The resilience constructions of the London boroughs and their accomplice public our bodies are working flat out
Issues have moved extraordinarily quick since Monday, when On London printed an explainer about the resilience planning of the capital’s local authorities and their partnerships with other public bodies. As nationwide authorities has ordered the shutdown of extra locations and areas and turned up the amount of its social distancing recommendation, the London Strategic Co-ordination Group (SCG) shaped to cope with the Covid-19 coronavirus disaster has scaled up and tailored its response. Till not too long ago, the total SCG held two assembly every week. They’re now convening 3 times a day.
The principal chief of the group stays John Barradell, chief government of the Metropolis of London Company, however he now once more has a joint chair within the type of Eleanor Kelly, the chief government of Southwark. Kelly had moved to the position of native authority “gold”, with its explicit accountability for co-ordinating the work of the boroughs, however she has reverted to being joint chair partially to present the place its personal resilience – if one of many joint chairs contracts the virus, there shall be a properly one to tackle the entire job.
Kelly has been changed as gold by her Waltham Forest counterpart Martin Esom, and he has 5 SCG deputies of equal rank from different boroughs, every with explicit chargeable for a sub-regional cluster of boroughs. They’re Merton’s Ged Curran, Lewisham’s Kim Wright, Brent’s Carolyn Downs, Redbridge’s Andy Donald and Westminster’s Stuart Love.
Different borough chief executives have been introduced in to supervise particular areas of accountability. They’re: policing and enforcement; the “shielding” and help of susceptible individuals; mortality, which suggests the grim enterprise of coping with an unusually excessive variety of individuals dying; grownup social care; finance; and housing, which now contains assembly the federal government’s want that every one tough sleepers are underneath roofs by the weekend (felt by some to be unimaginable, by the best way).
Esom has additionally been asking boroughs to hunt out skilled officers who’ve not too long ago retired or moved on to assist with the the resilience effort. Native authorities chiefs aren’t any much less possible than Prime Ministers or well being secretaries to contract the virus and added numbers additionally means added cowl for illness or self-isolation. Senior London authorities communications workers, together with from the Metropolis and London Councils, are additionally now working full time for the SCG,
There’s a large quantity of exercise happening, in live performance with the Met, Transport for London, the NHS, the Hearth Brigade and others, together with nationwide authorities. The latter’s involvement in London resilience planning will not be new: for instance, DEFRA performed a component in anticipating the impacts of a doable no-deal Brexit. A letter to Barradell from housing, communities and native authorities secretary Robert Jenrick dated 24 March and detailing the formation of a “senior sub-group” of his division to “help” the SCG has raised some eyebrows, although perhaps extra for its method than its substance.
The letter asks Barradell to “transfer past co-ordination and to actively direct the efforts of public authorities in London in response to the virus” and says “it’s important that every one responder organisations in London recognise the centrality of the SCG in overseeing London’s response and your place as chief of the SCG, invested with general accountability for steering the response”.
Some have seen this as looking for by implication to undermine the authority of Sadiq Khan, however the Mayor stays London’s elected police and crime commissioner (it comes with the job) and chair of the TfL board, and Barradell was already doing what Jenrick requested him to as head of a multi-agency physique that has all the time included TfL and the police in addition to borough representatives and Mayor’s deputy for hearth and resilience.
Assessed on this mild, the letter from Jenrick, nonetheless new in his job, is being seen as a fairly pontifical pronouncement about issues everybody concerned already knew – together with the Mayor, who’s a member of Jenrick’s “senior sub-group”, as are Met commissioner Cressida Dick and members of the SCG – albeit of a bit with Matt Hancock’s stunning public contradiction of the Mayor’s method to working Tube providers, delivered on the identical day Jenrick’s letter to Barradell was written.
For his half, the Mayor has been fast to ship get properly needs via Twitter to the virus-hit PM at the moment and thank him within the course of for “all the pieces your authorities is doing to assist us battle this”. Politic, politics or each?
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