Andrew Proctor. Picture: Supplied
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Norfolk County Council is to consider the lessons learned during the coronavirus crisis so far in a meeting next week.

Members of the public will be able to view the cabinet meeting online from 10am on Monday. 

Councillors are set to discuss the key lessons learned by council officers and will be asked to approve a 13-point action plan which has been drawn-up in response to the findings.

The council’s experiences will also be fed into resilience training for future coronavirus outbreaks or other serious incidents.

A report to the cabinet said: “It may be some time before it is appropriate to carry out a formal debrief exercise for COVID-19. 

“However, given the anticipated length of this incident, it is prudent to capture some learning now so that it can be factored into ongoing response, normalisation and recovery activity. Therefore, an initial debrief has been carried out which captures initial learning points from key officers who have been involved in the COVID-19 response. 

“Capturing learning points now means they can be factored into ongoing activity to help us to provide the best possible response for Norfolk communities.”

Among the lessons learned is the importance of fast, effective, co-ordinated decision-making through the council’s gold and silver command groups and the need to work with the voluntary and community sector, particularly in supporting the vulnerable, the report said.

The need to provide personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks, during the pandemic also highlighted the need to train more council employees in import-export procedures and increase the pool of staff with knowledge of international procurement, members will hear.

“The ability to procure and distribute sufficient supplies of PPE has been critical to response activity,” the report said. 

“In addition, because of its high public profile and role in reassuring staff, PPE has been a lightning rod of staff and community feeling.”  

The council hopes to have the extra training in place by the end of December.

In the coming weeks, it hopes to work with partners to find ways of maintaining the “richer picture of vulnerability” developed during the pandemic.

The action plan said the council hoped to retain its current data access permissions beyond the current COVID-19 data sharing agreement which is due to expire at the end of September.

“Details have been captured in the Norfolk Vulnerability Hub and includes those considered to be vulnerable due to clinical, societal, emotional/mental or economic factors,” the report said. 

Council leader Andrew Proctor said: “The response to the COVID-19 crisis across Norfolk has been remarkable, with communities, businesses and public services working together to protect everyone in Norfolk and keep Norfolk safe.

“It’s important to capture the immediate learning from our experience, so that we continue to provide the best possible services and support we can. A fuller, formal debrief will be carried out in future, when we are out of the crisis phase.” 

Visit the county council website at: www.norfolk.gov.uk to find out more.