Cllr James Jamieson, Chairman of the Local Government Association, responds to the publication of government guidance on exemptions from self-isolation for critical workers.
“Councils continue to work hard to try and keep services running as best as possible, while protecting the health and wellbeing of our workforce. However, the large numbers of close contacts being required to self-isolate is having an impact on some council services due to staff shortages.
“Directors of public health, working in councils, are already under huge pressure as a result of the need to sign off on self-isolation exemptions for social care staff as well as many daily enquiries from other employers in their local area who believe their staff should be exempt. Clarity is urgently needed about what their role will be with regards to the application of exemptions locally while messaging from government must be crystal clear to avoid raising unrealistic expectations. The exemption approval process must also be quick and clear to understand.
“While we continue to discuss with government the implications of this guidance for local government, it appears it will not help alleviate the pressure on some important - albeit non-critical - local services. Residents will need to bear with us if they experience disruption to some services, if councils are forced to prioritise services that protect the most vulnerable in their communities.”