Cheshire East’s cabinet has met in an online ‘virtual meeting’ – to ensure important council business progresses despite Covid-19.
The council’s focus is on combatting Covid-19. However, the authority is also committed to carry on ‘business as usual’, where possible, to ensure necessary decisions are taken and ensure continued delivery of quality, value-for-money services for residents.
New regulations came into force recently allowing councillors to take part and vote in virtual meetings without the need to be physically present.
Today, cabinet members and senior officers logged into a virtual video meeting, via computer. There was also an opportunity at the start of the meeting for members of the public and councillors to ask questions of cabinet members as they do normally at physical meetings.
Cabinet discussed several significant issues and proposed actions. These included:
● Cheshire East Council’s new environment strategy – This is an important step towards tackling the climate emergency and sets out the council’s strategy to respond to the global challenge of climate change and how the natural environment of the borough will be enhanced and protected; and
● Agreement of the Cheshire East carbon action plan –This sets out in detail how the council will meet the ambitious target of becoming carbon neutral by 2025 and how the council will support and encourage businesses, groups and individuals in Cheshire East to reduce their own emissions.
Cheshire East Council has already taken a number of significant actions to combat the impact of Covid-19 and protect both its staff, residents and local businesses from the pandemic. Among these, the council has:
● Launched a ‘People Helping People’ hub on our website – which has led to more than 1,400 people being supported or matched with a volunteer in Cheshire East;
● Begun distributing in the region of £90m in grants to more than 7,000 eligible businesses in the borough;
● Launched a job-matching service;
● Maintained our kerb-side household bins collection services;
● Created a ‘shielding’ hub to protect and support our most vulnerable residents;
● Secured deliveries of essential personal protective wear for our key workers – including those engaged in adult social care, helping the homeless and caring for vulnerable young people;
● Fast-tracked IT system changes to enable essential works to operate remotely, effectively and securely; and
● Adapted services to maintain social distancing, while protecting staff and the public.
Councillor Sam Corcoran, leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “Our priority continues to be protecting people from the impact of Covid-19 and continuing to deliver key council services – such as adult social care, support for vulnerable children and our kerb-side bin collections. That has not changed.
“We also need to continue developing and improving our service delivery for the people of Cheshire East for the future.
“I am particularly proud that, despite the current challenge and focus on combatting Covid-19, this council is moving forward with strategies and action plans to tackle the climate emergency.”
Councillor Craig Browne, deputy leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “The leader and I would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard to develop both the environment strategy and the carbon action plan, particularly at a time when staff and resources have been stretched as we tackle the impact of the pandemic.
“It is vitally important that we continue ‘business as usual’, where we can, and don’t lose sight of this important work towards securing a greener and more sustainable Cheshire East, where people can live well for longer.”