Community Services during Covid-19

Sefton Council are working hard to keep all residents informed of the current situation with regard to COVID-19 and to let our communities know what is happening from a Council perspective.

The list below will be updated on a regular basis.


We have a dedicated page for information relating to schools and colleges during the COVID-19 outbreak. Please visit it here

An update on how we deliver services to our most vulnerable residents during this time can be found on the Adult Social Care page of our website

We have business continuity plans in place to ensure essential services, such as refuse and recycling, continue for our communities.
We are also utilising members of our street cleansing teams to assist with other refuse collection services.
We would also like to ask any residents who are self-isolating to ensure they dispose of any used tissues or hygiene products in a double bag and present it for collection within their grey bins as normal.
There is no need to arrange for a clinical waste collection for this type of waste.
We ask local people to please be patient with our teams as services may take longer than usual at this time. Please don’t contact us about a missed bin until at least the day following your usual collection day.
Household waste recycling centres
Our household waste recycling centres are beginning to reopen from the 4th May, for full details, please visit our dedicated  webpage here
 

If you are having difficulty paying your Council Tax due to the Covid-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for the Council Tax Hardship Fund. Find out more here 

You may also be able to access the Council Tax Reduction Scheme during the Coronavirus pandemic, find out if you're eligible by visiting our 'Help With Your Council Tax' page here 

Libraries 
Libraries are now open.

Public access is limited at present and a select, collect and return service is also in place.

Public Access Days

  • Bootle, Crosby and Formby Libraries - Monday and Thursday 10-4pm
  • Southport Library, The Atkinson - Monday to Saturday 11-4pm
  • Meadows Library, Maghull - Tuesday and Friday 10-4pm
  • Netherton Library - Wednesday 10-4pm

The services available will include; book borrowing, information enquiries and The People's Network computers. Computer session times will be strictly limited and users will be asked to wipe down keyboards and mice before and after use for their own safety.

At Crosby library, the local history section on the first floor will initially remain closed. the microfiche machines, newspaper archive and Electoral Rolls will also be unavailable.

Select, collect and return

  • Bootle, Crosby and Formby Libraries - Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10-4pm, Saturday 10-12pm

Library users will be able to return items and collect orders. Items can be ordered via the library website - www.sefton.gov.uk/libraries or by phoning the local library to make a request.

The health and safety of library users and staff is our priority. With this in mind returned books will be quarantined for 72 hours, so reservations will take longer than usual to fulfil.

In line with Government advice staff will limit numbers allowed into our buildings, with the wearing of face coverings encouraged during visits.

Visitors will be required to provide NHS Test & Trace details on arrival. These details will be kept securely for 21 days. Information will be held solely for the purpose of contacting people who may have been exposed to a confirmed case of Covid-19, when they have been identified as visiting one of Sefton Library buildings. As Sefton Council are the Public Health Authority, we will fully support the programme by allowing in only those willing to give their details.

Cleansing stations will be available at all library entrances.

From 8th August you will be required to wear a face mask

Social distancing will be required during your visit.

Seating areas have been removed and we are unable to offer toilet facilities at this time.

Library activities such as storytimes, reading groups and partner lead sessions will remain suspended until it is deemed safe for them to resume.

Library opening hours will be shortened to allow for additional cleaning to take place.

The library service will constantly review the measures in line with Council and Government advice.

If you have any questions please email library.service@sefton.gov.uk

Public Facing Buidlings
The safety and health of our staff and residents is paramount and we have taken this decision in line with recent government advice to close both Southport & Bootle One Stop Shops, our Sefton@Work Hub until further notice.
These services will continue to be delivered online and via telephone where applicable. 

The Atkinson

The Atkinson has now reopened with reduced opening times and limited services. You can visit the Library, Box Office, Museum, Gallery, Shop and A Great Little Place café, Monday-Saturday, 11am-4pm.

In line with national guidance on performance spaces, the Theatre & Studio will remain closed until further notice.

Click here for more information. 

Leisure Centres

We have introduced a carefully planned phased approach to the re-opening of our Leisure Centres, starting with members only to include: -

Phase One - Week commencing 27th July 2020

All 6 Fitness Suites have now re-opened (member only access)

Phase Two - Week commencing 3rd August 2020

Bootle, Meadows and Dunes Splash World Leisure Centres main swimming pools will re-open for lane swimming only, available to both members and casual users (please note: track and trace details will need to be taken for all casual users).  All learner / small / leisure pools will remain closed.

Phase Three - Week commencing 10th August 2020

Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre, Dunes Splash World, Netherton Activity Centre, Meadows and Bootle Leisure Centre will resume delivery of a reduced class timetable (member only access).

 For more information, visit https://www.activeseftonfitness.co.uk/

 

The following buildings are open: Marie Clarke Family Wellbeing Centre (South Locality); Netherton Family Wellbeing Centre (Central Locality) and Talbot Street Family Wellbeing Centre (North Locality).

We will continue to support our most vulnerable families at this time. Our Centres are still open and staff will be available for support however we ask that, where possible, you avoid coming to the Centre in person but contact us via telephone where our staff will be available to advise you.

We will also be posting regular updates via social media to keep you informed of any changes.

Sefton Carers Centre have advised Young Carers are currently getting 1:1 support via Skype, text and phone and all parents have been contacted.

An interim policy of no home visits has been put into place and they must consult with a  line manager before attending external events, meetings or conferences.
No  youth group meetings will take place until further notice, and a communication has been sent to the parents of all Young Carers to keep them updated on the interim precautionary measures that may affect them.  

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced several measures aimed at supporting businesses during the current COVID-19 outbreak. See what this means for your business here

To support local businesses through this extremely difficult time, Invest Sefton, the council's business and inward investment arm, has developed the a dedicated Covid-19 business support on their website, where you will find information on financial support and useful guidance. 

Visit http://www.investsefton.com/ for more information.

Weddings and Civil Partnerships

Wedding and civil partnership ceremonies are now able to take place at Sefton’s Town Halls and Approved Premises subject to current government restrictions. This includes, but is not limited to,  social distancing being observed and includes the use of face coverings by all guests attending a ceremony.

If you wish to postpone or cancel a ceremony that you have booked please email to ceremonies@sefton.gov.uk with your names, the date and place of the ceremony that you currently have booked and the date that you would like to change to. We will respond to your email as soon as possible.

We are now accepting new bookings for ceremonies. If you wish to make a booking please email ceremonies@sefton.gov.uk with the following information:

  • Names
  • Address(es)
  • Contact telephone number
  • Date and place of ceremony

We will contact you within 5 working days to complete the provisional booking with you. There will be a £47 booking fee to pay when we contact you.

We are offering a limited number of notice of marriage appointments. If you need to give notice please email to ceremonies@sefton.gov.uk with the following information:

  • Names
  • Address(es)
  • Contact telephone number
  • Date and place of ceremony

We will contact you to make an appointment in priority of when your wedding is due to take place so you may not hear from us straightaway but we will ensure that you get an appointment in sufficient time for your wedding to take place. There will be a fee of £35 each to pay when we contact you. If you have already sent an email regarding notice of marriage please wait for us to contact you.

Death registrations   

From Monday 30th March all death registrations will be carried out by telephone. We will no longer carry out face to face registrations until the end of the current emergency period. Please contact the office on 0151 934 2011/2012/2013 for further information.

Sefton Register Office

The Register Offices at both Southport and Waterloo Town Hall will be closed until further notice.

Please do not visit the Register Office as we are unable to assist at this time

Registering a birth

You can only register a birth in Sefton if your baby was born at home in Sefton. If your baby was born in a hospital elsewhere you will need to register at the Register Office where the hospital is located although we will be offering a limited number of appointments to Sefton residents to complete a birth declaration if your baby was born elsewhere. We won’t be able to issue a birth certificate for declarations – you will need to apply to the Register Office where your baby was born.

If you want to make an appointment to register a birth or complete a declaration please email the following information to registrars@sefton.gov.uk

  • Parents names
  • Date and place of birth
  • Home address
  • Contact telephone number

Copy certificates

 If you wish to purchase a copy certificate from the Register Office please use our online service or apply by post. No counter applications will be accepted at the present time. Unfortunately we are unable to guarantee turnaround times for posting out certificates.

Coroners Services

The Coroner has taken the decision that all Inquests were witnesses are attending will be postponed until September 2020. 

We will try wherever possible to still list “paper” Inquests – this is when only the Coroner and Coroner’s Officer will need to be present in court and all evidence will be read out.

There is currently a suspension to the following services:

  • Turning the book of remembrance
  • Scattering of ashes
  • Face-to-face services (please use telephone, mail and email)

 

 

 

 

Parking & Car Parks

Many Sefton Council car parks have remained open even during lockdown. With the exception of multi storey car parks, all other council-run car parks are open and charges will apply to these car parks and on-street parking. This includes the Southport Park and Ride car park. 

The authority however is not responsible, nor has any control over the operation of privately owned car parks.

Civil Enforcement Officers will be following all guidance on social distancing. These officers are providing a vital and much needed service to ensure our borough’s incredible emergency services and NHS staff are able to freely move throughout Sefton without obstruction.

We know the vast majority of our residents will appreciate that this is an important service and that our operatives are simply doing their job.

However we will not tolerate any abuse, either verbal, written or physical, towards officers who are simply carrying out their day to day duties.

 

Highways Maintenance

An update on our Highways Maintenance service can be found here.

Renewing or applying for new Blue Badge

Due to high demand and the impact of COVID19 there is a delay in processing applications. We apologise for this delay.

If an applicant's Blue Badge has expired on or since the 1st February 2020, then we have instructed our enforcement officers not to enforce.

However, the badge must still be displayed and we can only guarantee that enforcement will not take place on Sefton's Highways and its own off-street car parks.

We cannot guarantee this for other Local Authority Areas, private car parks, Hospitals, etc.

If anyone with a Blue Badge which has recently expired has received a PCN since the 1st February, we would invite them to appeal.

More info:

/parking,-roads-travel/parking.aspx

 

Taxi Licensing

Information relating to licensing at this time can be found here.

 

For updates to public health services Sefton, visit the following webpage 

For information on any changes affecting Sexual Health Services please check the Sefton Sexual Health website 

Citizens Advice Sefton's face to face drop-in advice service has been suspended until further notice. Face to face outreach services at Sefton's Jobcentres and One Stop Shops have also been suspended.

Customers can still use the telephone service to access support.

People who are showing no symptoms of Coronavirus can still currently attend Jobcentres for face to face support to make a claim for Universal Credit. 

Key contacts:

Help to Claim (Universal Credit application): 0800 144 8 444

General advice: 0344 493 0012 (Mon to Thurs 9.30am – 1.30pm)

Debt Advice: 0300 330 1196 

 

Visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk for more information

 

Sefton@Work

In response to the latest Government announcements, including measures on social distancing, Sefton@Work has decided to suspend face to face services, while maintaining remote services online and over the phone.

 

Residents

Sefton@Work's Employment Advisers are still available to provide information, advice, guidance and practical support to anyone in Sefton who is currently looking for employment and training opportunities or those who are currently worried about their job and potentially being made redundant. 

You can get in touch with us in the following ways:

Telephone - 0151 934 2610 or 0151 288 6194

Email:  seftonatwork.info@sefton.gov.uk

Live Chat:  www.seftonatwork.net and click on the green circle on the bottom right hand corner

 

Employers

Sefton@Work's Employer Liaison Team is still able to assist local businesses to find new staff and continue to provide a FREE service.  Sefton@Work act as an intermediary between companies that need support to recruit new staff, and Sefton residents that are looking for work.

Sefton@Work will provide your business with a free, bespoke recruitment service that includes advertising, managing applications and pre-screening applicants. 

You can get in touch with us in the following ways:

Telephone - 0151 934 2875 or 0151 934 2610

Email:  elt@sefton.gov.uk

Live Chat:  www.seftonatwork.net and click on the green circle on the bottom right hand corner

 Keep an eye out for updates on web and social media channels.

 

Sefton Community Learning

 As you will already be aware the Prime Minister announced on Wednesday evening that educational providers including colleges, will close until further notice.

Sefton Community Learning Centre will remain operational although the Centre at Cambridge Road will be closed from Friday onwards, as tutors will be preparing to support students remotely during these times. Tutors will be contactable for advice and or support on 0151 934 4546 or communitylearningservices@sefton.gov.uk

Sefton Community Learning Centre are currently creating new courses that can be delivered remotely and will provide updates when available.

 

NEET Reduction Support - Career Connect

Are you 16-18? Live in Sefton, on an Apprenticeship and furloughed? Career Connect on behalf of Sefton Council are currently carrying out calls to our Young Apprentices to offer support during this challenging time.  Our specialist team are here and an adviser can help you make sense of things. If you are not in education, employment and training we can also help you by keeping in touch and providing support to develop your employment skills, update your CV and explore options for the future. Don’t wait for us to call you, call us now on  0151 944 6100 to request a call back or email sarah.vaughan@careerconnect.org.uk   Parents of young people who are concerned about them are also welcome to call this line!

Career Connect staff will continue to provide information advice and support to young people and will endeavour to provide as full a service as is possible by using all available technology. This will include support for young people Not in Education Employment and Training, school leavers and parents all by virtual appointments. 

For more information contact:

 07811205523    Maghull Crosby Seaforth and surrounding areas

07837418241 Bootle Litherland Netherton areas 

07800885562    Southport Formby Ainsdale and surrounding areas

 www.careerconnect.org.uk

Housing Standards

Inspections

Until further notice only serious housing-related complaints of disrepair in privately-rented properties will be inspected by Council Officers. (Please see below for examples)

Customers should contact their landlord (or agent) to report any urgent disrepair in the first instance. They should do this in writing (email, text conversations, or letter with proof of postage) before they make a complaint to Sefton Council.

Council Officers will not action any housing disrepair complaint unless they can provide proof of this and at least 28 days has passed since the initial contact was made. Please note that officers may decide not to visit and inspect properties but ask for photographs of disrepair if these can be supplied electronically.

Due to the ongoing situation, repairs by your landlord may take longer than normal to be carried out. 

Any resident who is self-isolating, or over 70, or has underlying health concerns must inform their landlord before any contractor attends their home to undertake works.

Examples of when an inspection by a Council Officer may be deemed necessary at this time:

  • There is a duty to inspect because, for example, there is an imminent risk to a tenant’s health due to a serious hazard.
  • A serious hazard was previously identified and may still exist.
  • The local authority has been made aware that a tenant is vulnerable and it is not clear if they are aware of the presence of hazardous conditions.

This list is not exhaustive and should not be treated as conclusive.

However, it might not be possible to inspect a property if tenants are self-isolating or refusing to allow access. It may be that the Council will look at the following as a way forward in such cases:

• A decision may be made to de-prioritise lower-risk hazards.

• An assessment could be made through photographs, video or live broadcasting by the tenant.

• In cases of very serious risk, the effective use of maintaining strict separation to facilitate an inspection should be very carefully considered, taking into account government guidance  and the local authority’s own health and safety policy.

• In cases of extremely hazardous conditions, alternative accommodation might be considered as an alternative to emergency remedial action.

The suggestions above are not exhaustive and all decisions will be made on the merits of the individual case and an assessment of risk.

Enforcement

During this unprecedented time the local housing authority will only take the enforcement action that we determine is necessary. A pragmatic and risk-based approach to enforcement action will be taken. All decisions will be made on the merits of the individual case and based on an assessment of risk and the latest government advice around the outbreak.

Housing Options 

If you are homeless, or at risk of homelessness during Covid-19, our Housing Options Team will be working differently. See how you can access their support here 

Building and Planning Services

Following the recent government announcement in response to the coronavirus outbreak, we have had to make some changes to the way we work. The Planning Service is continuing to operate as effectively as it can under the circumstances, however our goal is to maintain business as usual.

At this time we ask that everyone observes the Government guidance on social distancing in relation to officers carrying out their duties.

We are no longer able to offer a face to face reception service at Magdalen House.

Building Control

Submission of applications for building work can be done either by using the Planning Portal at www.planningportal.co.uk or by emailing building@sefton.gov.uk 

For all building control issues including advice and guidance on building works and to book inspections, please email building@sefton.gov.uk

If you are notifying us of dangerous structures and vacant and insecure premises please email building@sefton.gov.uk .  If you are notifying us outside business hours please telephone Sefton ARC on 0800 622 6107.

Payments - To make payments for building regulation applications please use www.sefton.gov.uk quoting the reference or address of the property.  Please can you email building@sefton.gov.uk to notify us of the receipt number once the payment has been made.  This will help us to ensure there will be no delay in marrying up your payment with the appropriate case.

Development Management

At this moment in time please make sure that documents are sent electronically.

For all planning enquiries please email planning.department@sefton.gov.uk

Payments - To make payments for planning and related applications please use www.sefton.gov.uk quoting the reference or address of the property.  Please can you email planning.department@sefton.gov.uk to notify us of the receipt number once the payment has been made.  This will help us to ensure there will be no delay in marrying up your payment with the appropriate case.

Site visits

During the current lockdown period, we will visit application sites only where absolutely necessary to do so.  To assist us with timely decision making, applicants and agents will be required to provide additional information, including comprehensive photographs, and in some instances videos of the outside and where necessary the inside of properties to assist us.  If we consider a site visit to be essential and are unable to make a comprehensive assessment, we will not determine an application and the applicant/applicant's agent will be advised.

Site Photograph Guidance Note

As a general guide please can you provide the following site photographs of the site:

  • Street scene showing the property in the context of the adjoining properties, including parking arrangements;
  • Views towards the proposed development from the front rear and all sides
  • Views towards adjoining or other properties abutting the site clearly showing the existing windows, materials and any level changes.
  • An annotated block plan to show the location and direction of the photographs taken together with the reference number, address and date photo taken.
  • Where considered appropriate a video may be requested;
  • A declaration to confirm that the information submitted is correct and an accurate reflection of the site and its context.

Where the proposal involves highway works or other works or changes of use affecting the highway:

Planning Guidelines

    • 1 & 2 should be taken from 2.4m back from the carriageway edge in the centre of the access;
    • A photograph of speed limit terminals in the vicinity of the site should be included;
    • Please include anything extra that you feel will provide a fuller picture of the site context and surrounding area;
    • An accompanying plan should clearly reflect the view of any photographs submitted.

    Please be aware that any missing information may restrict our ability to fully assess your application and incur delays. In order to minimise any delays please provide as much information as possible including, but not limited to, the following:

    • The speed limit of the road, and location of any changes in speed limit;
    • Carriageway and footway widths of the surrounding highway network; and
    • Level of visibility achievable from the access point, noting the vertical alignment of the highway must also be considered.

    These temporary arrangements will remain in place until such time that the Government advises us that normal business arrangements can continue.

Making comments on applications

If you are making representations (i.e. comments) on an application, we can only receive these via our website or by email.   

Decision making

Delegated decision making will continue as usual. Further information how we will are running Planning Committee at this time can be found here.

Temporary Relaxation of Construction Working Hours on Development Sites

On 13 May 2020, the government published a written ministerial statement on planning and construction working hours. This statement expects local planning authorities to approve requests to temporarily extend construction working hours to ensure safe working in line with social distancing guidelines unless there are very compelling reasons against this.  This statement has been followed by the Business and Planning Act 2020. Local Planning Authorities are expected to grant temporary changes to construction working hours until at least 9pm, 6 days a week (Mon-Sat), wherever possible and where construction working hours are controlled by planning condition. This flexibility is in relation to control imposed by the planning system only.

Details of how to apply to temporarily extend construction hours can be found here

Planning enforcement complaints

During this period Planning Enforcement complaints will only be investigated where there is evidence of significant harm.

General enquiries and queries

If you have a general planning query, please get in touch with Sefton’s Contact Centre on 0345 140 0845 (Option 4). You can find answers to the most frequent queries either on our Planning Pages[SM1]  or on the Planning Portal, both these sites provide a range of planning information. 

If you still need to contact us, you can email us at  planning.department@sefton.gov.uk , though there may be some delay in responding to you.

Land Charges

All search requests should be made via

Please email requests for Local land Charge Searches to land.charges@sefton.gov.uk  

Payments - To make payments for land charge searches please use www.sefton.gov.uk quoting the address of the property.  Please can you email land.charges@sefton.gov.uk to notify us of the receipt number once the payment has been made.  This will help us to ensure there will be no delay in marrying up your payment with the appropriate case

 

Following Government guidance, we have resumed MOT's at our depot with some changes in place. Find out more here 

Important changes to Litherland Walk-in Centre

In order to maintain patient and staff safety, Litherland Walk-in Centre is now operating a telephone triage and appointment system. 

Open access will still be available to all, however to reduce the number of face-to-face consultations, patients will now be triaged over the phone based on clinical need.

Appropriate advice will be given on the call and where necessary, an appointment will be allocated at the walk-in centre. This telephone triage approach will be consistent with the model being used by other walk-in centres across Sefton and Liverpool.

The number patients are now advised to call before accessing Litherland Walk-in Centre is: 0300 100 1004 where they will also be screened for potential symptoms of Coronavirus (Covid-19).

Those who only have Covid-19 symptoms will be directed to NHS 111. If you have Covid-19 symptoms and still require walk-in centre treatment for another problem (e.g. for minor injury) you will still be triaged and seen.

Our parks, coastal areas and other green spaces within the borough remain open, however we are strongly urging any visitors to follow social distancing guidelines at all times.

As a consequence of the coronavirus outbreak:

  • Coastal car parks are open but in good weather, they get extremely busy. Our advice would be to avoid these areas at peak times. 
  • Public toilets are open at some sites, with frequent cleaning and social distancing measures in place
  • Lifeguarding is only present at some sites

Green Sefton is also urging visitors to take rubbish and dog fouling home with them, as refuse collection and other maintenance will not be possible across all sites at this time.

Additionally we would like to remind residents and visitors that BBQ's are not allowed. 

If you see anything that requires attention in any of our green spaces, email greensefton@sefton.gov.uk. Green Sefton may not be able to commit as many resources to regular inspections during the COVID-19 outbreak, so visitors can play their part in helping us to maintain our green spaces.

Play areas and outdoor gyms are now open and we would urge all visitors to observe social distancing and wash their hands regularly and use hand santisier. 

The following services have altered the way they work or the service they deliver. 

Environmental Health

Our Officers are currently working agilely from home to reduce none essential travel. To avoid the risk of infection to residents and themselves they are not entering into domestic premises except in exceptional circumstances and so they are not able to visit  all requests for service that they receive.

Priority is being given to -

  • Public Health Act Funerals
  • Drainage complaints (blocked/defective or overflowing drains) etc
  • Serious and hazardous fly tipped waste. 

Where possible requests for service will be investigated using telephone information and correspondence undertaken via email. Additional information such as photographs may be requested to assist in the assessment and investigation of a request for service. In exceptional circumstances where a visit outside a premise can be undertaken we would ask that all social distancing and good hygiene guidance is followed.

Pest Control

Pest Control officers are currently working agilely from home to reduce none essential travel. To avoid the risk of infection to residents and themselves , they are not entering inside domestic properties and so are not able to respond to all requests for a pest control treatment.

As a result, they will treat:

  • Rats and/or mice in Gardens and Sheds etc where these can be accessed without entering inside the property.
  • Where rat and mice activity is inside the property home bait suitable for use by the occupier will be left at the front door and social distancing guidance will be followed. Advice and guidance on how and where to use this bait, to have the best results, will be provided via a telephone consultation and subsequently at the time of visit.
  • Appointments will only be provided in the afternoon to enable officers to undertake telephone consultations.

They are unable to treat domestic premises for:

  • Fleas
  • Cockroaches
  • Bedbugs

Sefton Library Service is providing a wide array of useful services to residents remotely during Coronavirus.

Bookworms of all ages can immerse themselves in the latest literary titled, with Borrowbox, the UK's largest e-library, listen to a vast array of audiobooks using RBDigital or take that time you always wanted to explore your ancestry. You are also welcome to take part in the online reading group.

Little ones can also take part in a fun virtual Rhymetime!

Find out more here

To find out which childcare providers are open to Key Workers, please click on this link www.seftondirectory.com/childcare and you will find the document under Downloads. 

 


Last Updated on 07 July 2020

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