The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) has launched a £5 million Fund to help smaller charitable organisations affected by the impact of Covid-19. The funding aims to help them to continue to deliver much needed support to communities across the UK.

from Warwickshire County Council

Things to be aware of

We have been made aware of an increase in fraud and scamming attempts during Covid-19. We ask all staff to be aware of the risks both for themselves and also for members of our community, friends and family who may be more vulnerable, as well as the risks to the Council.  Some examples include:

Warwickshire’s approach to support the most vulnerable

Warwickshire’s public, voluntary and community services are working together to ensure those most clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 are supported during an extended period of isolation. This is known as ‘shielding’.

These are unprecedented times that understandably will cause concern in our communities.  In light of further developments and the announcement this week by the Prime Minister that everyone should stay at home unless certain conditions apply, I wanted to reassure you that Warwickshire Police will continue to work hard to keep you safe and to support all of our communities throughout the coming weeks.

These should also be cancelled.

We expect that due to the restrictions announced last night there will be guidance from government on a delay in the requirement to hold these meetings.

The legislation currently states that you must hold one Parish Meeting (Assembly) in a given period of time but even in normal times it does not prevent additional ones being held at other times, so plan to hold one late in the year when hopefully things will have improved.

As per the PM's address gatherings of more than 2 people from different households will be dispersed. We have been advising for a week or so not to meet unless absolutely necessary. To be clear, you should not meet in person.

There are a number of apps and websites which can be used to host conference calls or virtual meetings.

Web chats are not recommended due to lack of clarity on who is contributing - usernames hide identity.

These meetings should also be cancelled. We expect that due to the restrictions announced last night there will be guidance from government on a delay in the requirement to hold these meetings or to hold them remotely/virtually.

The Chairman of the Council will stay in post until they resign or a meeting can be held (possibly remotely/virtually)

ALL PLAY AREAS SHOULD BE CLOSED FROM TODAY.

Signs should be placed up stating that the play areas will be closed per government instructions and that safety checks will not be carried out during this period.

It will be best to take a photo of closing all the play areas, for two reasons, one to post up on social media to make residents aware and secondly to evidence in regard to insurance claims should people violate the closure.

If the play area is in the open (i.e. no fence around it) then

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These should also have been closed or if not already, then closed today. With staff working from home.

There is no guidance so far from Government to say allotments should be closed. It could be argued that they are a source of exercise and food production. We advise if you have allotments to keep an eye on the Allotment Society Website to see if the guidance changes

https://www.nsalg.org.uk/news/covid19-information/

Cemetery workers, both admin and manual workers, are classed as key workers and will be allowed out to undertake their work. Preparations should be made to continue the work required. We would advise to keep up to date will any changes via the ICCM https://www.iccm-uk.com/iccm/

Classed as essential work local schemes should be progressed if they are distributing food and/or medicines.

These should follow Government guidelines on meetings and social distancing.

We expect further announcements in the coming days from Government and the County Council and Districts. We are working in partnership with these bodies.

Home working

Staff should be helped to work from home where possible. This mostly happens anyway with the majority of Clerks

Litterpickers/bin collections in parks

In a press release the government last week announced: The deadline for local government financial audits will be extended to 30 September 2020

We are waiting for the government to issue further guidance however with the restrictions on meetings and the requirements for internal audit, access for electors to view the accounts and the requirement for signatures on the Annual Return it is likely this will be delayed.

Spending money

Within your financial regulations permissions should already be in

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Within your financial regulations permissions should already be in place for the Clerk to undertake emergency expenditure if required,

In addition, there will be a default permission to spend against agreed budgets.

You should have considered any gaps or improvements in your financial processes and tried to incorporate them in the delegated powers that have been given to the clerk during this period.

NALC have created a Coronavirus case studies publication. It includes the great work of 3 Parishes in the County.

Remember to email me about the work you are doing so we can keep key partners informed.

If something is happening in your area can you please email johnc@walc.org.uk with the following information:

Name of Council

Is the Council undertaking activity?

If not who is?

What activity is happening?

Does this only cover the Parish? or is it a wider area or smaller?

Whilst there have been no official announcements, or word on the British Legion website, we must surely assume that events to mark VE75 on 8 May, and throughout that weekend, will not be able to go ahead. Veterans are, by definition, part of the most vulnerable group and will be in 'shielding' on that date.

Street parties will be banned and likely to be dispersed by the Police and even 'The Nations Toast' will be difficult to deliver with all pubs closed.

For those in civic office to be ahead

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PKF Littlejohn have just issued a statement (Below) confirming that they will be delaying their instructions about the audit process until later in the year.  This should have been sent to every Parish.

Given this I would recommend finishing your year-end processes as you usually would ready for your internal audit.  If you have not had that audit do not request it now wait until the restriction on meetings have been lifted – you don’t want to generate unnecessary face to face interactions at

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Bidford Parish Council is taking the lead in providing support to residents during the coronavirus outbreak, organising a team of volunteers to deliver vital supplies to the elderly, vulnerable and housebound.

You can view the full report on the Stratford Herald website.

The Warwickshire Education Strategy 2018-2023 seeks to improve educational outcomes, and therefore the life chances, of learners of all ages in Warwickshire. Warwickshire County Council are using this opportunity to take stock and are seeking views from educational professionals, parents, young people and partner organisations as they look to refresh the strategy.