Local authorities to receive £300m additional funding to support UK’s test and trace service
Announced by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), the UK Government is providing a new £300 million funding package to local authorities to help support the new test and trace service in England.
The UK Government’s test and trace service is designed to help identify, contain and control coronavirus, reduce the spread of the virus and save lives.
Working in collaboration with local NHS and other stakeholders, each local authority will be given funding to develop tailored outbreak control plans. The funding is ring-fenced for this specific purpose.
Local authorities will start planning immediately, focusing on identifying and containing potential outbreaks in places such as workplaces, care homes and schools.
As part of this work, local authorities will also need to ensure testing capacity is deployed effectively to high-risk locations. Local authorities will work closely with the test and trace service, local NHS and other partners to achieve this.
In addition, data on the virus’ spread will be shared with local authorities through the Joint Biosecurity Centre to inform local outbreak planning, so teams understand how the virus is moving, working with national government to access the testing and tracing capabilities of the new service.
Minister for Patient Safety, Suicide Prevention and Mental Health, Nadine Dorries, said: “Local authorities will be vital in the effort to contain COVID-19 at a community level. The pandemic requires a national effort but that will only be effective as a result of local authorities, working hand in hand with Public Health England and contact tracers to focus on the containment of local outbreaks, in order to control the transmission and the spread of the virus.
“For contact tracing to be effective when it is rolled out, we will need people to continue to follow guidelines and stay at home if they have symptoms.”
Local communities, organisations and individuals will also be encouraged to follow government guidance and assist those self-isolating in their area who need help.
Work will be led by local authority leaders and local directors of public health in charge of planning, and will build on their work to date to respond to coronavirus locally. They will operate in close partnership with local hospitals, GP practices, businesses, religious groups, schools and charities.
Local efforts will support the national rollout of the test and trace service, which, with a collaborative effort of everyone across England, will help stop the spread of the coronavirus, says the UK Government.
Furthermore, a new National Local Government Advisory Board will be established to work with the test and trace service. This will include sharing best practice between communities across the country.
Work to share lessons learned will be led by a group of 11 local authorities from the breadth of the UK, representing rural and urban areas, who have volunteered to help localise planning.
The 11 local authorities that will initially share best practice with others are:
- Tameside – as the lead authority for Greater Manchester Mayoral Combined Authority
- Warwickshire – Coventry and Solihull connecting to West Midlands Mayoral Combined Authority
- Leeds – as the lead authority for the Leeds City Region
- London – Camden lead in collaboration with Hackney, Barnet and Newham
- Devon – with Cornwall
- Newcastle – with Northumberland and North Tyneside as lead authority for North of Tyne Mayoral Combined Authority
- Middlesbrough – with Redcar and Cleveland as lead authority for Tees Valley Mayoral Combined Authority
- Norfolk – with Norwich and districts Breckland, Broadland, Great Yarmouth King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, North Norfolk and South Norfolk
- Leicestershire – and Leicester with Rutland
- Cheshire West and Chester – with councils within Cheshire local resilience forum