Agenda item


            The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0      Purpose of Report


1.1       This report provides an update on the operational recovery of City Protection Services following national lock down as a result of the ongoing pandemic. It provides a snapshot of the current status and information on second wave planning.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to


·         note the current position regarding service recovery within City Protection


3.0       Main report


3.1       Background:


3.2       During the national lockdown which resulted from the Covid 19 Pandemic, there were a number of City Protection services that were able to make agile changes to their processes to allow some services to continue to function. The work to provide critical services during that time was based on City Protection’s Business Continuity Plan and the following services remained operational to some extent to provide emergency response services:


·         Emergency Planning – the Council’s Emergency Plan was activated and resources put in place.

·         Houses in Multiple Occupation – emergency response arrangements put in place and agreed with Department for Communities.  Licensing applications continued to be received and processed.  From 23rd March 2020 to 1st July 2020, approximately 238 HMO licenses were issued.

·         Planning Consultation – work continued to support the Council’s Planning Service

·         Port Health – certain mandatory checks were still required and the office was staffed on a rota basis under strict controls.

·         Sewer Baiting – a service using available members of staff was established early on to endeavour to keep the rat population under control and to provide advice and support on pest control where possible.

·         Scientific Services – an emergency service in relation to the gas extraction systems were maintained.

·         Animal Welfare and Dog Control - services continued in response to stray dogs, dangerous dogs and animal cruelty.

·         Air Quality – air quality monitoring services were established in the early stages of lockdown under direction from DAERA

·         Public Health and Housing, Environmental Protection, Workplace Health and Safety, Food and Consumer Safety services were reconfigured during lockdown to deliver the critical aspects of those services identified in the Business Continuity Plan.


3.3       Because of the restrictions that were put in place during lockdown a number of less critical services or higher risk were temporarily suspended. These included postal Dog Licensing applications, Radiation Monitoring, Industrial Pollution Control, Off Street Car Parking, Night time Noise Services, Home Safety, Customer Advice, Tobacco Control, Enforcement in relation to dumping/littering and the Pest Control home treatment service.


3.4       While there were many services within City Protection that were able to continue providing certain functions, the restoration of these services and those suspended has presented significant challenges and required considerable modifications of service processes to allow all functions to be carried out in a new controlled operational model that takes into account the risks associated with Covid-19.


3.5       These controls are likely to be with us for a considerable time and will be continuously monitored to ensure that we operate in a safe way that protects both our staff and the public. Like other services, there are challenging resource management issues associated with the new operating model for City Protection and much work was done during recovery to minimise the impact on the Council’s deficit.


3.6       Recovery Process:


            The easing of lockdown restrictions through the NI Executive 5 Stage Roadmap has been one of main drivers in enabling the Council to restore services. City Protection has followed the corporate approach to recovery and has sought input from a number of support services across the council such as corporate health and safety, local trade unions, financial services, digital services and property maintenance. Although time consuming, given the number of services in City Protection, this has been essential in ensuring the new arrangements are both safe and efficient.


3.7       City Protection Service Status:


            Outlined below in column B is the current operational status of City Protection service. Where the service is still partially operating or has been suspended column c provides an estimated date for full recovery within a controlled operating model. As you will see from the table below the majority of City Protection services are now operational.


A. Service/ Function

B. Operational Status



C. Estimated Date for Full Recovery

Air Quality

Operational (controlled operating model)

Planning Consultations 

Operational (controlled operating model)

Emergency Planning

Operational (controlled operating model)

Scientific Services

Operational (controlled operating model)

Animal Welfare

Operational (controlled operating model)

Dog Control and Licensing

Operational (controlled operating model)

Housing of Multiple Occupant

Operational (controlled operating model)

Port Health

Operational (controlled operating model)

Public Health and Housing

Operational (controlled operating model)

Cleansing Enforcement

Partially Operational

Phased step up in place from 21st September 2020 pending release of staff from Crematorium

Workplace Health and Safety (including H&S Reopening a business/Covid regulations)

Operational (controlled operating model)

Food Safety

Operational (controlled operating model)

Sewer Baiting

Operational (controlled operating model)

Night (daytime & night time)

Operational (controlled operating model)

Private water supplies Risk assessments/sampling (Drinking Water Inspectorate)

Operational (controlled operating model)

Pest Control - Home Treatments

Partially Operational

Service recovery is dependent on recent restrictions related to BCC area.

Off street car parking

Operational (controlled operating model)

Radiation Monitoring

Partially Operational


Home Safety

Partially Operational


Industrial Pollution Control

Partially Operational


Consumer Advice

Temporarily Suspended

Staff redeployed to the Crematorium and Public Office.

Tobacco Control

Temporarily Suspended

Staff redeployed to Crematorium and Covid Restrictions Enforcement Work


3.8       Second Wave Planning:


            There is a risk of a second wave and the potential for new restrictions to be imposed. City Protection has learned a lot from the first wave and as a result of recovery planning all services have, or will have, a Covid risk assessment. This will mean should a second wave happen we will have the potential to keep the majority of services operational dependent, of course, on the restrictions imposed. We are currently planning for the second wave to ensure that we can be as prepared as possible to keep services operational. 


3.9       Financial and resource Implications


            The impact on the Councils financial deficit of recovering City Protection Services has been considered and agreed through the corporate recovery process.


3.10      Equality or Good Relations Implications/Rural Needs Assessment


            There is no identified equality impact, this will be continuously reviewed through the service recovery process.”


            The Committee noted the current position regarding service recovery within City Protection and agreed that the Director of City Services would liaise directly with those Members who had highlighted that they were unable to attend the Waste Workshop being held on 7th October.


Supporting documents: