Two Boards will play complementary roles in managing the pandemic in B&NES through the next year. With a degree of simplification these boards will each take charge of one of the twin pillars of success, identified above.
A B&NES COVID-19 Health Protection Board, based on the existing Health Protection Board, will be in overall operational charge of outbreak control efforts. Its functions will include managing information, and coordinating and supporting local efforts at preventing and minimising outbreaks. This all links closely to the testing and tracing system. This board will be chaired by the Director of Public Health, and in his absence, the consultant in Public Health with the lead for Health Protection.
Membership of this board will be flexible, but will have a core group drawn from Public Health, Environmental Health, Adult Social Care, the Emergency Team (EPRR), Communications, Informatics and the NHS. Links will be made to the Compassionate Communities Hub and other stakeholders as required.
The terms of reference for this board derive from those of the existing Health Protection Board, which have been developed since the new Public Health System began in approximately 2013.
A B&NES Outbreak Engagement Board, chaired by the Council Leader, will play a critical role in ensuring that local residents and other stakeholders in the public, private and third sectors all understand and abide by the need to comply with rules and principles designed to prevent viral transmission. The main focus of this board will be outwards to the wider community.
The role of this board will be discussed briefly in Chapter 6: Communities and Engagement.
Reporting and accountability
The reporting structure underlying the governance of this outbreak needs to be effective, but also realistic, given the amount of time and effort that detailed reporting can take.
Both boards will have representation on, and report into, the B&NES Health and Wellbeing Board (HWB) which has an overall responsibility for all aspects of health and wellbeing in the locality. The HWB will also be the committee that signs off the LOMP.
The COVID-19 Health Protection Board will also report regularly and where necessary to other important groups including:
- The B&NES Council Senior Management and Corporate Management teams
- The B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire NHS governance structures
- The Avon and Somerset Local Resilience Partnership
It is not yet clear what lines and processes of accountability and reporting will be set up with regional and national bodies, but there will be intensive national monitoring of all aspects of the pandemic across the country, and the focus of reporting will probably shift, to reflect the changing situation and specific areas of concern at different times.
Update: Governance and data management
Steps we have taken
Worked closely with our Outbreak Engagement Board to link our work with partners and work with communities
Established a dashboard provides data extracts to inform notifications of emerging outbreaks
Published case data every day on our website
Develop the dashboard as needed in response to wider national developments in data availability