1.1 The national Test and Trace Service is designed to control the rate of reproduction of Covid-19, reduce the spread of the infection and save lives. Its aim is to help to return life to as normal as possible, for as many people and businesses as possible, in a way that is safe, protects the health and care systems as well as supporting the economy.
1.2 Devon County Council has been designated one of England’s 11 Beacon Councils by Government to lead the implementation of new Covid-19 Local Outbreak Management Plans, including the identification and management of COVID-19 outbreaks.
1.3 This is a national programme, but the response will be brought together at Local Authority level under the leadership of the Director of Public Health to ensure a community focus and appropriately tailored response. This will be based on science and data and the prevention, containment and isolation of the virus.
1.4 Local authorities must work with partners to put in place measures to prevent, identify and contain outbreaks and protect the public’s health, using local knowledge to target resources and improve the speed and co-ordination of any response to local flare ups of the infection.
1.5 The Plan requires a public-facing board led by The Leader of the Council and other key stakeholders to communicate openly, honestly and transparently with the public. This is Team Devon’s Local Outbreak Engagement Board (LOEB) who will lead the engagement with local communities and businesses and be the public face and voice of the local response for both prevention and containment in the event of an outbreak.
2.1 Provide political ownership and public-facing engagement and communication for both prevention and outbreak responses.
3. Role and Responsibilities
3.1 The Team Devon LOEB will be responsible for:
· Political oversight of the local delivery of the Local Outbreak Management Plan;
· Communicating and engaging with residents and community leaders, providing community direction and leadership for prevention and outbreak response, especially with vulnerable and/or higher risk communities of interest;
· Addressing misinformation;
· Endorsing the Communications Strategy for the Local Outbreak Management Plan; and
· Local political liaison with Ministers.
· Reviewing and communicating such other matters relating to Coronavirus as they arise in line with Government policy.
3.2 This Board must maintain close liaison with the Devon and Torbay COVID-19 Health Protection Board.
4.1 The Board will communicate those key messages in the best interests of Devon’s residents, communities and businesses, based upon the science, evidence and data considered by the Health Protection Board, recognising the unique geography of Devon.
4.2 To work in an open and transparent way to ensure no surprises for other partners and provide reassurance to residents.
5.1 The Leader of the County Council (Councillor Hart) will be the chair of the Team Devon (Local Outbreak Engagement Board).
5.2 The Deputy Chair will be the Chair of the Devon Health and Wellbeing Board (Councillor Leadbetter).
6.1 The Board membership will can be seen on the Membership details of the Committee:
6.2 The Membership of the Board is very much based on a ‘hub and spoke model’, with the members above being responsible for the dissemination of key messages through relevant channels, utilising existing networks where appropriate and / or developing new ones where needed.
7. Team Devon (Local Outbreak Engagement Board) Support
7.1 Devon County Council’s Democratic services team will be responsible for any administrative arrangements required for the Team Devon (Local Outbreak Engagement Board).
7.2 This may involve, but not exclusively, setting up meetings / events, distribution of any relevant paperwork, dissemination of information, ensuring relevant actions are carried out and appropriate liaison with the Communications Team.
7.3 The County Council’s Communications Team (Head of Communications and Media), will lead on strategic and operational communications, in close liaison with the Director of Public Health, Devon County Council’s Chief Executive, and give advice to the Team Devon Local Outbreak Engagement Board.
8.1 The Board will initially convene fortnightly, although this frequency will be kept under review.
8.2 As outlined in the Communications Strategy, whilst the Leader will use best endeavours to convene the full Board, there may be occasions or circumstances that require a rapid approval and deployment of communications and the Leader may use his discretion to sign off communications or engage a smaller membership of the Board.