Coronavirus - Information for staff

 

Update: Thursday 26 March 2020

Newsletter

Please find below the weekly newsletter and a message from the Chief Executive which outlines the current position.

Volunteering

People in Denbighshire wishing to offer their time to volunteer during the current coronavirus pandemic are asked to get in touch.

The Council has been heartened by the voluntary action and community spirit being shown throughout the county, and it is already seeing online groups forming on Facebook in addition to existing local volunteer groups and third sector organisations. This voluntary action and community spirit is going to be crucial in the days, weeks and months that lie ahead.

Now the Council and Denbighshire Voluntary Services Council are working together to co-ordinate requests.

People who are fit and healthy and wish to volunteer are encouraged to register at www.dvsc.co.uk, via e-mail: covid19@dvsc.co.uk, or call Denbighshire Voluntary Services Council direct on 01824 702441.

Third Sector and voluntary organisations are also encouraged to register at www.dvsc.co.uk, email covid19@dvsc.co.uk through the same contact details. DVSC can link you with volunteers to help deliver the support you're offering.

Update: Wednesday 25 March 2020

Youth clubs and centres

The county youth clubs and centres have been closed to the public and staff. The service will continue to offer support and virtual youth engagement opportunities in order to keep on touch with young people at this challenging time. Youth workers will be offering advice, activity, guidance and interaction – through virtual youth work and social media formats.

Once the guidance changes to enable groups to meet, centres, clubs and educational visits will resume.

Contact Email youth.service@denbighshire.gov.uk; Twitter @DCCyouthservice YouTube @DCCyouthservice Facebook Denbighshire Youth Service

Paying Council tax:

We understand many people will be financially impacted by COVID-19. We urge customers who will struggle to pay their Council Tax to contact a member of the team where we will be able to offer you support and advice on how it can be paid, and any assistance that can be offered.

If your income has reduced, you may be entitled to claim Council Tax reduction by visiting http://www.denbighshire.gov.uk/counciltax. The sooner you do this the earlier your claim will be paid from should you qualify. You can also check your eligibility for other benefits by visiting gov.uk/benefits.

Should you wish to seek advice regarding your Council Tax please email revenues@denbighshire.gov.uk , or if urgent, please call 01824 706000.

We are currently receiving very high call volumes so would urge customer to use our website/online applications where every possible

Countryside Service:

Natural Resources Wales advice is to take care of yourself and others by following Public Health Wales and Government guidance.

Residents are asked to avoid unnecessary travel and to make any outdoor walk local to your area, do not get into your car to travel.

Walking trails remain open but those using them must exercise alone or with your own household only and, if encountering other people, maintain the social distancing rule.

Letter from Welsh Government to vulnerable people

The Council is aware that Welsh Government has written to vulnerable people across the UK, advising them of precautions they should take and to contact their local authority if they are worried or have support needs.

The Council is putting arrangements in place to deal with these calls. If people decide to call the Council’s Customer Service Centre, details will be taken and passed on to a team who will call them back to discuss their needs.

Where support is needed from the community, the team will be able to share details of what’s on offer in the local area and help people to make arrangements if necessary.

Where support is not available, details will be shared with Denbighshire Voluntary Services Council (DVSC) who will try to use volunteers to help meet needs in the community.

Car Parks

The below car parks are now closed:

  • Rhyl Pavilion
  • Beach Road East, Prestatyn
  • Nova West, Prestatyn
  • Central, Rhyl
  • Barkers Well Lane (Multi-Storey), Denbigh
  • Brickfields Pond, Rhyl
  • Marsh Tracks, Rhyl
  • Coed y Morfa, Prestatyn

Over the next couple of days we will also be closing the below car parks:

  • Quay Street, Rhyl
  • Crispin Yard, Ruthin

Update: Tuesday 24 March 2020

The Council is responding to the Prime Minister's announcement that we should only be making essential journeys and, where possible, will be encouraging people to use alternative methods for accessing services, such as using our website or telephones.

Below is a round-up of how services are affected:

Main council offices at County Hall (Ruthin), Caledfryn (Denbigh) and Russell House (Rhyl) : All are closed to the public. People are encouraged to visit the Council’s website for any information (www.denbighshire.gov.uk) If you have any concerns about the welfare of a resident, please contact the Single Point of Access (SPOA) on 0300 456 1000. For Out of Hours emergencies, please call 0345 053 3116 for Social Services, or 0300 123 3068 for all other services.

Parks and playgrounds:

The Council has started to close all parks and playgrounds across the county. The work of closing and securing all parks will be completed by Wednesday afternoon.

Loggerheads and Moel Famau Country Parks have been closed to the public, as well as Brickfields Pond in Rhyl, Marsh Tracks in Rhyl and Coed y Morfa in Prestatyn. The Council has taken this decision in line with Welsh Government advice to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus and is in line with other Local Authorities and National Parks move to close public parks and beauty spots following concerns for public health with large numbers of people visiting . Please help by following government guidance to stay at home, avoid unnecessary travel and practice social distancing.

Car parks: The car parks at Rhyl Sky Tower, Rhyl Pavilion, Nova (Prestatyn) the Central underground car park in Rhyl and the multi-storey car park in Denbigh are all closed.

Household Waste Recycling Centre Closures:

In order to help enforce the UK government’s instruction for residents to stay at home, all three of Denbighshire’s Household Waste Recycling Centres have closed until further notice. Travelling to these sites to dispose of waste is NOT a valid reason to leave your homes. Employees at these sites will be re-trained ready for redeployment to support our key waste collection kerbside services for food waste and residual (black bin) waste.

Please retain your bulky waste, DIY waste, electrical items and garden waste within the curtilage of your own properties. Please do not put out this waste for collection on your usual kerbside bin day as we will not be able to collect it. If you discover hazardous waste at your property during a DIY project, such as asbestos, please contact the Council immediately for advice and to arrange it’s removal.

Registration Service: As of 23rd March 2020, Denbighshire Registration Service has taken the decision to cease conducting marriage, civil partnership or other discretionary ceremonies (e.g. renewal of vows; baby naming etc.) at the Register Office and at any licensed venue in Denbighshire until further notice. Anyone who has already made a booking may contact Denbighshire Registration Service by emailing: ceremonies@denbighshire.gov.uk The registration of Births and Deaths is now Strictly by Appointment Only. Please make an appointment by calling 01824 708100. Copy certificates may be ordered over the telephone by calling 01824 708100. Please note that it may take longer than normal to process your application, as priority will be given to the registration of Births and Deaths.

Payments to the Council: Numerous residents have been in touch, asking how they should make any payments to the Council. Residents can pay for council tax, business rates, housing rent, housing benefit overpayment, parking fines and general invoices via the Council’s website: www.denbighshire.gov.uk/pay or by the automated phone line: 0300 456 2499. Where customers have a housing rent or council tax payment card, or a bill with a barcode payments can be made (via card, cash or cheque) at a Post Office, Paypoint or direct at the Natwest Bank. Customers are asked to have the correct reference numbers for their payment when using these payment options.

Important information regarding Denbighshire licensed taxis/private hire: The Licensing Team have had to implement interim steps for licensed taxis and private hire vehicles during the coronavirus situation. As of today, you may see expired “taxi” plates on some vehicles. Pleased do not be alarmed by this, as behind the scenes we have ensured that all the necessary licensing checks have been done! You could now see, for the foreseeable future, a vehicle displaying an out of date vehicle plate on the rear, with either a paper printed version of the updated plate displayed in the vehicle or have available, on inspection, a smartphone version. If you can’t see either of these please always ask the driver for proof of licence before you start your journey, they will be happy to show you. You can also check by looking at the updated register of drivers / vehicles on our website www.denbighshire.gov.uk/taxi-licences Any concerns please contact the Licensing team at licensing@denbighshire.gov.uk or 01824 706342.

Fleet’s Service Centre, Bodelwyddan: The Council’s fleet service centre in Bodelwyddan is now closed to non-Council vehicles and customers.

Update: Friday 20th March 2020

Please find below links to the latest Coronavirus newsletter, together with  posters to use if buildings close and a template risk assessment document.

Website & service updates

We will be publishing any changes/updates to Council services on the Coronavirus web page at the following link:

www.denbighshire.gov.uk/coronavirus

UK Government guidance for schools, colleges and local authorities

The UK Government has issued guidance for schools, colleges and local authorities on maintaining educational provision. The government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend. To find out which roles are covered visit here.

Note to managers regarding recording staff absence

Please can managers be reminded that when updating Trent, the correct reason for staff absence must be used i.e. self-isolating where a diagnosis hasn’t been confirmed. Some managers are using ‘Coronavirus’ for a reason - maybe because it appears one of the first reasons on the list – but it should be as stated above 'self-isolating'. Any queries regarding this, please contact HR Direct.

Caledfryn

The Caledfryn hot desking area is now to be used by Contact Centre team only until further notice.

Facebook group

We’re up to 1,000+ members now!! We’ve received lots of requests to be members of the closed Facebook group (DCC Staff CSDd - for Denbighshire staff only) – thanks to everyone who has joined and also those who have invited colleagues to join.

I’d like those hard to reach staff to join such as schools, catering, refuse collectors etc. as well. So, if you’re friends with these colleagues, please encourage them to join.

Here's a link to it: DCC Staff CSDd (facebook.com)

We’ll be accepting each one to ensure that they do work for DCC. If they don’t work for us, or they are ex-colleagues, some of which fall into this category, they are being declined. This is not mandatory – you don’t have to do it – but hopefully if you do, it will be a useful tool for sharing important information with staff, who otherwise don’t have access to e-mails.

For clarification, this way of sharing information is in addition to my Denbighshire Today bulletins – which I still expect Managers to relay the information to their staff who aren’t on e-mail.

If you have any queries about anything to do with the Coronavirus, in the first instance please contact your Line Manager, or alternatively HR direct.

Staff Survey

We have compiled a survey which we’re asking all staff to complete please. By completing this survey, you will help us to understand the impact of the current COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation on you and (where applicable) your family and/or any dependents in your care. It will also help us to plan our business continuity measures so that we can continue to provide our much-needed services to communities in Denbighshire as the situation continues to change. Thank you.

Coronavirus - Staff Survey

Update: Thursday 19th March 2020

Situation update as at 12pm:

Below is the latest list of school closures:

Schools closing on Friday afternoon:

Ysgol y Castell, Rhuddlan; Ysgol Bryn Hedydd, Rhyl ; Christchurch CP, Rhyl;Ysgol Emmanuel, Rhyl; Ysgol Llywelyn, Rhyl; Ysgol Bodnant, Prestatyn; Ysgol Henllan; Ysgol Pant Pastynog, Prion; Ysgol Tremeirchion; Ysgol Twm o’r Nant, Denbigh; Ysgol y Llys, Prestatyn; Ysgol Glan Clwyd for Years 10,11, 12 and 13); Denbigh High School (for Years 11, 12 and 13); Ysgol Betws GG; Ysgol Bro Elwern, Gwyddelwern; Ysgol Pentrecelyn; Ysgol Llanbedr Dyffryn Clwyd; Ysgol Carreg Emlyn, Clocaenog; Ysgol Gellifor; Ysgol Bryn Clwyd, Llandyrnog.

Schools closing on Thursday afternoon:

Ysgol Clawdd Offa, Prestatyn; Ysgol Melyd, Meliden; Ysgol Hiraddug, Dyserth; Ysgol Plas Brondyffryn, Denbigh; Ysgol Dewi Sant, Rhyl; Ysgol Pendref, Denbigh; Ysgol Penbarras, Ruthin; Rhos Street School, Ruthin; Ysgol Bro Cinmeirch, Llanrhaeadr; Ysgol Borthyn, Ruthin; Ysgol Dyffryn Ial; Ysgol Bro Famau; Ysgol Llanfair Dyffryn Clwyd.

Schools closed on Wednesday afternoon:

Ysgol Penmorfa, Prestatyn; Rhyl High School; Denbigh High (Years 7,8,9 and 10); Ysgol Glan Clwyd closed on Wednesday for Years 7,8 and 9; Ysgol Dinas Bran.

Countryside and Heritage

Given the current situation and advice on public gatherings, Denbighshire Countryside and Heritage Service will be implementing the following:

  • The Old Gaol and Nantclwyd y Dre Heritage attractions in Ruthin will not be opening this weekend and will remain closed to the public until further notice.
  • Plas Newydd and the onsite café in Llangollen will not be opening until further notice, but the grounds will be open.
  • Loggerheads Country Park will remain open but the visitor centre will be closed. The café remains open at this time.
  • Moel Famau Country Park will also remain open.

Libraries

  • Due to low staffing levels, Ruthin Library will be closed Saturday morning March 21. The Library will open as usual on Monday.
  • St Asaph Library will be closed on Friday afternoon at 12pm and will re-open on Saturday morning.

Advice to businesses

The Council’s website: www.denbighshire.gov.uk/business has the latest information and advice to businesses regarding coronavirus, as well as links to Business Wales and Welsh Government websites.

The Council is also encouraging people to visit the Council’s website www.denbighshire.gov.uk for information and access to online services. This is due to a shortage of staff available to take calls.

Update: Wednesday 18th March 2020

Staff Survey

We have compiled a survey which we’re asking all staff to complete please. By completing this survey, you will help us to understand the impact of the current COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation on you and (where applicable) your family and/or any dependents in your care. It will also help us to plan our business continuity measures so that we can continue to provide our much-needed services to communities in Denbighshire as the situation continues to change. Thank you.

Staff Survey

Ringing 111

Please be aware, that if you ring 111 within the BCUHB area, that you may be charged. I thought it was free, but it isn’t if you live within the BCUHB area. It says: “If you are feeling unwell but the problem is not a medical emergency, call NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 or 111 if available in your area (it isn’t in Denbighshire therefore you will incur charges) (currently available in the following health board areas - Hywel Dda, Powys, Aneurin Bevan and Swansea Bay - including Bridgend). For patients' safety, all calls are recorded. Calls to 0845 46 47 from landlines are charged at a local rate but can be significantly higher from a mobile phone, please check costs with your mobile provider. Calls to 111 are free of charge.”

We’re making enquiries with BCUHB to see whether this can change during the crisis. Will keep you updated.

Message from Chief Executive

The situation regarding the Coronavirus and advice to staff is changing day by day and we anticipate this to continue over the next few days. Staff are understandably concerned. The Senior Leadership Team are working hard in planning to continue delivering our services within the guidelines published by government. Although this is not possible for a large proportion of our staff, those staff who can work at home are now expected to do so until told otherwise.

In addition, everyone should follow the latest guidance on self-isolation and social distancing as published here:

The main change is the advice for vulnerable groups to distance themselves where possible as following:

  • if you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started. (See ending isolation section above for more information)
  • if you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill
  • it is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community
  • for anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period. (See ending isolation section above for more information).

If you fall within the vulnerable group that should be undertaking social distancing, please speak to your manager so that arrangements can be made for you to work at home where possible or refrain from work if you are unable to work at home.

Meanwhile, the Senior Leadership Team is considering which services must be delivered over the coming few weeks, which services may have to be delivered differently and which services may have to stop. We are publishing a staff survey https://countyconversation.denbighshire.gov.uk/survey/720 (same as above) to help managers plan services and to enable staff to identify how they may be able to help delivering essential services in the weeks to come. It may be that you can support service delivery even while in self-isolation and we welcome staff’s willingness to do so in these extraordinary times.

I recognise that these are difficult times for everyone, particularly those with concerns about how they or their loved ones may be particularly impacted. I would urge all of you to work with your managers to ensure that we prioritise what is important, manage our own wellbeing and look after the colleagues and friends around us.

I will be in touch again soon.

Judith

Update: Tuesday 17th March 2020

Update: Monday 16th March 2020

New Facebook group: DCC Staff CSDd

A new Facebook group ("DCC Staff CSDd") has now been set up for sharing important information with staff, who may not have access to emails. Joining the group is not mandatory and is open to Denbighshire County Council staff only.

Please note: The group is provided in addition to 'Denbighshire Today' bulletins. Managers are expected to relay information to their staff who do not have access to email.

Facebook

Join the DCC Staff CSDd group (facebook.com)

Video conferencing

During this period of uncertainty, if you want to have alternative methods of meeting with your colleagues, then there are WebEx Video Conferencing Guides available on LINC.

If you need any help with this, working from home, or any other ICT assistance, then please ring ICT Helpdesk or use the ICT Customer HUB.

Coronavirus queries

If you have any queries about anything to do with the Coronavirus, in the first instance please contact your Line Manager, or alternatively HR direct.

Update: Thursday 12th March 2020

Please find a staff  briefing and guidance about Coronavirus below: