Open letter - give local public health teams control of track and trace

15 October 2020

All across the UK, local communities are seeing a large upsurge in cases of coronavirus. We could be on track for one of the most difficult winters we have ever seen. 

You know that our actions in the coming weeks and months will either save lives or put communities and families at risk of further heartbreak and grief.

To reduce the suffering, we need to rapidly improve our testing and tracing operations, by letting local governments, with their experience and expertise, lead as much as possible. 

Local councils have responded in impressive ways to protect their communities throughout this crisis. However we cannot keep our communities safe without the resources required for much longer. 

Whilst we welcome the allocation of £10 billion funding to the Test and Trace Service nationally, the local response has been provided with only £300m. This must be addressed urgently. 

We believe that local public health teams and local health services must be given the funding to take a leading role in testing and contact tracing in the community urgently, all across the UK.

Currently Directors of Public Health across the country are reporting a lack of capacity, delays, and problems with data. Testing operations need to work in tandem with local authorities to get the job done, and they should be better integrated with local primary care and clinical care health services. It is vital that testing is expanded and targeted, so that everyone with symptoms can get a test this winter.

Furthermore, the evidence makes clear again and again that it is local government and public health protection teams who are doing contact tracing work most effectively and keeping our communities safe. This is a cost effective option too, with the current national and remote call centre operation last reported to be costing the taxpayer £900 per person contacted. We’re writing to ask that local authorities and the public health protection teams that work with them get emergency funding and improved powers to lead on contact tracing.  

We need central government to listen to local government and help us do the best we can to keep our communities safe this winter. Before it’s too late.

Signed by

Sean Fielding  -  Oldham Council leader

Sarah Lasenby  -  Serco Shareholder

Andrew Gwynne - MP for Denton and Reddish

Phélim Mac Cafferty -   Green Leader of Brighton and Hove City Council 

James McCleary -   Liberal Democrat Leader of Lewes District Council

Zoe Nicholson -   Green Deputy Leader of Lewes District Council

Ian Byrne -   MP for Liverpool West Derby 

Doctors in Unite    

Unite the Union's Public Health specialist Committee    

Graham Henson -   Leader of the Council, London Borough of Harrow

Philip Glanville - Mayor of Hackney

Councillor Susan Brown  -  Leader of Oxford City Council

Julian Bell  -  Labour Leader of Ealing Council

John Biggs -   Mayor of Tower Hamlets

Matthew Brown  -  Leader of Preston City Council

Louise Gittins -   Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council

Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe  -   National officer for the Health Sector, Unite

Bing Jones  -   on behalf of Sheffield Community Contact Tracers

Jenny Shepherd  -  on behalf of Upper Calder Valley Contact Tracing and Support.

Paul Neale  -  Norwich City Councillor

Susanna Pressel   -  City and County Councillor for Jericho and Osney

Rosalind Jackson  -  Councillor, East Lindsey District Council. Trinity ward

Joanne Harding  -  Executive Member Adult Social Care for Manchester City Council, Labour & Cooperative Party Councillor –Urmston Ward

Dave Rawson  -  Chorlton Park Councillor, Manchester City Council

Nannette Yousseff  -  Norwich City Councillor

Rosi Sexton -   Solihull Councillor, Chair of Association of Green Councillors

Andy Fewings  -  Green group leader, Burnley Councillor

Sarah Hall -   Burnley City Councillor

Peter Garbutt  -  Sheffield City Councillor

Jamie Osborn  -  Norwich City Councllor, Vice Chair of Association of Green Councillors

Mary T Monaghan  - Councillor for Northenden, Manchester

Matthew Strong -   Chorlton Councillor, Manchester City Council

John Hacking  -  Councillor, Chorlton Ward, Manchester City Council

John Leech  -  Leader of the Opposition and Councillor, Manchester City Council

Tom Druitt -  Green Councillor, Brighton and Hove City Council

Steph Powell  -  Green Councillor, Brighton and Hove City Council

Pete West  -  Green Councillor, Brighton and Hove City Council

Leo Littman  -  Green Councillor, Brighton and Hove City Council

Martin Osborne  -  Green Councillor, Brighton and Hove City Council

Hannah Clare  -  Green Councillor, Brighton and Hove City Council

Marianna Ebel  -  Green Councillor, Brighton and Hove City Council

Lizzie Deane  -  Green Councillor, Brighton and Hove City Council

Elaine Hills -   Green Councillor, Brighton and Hove City Council

David Gibson  -  Green Councillor, Brighton and Hove City Council

Sarah Nield  -  Green Councillor, Brighton and Hove City Council

Steve Davis  -  Green Councillor, Brighton and Hove City Council

Siriol Hugh-Jones    Green Councillor, Brighton and Hove City Council

Sue Shanks  -  Green Councillor, Brighton and Hove City Council

Clare Rainey  -  Green Councillor, Brighton and Hove City Council

Amy Heley -   Green Councillor, Brighton and Hove City Council

Jamie Lloyd  -  Green Councillor, Brighton and Hove City Council

Alex Phillips  -  Green Councillor, Brighton and Hove City Council

Rachel Blake  -  Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing, and Councillor for Bow East Ward, Tower Hamlets

Councillor Nancy Platts  -  Leader of the Opposition and East Brighton Councillor

Mark Lygo  -  Churchill Ward, Oxford City Council

John Tanner  -   Littlemore ward, Oxford City Council

Pat Kennedy -   Lye Valley ward, Oxford City Council,

Gillian​ Pardesi   - Councillor for Littleworth Ward, Stafford Borough Council

Ben Clay  -  Manchester City Council

Helen Dennis    Cabinet Member for Homelessness & Social Support, Southwark Council

George Wheeler  -  Plymouth City Councillor

Liz Dunn  -  Northumberland County Council

Rosa Bolger  -  West Oxfordshire District Council

Liz Clements -  Bournville and Cotteridge councillor, Birmingham City Council

Robert Frost  -  Councillor, Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council

Jim Beall  -  Deputy Leader, Cabinet Member for Health, Leisure & Culture,Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council 

Janice Long  -  Dudden Hill Ward, LB Brent

Carolyn Healy  -  Cabinet Member for Visitor Economy, Historic & Natural Environment and Climate Change, Telford & Wrekin Council

Lord Roger Liddle  -   Cumbria County Councillor

Councillor Alan Robins -  Brighton and Hove City Council

Councillor Amanda Evans  -  Brighton and Hove City Council

Councillor Amanda Grimshaw  -  Brighton and Hove City Council

Councillor Carmen Appich  -  Brighton and Hove City Council

Councillor Chris Henry  -  Brighton and Hove City Council

Councillor Clare Moonan  -  Brighton and Hove City Council

Councillor Dan Yates  -  Brighton and Hove City Council

Councillor Gary Wilkinson  -  Brighton and Hove City Council

Councillor Gill Williams  -  Brighton and Hove City Council

Councillor Jackie O’Quinn -   Brighton and Hove City Council

Councillor John Allcock  -  Brighton and Hove City Council

Councillor Les Hamilton  -  Brighton and Hove City Council

Councillor Nick Childs  -  Brighton and Hove City Council

Councillor Peter Atkinson  -  Brighton and Hove City Council

Councillor Theresa Fowler  -  Brighton and Hove City Council

Councillor Tracey Hill  - Brighton and Hove City Council

Councillor Samantha Charles  -  Labour Councillor - Malvern Hills District Council 

Jumbo Chan - Labour Councillor for Kensal Green Ward, Brent Council

Cllr Richard Kilpatrick  -  Didsbury West Ward, Liberal Democrat , Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Manchester City Council

Cllr Heather Keen  -  Thanet District Council

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Comments

Counillor Lorna... replied on

Local Authority Public Health Teams are the experts in managing outbreaks, its a national disgrace that they have not been leading on track and trace.

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