RBWM Covid19/Coronavirus update 12 March 2020

MD Duncan Sharkey provided Councillors with a RBWM Covid19/Coronavirus update on 12 March 2020. Here is an extract of his note, to be calm and act smart.

RBWM Covid19/Coronavirus update 12 March 2020 Summary

The Council in preparing planning preparation for the next steps of the outbreak, and is setting up an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) from next week to coordinate our response and we are testing our business continuity plans – more information below

There is still only 1 confirmed case of Covid19/Coronavirus in the Royal Borough click here for updated case information from Public Health England.

National advice for all of us is available at Public Health England and NHS websites, though the overall advice is to take sensible precautions

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds – 
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell

NB The EOC isn’t for dealing with the public or providing advice. As now Resident Services/Customer Services Centre are the first point of call with Communications sending out messages. If residents have any concerns, they can call 01628 683 800, or click here to log into RBWM’s online feedback form.


Click here for useful “Self Isolation and self quarantine” advice from the Irish Health Service


Coronavirus information: What should I do?


Summary Advice Diagram from BBC © BBC 2020

© BBC 2020


 A fun song to help teach children to wash their hands


Here’s the rest of Duncan Sharkey’s information note, which shows how the Council has been preparing behind the scenes.

Covid19 and Business Continuity Planning

We are constantly reviewing the advice we are getting from Government so, at present, we are not closing down any services or cancelling events. We will follow national advice about any future closures of schools or other functions.

We are asking staff who are immuno-supressed, or are at high risk for other reasons, to talk to their line managers with a view to offering them the ability to work from home. I know some Councillors are also considering whether they need to reduce face to face meetings both for their own safety but also so they don’t accidentally spread the virus.

We are continuing to communicate the Government advice widely and we’ll make sure we keep pushing messages to our communities.

We’re also looking to set up some community support mechanisms in case residents who might be ill, or self-isolating, need support to get shopping or medication. We will push this forward if it becomes necessary but, right now, we are just talking to partners.

There is an impact on normal council work as more of us are pulled into preparing for the future, but at this point the public shouldn’t see any difference in services.

We’ve been talking to community partners as well and, so far, everyone seems to be in a good place with their plans and preparations.

We are in a tenable position regards business continuity. We’ve been working on business continuity plans since the middle of last year, and we’re clear about priority services and how we would run in the event of emergency. In terms of remote working we are still in the first phase roll out of Modern Workplace, so a lot of RBWM staff have laptops but phase two isn’t being rolled out yet, and that covers mostly Optalis and AfC colleagues. This means most people can work remotely but, in some cases, the IT that Modern Workplace phases out will be a limiting factor if everyone tries to use it at the same time. We will be asking a number of staff to work remotely next week to test the IT position and we are ensuring that everyone is enabled to work remotely.

Optalis and colleagues have done some really good work with our provider partners to make sure we know how we will support people in the event of a problem. AfC have considered how they would ensure any children at risk will get the support and protection they need regardless of Covid19 and have come up with an solid plan.

Emergency Operations Centre

To help coordinate all of the actions we are having to undertake we’ve pulled together a small team under Chris Nash who, for a few hours each day, will review the position, chase actions and manage the incident overall. We’re settling this up now so we can test the mechanisms and structures in case we need to scale this up in the future. For now I’m acting as the ‘gold’ lead for the Council and we’ll be working out a rota, if needed.

For more information, use links below

• RBWM Press release, including advice on what to do; https://www3.rbwm.gov.uk/…/public_health_england_and_royal_…
• PHE has published a Q&A blog to answer many common questions about coronavirus; https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/…/wuhan-novel-coro…/
• For the latest advice on travellers returning from affected areas, plus guidance to schools and care homes, visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus


Accountably yours,


Cllr Wisdom Da Costa, WWRA, Clewer & Dedworth West


  • This post is part of the WWRA Councillors regular series of Blogs to inform and empower local residents; as promised in their election leaflet
  • It is also to comply with clause v of the Members Code of Conduct which states, “You must be as open as possible about your decisions and actions and the decisions and actions of your authority and should be prepared to give reasons for those decisions and actions.”
  • The views expressed in this article are not necessarily the views of the West Windsor Residents Association (WWRA).
  • Any errors are unintentional so, I would value you bringing them to my intention so I can correct them. You can Email me cllr.dacosta@rbwm.gov.uk