Coronavirus (COVID-19) - service updates

Fostering and Adoption recruitment events update:

In response to the Covid-19 situation, Cumbria County Council's Fostering and Adoption Service has reviewed our recruitment activity, in line with Government guidance, to make sure our staff and members of the public remain safe during this challenging time. 

We have suspended all face-to-face appointments, events and drop-ins, up to and including 30 April. However, we will be contacting all those who have booked onto one of our Eventbrite appointments to offer them the opportunity to have a detailed telephone consultation with one of our experienced, friendly team members instead.  

Despite the uncertainty we all face at this worrying time, our priority remains finding caring homes and families for vulnerable children in our communities, and we would love to help get you started on your fostering and adoption journeys.

If you're interested in fostering or adoption, we would encourage you to get in touch by:

Check if you are an essential worker.

Remember:

  1. If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
  2. Don't ask people who are in the strict social distancing category to care for your children. This includes people over 70 and those with underlying health conditions.
  3. Make sure your children are not mixing socially. Children should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.

As an essential worker you may require childcare for your children. For most parents their child's school or early years setting will have told them where childcare will be available from.

If you have not yet been informed and do require childcare, please complete the online form.

We will pass your details to a Childcare and Learning Hub who will contact you direct.

Full list of Childcare and Learning Hubs (PDF 293KB).

When accessing a Childcare and Learning Hub

  • Please do not to enter if you or family members living with you are displaying any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • Please do not form any gatherings within the grounds or at the gates
  • Please observe social distancing children arrive at the education or childcare setting and reduce any unnecessary travel on coaches, buses or public transport
  • Please use the hand sanitizer before entering or on exit
  • Please wash your child's clothing

Childminders

Some childminders are also working across the county, please contact childrens.information@cumbria.gov.uk who will be able to pass on your contact details.

Introduction of earlier travel times for concessionary passes in Cumbria

From Friday 27 March, older and disabled people can use concessionary passes before 9.30am on weekdays for free travel in Cumbria.

Cumbria County Council, which administers and funds the Concessionary Travel Scheme in the county, is changing the current rules on concessionary passes in the county to help avoid older and vulnerable people catching coronavirus. The change will initially apply until the end of July 2020.

The change will enable state age pensioners and disabled people to travel to shops that have introduced special, early opening times, reducing their risk of catching the virus from larger groups.

People travelling on public transport will be asked to follow Government guidance on social distancing to protect themselves from the coronavirus.

The current rules, which have been waived, prevent concessionary passes being used before 9.30am on week days, so that older people don't travel during the rush hour.


Cumbria Care is now closed to all visitors other than medical professionals in its 23 residential care homes in response to the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic. Visit yourcumbria.org for further information. 


In response to the latest government guidance on COVID-19, Cumbria County Council will with immediate affect temporarily close all its buildings to the public and will no longer provide non-essential 'face to face' services.

Alternative contact can be made on line, by phone, or by email. 

In an effort to continue to support residents in this unprecedented time, the Council can be contacted in the following ways:

Online - Go to the Cumbria.gov.uk for online services 

Email - You can find a dedicated email address on Cumbria.gov.uk to enable you to stay in direct contact with the Council and the service you need

By Phone - You can call the Council on its general number 01228 606060 


 Are not available for use by the general public  

Please be assured, that government changes do not affect the ability to respond to emergency 999 situations - for this it is absolutely business as usual. There have been some changes to their day to day activities and public access to community fire stations has been restricted.

During COVID 19 the council has continued to respond to essential highways issues. At the end of March a decision was made to temporarily suspend ongoing highways maintenance work/activity and to only deal with the emergency responses for emergencies, major safety defects, weather related issues and road traffic collisions. This was done to help maintain the stay at home message and social distancing requirement whilst keeping the roads safe. 

Following further Government advice received, we have been able to recommence our highways maintenance activity. This involves all aspects of essential highways maintenance from resurfacing schemes to permanent patch repairs.  The Highways service has introduced additional risk assessments and safe operating procedures for COVID 19 to ensure safe systems of work in relation to highways operations - these safe systems align with the latest guidance from Public Health England, and Industry Guidance. Our contractors have advised that they can operate safely on highways sites, complying with the appropriate guidance to achieve the social distancing measures.

COVID-19 information for users of public rights of way

You are reminded that people live and work in close proximity to many of our public rights of way and many landowners will be especially concerned and vulnerable at this difficult time. You are asked to:

  • be sensible, courteous and considerate when using public rights of way at this time
  • follow the government guidance on social distancing by keeping at least 2 metres apart. Natural England have asked users to, if possible, try to avoid using footpaths etc. that may take you through a farmstead or other rural business where social distancing may be difficult
  • follow the Countryside Code: leave gates as you find them and keep dogs under close control at all times - Defra advise that you should keep your dog on a lead near livestock and away from other people/dogs, Defra have posted a video containing advice for users
  • when using gates and stiles be mindful that other people pass through these and that landowners may need to use them multiple times a day. Wash your hands and or sanitise as soon as possible after touching shared surfaces
  • keep to the definitive line of the path or use an alternative route if provided by the landowner 

Public rights of way provide an opportunity for people to take exercise in their local area and get some fresh air in these difficult times. However, people are advised to stay local and not travel unnecessarily, and should not congregate on public rights of way. If there is a particular problem with large numbers of people congregating on a right of way then the Police should be informed who have powers to disperse such groups.

We manage the public rights of way network in line with national government legislation and guidance and at present there is no advice or requirement for the public rights of way network to be closed or restricted in any way. The Council will respond to any further actions necessary in the event of any changes to legislation or Government guidance but at this time there are no provisions to close public rights of way.

COVID-19 information for landowners and property owners

We manage the public rights of way network in line with national government legislation and guidance and at present there is no advice or requirement for the public rights of way network to be closed or restricted in any way. The government reports that the risk of the coronavirus being passed on to others from people using public rights of way and other paths and trails is considered to be very low as long as people follow the government's instructions to maintain social distancing.

People living and working in close proximity to public rights of way are reminded that the public have a legal right to use a public right of way, and that they should not block or obstruct paths. Where residents living near public rights of way have concerns then they should exercise suitable precautions to ensure social distancing from people on the path. They may want to regularly clean any gate latches or other surfaces on any paths across their property, or landowners may wish to consider tying gates open if it is safe to do so, so that users of the path do not need to touch the gate.

Landowners may, in very limited circumstances where large numbers of people are using routes, consider:

  • informing the public using the public right of way of their responsibilities, by displaying an appropriate notice. This should not discourage use but alert users to their proximity to homes and working environments and to use appropriate and reasonable caution in terms of social distancing and hygiene practices. Download a poster which can be displayed for public rights of way where there is no alternative route: PROW COVID-19 notice no alternative route (PDF, 165KB)
  • if suitable, installing a permissive path through which you can invite users to use an alternative route.  However, the definitive alignment of the public right of way must remain open and available at all times, and any permissive path is arranged under your own liabilities and insurance cover and must have agreement from all landowners. You would be advised to waymark any permissive path as such and the public rights of way team can provide further advice on this. Download a poster which can be displayed for public rights of way where there is a safe alternative route: PROW COVID-19 notice alternative route (PDF, 107KB)
  • temporarily displaying polite notices that encourage users to respect local residents and workers by considering using alternative routes that do not pass through gardens, farmyards or schools.

Public rights of way provide an opportunity for people to take exercise in their local area and get some fresh air in these difficult times. However, people are advised to stay local and not travel unnecessarily, and should not congregate on public rights of way. If there is a particular problem with large numbers of people congregating on a right of way then the Police should be informed who have powers to disperse such groups.

If meeting an Officer of the Council on site, landowners are reminded of the need to maintain social distancing at all times. Conversations will be held by phone and email as a preference. Any face to face discussions shall not contravene social distancing and an Officer may withdraw from a discussion if social distancing is not adhered to.

The Council will respond to any further actions necessary in the event of any changes to legislation or Government guidance but at this time there are no provisions to close public rights of way.

There are 14 household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) across the county where you can take your household waste.  

HWRCs have now been reopened with restrictions in place to protect the safety of our staff and residents. 

Find out more about site rules and opening times.

Face to face access to libraries and archives ceased to the public on Friday 20 March until further notice. 

Try our online offer

Thousands of our library members are making the most of our online services, including Borrow Box, and downloading top titles in ebooks, audio books, comics and magazines, straight to their devices for free. Try our online offer.

Not a member? Don't worry

Our buildings might be closed but Cumbria Libraries are still here for you online. If you're not already a member, don't worry. 

We can now provide a temporary membership which will allow you to access a wide range of fantastic online services for free, including ebooks, audiobooks, digital magazines, comics and newspapers.

Join and get started with a temporary membership.

In respect of parking services, the county council have restricted their on and off street parking enforcement. However, in accordance with government guidance, organised patrols and enforcement of particular areas may still take place as and when required if issues occur. As such, the council is reminding all drivers to ensure that their vehicle is parked safely and legally at all times.

The council has also suspended parking charges on their car parks, to reflect the Government guidance to enable key staff to park for free, also due to the significantly reduced numbers of users, and the lack of enforcement been carried out.

These decision have not been taken lightly given the importance of the services, however as this is an unprecedented situation and the health, safety and wellbeing of council staff, their families, customers, and local communities has to be the number one priority.

In the meantime, our parking enforcement team are assisting with the community hubs in transporting foods and equipment to vulnerable people in the community.

What the Government has told us 

Because of the coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic the Government has told Local Planning Authorities it is important they continue to provide the best service possible.  To prioritise decision making and to make sure the planning system continues to function, especially where this will support the local economy. 

In line with these Government expectations the Council will continue to progress decision making wherever possible, but in a way which protects its staff and the people they would normally interact with. 

Subject to ongoing review our teams will:

  • work from home wherever possible
  • continue to make decisions and recommendations delegated to Officers in line with our Constitution
  • continue to offer pre planning application advice and advice on the Historic Environment by telephone or by email
  • not be unable to meet customers at our frontline offices at County Hall, Kendal and Lady Giffords House, Carlisle, until further notice
  • only undertake site visits by exception
  • for all new planning applications and applications for Commons Registration and Town and Village Greens it will not be possible to publicise by site notices until further notice
  • be unable to provide copies of the commons register and searches of the rights section of the register, or process applications for the amendment of the commons register.

Current applications 

If you are sending comments, amended plans or other information in relation to an ongoing application, please forward those details to developmentcontrol@cumbria.gov.uk.

For all enquiries relating to commons and Town and Village Greens applications, please contact Commons.Registration@cumbria.gov.uk.

Birth 


Deaths


Citizenship Ceremonies 

  • At this time ceremonies are suspended until further notice
  • Customers would normally be expected to book their citizenship ceremony within 3 months of being sent an invitation from the Home Office. 
  • Due to the current pandemic circumstances UK Visas and Immigration have extended this period to 6 months and will keep this under constant review. 
  • Please be assured that no adverse decisions will be made on applications because of delays caused by Coronavirus


Marriage/Civil Partnerships

  • Marriage and Civil Partnership ceremonies should no longer be undertaken in line with the Prime Ministers announcement
  • Notices of Marriage and Civil Partnership should be deferred until we are through the current pandemic period
  • Applications to reduce the waiting period for marriages or civil partnerships on urgent grounds, will no longer be processed
  • Approved Premise licences cannot be suspended during this period. However, we will consider extensions to existing licences where appropriate.


Applications for copy certificates