Council sets out approach to recovery

Today (Thursday 18 June), the Policy & Coordination Committee considered the approach Fife Council will take as it restarts services in line with the Scottish Government’s route map.

Council Co-leader, Cllr David Alexander said: “Today we’ve approved a high-level council route map through the pandemic recovery, which outlines our approach - by service area - against the phases defined by the Scottish Government.

“It sets out a clear order for the reintroduction of services. Dates will follow as national announcements are made and more guidance issued, which will let us put detailed plans in place.

“It’s important everyone stays in touch as we go along. We’ll promote all changes through the council’s social media channels and on the fife.gov website. That’s where people will find the latest information.

“But, this isn’t just about restarting services and getting everything back to the way it was. Things will, and should, be different going forward.

“We’ll be looking at the impact Covid-19 has had on our communities, and what services are most needed to support them through a trying time ahead – socially and economically – as the full implications of this pandemic continue to be felt. And we’ll have to consider how we do this in the most effective way, given the impact coronavirus has had on the council’s finances.”

Co-leader, Cllr David Ross added: “Lockdown has been hard on households and businesses everywhere. Many people are now facing financial difficulty and they will require different types of long-term support.

“Our attention has to be focussed on the recovery, ensuring we protect those who are most vulnerable and getting our local economy going again.

“At the same time the Council’s budget position which was challenging before, is even more so now. During the coronavirus response our costs have increased, and we’ve lost a lot of income – the Council is now facing a massive financial challenge.

“So, while our overall ambitions for Fife haven’t changed, they will be all the harder to realise. We’re going to need greater innovation and reform to make progress towards the Fairer Fife we described in our ten-year ‘Plan for Fife’.

“Our next step is to work with community planning partners – and communities – to learn from recent experiences, build on the excellent work that’s happened in local areas and prioritise our joint efforts.

“Instead of going ‘back to normal’, together we can move things forward in the best possible way and develop services that meet Fife’s emerging and future needs.”

The Policy & Coordination Committee agreed to use the findings of the soon to be published ‘State of Fife’ report to establish a focussed set of priorities and objectives for the next phase of recovery and reform.

Initial assessment of local research suggests priorities are likely to include:

  • tackling poverty and food insecurity
  • building community wealth through local economic development
  • promoting digital working and inclusion
  • supporting mental health and wellbeing
  • addressing the climate emergency

Council services might not resume at the first point they are referenced in the Scottish Government’s route map. As part of some phases, businesses and local services will only be allowed to prepare for the next phase.

When some services become available they may operate differently to the way they did before – any changes will be widely promoted.

No facilities will re-open or services resume until managers are confident that all practical logistics and health and safety requirements are in place.