In response to the letter of September 1 by Mr Gerald Ingram of Locks Heath, I would like to highlight how Hampshire County Council has remained resolute in the delivery of frontline services to the 1.3 million residents of Hampshire throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since the start of the outbreak, the council has been responding to challenges faced by care homes, caring for vulnerable children, supporting the local economy, and repositioning public-facing services. As lockdown restrictions have increasingly eased, we are now undertaking a crucial role in supporting Hampshire residents and businesses during this key period of stabilisation and recovery, to adapt day-to-day behaviours, return to a healthy normal, and fire up the local economy again.

In line with official, national guidance, like many other organisations, we have had to change the way we work to ensure the ongoing safety of the public and our staff during the Covid-19 pandemic. Public facing telephone services primarily require a physical presence in an office, and we have taken steps during the outbreak to ensure that critical services in key frontline areas such as social care for vulnerable adults and children have been prioritised and remain open. A telephone booking service is also available for our Household Waste Recycling Centres.

However, there are some other external phone lines that have had to remain closed during this period, in order to ensure that we comply with Public Health England guidance and minimise staff numbers in offices, unless absolutely necessary. We are sorry that Mr Ingram was inconvenienced by this approach when reporting a recent drainage issue.

Members of the public can still make contact with the council through our online “contact us” form on our website, and can be used by anyone with a device that can access the internet (or a suitable family member with access to the internet). It can also be responded to by our customer services teams working away from the office.

Highways issues can continue to be reported to us online via our webpages:

Cllr Rob Humby

Deputy Leader, Hampshire County Council