Fife Council staff have been praised for going above and beyond during the coronavirus crisis amid warnings the recovery will be a long-term process.
The authority’s Labour co-leader David Ross said he was immensely proud of workers, hundreds of whom volunteered for redeployment to critical roles to keep vital services running.
However, he stressed services would not return to normal overnight once lockdown was lifted.
The council has accrued at least £30 million of increased costs and loss of income during the pandemic and spending plans are now having to be looked at.
Ahead of a meeting to discuss the approach to the recovery, Mr Ross said there would be very different priorities as the council played a crucial role in supporting vulnerable people and communities and helping to rebuild the local economy.
“Our care staff have rightly been the focus for praise from our communities and the continuation of our refuse service has also been in the public eye and much valued,” he said.
“Many other staff have moved to doing other things to support our communities as well.
“The food and resilience hubs set up in each of the seven areas and our emergency call centre have provided direct support to vulnerable individuals and, working with Fife Voluntary Action, have also supported the many fantastic voluntary and community groups helping our in local communities.”
Mr Ross said demand for the Scottish Welfare Fund had rocketed, putting severe pressure on those administering it locally, while much had been done to enable thousands of staff to work from home.
“We’ve continued to deal with homelessness and urgent housing repairs and kept up with essential environmental management,” he said
“Our mechanics have kept our vehicles running and many drivers have been diverted to supporting home deliveries.
“Staff have come forward to run the childcare hubs for the children of essential workers and teachers are putting every effort into supporting home learning and running online classes.”
He added: “It’s impossible to mention every staff group, but as co-leader of the council I’m immensely proud of the efforts all our staff have put in to ensure we keep supporting everyone in our communities during what are probably the most challenging times most of us have seen in our lifetimes.”
Mr Ross said planning was already under way towards managing the recovery.
“This will be a long-term process and it won’t be a case of services just returning overnight to what we knew before covid-19,” he said.
“We will have very different priorities as the recovery moves forward and we will continue to follow Scottish Government and public health guidance and direction.
“The council will play a crucial role in continuing to support vulnerable people and our local communities, getting services up and running again, helping to rebuild our local economy and above all, trying to keep people safe.”
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