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A plan to support residents and businesses across North Lanarkshire through the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic has been published by the council.
The Recovery Plan highlights some of the ways in which the council has continued to deliver outstanding services throughout the health crisis; and it sets out how it will recover services and the principles at the heart of the recovery process.
Councillor Jim Logue, leader of the council, said: "The coronavirus pandemic has changed all our lives in so many ways. We recognise that these changes bring challenges in realising our ambition that North Lanarkshire is the place to Live, Learn, Work, Invest and Visit.
"Throughout the pandemic, we have supported people and businesses across North Lanarkshire. We have had to adapt the ways in which we deliver services in a whole host of ways. However, our commitment to helping people in our communities has been at the heart of everything we do. And, as we recover, that commitment remains the same."
The Recovery Plan makes clear that the council retains its ambitious plans for the future, both in terms of transforming towns and communities and reshaping services that support residents, businesses and the economic recovery.
The council's major programmes of work are continuing, including an investment programme of £3.5billon over the next decade.
The recovery plan also acknowledges that the threat posed by coronavirus will remain for some time to come, and the most important thing is the safety of the people who access and provide services:
Coronavirus means we need to consider how best to recover council services in as safe a way as possible for our staff and people who use those services.
Councillor Jim Logue, continued: "Although coronavirus has had a major impact on services and communities, we are still determined to deliver the Plan for North Lanarkshire.
"For example, although the Scottish Government has removed the legal obligation for councils to provide 1140 hours of free childcare to young children, North Lanarkshire is one of the few larger councils to commit to delivering this policy in the current year.
"We are doing this because we understand the benefit to children and parents, for learning, for wellbeing and to support economic recovery."
A large proportion of the council's workforce now works from using digital technology, and many of these ways of working have been effective in delivering services.
And work has been ongoing to determine how services will change. Every service is being analysed and evaluated on the basis of risk and where the council has a legal duty to provide a service.
These services, and those directly supporting the response to coronavirus, will be a priority for recovery for the council.
It is likely that council services will, in many cases, be very different to those that existed pre-crisis.
The operations of council buildings will be completely altered and council staff will all work more flexibly supported by an enhanced digital offering. The ways in which residents access our buildings will change too, to ensure compliance with health and safety guidance.
The council was already improving digital access through its Digital NL programme, but work is underway to make more services for residents and others easily available online as quickly as possible.
This will include the launch of a new council website later this year which will make it easy for residents to request services and find information.
Jim Logue concluded: "From the outset of the crisis, the council moved quickly to support people - we very quickly had to change some services and stop others altogether. But, across the council and with our partners, we have continued to provide essential services
"Residents are at the heart of everything we do and we'd like to thank them for all they are doing, to keep our communities safe."