LGA COVID-19 support offer

The majority of the LGA’s operation is now focused on supporting local government and communities to address COVID-19 and its consequences. This page summarises the current refocused support offer.

The LGA has rapidly focused its support to councils to ensure its resources are best placed to help with immediate challenges presenting now and in the future. With this impetus, the vast majority of the LGA’s operation is now focused on supporting local government and communities to address COVID-19 and its consequences.

This refocused support offer is outlined in the summary below, which outlines our complete offer, across a wide range of separately funded grant programmes.

Councils who wish to access any element of the support outlined should contact their Principal Adviser.

    Peer Support offer

    Contact: PeerChallenge@local.gov.uk

    Peer Challenges have been suspended until November 2020 but we have rapidly refocused our peer support activity to provide remote peer support, as set out below:

    LGA Recovery & Renewal Panel: A universal offer of a two to three-hour virtual session, available to lead politicians and senior officers. Panels will be led by the LGA with a small panel of LGA Member and Officer Peers, where participants can pause and reflect upon their response to COVID-19, with an aim to facilitate an open and honest conversation around their emerging plans on moving through recovery to renewal, as well as to capture and share learning and developing practice across the sector.

    LGA Bespoke Remote Peer Support: Involving detailed ongoing interviews and discussions with a council, similar to the peer-based approach used in traditional peer challenges, with council input informing the design. This bespoke peer support offer focuses on a specific issue or issues and will be delivered over 2-3 days.

    Find out more

    Financial resilience offer

    Contact: PeerChallenge@local.gov.uk

    The LGA has repurposed its expert financial associates to support councils with the new and enhanced challenges during this period. Support available over the coming months includes:

    • Associate (Finance Improvement and Sustainability Adviser) support: Advice and support with current and enhanced challenges such as:
      • Tracking the full costs of COVID19
      • Running in-year cost reduction exercises to offset the negative financial impact
      • Modelling the impact in 2020/21 and into the future
      • Kick-starting the 2021/22 budget process in conditions of huge uncertainty
      • Longer term planning
    • Collaborative panels/workshop pilots: coming soon – a Finance themed Recovery Panel (see ‘Peer Support Offer’ above for more)
    • Other support:
      • Provision of advice and guidance to councils considering issuing S114 notices
      • Provision of support in re-establishing transformation programmes
      • Support around use of data and intelligence.
    Leadership offer

    The refocused leadership offer is helping to ensure councillors have access to online leadership tools that support their vital community leadership role in their national effort to respond to COVID-19, including through neighbourhood and community engagement.

    • Councillor e-learning platform: Rapidly upgraded to improve accessibility; offering a range of modules, including the newly added ‘Holding council meetings online’ in support of remote working.
    • Webinars to support councillors and political leaders: Current items include ‘the role of the ward councillor’, ‘the importance of opposition’, ‘what good opposition looks like’, ‘rapid innovation’ and coming soon ‘leading a council with a multi-party cabinet’.
    • Private K-Hub Group: Councillors can use the platform to develop networks and share their learning, practice and experiences in relation to COVID-19 and themed portfolio areas.
    • 'Being an effective cabinet member' guide: A distance learning aid to support cabinet members in their role, including decision-making, whole cabinet working, leadership styles in times of crisis, such as the current one, and officer/member relationships.
    • Guidance for finance portfolio holders: A new paper that outlines and discusses the key issues that elected members, particularly those in finance and wider leadership positions, should consider when assessing the impact of COVID-19 on council finances.
    • One-to-one leadership development: This new development opportunity offers councillors in leadership positions access to one-to-one conversations with Leadership Academy Facilitators over three structured coaching calls. Sessions will be focussed on helping councillors adapt their leadership style in response to COVID outbreak.
    • Councillor's workbook on mentally healthier places, designed as a distance learning aid to support councillors develop mentally healthier communities
    • Emergency Coaching and Mentoring Support: Available to chief executives and nominated senior officers leading responses to COVID-19. Delivered in partnership with SOLACE.
    • A councillor’s workbook on effective opposition during COVID-19, reset and recovery, examining effective opposition in local government and focuses on the role that the opposition plays during the COVID-19 pandemic including the reset and recovery phase.
    • Other resources: Resources to support councils as they respond to COVID-19 and its implications, including a mental health hub for elected members and an e-learning unit on handling intimidation. These resources will be available as part of the LGA’s civility in public life programme.
    Productivity offer

    Contact: productivity@local.gov.uk

    The productivity offer has refocused to provide urgent support councils as they respond and adapt to and issues arising from COVID-19, as relating to procurement, supply chains, new ways of working and more.

    • Key supplier support and information: Provision of advice and other information relating to key and ‘at risk’ suppliers; includes support for councils who identify procurement or supply chain issues relating to COVID-19 and/or issue best responded to on a regional or national basis.
    • National procurement strategy resources: Offers toolkits and guidance on how to get the best out of procurement and contract management. During the COVID crisis we have set up a sub-group focussing on the specific supply chains around PPE, helped develop central Government guidance on supplier relief and organised webinars to help council procurement and commissioning officers get to grips with provider related issues in construction and children’s services.
    • Remote Council Meetings Hub: Including access to a central pool of information, advice and guidance from partners across the sector, helping councils to maintain effective and good governance, while working remotely.
    • Transforming services using digital tools and solutions: focus is on supporting councils to use digital solutions to respond to COVID-19 within the community, reducing social isolation, helping council staff to work effectively remotely by way of expert advice, case studies and grant funding.
    • Cyber Security Programme: with focus on embedding cultural change through improved leadership, governance and awareness, this programme supports councils through grant funding, tools, workshops, national Covid-19 response co-ordination and other sector wide initiatives.
    • Commercialisation: The LGA has a range of commercialisation offers, which can support local authorities’ rebuilding commercial activity during the recovery phase. The support includes good practice guidance, network groups, commercial case studies and virtual commercial surgeries.
    • Economic Growth Advisors Programme: This new programme is being designed to build up the economic capacity of a local area to improve its economic future. The LGA is recruiting a pool of Local Growth Advisers who can provide support across a range of issues related to economic growth which will be launched in due course.
    Communications offer

    The LGA have commissioned work to develop rapid and practical advice on community engagement during and in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The current offer includes:

    • Virtual communications health checks: A mixture of desk research and interviews to support councils to review their recovery communications plans and learnings from the COVID-19 response. Health checks will focus on communications strategy, structure of the team and capacity and will be led by a member of the communications support and improvement team or an LGA associate, alongside a council head of communications or communications manager.
    • Communications recovery toolkit: a practical toolkit on recovery communications to support councils to effectively communicate the next phase. This resource covers areas such as creating a strategy, working with partners and employee engagement. 
    • Events: We will host a Communications and Parliamentary Network event focussed on working with stakeholders to communicate councils’ work nationally.
    • Communications experts: Experts provide guidance and advice to councils facing strategic communication issues around COVID-19 as these develop. Good communications practice: Examples of good practice are being shared on the LGA website and via daily bulletins.
    LG Inform

    Contact: LGInform@local.gov.uk 

    LG Inform is a service providing up-to-date data about councils and/or fire and rescue authorities. It allows users to compare their authority with others across a range of services and functions, enabling councils to understand their areas, monitor and scrutinise performance and be accountable to their residents.

    • Benchmarking data: This database provides benchmarking data on scrutiny and a range of service areas, enabling councils review and compare performance with other authorities.
    • LG Inform Plus: The LG Inform Plus programme provides a single point of access to over 3,500 local government powers and duties (in primary legislation). This identifies all the relevant legislation underpinning local authority direct service provision, and identifies which services are mandatory and which are discretionary.  We have rapidly updated our powers and duties module, to take into account both the new legislation which came into force with the passing of the Coronavirus Act, and a number of other legislative changes (for schools admissions and in relation to fostering and childcare).  The changes have been sent direct to the sector and the information made available on our Coronavirus pages.
    • Workforce Data Collection: A fortnightly collection of key data is conducted to provide councils and local resilience fora with the workforce intelligence to compare progress effectively and plan locally, regionally and nationally; to give councils information that may help them partner with others; and to help shape government thinking as we emerge from lockdown.  
    • COVID-19 cases tracker: This includes access to reports including:
      • Local authority report showing the number and rates of COVID-19 hospital cases by authority, compared to others
      • England overview report showing the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths across England as a whole, and the top ten councils for number and rate of cases
      • Weekly deaths report providing a summary of Office for National Statistics (ONS) weekly deaths data
      • Care homes report focusing on deaths in care homes in particular
      • Vulnerable groups report providing estimates of local authority populations likely to be vulnerable to COVID-19
      • Area characteristics report comparing case rates across all local authorities to other factors at a local area level, such as deprivation.
    Children's services offer

    Contact: Richard.Cooke@local.gov.uk

    The Children’s Services offer has been recalibrated to support councils as they respond to challenges associated with the COVID-19 outbreak.

    • Existing LGA offers have been revised and refreshed to enable different approaches and more virtual delivery that reflects the current needs of the councils and social distancing requirements. The support available includes:
      • Support and challenge through Children’s Improvement Advisors
      • Member development, mentoring, support and networks
      • Peer to peer challenge, review and diagnostic support
      • Advice, guidance and information to support effective corporate leadership
    • Evidence, data and intelligence is being shared to ensure councils are able to access support that is timely, focussed and effective in the context of COVID-19. This involves:
      • Working with Regional Improvement and Innovation Alliances to develop and embed tools to identify and evidence risk
      • Working with regional and local partners, specifically ADCS, DfE, Ofsted and PiPs, to ensure a coherent offer of support to councils
      • Delivering specific and bespoke support to places through Children’s Improvement Advisors, the pool of peers, associates or brokering work with third parties
    Adult social care offer

    Contact: adass.lga.covid@local.gov.uk / CHIP@local.gov.uk or your regional CHIA

    Care and Health Improvement Programme (CHIP) has been refocussed to support councils and the adult social care sector with all support work currently co-ordinated through a joint ADASS-LGA Adult Social Care Hub. This includes:

    • Khub: An online library of all COVID-related adult social care information and support tools together with updates on the CHIP programme to support the COVID response. Email adass.lga.covid@local.gov.uk to register.
    • Daily Updates: On-the-day briefing of all developments and new support tools and publications.
    • Workstreams: Offering support to councils on key response areas including Workforce, Commissioning and Provider support, Data collection, PPE, Safeguarding and support to people with a learning disability and/or autism
    • National and local data: Analysis of latest information, including daily sitreps on social care provider returns at local authority level, available online from LG Inform (see above or contact Philippa.Lynch@local.gov.uk)
    • Digital Support Tool: For councils wanting to deploy care technology rapidly.
    • Social Care Digital Innovation Accelerator: This programme supports collaborative work between councils to develop digital innovation.
    Leading Healthier Places (public health and health and wellbeing)

    Support for Health and Wellbeing Systems

    • Health and Wellbeing Board Reset Tool: Developed to support HWB chairs as they move to the next stage of the COVID-19 Response; includes bespoke virtual peer support, developed following the review: HWB Chairs touch base debrief and moving into the next phase of COVID-19
    • HWB Chairs and NHS Non-Executives regional networks: Helping to support and facilitate our existing networks in West Midlands and East Midlands, working with NHS partners.
    • Webinar series: includes past events on the relationship between COVID-19 and a series of topics (mental health, ethnicity, health inequalities). Details of future events are available on the LGA events page.

    Public health and prevention

    COVID-19 Peer Support offer: Testing, Contact Tracing and Local Outbreak Planning




    Workforce capacity and support

    Contact: workforce@local.gov.uk

    The Workforce team are providing regular guidance and support on the workforce implications of COVID-19 via on-line regional webinars, forums and networks, which provide opportunities to share good practice examples and other information, such as workforce data. Other sources of support include:

    One Public Estate (OPE) offer

    Contact: onepublicestate@local.gov.uk

    During the COVID-19 response, the OPE Programme continues to provide practical and technical support to councils to deliver property-focused programmes in collaboration with central government and other public sector partners. The support offer includes:

    • Access to regional OPE programme managers: Your regional OPE programme manager can provide advice and guidance about existing OPE and LRF projects impacted by COVID-19 and on managing existing OPE programmes, including exploring change requirements. Regional programme managers can also provide support for new public estate collaboration opportunities, including development of a pipeline of projects in your locality. This may help councils considering how further surplus public estate may form part of their recovery and renewal plans.
    • Regional webinars: A re-focused offer responding to current needs and opportunities, including good practice examples, is currently in development. Contact your regional OPE programme manager for more information.
    • Homes for NHS Staff Toolkit: This toolkit provides detailed technical support and guidance for local authorities working with NHS bodies to improve access to affordable housing for NHS staff where NHS estate owners are disposing of surplus land. The key principles can be applied to other scenarios where there are objectives to improve access to affordable housing for public sector key workers on public sector land.
    Planning Advisory Service (PAS) Offer

    Contact: PAS@local.gov.uk  

    PAS is helping councils to plan effectively during the COVID-19 outbreak by offering the following sources of support: 

    • COVID-19 and planning page: Includes new guides and FAQs, links to the Government’s latest updates and protocols for running virtual planning committees, and a series of Fireside Chats to explore the views of councillors and planners.
    • The following sources of COVID-19 support are also in development (dates TBA):
      • A training guide for planning committee chairs and clerks on running excellent virtual planning committees
      • Improving public engagement and confidence in the planning process
      • Best practice publicising planning applications – a technical guide
    • Other support:
    • Health Inequalities peer challenge: Coming soon
    • Developing Peer support offer for Leaders/HWBs on Local Outbreak Plans: Coming soon
    Climate change support offer

    Contact: climate@local.gov.uk

    The LGA is continuing its climate change support programme. The sources of support outlined below will prove especially helpful as councils develop their recovery responses:

    In addition, the LGA has developed guidance for councils on COVID-19 on specific issues relevant to councillors’ involvement in our work leading and protecting our communities, supporting remote council meetings and supporting vulnerable people, amongst others. This guidance and wider COVID-19 support can be found on our coronavirus hub.