Local Authorities to Take Central Role in Test,Track,Isolate

The Government has announced £300 million funding for local authorities to take a central role in the national test, track and isolate programme.

Pro-rata funding for Reading would be £870,000. The national Joint Biosecurity Centre will act the supplier of data to local authorities to use in suppressing local outbreaks of Covid-19. Each local authority must develop a plan to do this in its area. Their plans will focus on identifying and containing potential outbreaks in places such as workplaces, housing complexes, care homes and schools. Local authorities will also be responsible for ensuring that testing for the virus is directed to the highest risk settings, working with local NHS and other partners. They will operate in close partnership with local hospitals, GP practices, businesses, religious groups, schools and charities.

National Test and Trace Adviser and Chief Executive of Leeds City Council, Tom Riordan, said:
"It is essential that communities and local authorities are at the heart of our plans to roll out test and trace. Their work to respond to the virus has been exemplary, demonstrating how people across the country have come together to respond to the virus.

As we move forward with our plans to trace every case of the virus, and contact those at risk, we will need to continue to work together and tailor support at a local level. This joint endeavour between local government, the NHS and local partners will help those in self-isolation, and reduce the risk of widespread outbreaks in our schools, businesses, hospitals and communities.

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."

11 local authorities have been selected to share lessons learned (although any authority could do this). They are Tameside, Warwickshire, Leeds, London (Camden lead in collaboration with Hackney, Barnet and Newham), Devon with Cornwall, Newcastle with Northumberland and North Tyneside, Middlesbrough with Redcar and Cleveland, Surrey, Norfolk, Leicestershire, Cheshire West and Chester.

It might be wondered why this did not happen in February rather than at the end of May.