Working together to protect Norfolk

Working together to protect Norfolk

Working closely with our communities has been a key focus for every district across Norfolk during the Covid 19 pandemic.  With the Tiers coming into place on Wednesday 2 December, Covid marshals and support officers will continue to be recruited and deployed across the county.  Their aim is to advise, educate, and engage with businesses and members of the public around the restriction, working together to tackle the threats we all still face and bring us down into Tier 1. As well as providing support to the communities they work in, they also act as the eyes and the ears of the districts, reporting back improvements that could be made, concerns and repeat offenders.

While they all share similar role profiles (see examples attached), each district is using their marshals, support officers or support advisors slightly differently. The funding for the roles has been provided by the central government Covid Outbreak Management Fund.

Highlighting the importance of the role Tom McCabe, Norfolk’s Resilience Forum Chair, said:  “Many Covid-19 marshals and support officers have been in place for some weeks now, supporting businesses and helping to encourage, engage and educate people in how to protect themselves and those around them.

“The feedback on their role has largely been really positive, with our communities recognising that these officers are working with them to keep us all safe. The role is likely to evolve over the coming weeks and months as we move different types of restrictions with the expected changes to local and national regulations, but they will continue to be out on the streets and will be happy to help where they can. “

Breckland Council has recruited 10 Covid Support Staff – one Lead Covid Support Officer to coordinate and supervise a team of nine Covid Support Officers – with officers in post before the end of the current restrictions period. The role of this team will be to provide advice and support to businesses, engage with residents and support with the track-and-trace and door-knocking work in the community.  They will be a flexible resource that will move between the work on the high street and contact tracing, dependant on the priority at the time. Breckland has also recruited two Covid Compliance Officers to support the new enforcement powers that districts have been given.

Broadland and South Norfolk have interviewed and made offers of six month fixed term contracts to 10 Covid Support Advisors who will start on Monday next week, following the attached role profile. They will be managed through two district team leaders, due to be interviewed shortly, who will provide daily briefing and tasking from their offices in Thorpe St Andrew and Long Stratton. It is important to note that these are support and advice roles rather than enforcement roles. Enforcement will be picked through their existing regulatory teams, however, as most Covid issues, things are moving at pace and there may be changes to this position at short notice. All Covid related roles will liaise closely with district command policing and – on the ground – with beat managers.

Great Yarmouth has had Covid support officers in place since early October, with an average of six officers patrolling each day. They have proven to be so effective in educating, advising and engaging with businesses that Great Yarmouth is currently recruiting for more on a six month contract basis. The aim is to have 10 FTE support officers along with a team of flexible officers to support when needed. On a daily basis the team talk to businesses and the general public, assist with social distancing at schools and leaflet drop where appropriate.

Norwich have Covid 19 Support Officers, who during lockdown have been a core group of four to six patrolling the city each day between 10am and 4pm. The officers have been working with those businesses that are permitted to open to ensure that they are maintaining high levels of Covid protection and have been identifying businesses that may be trading when the legislation requires them to be closed. The team is managed by their Events Team and any issues that are identified by the support officers are relayed to the Environmental Health Enforcement Teams.

As the city reopens, they will be increasing the number of Covid19 Support Officers to pre-lockdown levels of up to 20 people on duty per day. To increase the impact of the officers, they will work in two shifts to cover the daytime business economy of 9am to 6pm. They will work to increase their interaction with the public and focussing on the key messages of hands: face: space. Street signage will be improved and there will also be the provision of information booths offering hand sanitiser and face coverings.

North Norfolk are building on their successes during the summer and will have six Covid-19 Support Officers working in their market towns and seaside resorts including Holt, Fakenham, Cromer, Sheringham, Wells-next the Sea and North Walsham. They will be a visible presence in areas of high footfall across the district from Wednesday, working six days a week. The Covid-19 Support Officers will provide advice, guidance and reassurance to residents, visitors and businesses on the latest Covid-19 restrictions. They will promote the important public health messages such as hand washing, social distancing,  and the wearing of face coverings and will provide a vital link between communities, their Environmental Health Team and policing colleagues, providing information which will allow them to focus their resources more effectively.  

King’s Lynn and West Norfolk have recruited a number of marshals, including some who are contracted SIA qualified security staff. They also have staff from alive Leisure and students from the college supporting them.  They are following the 3 Es and referring to EHOs for enforcement. They are visiting all parts of the borough, including retail areas, shops near schools, school gates where issues have been reported and providing people with up to date advice and guidance on the latest guidance, signposting to other sources of support such as funding, and how to develop a click and collect service.  This enables the finite resources EHOs to be focussed more effectively where enforcement is unfortunately required.

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