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Local Authority Coronavirus Policy Tracker

We've had a great response to the Wales Coronavirus Policy Tracker, which we are updating a number of times every day to keep people informed of what is now a significantly divergent policy response to tackling coronavirus and its impact on our health, the economy and our communities.

Local Authorities are a vital part of the response to the crisis, and more so in Wales, as they are more likley to work hand in hand with the Welsh Government to deliver on the ground. 

Local Authorities have clearly adapted brilliantly in many ways to a signfiicant change in services. Repurposing schools and redeploying staff from non-essential services has kept most public services going when they are needed most and at one of the most challenging times in our history.

The Welsh Government has also engaged Local Authorities directly in delivering business grants, registering volunteers and supporting vulnerable people.

But there has been a significant variation in services across Wales. Many changes reflect adaptations to need and the ability of staff and services to deliver. An example would be the provision of free school meals, with some councils setting up  hubs for Grab and Go lunches, some providing vouchers and others offering direct payments.

But what is more worrying is that the information available online shows a pretty wide variation in adapting community services to support vulnerable people. 

The Welsh Government has diverged from the UK Government in this area. Rather than providing retailers with a list of people who can access deliveries. The Welsh Government has worked with GPs and Local Authorities to identify households with vulnerable individuals, with a somewhat broader definition. This could include, for example, families who have vulnerable children such as those who may attend hospice respite. 

But that also means the Welsh Government must work with each retailer to ensure that they are not simply using the UK Government database to plan deliveries. It also means that the support system set up in Wales, led in part by Local Authorities needs to be clearly understood and easy to use. It is this area where the information, and the practice on the ground, varies so widely across Wales. 

Some Local Authorities have established community hubs to manage support and provide excellent signpositing for those who need help and those that want to volunteer their time. Others have little or no information available.

This is the area where further 'grip' is required by Welsh Government, the Welsh Local Government Association and the Local Authorities, in order to ensure that the most vulnerable in our society are supported at this challenging time.

You can see our Local Authority Coronavirus Tracker here.

For a bird's eye view.
Am olwg oddi uchod.

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