Councillors praise ‘great service for residents’ despite pandemic
Staff at Eastbourne council have been praised for that the authority calls their ‘remarkable performance’ over the past year, adapting swiftly to the many challenges posed by Covid-19 and making sure that meeting residents’ needs have remained a priority.
Council leader David Tutt made the comments after a report to the decision making cabinet committee on Wednesday (July 14) showed significant progress was made in 2020/21 towards achieving the council’s goals set out in its four-year Corporate Plan, despite the town being in lockdown for much of this period.
Key achievements, according to the council, were delivery of £39.2m in grants to support Eastbourne businesses through the pandemic using a dedicated online portal; full refuse, street cleaning and recycling waste services continuing despite Covid-19; accommodating 148 rough sleepers in 2020; auditing 10 public buildings and amenities for disability access resulting in improvements being made to promote inclusion of disabled people; publishing a strategy and plan of action to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2030 and opening a new visitor centre at the Welcome Building.
Councillor Tutt said:,“It is no small feat to have achieved all this and more, at a time when Covid-19 had turned the world upside down - but nevertheless we continued delivering our usual services plus extra efforts to care for the most vulnerable in Eastbourne.
“This was a remarkable performance from council staff who responded brilliantly to changes needed in their way of working and I thank them for their diligence and flexibility.”
Cabinet councillors last night also welcomed a number of performance achievements during 2020/21 including the best annual performance for several years in processing new claims for housing and council tax benefit.
Elsewhere, 89.1 per cent of calls from customers were answered within 60 seconds which said the council was ‘well above’ the 80 per cent target, and processing times for all types of planning applications far exceeded targets.
In addition, 2,771 residents began following the council’s social media channels over the year as a way of engaging with the authority.
Councillor Colin Swansborough, the cabinet member for place services and special projects, said: “These are an impressive set of results which have taken hard work to achieve and show we really are continuing to provide a great service for residents while being as efficient as we can, despite problems caused by Covid-19.”