Agenda and minutes

Venue: Microsoft Teams

Contact: Karen Strahan / Stephanie Lewis  Email: / Email:

Note: This meetings will be livestreamed - To view, please copy and paste the link into your browser - 


No. Item


Notes of the Previous Board Meeting - 19 January

Additional documents:


The notes of the previous Board meeting on 19 January 2022 were endorsed.


Urgent Items from the Health Protection Board

The Director of Public Health or their representative to report.

Additional documents:


The Director of Public Health advised that there were no urgent items for escalation from the Health Protection Board.



Report / Presentation from the Health Protection Board

A Report from the Health Protection Board on current issues, data including current infection rates and patterns and matters for information.

Additional documents:


The Board received a Report from the Health Protection Board on current issues, data, age profiles and matters for information.


Matters included in the Report were as follows:


Nationally: many more areas in the 400-799 case rate across the country.


There were 41,648 (30% decrease) daily positive cases; 35 deaths reported within 28 days, a 27.2% decrease. The number of patients in hospital: 1,413, a decrease of 12.8% in the last week.  Testing levels: 784,455, a reduction of 13.2% over the past week.


Devon – 7,207 cases over the past week (above the national average), and 14 reported deaths within 28 days (in line with national average).  There were higher testing levels in Devon.


The largest decline in case rates had been seen in the 0-19 age group, with a small decline in the 20-39 and 40-59 ages.  Rates in 60+ population was largely stable.


The highest case rates were in East and Exeter areas, mainly in urban compared to rural areas. 


The Board were advised that it was expected that national announcements would be made next week about changes to legislation, specifically it no longer being a legal requirement to isolate if an individual tests positive for Covid and the road map for living with Covid long term.   The Council’s public health communications would remain constant, in that it was encouraged if people test positive or have Covid symptoms, they should isolate to reduce infection and transmission on to others in the community.  There would be many individuals who were extremely vulnerable, and ‘Freedom Day’ may impact on them negatively and how they lead their lives. It was likely that testing would continue for those working in clinical and vulnerable settings.


The dashboard pages could be found here.

UK summary: Daily summary | Coronavirus in the UK (

Devon Dashboard: Coronavirus dashboard and data in Devon -

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Devon detailed age breakdown: Cases in Devon | Coronavirus in the UK


Interactive Map: Interactive map of cases | Coronavirus in the UK




Local and National Updates

Additional documents:


There were no local or national updates.  


NHS Update

The Chair of the CCG will provide an update on the health system including vaccination updates.

Additional documents:


The Chair of the CCG provided an update on vaccination data and boosters and general system pressures, including data on hospital admissions and vaccination status.


Vaccines – 2.6 million doses had been given in Devon – of which 750,000 were boosters.  There was a high percentage of those in the 60+ age category who had received their booster jab, with the percentage decreasing moving down the age range.  Those that had tested positive in December and were unable to receive their vaccines for 28 days, were now eligible and being contacted to receive their booster.


Vaccinations were taking place for the clinically vulnerable 5-11 year olds. Large sites vaccination sites and GPs remained open. There had been some increase in anti-vax activity and entering sites to serve legal documents, however it was confirmed they had no legal standing.  A new vaccine had also been approved for use. 


Numbers in hospital – 156 cases, of which approximately 60% were admitted with Covid symptoms, the rest were accidental cases.  Cases have reduced in the past few weeks, especially in Plymouth.  There was less of a reduction in RD&E, expected mainly due to the high prevalence of positive cases in the Exeter area.  The number of people in intensive care due to Covid was 1.  Staff absences remained stable with 2.6% off sick with Covid related reasons.


When looking at the difference in numbers seen across the County and if this was linked with age or the clinically vulnerable, Members were advised that Plymouth had experienced the most cases which was believed to be due to the size of the urban area and proximity of dwellings and deprivation.  The uptake of boosters was also 10% lower in Plymouth and West Deon compared to other parts of Devon and it was known that it gave 90% protection against the virus. There had been no direct link to clinically vulnerable individuals and those in hospital at this stage and was more likely linked to the uptake of boosters.


In regard to the use of the new vaccine, it was unclear at this stage what significance it would have and what the future plans of vaccines would be.  However, it was expected it may be similar to the flu vaccine and given yearly.


Benefits of Public Sector and VSCE Collaboration During the Pandemic pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Representatives from the voluntary sector will attend and give a presentation.

Additional documents:


The Board received a presentation on the Devon VCSE & Public Sectors Creative Collaboration in a pandemic, highlighting how the Voluntary, Community and Public Sectors had worked more collaboratively during the Pandemic.


Key points raised included:


·         When the Pandemic began, it presented a unique opportunity in how to face this challenge, which was immediate and focussed.

·         The public sector became more flexible, similar to the voluntary sector and both were able to respond to the needs of communities – it was hoped this flexibility and joint collaborative working would be kept moving forward.

·         VCSE leaders were meeting fortnightly throughout the pandemic to communicate to public sector partners and respond to needs as they arose.

·         Partnership working had strengthened over the two years, working together creatively to resolve issues.

·         Devon Local Response and Devon Recovery VCSE Group – received funding from DCC Tactical Management Group. Looked at a whole system approach and worked hard to challenge the perception that only the public services could solve community problems, but that the voluntary sector played a significant part to enable active citizenship and thriving communities.

·         VCSE Groups had worked with DCC Smarter Devon and designed 8 themed Covid data impact workshops during the summer of 2021 and was able to bring the community experience and view to those discussions.

·         Three cross sector creative conversation events were also held, which involved very open conversations across all leaders and focussed on 3 key issues: collaborative commissioning, social value and community wealth building, and co-production.

·         The allocation of £1m COMF to Devon VCSE Alliance, symbolised increased trust from the public sector to the voluntary sector.



·         Devon County Council had gained a better understanding of how the VCSE sector worked and how it was best placed to access vulnerable communities.  The past two years had enabled great joint working between public and voluntary sector and improved how all Services supported people through self-isolation. Training was also provided by Citizens Advice and Living Options Devon which had been crucial.


·         The development of a new Devon, Plymouth and Torbay VCSE Assembly, a model in development which put citizens at the heart of everything. It was an inclusive network that recognised the needs across the whole sector, not just the ICS and had received over 100 positive responses about the model moving forward. 


On behalf of Devon County Council, the Chair thanked those working in the voluntary sector for all that had been achieved over the past two years and for how they had worked with DCC to help support the people of Devon and reach vulnerable communities. 


The Chair of the ICS thanked those for the presentation and asked what learning could be taken moving forward and what could be done differently in the future? 


Members were advised that Voluntary groups worked hard to make the best use of the Covid recovery fund and were also tasked with processing central Government funding with fast turnaround and delivery expectations.  Along with the £1m COMF there was an intense period of activity  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.


Schools Update

The Head of Education and Learning or her representative will attend and give the latest position on the impact in schools.

Additional documents:


The Head of Education and Learning attended the Board and gave the latest position on the impact in schools.


The number of positive cases had begun to stabilise over the past week in schools.  At Christmas the number of positive cases had risen rapidly and as of 25 January, there were approximately 4,000 children absent due to Covid (still half the number compared to July 2021).  The numbers of absences had since decreased to 1,600 a day, and school attendance had risen to 91.5%, which was above the national average.  This was still a long way from normal school time average of just over 95% attendance rate. Schools were now looking at how to support children to get back to school and ensure they did not fall behind in their learning.


Schools were waiting to hear how the relaxation of restrictions would affect them, particularly around testing and managing absences.  The Council was working closely with schools and the DfE around any changes and what that might mean.


One area that had changed significantly during the Pandemic was how effectively Schools were able to recruit support staff.  Prior to the Pandemic, advertised jobs would often see 100 applications; in some cases they were now only receiving 1 or 2 applicants, especially in rural areas.  Previously families looked to term time only jobs, but it was possible that the flexibility in home working had resulted in more opportunities in other job sectors.  This was combined with high house prices and rental, making it difficult for people to live in Devon.  Schools were keen to promote that support jobs such as Teaching Assistants could lead to a whole range of opportunities and career paths.


The University of Exeter was seeing a gradual decline in the number of positive cases, with daily average cases of 26.4, down from the previous week. 


Public Questions / Other Questions for the Board

Additional documents:


There were no public questions.



Key Messages to be Communicated pdf icon PDF 220 KB

The Board and Head of Communications and Media to consider any key messages to be communicated.

Additional documents:


The Board and Head of Communications and Media considered the key messages coming from the meeting.


The core messaging is attached to the minutes for wider circulation as appropriate.





Date of Next Meeting

Scheduled for 15 March 2022 @ 10.30am

Additional documents:


Members noted the date of the next meeting as 15 March 2022 @ 10.30am