Coronavirus

Dudley Council
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Coronavirus: Advice on Council Services

Dudley Council is working closely with Public Health England to stop the spread of coronavirus, but we need you to play your part to protect our borough. We are updating these webpages regularly with the latest national advice and guidance and key local information.

Wherever possible, council services are continuing to operate as normal adhering to the latest government guidelines.

Most public meetings are now online and people can watch and hear decisions being made from wherever they are. Past meetings are also available on our YouTube channel in case you miss them. It is not possible to hold community forum meetings at the moment due to the current national restrictions. 

Please do not come to a council building or any other public place if you have any symptoms of the Coronavirus, including a new continuous cough or a high temperature.

Elected members are still working in communities and are still available for contact. Here’s a handy guide to who your local councillor is and how to contact them.

Services

Dudley Council Plus

If you need help and advice with any council service call Dudley Council Plus on 0300 555 2345 or email dudleycouncilplus@dudley.gov.uk for face to face services see opening times in the download PDF below.

Adult Learning

Dudley Adult and Community Learning will remain open during the lockdown period.  All learning centres are Covid safe and most scheduled classes will continue, although some will transfer online.

If your class changes you will be contacted by a member of our team. Call your learning centre if you need any further information.

Click here for more information.

Adult Social Care

We continue to deliver adult social care services across the borough at this difficult time, aiming to leave no vulnerable person without the support they need.

We may however need to deliver our services in a slightly different way, for example face-to-face visits may have been replaced by phone calls and we have had to close some of our facilities.

The following buildings are closed until further notice:

Care Act Easements

As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, the government has made provision for councils to temporarily ‘ease’ certain social care responsibilities if necessary, to help manage any extreme pressures. This would allow the council to respond to a major increase in requests for urgent social care support and a corresponding reduction in the availability of social care staff.

 Easements must only be triggered if it becomes absolutely essential, as local authorities must do everything possible to meet their existing duties under the Care Act without taking these new measures.

 What does this mean in Dudley?

At this time we are currently at level 2 and do not need to trigger easements to our existing responsibilities under the Care Act. Services continue to be delivered albeit in some cases in a different way. Our services are being closely monitored to ensure we continue to meet the needs of local people. We will continue to adapt services as required to ensure we minimise any potential risks in providing our social care services.

Support for Care Providers

We have been working with care providers during the pandemic to ensure that they are supported.

Benefits

Council Tax Reduction

Some council residents are eligible for additional council tax relief following the council#s allocation of nearly £3 million from the government’s hardship fund, which aims to provide council tax relief to help vulnerable people and households of working agemost affected by coronavirus.

The government has said it can be used to reduce the council tax bills of working age people already receiving council tax reduction and to provide further discretionary support to vulnerable people.  

If you are entitled to the extra help you do not need to contact the council, this will be applied to your bill automatically.

Test and Trace Isolation Payments

People who have been told by the NHS to self-isolate, either because they have tested positive for Coronavirus, or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, may be entitled to a one-off payment of £500 during their self isolation period.  For more information, and to see if you are eligible visit https://www.dudley.gov.uk/council-community/emergencies/coronavirus/covid-test-and-trace-isolation-payment/

 

State Benefits

People applying for Universal Credit, Employment Support Allowance or other benefits should not go to a jobcentre but apply for them online

People will continue to receive their benefits as normal, but all requirements to attend the jobcentre in person are suspended. 

Face-to-face assessments for all sickness and disability benefits have been suspended.  This affects claimants of Personal Independence Payment, those on Employment and Support Allowance and some on Universal Credit, as well as recipients of Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.  The suspension of face-to-face assessments also covers new claims to those benefits.

If you are a carer, welfare benefits officers are providing a telephone helpline during this pandemic on Wednesdays.  The number to call is 01384 818723.

A Benefits Advice Line has been set up for other Dudley Borough residents affected by Covid 19. The number to call is 01384 815002, available Tuesdays and Thursdays 9.30am - 1.00pm and 2.00pm - 4.30pm. 

You may also find our factsheets useful.

Bereavement Services and Support

All cemeteries (Stourbridge, Gornal Wood, Dudley, Dudley New, Lye and Wollescote, Cradley, Halesowen and Brierley Hill) are open.

Funerals are limited up to 30 people for burials but due to chapel capacity we can currently only accommodate 16 mourners within the Gornal Wood chapel for cremation services. Stourbridge crematorium remains closed due to essential works.

Our offices are closed but people can still speak to staff over the phone or get more information online

Support and advice on both end-of-life and bereavement is available at Lets Get

Bin Collections

The green waste collection was reinstated in late April, with the service running its original duration, plus two missed weeks added on at the end.

Regular weekly collections and fortnightly recycling collections are continuing as normal but there is extra advice for people self-isolating because of coronavirus symptoms. This can be found on our bins and recycling webpage. 

Please continue to put your bins, boxes and bags out as normal, but make sure they are on the edge of your property by 6.15am on your collection day.

The Household Waste Recycling Centre in Stourbridge is operating a booking system only for Dudley borough residents.  The service should only be used if no alternative arrangements can be made for safe storage.

We expect extremely demand for this facility and we ask you to be patient as in the short term we are offering a limited capacity per hour, which will be reviewed in the coming weeks. 

Please note: anyone who arrives at the site without a slot will be turned away. 

If you have an appointment, please do not turn up early as this causes unnecessary queuing problems.

If you are unable to attend your appointment - follow the link on the confirmation email to quickly and easily cancel.  Alternatively, please notify us by ringing 0300 555 2345. It is important you let us know as we will be able to offer cancelled appointments to other residents.

To find out more, including how to book, visit the following page: household waste recycling centre page.

For excellent advice about recycling and rubbish during the Coronavirus, visit the Recycle Now website. 

Direct Payments

Advice and guidance for people regarding direct payments and employing staff during the coronavirus outbreak.

Direct payments factsheet (PDF)

Financial Support

Dudley Council is offering help and support for its council housing tenants who might be financially impacted from the coronavirus outbreak. 

Anyone who is facing loss of income or other financial strains related to the outbreak can call the council rent income team on 0300 555 0010 for help and advice. View the council statement in full
A Benefits Advice Line has been set up for other Dudley Borough residents affected by Covid 19. The number to call is 01384 815002  available Tuesdays and Thursdays 9.30am - 1.00pm and 2.00pm - 4.30pm. 
You may also find our factsheets useful.
View Government advice on the implications of COVID-19 on managing your money or your rights to sick pay and changes to claiming your benefits.

Housing

Housing Repairs and Maintenance (4 November update) 

Dudley Council is aware that residents living within our Council’s social housing stock may have received a letter from the Government recently (18 May 2020) outlining how Councils will shortly be recommencing carrying out routine repairs to their home in addition to the ‘essential repairs only’ policy we were required to adopt during the enforced COVID-19 lockdown period.  

If you have not received the letter, a copy is available on the gov.uk website: Coronavirus (COVID-19): letter to social housing residents

Following this guidance the Council has worked exceptionally hard to deliver its recovery plan to enable us to safely deliver repairs and maintenance in your home. It is important that we carry out these repairs safely, taking into account appropriate social distancing measure to ensure the continued safety for you as residents, and also for our operatives and our contractors.

Whilst we have now undertaken a significant number of the back-log of our repairs over the past 5 months, with a new 4 week lockdown commencing 4 November 2020 until 2 December 2020 we are not expecting to be able to operate at full capacity, we hope you understand that repairs may take longer than usual.  

We will be operating under the Government Guidance for landlords and tenants, published on September 1 2020, until such time as this guidance is revoked and / or amended.

Clinically extremely vulnerable groups or shielding households can now permit landlords and contractors to carry out routine repairs and inspections, providing that the latest guidance on staying alert and social distancing is followed. The Government Guidance reinforces that it is in the best interests of both residents and landlords to ensure that properties are kept in good repair and free from hazards. Residents should let the Council know early if there is a problem and we will take the appropriate action. If residents are not self-isolating, they can allow local authorities, landlords or contractors access to their home in order to carry out a range of works. This includes:

  • routine inspections, including annual gas safety checks;
  • essential and non-essential repairs and maintenance; and
  • planned maintenance activity inside and outside the home.

Therefore, in addition to carrying out necessary repairs and maintenance we are required to undertake a range of ongoing safety checks such as gas safety checks, electrical inspections, fire safety checks and passenger lift checks in communal areas of flatted developments, which have been ongoing during the lockdown period, but we have not and will continue not to force entry where access is inappropriate due to residents’ self-isolating, or being clinically extremely vulnerable (similar to shielding). We will continue this approach for safety checks by appointment in your home, where required.

We will also continue on our planned maintenance, new build schemes and other projects where we can, having undertaken appropriate risk assessments and following appropriate Government guidance about working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19). This work will include works to empty homes to enable them to be re-let, although we may not be working in every empty home or new empty homes immediately they become empty. Where we are allowing some re-let of properties we will do so safely, and we will be prioritising in accordance with housing need. External planned works and works in communal areas such as door entry systems and planned redecoration will continue, and you will be notified in writing before any works start.

We will keep customers informed of progress when we have some news. Our officers continue to work during this period, although in different ways, but our offices will remain closed to the public until further notice.

To reiterate Government guidance, no work will be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is clinically extremely vulnerable, unless it is absolutely necessary to remedy a direct risk. In such a case, prior arrangements will be made with you to avoid any face to face contact, for example when answering the door and / or asking you where possible to be in another room in your home. Safety and your consent is critical, and our operatives and contractors will be up to date with the latest guidance on how to work safely. Operatives and our contractors will follow approved, safe working practices and have appropriate PPE.   

Our Housing Maintenance Team continue to provide an emergency repairs service 24/7 to Dudley Council tenants. Tenants should call 0300 555 8283.

Housing Options – We continue to accept and assess applications to join the Housing Register, however, demand is high and there may be delays in us contacting you. More information about housing options available.

Allocations and Lettings – We are continuing to advertise, repair and re-let empty homes safely in accordance with government guidelines. We are carrying out risk assessments to protect both our officers and customers, and we may prioritise our work in accordance with housing needs. There are generally fewer empty homes available for letting at this time.

We will continue to keep customers informed of progress with properties they have been offered.

Housing Support – Our aim is 'To help and support people to achieve a stable home environment, to inspire confidence, promote independence and to encourage them to improve their quality of life’. Whilst we have had to modify the way that we currently provide our services, we continue to offer the following services, for further details on each of the services please click the link available or call us on 01384 812504 where a member of our team will be happy to talk to you. Our services are Floating Supportmediation, drop in/telephone support, intensive family support, garden pathways gardening scheme, employability support, pre tenancy workshops and Housing First.

Homelessness Service -  we continue to provide preventative support to avoid homelessness, and our emergency accommodation and advice services continue to operate 24/7. Please contact us via Dudley Council Plus on 0300 555 2345.

Housing Occupational Therapy Team -  we are supporting tenants and residents with assessments and advice over the phone or through video calls.  Where home visits are necessary, we are offering these in line with our safe working protocols, to protect both our team members and customers.  It may be necessary for people to wait a little longer than usual for assessment, due to unavoidable staff shortages at this time and we are prioritising our work where required.

Sheltered housing – Our focus remains on ensuring we keep our homes and schemes as safe as possible for tenants to live in during the coronavirus pandemic. We understand that many tenants will still be feeling anxious and concerned, particularly as we approach the coming winter months. We would like to reassure tenants that our teams are still here to support you, just slightly differently. We have reviewed the frequency of our calls to tenants and will continue to maintain our regular fire testing and checking of communal facilities for hazards.

Private Sector Housing - Up to date information for private tenants or private landlords is available from Shelter.  Advice for landlords regarding gas safety information, please check the Gas Safe Register

Tenancy and Estates - Tenancy and Estates continues to offer a full range of services, although some of these services will need to be delivered for now by telephone, post and email. Those key services which may continue to necessitate personal contact will be: estate inspections, enforcing gas warrants, the serving of legal notices, serious tenancy breaches and mutual exchanges. The work of the Estate Assistants continues as normal including carrying out fire safety inspections. Acceptance of tenancy sign ups continue to be completed and new tenancy visits are being conducted by telephone.

We are not in a position to carry out interviews in any of our offices although this situation is continuing to be reviewed. If you have a housing tenancy enquiry please contact Dudley Council Plus by telephone on 0300 555 2345 to speak to your Housing Manager.

Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) Team - The ASB team have continued to operate throughout the COVID pandemic. However, some of the services we would ordinarily provide have had to cease or be adapted during this time. General home visits or face to face interviews we would ordinarily do as part of ASB investigations, have been suspended until further notice. As a service we are only completing essential visits, these visits have been determined and will be for the purposes of responsive/targeted witnessing and installing Noise Recording Equipment (noise complaints).

We are committed to offering the best service we can provide during these times and we would encourage you to continue reporting ASB to us. However, some of the limitations enforced by lockdown and the unprecedented increase in demand for our service since these measures were enforced, may impact upon the overall service we provide to you and therefore we would ask for your commitment and continued patience throughout your journey with our service.

If you do have an ASB complaint or you would like feedback on an open case you may have with the service, we would encourage you to contact Dudley Council Plus by telephone on 0300 555 2345, they will be able to take your complaint/query and filter it through to our service.

Tenant Participation and Engagement –  We are continuing to engage and consult with tenants virtually and by social media. For further information or to register your interest please contact the Participation Team on 01384 815168 or email participation@dudley.gov.uk. Find us on Facebook by searching Participation in Dudley to access our page.

Planning

Reception at 4 Ednam Road, Dudley, closed until further notice.  For all enquiries relating to Planning, Building Control, Policy, Enforcement & Trees please email: development.control@dudley.gov.uk or telephone 01384 814136

Schools and Childcare

At present all early years and childcare provision will remain open as schools and colleges will also, for all children.

Government guidance - what parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during the coronavirus outbreak.

Buildings

Astley Burf

Astley Burf is closed until further notice. 

Borough Halls (live entertainment)

All borough halls are currently closed. We are contacting customers directly about rearranged shows and refunds.

Dudley Register Office

For the latest advice and information about weddings as well as the births, deaths and marriage registration service visit our Dudley Register Office page

Family Centres

Our borough Family Centres are now open, but with limited walk-in services.

You can however get information and support by calling the centres below between 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday:

  • Stourbridge Family Centre- 01384 818780
  • Halesowen Family Centre- 01384 813954
  • Brierley Hill Family Centre-01384 813322
  • Dudley North Family Centre- 01384 813096
  • Dudley Central Family Centre- 01384 812440

Himley Hall

New temporary drive through COVID 19 test site at Himley

Please be aware that a new drive through COVID 19 test site opens at Himley Hall and Park tomorrow (Thursday 12 November). This site complements the existing walk through test sites located in Dudley and Lye and the drive through mobile site located at Brierley Hill.

The temporary site will be operational for three weeks to help increase the borough’s testing capacity and to assist in reducing coronavirus rates. It’s location has been chosen due to the high rates of infection on the east side of Dudley borough, bordering South Staffordshire.

Tests must be booked in advance. More information on testing.

Himley Hall and Park will close to the public from 6pm today – Wednesday 11 November. It is hoped it will reopen to the public on Monday 16 November. Members of the public who are not going for a test appointment are asked not to attempt to visit the park until it reopens, whilst the test site is establishing.

For more information visit Himley Hall and Park.

Leisure centres

Dudley, Crystal and Halesowen leisure centres will be closed from Thursday November 5

Members will be kept informed directly. 

The Dell Stadium will also close on November 5.

View the FAQS regarding centre memberships and closure.

You can still keep fit and healthy while self—isolating with these handy online exercise classes from the NHS  

Libraries & Archives

  • As of Thursday 5 November, libraries will be open for Library Takeaway and computer use. Library Takeaway is a ‘Click & Collect’ service where customers must either choose stock online or by telephone in advance and then collect their choice from the library premises. Alternatively customers will be able to turn up at the door and request a ‘lucky dip’ of themed stock chosen by our staff. 

  • There will be no general browsing in the library.

  • Computers are available on a drop-in basis for 1 hour sessions. All keyboards, desks and mice will be sanitised between sessions

  • All libraries will be offering these services between 10am-3pm Monday to Saturday. Netherton Library is closed on Saturdays. 

Brierley Hill Library | 01384 812874
Dudley Library | 01384 815560
Halesowen Library | 01384 812983
Kingswinford Library | 01384 812740
Sedgley Library | 01384 812790
Stourbridge Library | 01384 812945

We request all visitors to wear face coverings and if they feel unwell not to visit.

 

Find out what library services are available and what to expect

Outdoor Activity and Parks

If you are visiting our borough parks please observe social distancing measures. Posters are on display to remind people of this.

During this second lockdown, our playgrounds will stay open, but we have closed off all Multi Use Games Areas (MUGAs), outdoor gyms, tennis courts etc.

Toilets are open at Himley, Mary Stevens Park (both in the hub and in the cafe) and Wollescote Park. The toilets at Priory Park are open when the cafe is open, which is Tuesday to Friday 9am to 2pm. We're hoping to get the rest open at other parks as soon as we can.

Red House Glass Cone and Dudley Museum at the Archives

Red House Glass Cone and Dudley Museum at the Archives will be closed to the public from Thursday November 5

Find out about our digital learning

Sycamore Adventure

Sycamore Adventure is closed until December 2