Slough Borough Council (SBC) are ‘planning for the worst-case scenario’ amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Councillors sat two chairs away from each other at Monday’s cabinet meeting where the chief executive of the council, Josie Wragg, opened with an update about COVID-19.

She said the council is preparing for the worst case scenario where the authorities corporate management team will be meeting every morning, as well as meetings with partners from the NHS, reviewing how the virus is affecting Slough and understanding what that means in terms of service delivery and staffing resilience.

This means there could be council staff reductions of 10-50 per cent for a few weeks in this ‘worst case scenario’ which would entail understanding what some of their staff’s skills are and possibly, when appropriate, redeploying them in essential and critical services.

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Josie Wragg said: “We are being responsible, but proportionate.

“We are planning for the worst, but we are looking to follow guidance to mitigate for the best.

“This is not a knee jerk reaction to something that’s happened this afternoon. We have been planning this for some considerable time and we’ve been meeting weekly since February 5 led by our health consultant Liz Brutus.

“Everything that could be possibly done is being done in this council and this borough.”

She also said SBC and the democratic process will continue to run as it is currently appropriate but hinted it could operate in a different way without members being present in the same room necessarily.

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Following the Prime Minister’s set of announcements on coronavirus and how to manage it, the chief executive said SBC are still interpreting it in terms of their responsibilities on a local level.

The leader of the council, councillor James Swindlehurst, said: “I’ve got every faith in the professional staff in the organisation leading on the projects and we’re keeping regular touch.

“We will step things up when required if need be, but our focus is mainly on business continuity and leaving Public Health England and other agencies to do their jobs and supporting them as required.”