A LIST of 26 recommendations on how to support Bradford's response to Covid 19 through the Winter have been made to Government by Bradford Council.

Members of the Council’s Executive will consider a Covid-19 update report, titled ‘Response, resilience, recovery’, at their virtual meeting on Monday, November 9.

It is the first time the Executive will have held a public meeting after Bradford moves into Tier 3 on Monday.

On Friday evening the Council released a list of recommendations it will urge the government to support, including involving local leaders in any future decisions about Bradford and allowing a people to visit family members in care homes and hospitals.

The recommendations are under three themes:

• Responding to COVID-19 & Winter Resilience

• Maintaining service delivery including meeting escalating demand

• Planning for Recovery

A Council spokesman said: "The Government will be asked to adopt the recommendations in full and work with the Council as a key partner in preventing and minimising the spread of infection, staying resilient over winter, maintaining vital services, levelling up the national economy and securing public sector reform.

"Ongoing uncertainty around infection rates, restrictions and the socio-economic effect are hindering effective planning and resourcing. The annual winter flu and Brexit will add further pressure on resources and another emergency event – flooding, for example – would stretch the Council and its partners beyond breaking point.

"Additional Government support is needed to manage complex scenarios and demands, avoid system failure, protect the NHS, keep services running and plan for recovery.

"And, looking further ahead, the Council needs certainty in funding arrangements and support so it can confidently invest in education, skills and infrastructure in order to achieve public service reform with improved outcomes and a more inclusive and sustainable district as the world recovers from Covid-19.

Bradford Council Leader, Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, said: “The last seven months have been extraordinarily difficult for the people and businesses of the district. Differing levels of restrictions have led to confusion and frustration. It has also been very distressing for many people and has impacted on jobs and livelihoods.

“I want to thank everyone for their perseverance and consideration for others in keeping to the regulations over the last few months and ask them for their continued support at fighting the virus in the future.

“Government funding to Bradford District in the pandemic has been sporadic but very welcome, when received.

"However, there is still great uncertainty around local government funding for next year. The reality is that Covid-19 has amplified existing inequalities and hit certain people and places hardest. Bradford Council resources are not sufficient to sustain a prolonged response and certainly not sufficient to build the better future that people in Bradford district absolutely deserve.

“Now that it has been confirmed that Bradford and the rest of West Yorkshire will move into Tier 3 restrictions from Monday, and amidst rumours of a second national lockdown, it’s even more important that Government takes on board our recommendations for the present, short-term and long-term.”

The 26 recommendations to Government are:

Responding to COVID-19 and Winter Resilience

Recommendation 1.

Local leaders must be involved in any decision about the approach to tackling the virus including any restrictions that directly affect the district.

Recommendation 2.

Local places need to be resourced to lead the health response.

Recommendation 3.

Provide sufficient support for individuals self-isolating.

Recommendation 4

For both High and Very High level areas, provide sufficient economic support to impacted businesses (both those required to close and those severely affected).

Recommendation 5

Improve monitoring and be transparent in sharing evidence, including on what leads to decisions about what levels of restrictions apply to areas.

Recommendation 6

Carry out more detailed and well-communicated forward planning.

Recommendation 7

Work with local authorities to ensure a package of additional financial support for local areas designated as High or Very High in order to tackle the virus, support communities and to protect the NHS, jobs and the economy.

This must as a minimum include extra resources for local authorities to deliver the following activity:

• Deliver more effective local test and trace and infection control for High and Very High Levels including additional local testing capacity and testing routes, deep community communications, engagement and support in partnership with our voluntary and community sector; assisting businesses and the most vulnerable; continuing work to keep schools and school travel safe.

• Strengthen key services to help deal with the pandemic – Public Health, Environmental Health, Infection Prevention and Control and Communications.

• Targeted multi-agency enforcement activity

• Additional support around food parcels and other services for those self-isolating

• Data analyst capacity to help targeting of community protection plans

• Support for low paid people to self-isolate

Recommendation 8

Permit care home and hospital visiting for a nominated family member supported by routine whole care home testing. This will deliver a more ethical and humane approach to visits.

Maintaining service delivery including meeting escalating demand

Recommendation 9

Recognise the financial pressures and challenges we face in maintaining service delivery and provide additional resource in this financial year to:

• Ensure that our critical frontline services are stepped up to meet ongoing and increased

• demand, which remains volatile, especially in relation to Children In Need, Child Protection

• and Looked After Children.

• Secure care home resilience.

• Support the resilience of our Voluntary and Community Sector which is a key delivery partner.

Recommendation 10

Work with us to invest in and support locality based approaches to early help and prevention which allow for flexibility in the deployment of public funding across and between agencies.

This should include support for “Act Early North” which will implement and evaluate early life interventions to prevent disease and reduce inequalities. This will help us to ensure that we are able to capture system wide co-production supporting communities to help themselves

and drive down demand on statutory services.

Recommendation 11

Afford all Local Authorities the flexibility to manage budget deficits potentially through capitalisation of time limited Covid-19 related expenditure. This will help to avoid the need for cuts to vital public services.

Recommendation 12

Ensure certainty in Council funding and a sustainable long-term financial settlement that properly recognises the district’s needs, demand pressures and the limits of its local tax base.

Recommendation 13

Provide adequate financial support to keep pace with the demands of annual demographic growth and inflation in adults and children’s social care.

Recommendation 14

Bring forward the plan to deliver a sustainable solution to adult social care as a matter of urgency and ensure that social care achieves parity with health services and is fairly funded so that it can relieve pressure on the NHS and other public services.

Recommendation 15

Sustain investment in Bradford’s Opportunity Area and Integration Area.

Planning for Recovery

Recommendation 16

For High level areas enhance the current Government grants scheme to also support businesses that are trading at lower levels or forced to close: Grants of £3k-£5k for every 3-week period within restrictions where loss of income of more than 25 per cent is evidenced. Businesses in scope should include Retail, Leisure & Hospitality and relevant supply chain.

Recommendation 17

Adapt and deepen the Job Retention Scheme to protect jobs to the same level as the original lockdown and making sure affected self-employed also have support whilst restrictions are in place.

Recommendation 18

Enhance the COVID-19 Recovery Grants scheme to support adaptation to new rules to support businesses for reopening and adapting.

Recommendation 19

Support our Economic Recovery Plans at both West Yorkshire and district levels and help businesses and the newly unemployed as furlough and business support schemes end.

Recommendation 20

Work with us to invest in innovative approaches to skills and levelling up the national economy such as Bradford’s SkillsHouse using local knowledge and agency as the way to develop and implement the most productive and cost effective outcomes.

Recommendation 21

Explore the potential to pilot a national approach to youth employment and skills in Bradford District.

Recommendation 22

Work with us to identify and secure the resources to deliver a five year plan for educational attainment and in so doing secure a sea change in outcomes for our young people and reap dividends for the local and national economy.

Recommendation 23

Invest in and secure the support to deliver critical infrastructure and growth projects in Northern Powerhouse Rail and the Bradford South Gateway.

Recommendation 24

Sustain investments in the economic and community infrastructure of our towns.

Recommendation 25

Meet previous commitments to invest in green jobs and economy and to prioritise the environment, ensuring that local government has the powers and resources it needs and is fully funded for any new responsibilities.

Recommendation 26

Consider the relocation of Government Departments and employees to Bradford District. This would provide a much need stimulus to local economic growth whilst supporting the Government’s objective to have a civil service workforce that is more representative of the

nation’s demographics.