17 March 2020
As a Town Council we’ve been engaged for almost a week in preparing a business continuity plan for an anticipated requirement to practice social distancing because of COVID-19. As the Prime Minister made clear last night, the time to do that is now.
As a resident of Berwick-upon-Tweed what this means for you is that we will try to continue to provide the same services as we do now, and initially will operate in a way that may not appear that different to business as usual. As a result of an investment in technology some two years ago all our staff can work in an agile fashion; they have access to emails and software wherever they are via secure devices. Similarly, councillors can access their emails and council documents from home and we’ll be bringing forward planned enhancements to that provision.
In order to achieve maximal social distancing the office will only have one member of staff in it at any time; we regret, therefore, that we will not be able to answer the phone between one and two pm, and at busy times you may need to leave a voicemail message. In the first instance we’d ask you to use email or the contact form on our website to contact us to reduce the workload on the phone.
We’re going to be working today and tomorrow to talk to colleagues in the voluntary and community sector about how we can best support them, and we’ll make any public service announcements about that, or in support of our partners at Northumberland County Council, via Facebook, our website and Twitter. We’ll also use the digital boards at Marygate and Castlegate to provide any in-town information that we can.
We believe Berwickers have a proud tradition of being a community who support and care for each other; we’ll do everything we safely can to support and continue that tradition. Please be kind to each other, be cautious about your health, and take care.
Gareth Davies, Town Clerk, on behalf of Cllr Anne Forbes, the Mayor of Berwick upon Tweed and the Town Council.