Agenda item

Impact of Covid 19 on our Workforce

(Customer & Corporate Support Services) To consider the attached report (C-006-2020-21).



The Cabinet recognised the performance, work and effort of all EFDC employees and contractors in supporting  residents and the business community throughout the Covid19 restrictions as well as the work carried out by the voluntary sector.




The Customer and Corporate Support Services Portfolio Holder, Councillor S Kane, introduced the report detailing the impact of Covid 19 on the council’s workforce. This report was to formally recognise the exceptional work undertaken by the officers of EFDC in these exceptional circumstances. He noted that the Council had continued to provide services for customers throughout the Covid19 restrictions which were put in place by the Government at the end of March. Employees had worked collaboratively supporting the multifaceted Operation Shield, supporting our business community through Business Rate Grants and being innovative in using technology to provide online resources for both customers and employees.


From 11 March a total of 98 employees had been absent from work due to Covid19, 2% were confirmed as having the infection the other 98% stayed home for a variety of self-isolating reasons (figures as at 1 June). If well, employees continued to work from home. No employees had been furloughed.


Councillor Bedford also thanked the staff and noted that importantly we had continued providing our services across the district and not had to furlough any staff. He noted that we have had an increase of telephone enquiries of 30% in this period that had been dealt with by officers in a professional and timely manner. The staff had been tremendous, they had shown themselves to be a very flexible and adaptive workforce.


Councillor H Whitbread echoed these sentiments, adding that the Community and the Community Safety Team has had to face new challenges, as well as the Housing Team. They had gone above and beyond what was asked of them. Councillor Patel added his agreement to the sentiments raised.


Councillor Philip also welcomed this report and was pleased to see the annual leave flexibility that had been brought in for staff, as at these times it was easy to not take leave when working from home. He noted the resource implications of what we have been doing during Covid and that this would have financial consequences for the Council. But, in all we should be really proud of ourselves as a council and all the work we have done at this time.


Councillor Avey could not thank the teams that worked for his portfolio enough as well as the contractors such as Biffa who performed admirably over this period. Councillor Chris Pond added his agreement to this saying that the Council’s contractors had been exemplary.


Councillor Murray was in total agreement. The staff had been flexible, committed and outstanding. He had received no words of complaint from his residents, no bins had been missed in Loughton and the grounds maintenance people still carried out their work to their usual high standard. He also wanted to thank the voluntary sector, the CAB, the food banks, the Rotary Club and the mutual aid groups that had sprung up.


Councillor Wixley voiced his concerns about Biffa operatives in close proximity sharing the cab and other staff working in close proximity with each other. He hoped they were getting appropriate guidance and advice. Councillor C Whitbread replied that they have been very mindful about the situation with Biffa and it was credit to all staff that they have adhered to the rules in order to work safely while serving our residents. Also, he paid tribute to the senior management team that had ensured that this happened and had kept the work ticking over these past few weeks.


Councillor Neville expressed his full confidence in the council’s staff and contractors. He also wanted to mention the staff working with the elderly in the council’s sheltered accommodation. As far as he knew there had hardly been any report of infections in the homes, and that was really good.


Councillor C Whitbread noted that the members had picked up on the great things that had happened in Epping Forest in a difficult time. Also, Councillor Murray had picked up on the volunteer army and the people who had again found their community spirit and the unity in the charitable sector. He would like the Covid recovery advisory panel to look at the voluntary sector and how we could keep that going post Covid.


Councillor S Kane thanked everyone for their comments saying they were very well deserved, and the officers would be delighted to hear it. He was so proud of the work they had done, and this report reflected that.





The Cabinet recognised the performance, work and effort of all EFDC employees and contractors in supporting residents and the business community throughout the Covid19 restrictions as well as the work carried out by the voluntary sector.


Reasons for Proposed Decision:


No decisions were required as the report set out the impact of Covid19 on our workforce.


Other Options for Action:


No other options were required as the report was for noting.



Supporting documents: