The Board gave consideration to an update by the Corporate Policy Lead on the development plan for Oldham’s Covid-19 Recovery Strategy.
The Board were informed that the draft Team Oldham Plan which followed several consultation sessions, was due to be signed off at Council in March 2020. Due to the onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic, priorities and efforts were put in to support residents, communities and businesses with the impact of Covid-19 along with the vulnerable who were still disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
To tackle the ongoing impact of Covid-19, it was proposed that a Recovery Plan would be developed based on the vision for Oldham outlined in the Oldham Model with a specific focus on Oldham’s recovery from the pandemic. The Plan originally covered the period April 2020 to April 2021 and would be signed off in May 2021 however this had been cancelled. The Recovery Plan would cover the period May 2021 to May 2022 and would work as the Interim Corporate Plan until the refreshed Corporate Plan would be in place from March 2022.
Members sought and received information on the priorities and how Covid-19 had affected school readiness for the young people that should have started school. Members were informed that a lot of young people would not have the opportunity to attend nursery which would have an effect on school readiness. However, this had been flagged with the relevant services and would feed into the priorities.
Members queried the closure of Libraries in the Borough and how that affected the most disadvantaged who needed support with computer usage and getting online as those disadvantaged were less likely to travel around the Borough. Members were informed that further information would be sought
from those managing the service however work was ongoing around digital inclusiveness and how support could be provided to the communities that rely on the services.
Members referred to Green Spaces and in particular Dovestones and the number of people using the area during lockdown. Members felt that it was important for mental health that an expansion included all the open spaces in and around the edge of the Borough to allow residents to know what was on offer on their doorsteps. Members were informed that it was an important priority and promoting what Green Spaces were available would be key.
Members queried the joint working arrangements of teams within the Council and noted that officers were working much more with much less. Finding efficiencies had become more difficult however joint working could provide a sharper focus on the areas that needed it most. It was noted that the Council could not achieve this on its own and that public bodies and private sectors could become potential partners in order to take some of the programmes forward. Members were informed that Covid-19 galvanised the Public Sector in a way that had not been experienced before. However, different sectors had come together to face the challenges and had gained new ways of working that would be embedded in future ways of working.
Members asked if there was any scope for officer/member input in each of the themes before the report returned to the Board to create a coherent approach with the interrelated themes. Members were informed that sessions had been planned in over the next month with Senior Officers and Portfolio Holders that would follow with the Overview and Scrutiny Board. It was noted that further feedback would be welcomed.
1. The update and information provided on the Covid-19 Recovery Plan be noted.
2. A further update on the Recovery Plan be provided to Overview and Scrutiny in March 2021.