time. I feel as a council and as councillors we are  being responsible in the way that we're managing this at the moment.Thank you. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Thank you. Councillor Devine, do you want to come back in or are you okay? 

Councillor Eddie Devine:
No I agree with what Michelle has said.  If somebody asks us to ask a question and we know they are going to see this then we need to ask the question. Our bin men are doing a great job so I don't think there's any criticism of them but if 
somebody asked me why is it not open I can ask the question. Gordon gives me an answer to that and I accept that but we have to ask those questions. Thank you. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Thanks very much for that. Sandra? Members can we agree the report? Councillor Mackay do you agree to the report? 

Councillor Alistair Mackay:
Yes I do thank you 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Thank you very much. Councillor Devine you said yes and myself. Thank you so that's item 2 agreed. Any items for decision by Board? 

Councillor Eddie Devine:
Marie I would like to ask a question on the report. I was trying to find where I could speak. It's just on, are we still...? 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Yes go ahead. 

Councillor Eddie Devine:
It's on the financial report that Alan has given. When will we as a Council start to look forward and I know I've got a long way to go but it's quite a worrying financial report for the future for our council and we need to work together to make sure that and I say this every week we need to make sure that we as a council are being supported by governments rather than us being left because it seems every statement that comes out from governments that it's the Council that do it well we are happy I'm sure to do this as long as we can but we need to be funded to do that not just now in the future that's that's all. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Okay do you wish a question to go to Alan on that? Councillor Devine? Yes? You want to leave it. We'll note that question then and Alan if you bring forward a response to that at the next Board meeting that would be fine. Members we've agreed that report can we go to item C now? Are there any decisions to be made by the court today Sandra? 

Sandra Black:
No items for item 3, thank you. 

Councillor Marie McGurk:
Okay thank you for that. That being the case, can I ask for this video to be stopped now?