The Leader of the Council, Councillor Jarrett, supported by the Leader of the Labour and Co-Operative Group, Councillor Maple, proposed a vote of thanks to Medway Council staff in recognition of their hard work, commitment and dedication over the previous year.
Councillor Jarrett paid tribute to staff for continuing to provide such a diverse range of services for local people, from providing important social care for vulnerable residents to keeping Medway clean. In particular, he recognised the invaluable role of staff in keeping Council services running in the face of the challenges presented by Covid-19.
The work highlighted by Councillor Jarrett included:
· Adaptability of staff – officers had risen to the challenges posed by new ways of working, including working from home, staff redeployment and in many cases, increased working hours.
· Public Health – the team was thanked for its excellent response to Covid-19 in Medway. This had included Medway becoming the first area in the South-East to make symptom-free testing available.
· Waste and Recycling – the excellent job done by Medway Norse, in maintaining the weekly household collection service during the pandemic, was highlighted. The team had continued to deliver one of the best weekly collection services of waste and recycling.
· Children and Adults – those working with vulnerable adults and staff providing mental health services were praised for the efforts. Special recognition was given to staff working with vulnerable children for keeping services running effectively and for the significant improvements made since the previous inspection.
· Support staff – the role of back-office staff in keeping services running was recognised as was the role of senior officers as members of the Gold, Silver and Bronze Command teams. These had been set up under the Civil Contingencies Act to deal with the consequences of the pandemic.
· Finance – Nearly £100million of grant funding had been provided to individuals and small businesses.
Councillor Maple supported the vote of thanks. In particular, he recognised the role of public sector staff during the pandemic, both Council officers and those in other public professions.
Councillor Maple also praised the flexibility and dedication shown by Council officers throughout the pandemic and recognised the work of the Council’s ICT team to enable committee meetings to continue and for them to be livestreamed, which had allowed the public to view them while lockdown restrictions were in place.
The Chief Executive responded on behalf of all staff, thanking Councillors Jarrett and Maple for their kind words acknowledging how particularly fitting it was, in view of the challenges presented by COVID, that staff were thanked at the Annual Council meeting. He said it was a great pleasure and privilege to work with colleagues at Medway and that staff were talented and dedicated. The Chief Executive concluded that the efforts made by staff during the pandemic to serve, support and care for the people of Medway had been outstanding.
The Council agreed that a vote of thanks be given to staff.
Councillors Browne, Cooper, Curry, Mahil, Maple, McDonald, Murray, Osborne, Prenter and Chrissy Stamp requested that their votes in favour of the decision be recorded in accordance with Council Rule 12.6.