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New post Covid-19 era will see transformation for council services

SWANSEA Council's Cabinet has agreed plans that will see services for our communities transformed to meet the challenges of a post Covid-19 era.

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Over the last six months the council has radically changed what it does to protect the people of our city from the virus, keep them safe and maintain critical frontline services.

Now it has unveiled a major service recovery plan that aims to re-mobilise, re-focus and re-shape services to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities on offer in the years ahead.

Rob Stewart, Leader of the Council, said: "Covid-19 has underlined how essential council services and the dedicated people who deliver them every day are essential to the people of Swansea.

"We've responded to this unprecedented challenge which has dramatically changed our way of life, transforming the way we do things and working with many thousands of people across communities to protect the vulnerable.

"Now we need to build on that and ensure Swansea emerges from the pandemic in a strong position. If there's one thing that we've all learned from the Covid-19 crisis it's that we can change quickly and can achieve amazing things when we work together.

"It's about the people of Swansea and their local council services working side-by-side in partnership.

A report to Cabinet agreed today (Oct 15) outlines a service recovery plan that will lay the foundations for the future transformation of the council.

Benefits residents can expect to see:

  • A dynamic economic recovery built on the continuing re-shaping of the city, investment in skills and training backed by the development of digital infrastructure.
  • Inward investment supported by the Swansea Bay City Deal.
  • Fresh approaches to education, including blended-learning for schools where young people learn in the classroom and at home using digital technology.
  • Social care that's delivered to meet individual need at home as much as possible, while safeguarding the vulnerable from harm and from the virus.
  • Supporting communities to achieve their aspirations, working alongside voluntary and community groups.

Cllr Stewart said: "We are not out of this pandemic yet by any means. Government restrictions are in place for the immediate future and the impact on communities, businesses and individuals will continue to be a real challenge.

"Governments will need to ensure they make the necessary support available to protect jobs, support services, support business and ensure we can come out of the pandemic and prosper. The alternative is unthinkable.

"We will continue to make those arguments to Government as strongly as we can and will ensure any extra resources that are made available reach people as quickly as possible."

He added: "We must remain optimistic about Swansea's potential and its future. Despite the pandemic, we have been continuing with the significant transformational schemes to create more jobs, homes, offices, attractions and opportunities in our city. 

"More really exciting news on the next phase will be released shortly and it will underline our ambition to ensure better jobs, homes, and opportunities for everyone in Swansea."

He said: "But we've also been learning from the pandemic and incorporating new elements to help future proof our city and our services. For our children that means developing and embedding the benefits of blended-learning for our schools - so children can learn in the classroom but also learn from home as well if they need to.

"In social care we've been working in even closer partnership with health and community services to ensure those who depend on the services are supported in a more seamless way."

Cllr Stewart said: "One of the most heartwarming things to come out of the Covid-19 crisis was the way in which thousands of volunteers in our communities stepped up to support others in their communities. I want to pay tribute to each and every one of our local volunteers. They undoubtedly helped save lives.

Cllr Stewart said: "We don't want to lose that sense of togetherness, of everyone doing their bit, looking out for their neighbours and loved ones. We want to play our part in nurturing the belief that we can do more together, that we are better together - because we are."

The council's recovery plan involving the re-mobilising of council services to create new business-as-usual frontline services alongside Covid-19 response services such as track and trace teams. Although the virus is still with us, this phase has already started.

The second phase will begin immediately and will aim to re-focus council activity, taking advantage of lessons learned during the crisis to provide services that are more effective, more efficient and in tune with local demand and need.

The third phase is a longer-term programme which will re-shape the way the council does things, building on the Sustainable Swansea Fit for the Future programme that has guided the council's corporate plan and priorities over the last five years.

Cllr Stewart said: "The world, our lives and this council are not the same as we were before the pandemic happened, the recovery plan provides a framework for how we can seize the opportunity to make sure that one of the positive legacies of these difficult times are that we are all stronger, safer, better, and happier when we work together."

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