Coronavirus – District Councillor update

Weekly update from Simon Howell

The following is the weekly communication from our local District Councillor, Simon Howell.  Some of the issues raised are specific to Parish & Town Councils but we’ve included the full email for completeness.  

You can get in touch with Simon on 01793 784491 or

Dear All,

Please find below this week’s update, including:


Help is available

The first step if you need help is to check with your friends or family, or a trusted neighbour.  If they can’t help, then your local volunteer group might be able to and, if you have no success with either, please don’t hesitate to call or email us.


Call us on 01235 422 600 or email

For more information on how you can find more help and support, please see our Coronavirus community support


Extra garden waste collections

If you’re a garden waste customer, this weekend’s the time to spend getting it in shape.  As we’ll be collecting one extra bin’s worth of garden waste on your first brown bin week after the bank holiday.  A bin’s worth of waste is around three large bin bags, which you should leave next to your brown bin on your usual collection day during:

  • week commencing 11 May – Vale of White Horse
  • week commencing 18 May – South Oxfordshire


Parish Update extra’s

Notice of Vacancies

As things currently stand, there will no elections until May next year, but if a parish councillor resigns or passes away councils will still need to publish a Notice of Vacancy. Please let us know if this happens.


Section 106 claims

We’re still accepting new S106 claims and processing them through the appropriate decision-making channel.

However, where a committee decision is required it will take longer than normal as a number of committees have been postponed due to the current situation. We are looking into alternative ways to make decisions, including virtual meetings and will share the details in a future update.

We are also prioritising the small number of funding claims that will expire within six months where possible.


Oxfordshire NHS – Key Points update 

How are we supporting care homes in the county? 

Supporting care homes to provide high quality care to some of our most vulnerable residents during the COVID-19 pandemic is essential. Health and social care partners across Oxfordshire are working closely with care home providers to develop and deliver a support plan for homes, their staff, and residents. This work is taking place across the system, including provider representatives, set up to provide oversight and coordination. The focus of the work includes preventative and proactive support for all care homes to ensure that education and understanding regarding care for residents, in line with national guidance, is in place; and focused support work with care homes that may be experiencing outbreaks or particular challenges.

The themes addressed include: 

  • Testing: The importance of making testing available to care home staff and residents is recognised. Care home staff are key workers and have had access to testing at the static and mobile sites set up in Oxfordshire. OUH and OHFT have been working with Oxfordshire County Council to consider how to roll out a testing programme for care home residents in line with the national models.


  • PPE and Infection Control: Information and guidance has been provided to services, including via a webinar for care home staff hosted by Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s clinical lead for infection control. The Care Home Support Service will continue to offer support and advice and further webinars with care home staff will offer opportunities to share concerns, ask questions and keep them connected. This theme links closely with Oxfordshire County Council’s work to ensure care homes, and other providers, have sufficient supplies of PPE to deliver safe care.


  • Staffing: Oxfordshire County Council leads on issues relating to staffing in care homes to ensure safe staffing levels are maintained during COVID-19. This includes regular contact with homes to ensure that issues can be identified, and support can be discussed at the earliest opportunity. A range of contingency plans have been developed across system partners which are reviewed weekly. Care home providers have welcomed these jointly developed contingency plans.


  • Safeguarding: This remains a high priority as all care home residents are vulnerable adults. The aim is to ensure that normal safeguarding referrals and management activity are maintained through COVID-19 and to develop strategies with care homes enabling safe care to continue throughout the pandemic, alongside timely reporting procedures.
  • Clinical Support and Patient Management: ensuring that clinical support for care homes and residents remains in place throughout this period, to meet medical needs associated with COVID-19 and general medical needs is essential. This has included guidance around symptom identification and management and targeted support via Primary Care and community health provision.

Useful Websites – 

If you have found any which have been useful for yourselves, please let me know and I will include them going forward for others.


As ever, any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Best wishes, and stay safe

Cllr Simon Howell

Watchfield and Shrivenham Ward

Vale of White Horse District Council