21 January 2021
Issued by the Communications Team – firstname.lastname@example.org
This briefing is to keep you updated on the evolving situation around coronavirus (COVID-19) and the actions being taken in the district. It also includes general local updates.
Who does it affect?
- Residents and businesses within the district
- Chichester District Council staff and councillors
- Parish councils
- Community groups and charitable organisations
In this briefing
- Latest update
- Service status
- Vaccination programme in the Chichester District
- Travel update
- R number and growth rate in the UK
- New business grants open
- Support for rough sleepers
- Advice for people struggling to pay bills
- Sign up to paperless council tax billing
- Save time, go online — benefits services
- Consultation on how GCSE, AS and A level grades should be awarded in summer 2021
- Guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships
- Every Mind Matters campaign
- Domestic abuse code word scheme
- Support for the vulnerable
- Community guide and ‘look out for your neighbour’ scheme
- EU Transition Update
- Hands, Face, Space
- Share this newsletter with a friend
This week, the Health Secretary gave a statement on the coronavirus situation in the UK and provided an update on the rollout of vaccinations: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/health-and-social-care-secretarys-statement-on-coronavirus-covid-19-18-january-2021.
Between 8 December and 17 January, the NHS vaccinated just over four million people in the UK. The vaccination programme continues to be rolled out across our district and we will share updates from our NHS colleagues to keep you informed of their progress. This week, an update on the vaccination programme for West Sussex was issued, and this can be found here: https://www.chichester.gov.uk/media/34633/West-Sussex-COVID-19-vaccination-stakeholder-briefing-190121/pdf/West_Sussex_COVID-19_vaccination_stakeholder_briefing_190120.docx.pdf. You can find more information below.
We must continue to stay home; protect the NHS; and save lives. In line with the national lockdown, we must stay indoors other than for limited exceptions – such as essential medical needs, food shopping, exercise and work that cannot be done at home. For the very latest advice on restrictions, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home
The majority of our services are currently operating as usual, although our leisure centres, which are run in partnership with Everyone Active, and our Novium Museum and Tourist Information Centre, are currently closed in line with the national lockdown. An update on our services can be found at
Vaccination programme in the Chichester District
The coronavirus vaccination programme continues to be rolled out across our district and our NHS colleagues have issued an update this week on the programme in West Sussex, which includes lots of useful information relating to our district and will hopefully answer a lot of your questions — you can find this update as a PDF here: https://www.chichester.gov.uk/media/34633/West-Sussex-COVID-19-vaccination-stakeholder-briefing-190121/pdf/West_Sussex_COVID-19_vaccination_stakeholder_briefing_190120.docx.pdf.
You can also read an earlier update relating specifically to the programme in our district here: https://www.chichester.gov.uk/media/34565/COVID-19-vaccine-rollout-in-Chichester-District/pdf/Chichester_COVID-19_vaccination_briefing_-_080120_-_a.pdf. These updates explain the different ways in which the vaccination programme is being delivered across our district and how sites have been chosen.
In Sussex, the NHS is continuing to work hard to vaccinate the first two priority groups recommended by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) — residents and staff in care homes for older people, those aged 80 and over and frontline health and care staff. The Government has announced that once services have vaccinated the majority of people in these groups within their areas, they now have the flexibility to offer vaccinations to the next two cohorts – those aged 70 and over and clinically extremely vulnerable people: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/covid-19-vaccines-rolled-out-to-people-aged-70-years-and-over-from-today. As GP led vaccination services and community teams in Sussex complete their patients over the age of 80 and their local care homes, they can now move to vaccinate these further groups. It has also been announced that the vaccine will also be delivered at high street pharmacies. Boots, Superdrug and several independent stores will be the first of hundreds of community pharmacies to offer vaccinations. We’ve been told that in Sussex, the first community vaccination services are due to come online in the next fortnight.
The NHS has produced a short video to explain how people in Sussex are being invited to receive their vaccination: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtDEiOK46GM&feature=youtu.be. FAQs and contact information can be found here: https://www.sussexhealthandcare.uk/keepsussexsafe/sussex-covid-19-vaccination-programme/faqs-about-the-covid-19-vaccine/.
The Government has announced that all air travel corridors are temporarily closed to protect against the risk of unidentified new coronavirus strains: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/all-uk-travel-corridors-temporarily-suspended-to-protect-against-new-international-variants. This means that travellers to the UK must have proof of a negative coronavirus test that they have taken in the 72 hours before leaving, must have filled in a Passenger Locator Form and must quarantine for 10 days on arrival.
The Government has also announced that passengers who have been in or transited through Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Cape Verde, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Panama, Portugal (including Madeira and the Azores), Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela in the last 10 days will no longer be granted access to the UK. You can find out more about this here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/travel-from-south-american-destinations-portugal-panama-and-cape-verde-banned-to-prevent-spread-of-new-variant.
The guidance on how to self-isolate when you travel to England has also been updated: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-how-to-self-isolate-when-you-travel-to-the-uk
The R number and growth rate in the UK
The Government has published the latest reproduction number (R) and growth rate of coronavirus in the UK. The R number is currently between 1.2 and 1.3 and means that, on average, every 10 people infected will infect between 12 and 13 other people. More information about this can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-r-number-in-the-uk
New Government business grants open
New grant schemes are now open for applications from eligible retail, hospitality and leisure business in the Chichester District. If you own a business in the district, visit our website to see if you are eligible and apply at: www.chichester.gov.uk/covidbusinesssupport
This new Government support includes one-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses that are required to close during the current lockdown — these grants are worth £4,000, £6,000 or £9,000 per property depending on rateable value. There is also a grant scheme available for businesses that are not required to close but are still affected by the current national lockdown.
A range of other business support schemes are still open for businesses that have been affected by the national lockdown in November 2020 and last year’s tier restrictions. Find out if you are eligible and apply for all of the currently available grants here: https://www.chichester.gov.uk/covidbusinesssupport. We’re also reminding businesses that we are still issuing our business recovery grants: www.chichester.gov.uk/covidrecoverygrants
Support for rough sleepers
Alongside our charity partners, we are working hard to support all rough sleepers in the district during the continuing pandemic, providing accommodation, food and support. At the end of last year, we secured a £60,000 Government grant — £32,000 will be used towards temporary accommodation for rough sleepers during the pandemic, and £28,000 will go to local homeless charity, Stonepillow, to extend their Housing First team. This is a project that provides support to the most vulnerable rough sleepers, by enabling them to set up a new home for life and access the wider services that they need. We have also successfully applied for a larger grant amounting to £400,000, which has gone to Stonepillow to expand their accommodation. Our Rough Sleeper Outreach workers, continue to work with our partners to offer lots of support to rough sleepers.
Advice for people struggling to pay bills
The Government has issued updated advice for those having difficulty in paying utility bills, repayment commitments on credit cards, or loans and mortgages, as a result of the coronavirus outbreak: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/advice-for-people-who-are-struggling-to-pay-essential-bills-because-of-coronavirus
As a council, we offer a number of discounts to help council tax payers: https://www.chichester.gov.uk/counciltaxdiscount. If you have received a council tax bill that you are worried about paying, consider making an application for Council Tax Reduction — a means tested benefit that can be applied for by visiting https://www.chichester.gov.uk/myaccount, selecting ‘my benefits’ and then ‘make a claim’ — and/ or Discretionary Council Tax Reduction — which can be applied for by visiting https://www.chichester.gov.uk/myaccount under the section ‘Discretionary Council Tax Reduction’.
If you are unsure what to do or what you are eligible for, our officers are here to help. The easiest way to contact them is by email on email@example.com or you can call 01243 534509, however please be aware that when lines are busy you may have to wait longer than usual.
Sign up to paperless billing for council tax
We are encouraging residents to consider choosing paperless billing in advance of their council tax bills being issued this March. This service is completely optional but this simple change will help us make a positive impact on our environment, and makes it quick and easy for residents to view their bills. People can register for paperless billing by visiting https://www.chichester.gov.uk/counciltaxpaperlessbilling
Paying by direct debit is now our most popular method of council tax payment and is a safe and secure way to pay bills. It is easy to set up by visiting https://www.chichester.gov.uk/myaccount, selecting ‘my council tax’ then ‘view direct debit services’. The council also offers a number of discounts for council tax payers, and further details can be found here: https://www.chichester.gov.uk/counciltaxdiscount
Save time, do it online – accessing benefits services through my Account
We are reminding our benefits customers that they can access all of our services quickly and easily online. ‘My Account’ is a secure and easy way to:
- claim housing benefit, council tax reduction and discretionary housing payments
- access entitlement letters
- report a change in your circumstances so we can make sure you have the right level of support
- upload documents needed for a claim
- view account details and update your personal details
Council tax and business rates customers can also access our services through My Account.
Simply click on the ‘My Account’ link from any page on the site or go direct to https://www.chichester.gov.uk/myaccount. Here people can also sign up to paperless billing, which is quicker and which will help us make a positive impact on our environment.
Consultation on how GCSE, AS and A level grades should be awarded in summer 2021
The Department for Education has launched a joint consultation with Ofqual on how GCSE, AS and A level grades should be awarded in summer 2021. They want to hear the views of students who were due to take their exams, their parents and carers, their teachers, school and college leaders and others who have an interest, including further and higher education providers, and employers.
The consultation can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-how-gcse-as-and-a-level-grades-should-be-awarded-in-summer-2021?utm_source=18%20January%202020%20C19&utm_medium=Daily%20Email%20C19&utm_campaign=DfE%20C19.
It closes at 11:45pm on 29 January.
Guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships
The Government has updated the guidance for people planning to get married or form a civil partnership in England to reflect the national lockdown in England: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships
Every Mind Matters campaign
Public Health England have launched a ‘Better Health – Every Mind Matters’ campaign to help support the nation’s mental wellbeing and encourage people to create a free NHS-approved ‘Mind Plan’: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/your-mind-plan-quiz/
More information about the campaign can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/
Domestic abuse code word scheme
The Home Office has launched a new ‘Abuse Codeword Scheme’, which provides a simple and discreet way for people experiencing domestic abuse to signal that they need immediate help from the police or other support services: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pharmacies-launch-codeword-scheme-to-offer-lifeline-to-domestic-abuse-victims. The Ask for ANI scheme allows those at risk or suffering from abuse to discreetly signal that they need help and access support by using a code word in their local pharmacy.
Support for the vulnerable
We are continuing to work in partnership with West Sussex County Council to support those who are most at risk. You can contact the Community Hub if you, or someone you know, need help in these difficult times. If you have support in place, please continue to use it. You can contact the Community Hub on 033 022 27980 or online at: www.westsussex.gov.uk/covid19communityhub
Community guide and ‘look out for your neighbour’ scheme
Our ‘Supporting your local communities’ guide provides lots of useful information to help you and others access a variety of support easily and quickly. This can be found at https://www.chichester.gov.uk/media/33362/Supporting-your-local-communities-guide—Coronavirus-COVID-19/pdf/Community_guide_Jan_2021_amended.pdf
The ‘look out for your neighbour’ scheme also offers guidance and materials to help people safely support their neighbours during the pandemic. You can find more information at https://www.chichester.gov.uk/helpyourneighbour, where you can download and print a flyer that can be posted through the doors of your neighbours to offer support and give them advice on safe ways to accept help.
EU Transition update
The Business Minister is urging businesses to consider six key actions as the UK becomes an independent trading nation outside of the EU: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/act-now-to-keep-your-business-moving-in-2021-business-minister-urges. Detailed, personalised advice for businesses is available through the checker tool: https://www.gov.uk/transition
The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has launched a series of new, on demand videos to help businesses familiarise themselves with the new rules. Topics include importing and exporting, trade, data, and audit and accounting. These can be found at https://www.workcast.com/register?cpak=1070296099921910
Hands, face, space
Approximately 1 in 3 people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and could be spreading it without realising it. Remember – ‘Hands. Face. Space.’
- Wash hands: keep washing your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds
- Cover face: wear a face covering in enclosed spaces, and
- Make space: stay at least two metres apart – or one metre with a face covering or other precautions.
Share this with a friend
As the situation around coronavirus changes, it’s important that people across our district have the most up-to-date information possible. Please encourage your friends and family to sign up to this newsletter so that we can all be prepared and play our part in the fight against the virus. Sign up at http://www.chichester.gov.uk/newsalerts