Blackpool Council staff redeployed

Blackpool Council has had to deliver services with around eight per cent of its workforce absent due to coronavirus.

The figure equates to 212 members of staff at the authority which employs around 2,500 people.

Some workers have been redeployed to help maintain the delivery of essential services during the  pandemic as facilities such as leisure centres and libraries have closed.

Town hall development officer Mark Gillingham has swapped his office to work at one of the council’s 12 Corona Kindness hubs co-ordinating efforts including shopping services, medical supplies, dog walking, a befriending service and food parcel distribution.

He said: “The work I’m doing essentially involves making sure, as much as we can do, that our residents have everything they need to get by on a day-to-day basis.

“The support we’ve received has been fantastic. Wherever we’ve had to pass bits of work on to other people, whether that be through our hubs or to one of our volunteers, everyone has taken it on with open arms because they genuinely want to help the people of Blackpool.

“I’ve always known I was lucky to live and work in a place like Blackpool, and this role is reminding me of that every day.”

Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn said: “Despite the extremely challenging circumstances, Blackpool Council employees have demonstrated unrivalled dedication and adaptability.

“This includes those who have agreed to be redeployed, those who are working from home and those who continue to perform their regular duties.”

A report to a virtual meeting of the council being held on May 11 says as of April 23, there were 37 employees absent with Covid-19 symptoms, 105 living
with someone with symptoms  and 303  not in work due to government guidance regarding age, pregnancy or underlying health conditions.

The total of 445 employees equated to more than 16 per cent of the workforce, but thanks to the council’s home-working IT solutions, more than half were able to work from home, bringing the overall absence total to 212 or eight per cent.

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