Agenda and minutes

Surrey Local Outbreak Engagement Board - Thursday, 16 July 2020 3.30 pm


Contact: Amelia Christopher  Email:

Note: Please use this link to watch the live webcast: 

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    To receive any apologies for absence.


    Apologies were received from Annie Righton, David Munro, Dr Pramit Patel, Cllr Stuart Selleck and Gavin Stephens - Dave Mason as substitute.





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    To note the minutes of the previous informal meeting and the Board’s final Terms of Reference.

    Additional documents:


    The minutes of the previous informal meeting and the Board’s final Terms of Reference were noted - the Board was formally constituted by County Council on 7 July 2020 as a sub-committee of the Health and Wellbeing Board.


    The Chairman noted that Dr Alison Barnett was to attend in a supporting capacity going forward and not as a Board member as detailed in the terms of reference.


    The Board agreed that Louise Punter - Chief Executive of Surrey Chambers of Commerce, be added as a member representing business in the county.


    Cllr Mark Brunt was nominated as the Board’s Vice-Chairman.


    The Chairman commented that in response to the national launch of Test and Trace on 28 May, each upper tier local authority was required to establish a Local Outbreak Engagement Board. The Board provides political ownership, public-facing engagement, national and local updates on Covid-19, ensures effective communications regarding outbreak responses, has oversight over the Local Outbreak Control Plan and reinforces the Government’s preventative messages of hand washing, wearing face coverings and social distancing in order to keep Surrey safe and open.




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    All Members present are required to declare, at this point in the meeting or as soon as possible thereafter


    (i)            Any disclosable pecuniary interests and / or

    (ii)           Other interests arising under the Code of Conduct in respect of any item(s) of business being considered at this meeting



    ·         Members are reminded that they must not participate in any item where they have a disclosable pecuniary interest

    ·         As well as an interest of the Member, this includes any interest, of which the Member is aware, that relates to the Member’s spouse or civil partner (or any person with whom the Member is living as a spouse or civil partner)

    ·         Members with a significant personal interest may participate in the discussion and vote on that matter unless that interest could be reasonably regarded as prejudicial.


    There were none.



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    a  Members' Questions


    The deadline for Member’s questions is 12pm four working days before the meeting (10 July 2020).


    b  Public Questions


    The deadline for public questions is seven days before the meeting (9 July 2020).


    c  Petitions


    The deadline for petitions was 14 days before the meeting. No petitions have been received.


    None received.



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    The Board will receive a verbal update on the national context regarding COVID-19 Local Outbreak Control Plans.






    Joanna Killian - Chief Executive of Surrey County Council (SCC)

    Tim Oliver - Leader of the Council and LOEB Chairman (SCC)


    Key points raised in the discussion:

    1.    The Chief Executive noted the significant progress made in accessing local data as from 5pm today Surrey could access data from the Middle Layer Super Output Area (MSOA), enabling the collection of data down to the postcode level.

    2.    She commented that Public Health England (PHE) were keen to deliver an assurance survey on the published Local Outbreak Control Plans (LOCPs) across the country by the end of July to ensure that all the components and plans were in place regarding outbreak responses.

    3.    She added that PHE had asked all directors of public health to look at future capacity planning regarding the winter flu season, a potential second Covid-19 wave and managing the final part of Brexit.

    4.    She highlighted that the role of the Board would be to have regard to the learning processes and actions put in place in relation to localised outbreaks in Leicester and Blackburn with Darwen.

    5.    The Chairman noted that local government was imminently awaiting local powers to enable localised lockdowns above those set out in existing environmental and public health regulations which were reliant on applications to magistrates’ courts to close specific premises.

    6.    He commented that on the call that morning the Chief Executive of Leeds City Council who was leading on the Test and Trace programme across local government, noted that the numbers of Covid-19 cases overall in the country were declining but the easing of lockdown would pose future risks.



    The Board noted the verbal update.


    Actions/further information to be provided:





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    The report provides an update on Surrey’s Local Outbreak Control (LOC) Plan which was published on 30June 2020 on the council’s website.


    Additional documents:


    The PowerPoint slides used are included as Annex 1


    Ruth Hutchinson - Interim Director of Public Health (SCC)



    Paul Evans - Director of Law and Governance (SCC)


    Key points raised in the discussion:

    1.    The Interim Director of Public Health provided a summary of the epidemiology, highlighting that Surrey had 3.1 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 population compared to 116 cases per 100,000 population in Leicester. The most recent R value in the South East was 0.92 and the Public Health team received a weekly report on that value.

    2.    She noted that soon after the publication of Surrey’s Local Outbreak Control Plan (LOCP), there were national developments such as Leicester’s outbreak. The Plan was therefore iterative in relation to the lessons learnt, legal changes, surveillance, the availability of data at a granular level and it was being constantly tested. The Plan was updated fortnightly and signed-off by the Health Protection Operational Group (HPOG), the most up-to-date version was accessible from the link on the Council’s website. Best practice was also provided from the Good Practice Network.

    3.    The Vice-Chairman queried whether there was any information on major disparities on the R value across the county as some local media reports have used that data for sensationalist headlines creating anxiety for residents. In response, the Interim Director of Public Health explained that the R value was published at a regional level as that level of population was needed to be meaningful. Different indicators were used at a more local and granular level based on infection rates and the number of positive tests, which were publicly available on the website.

    4.    Although a lot of data regarding Covid-19 was available publicly, the Interim Director of Public Health noted that they were awaiting guidance to share greater data - recognising the current data protection agreements.

    5.    She highlighted the work of the fourteen Task and Finish (T&F) groups one for each key community and setting focusing on prevention and the actions to take if there was an outbreak. Each T&F group had robust plans in place, recognising the diverse nature of the county and the need for bespoke requirements. National best practice was being woven in as well as the information included in the awaited action cards from PHE.

    6.    The Interim Director of Public Health commented that it was key that each of the T&F groups knew their roles and responsibilities, the existing joint local protocols were being tested and the Communications Plan was woven into their work; enabling the identification of any gaps in capacity.

    7.    She noted that the work of the T&F groups was moving rapidly, aiming to be completed by the end of July and was overseen by the HPOG. The HPOG also managed the full Covid-19 risk register, as well as the Test and Trace Programme Weekly Delivery Report summarising the key high-level risks and programme delivery status circulated to the Board weekly.

    8.    She noted that it was important  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6/20



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    A communications and engagement strategy has been developed to support the Local Outbreak Control Plan?from?the 1 July. The primary objective of the plan is to communicate Test and Trace advice and guidance to maximise awareness and compliance and so help contain and reduce the spread of COVID-19.  


    Additional documents:


    The PowerPoint slides used are included as Annex 1



    Ruth Hutchinson - Interim Director of Public Health (SCC)

    Tim Oliver - Leader of the Council and LOEB Chairman (SCC)



    Andrea Newman - Director of Communications & Engagement (SCC)

    Key points raised in the discussion:

    1.    The Director of Communications & Engagement introduced the report and noted that it was aligned with the LOCP, the Communications Plan was constantly being updated adopting best practice and learning experiences from others such as Leicester; and could be adapted to local needs.

    2.    She explained that the main objective of the Plan was to raise awareness and increase compliance around the Test and Trace campaign, particularly around how people could be tested and reminding people of the main symptoms. It was key to motivate whilst reassuring residents, alerting them to messages regarding Test and Trace.

    3.    She noted that the Multi-Agency Information Group (MIG) continued to meet as it was key to share information across the county with stakeholders and partners to ensure consistent messaging to residents.

    4.    She explained that Phase 1 of the Plan was based on raising awareness with residents as behavioural insights feedback from the Good Practice Network (GPN) and briefings from the Cabinet Office indicated the low awareness of testing, - 42% of the UK’s population believed that testing was only for keyworkers - symptom knowledge and when to self-isolate. Some groups such as the 35-50 male age group were supposedly less compliant, so getting messages out to many such as to friends and family connections was key. The Communications team were working on infographics with key words such as ‘keep surrey safe’ and ‘play your part’.

    5.    She discussed the activity undertaken up until 8 July, noting:

    ·         The launch of the Communications Plan and extensive media release and social media campaign on 1 July, there had been a huge uptake in impressions regarding the Plan - 154,000 in less than one day. She planned to report back on the analytics and reach of the Plan and media campaign.

    ·         A technical briefing session led by the Interim Director of Public Health had been held with Surrey media editors outlining the messaging process in the event of a local lockdown, explaining what the changes in data on positive cases for example meant. The Chairman of the Board had held interviews on BBC Radio, Eagle Radio and briefings on Surrey Live, and the Communications team would continue to keep the media updated.

    ·         That extensive advertising and publicity was being done to complement the work that borough and district councils, and partners have done. As public buildings reopen, there would be visuals such as posters in libraries for example, signposting residents to public health information.

    ·         The community messaging service Nextdoor was also useful and focused messaging to businesses was being done via LinkedIn. Links to businesses was a weakness so she welcomed the addition of the Chief Executive of Surrey Chambers of Commerce to the Board.

    6.      In event of a local  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7/20



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    A key element of successful outbreak management is access to timely and accurate intelligence to inform health protection action. Section 8 (Data Integration) of the Surrey Local Outbreak Control Plan describes existing intelligence resources and plans to develop further resources to support other elements of the plan.



    The PowerPoint slides used are included as Annex 1



    Tim Oliver - Leader of the Council and LOEB Chairman (SCC)

    Ruth Hutchinson - Interim Director of Public Health (SCC)



    Julie George - Public Health Consultant (SCC)

    Key points raised in the discussion:

    1.    The Public Health Consultant introduced the report noting that since the beginning of the outbreak, the team was developing the existing surveillance system and major incident processes to understand what was happening.

    2.    She noted that on a daily basis a summary was provided to the SCG about outbreaks in specific settings. There was also a daily summary on the Tactical Dashboard of a variety of indicators such as Covid-19 cases, deaths and shielded persons. Twice weekly, the summary of deaths from the local registry data was circulated to the Adults Social Care, Care Settings and Death Management Cells.

    3.    She noted that they were receiving a mass of complex data, such as:

    ·         Daily information from the Public Health England National team which was fed into Surrey’s local dashboard and included the number of cases and their contacts, exceedance reports - unusually higher than expected activity. 

    ·         Weekly postcode level testing data which it was hoped would be more regular, as well as weekly contact tracing data. 

    ·         Weekly update from PHE South East on the situation in children’s settings and a daily report on institutional outbreaks.

    ·         The PHE national dashboard which provided information on tests rather than cases, which was an issue due to repeat testing in care homes.

    ·         Local information from the public, businesses and partners including the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

    4.    The Public Health Consultant noted that as a result of the collated information, a daily call was stood up to review the data in the local and national dashboards and other surveillance tools and what action to take initially at district and borough level and then postcode level data.

    The four main actions were:

    ·         No further action needed;

    ·         Watchful on-going review of the local situation;

    ·         Further intelligence required;

    ·         Take health protection action, including preventative measures like increased communications and deploying the mobile testing units.

    The Test and Trace surveillance review was a continually updated process undertaken in collaboration with colleagues that share the same regional PHE Health Protection team - East Sussex, West Sussex and Brighton and Hove.

    5.    She explained that the next steps up to August were to develop local surveillance tools and intelligence such as identifying the locations of businesses and diverse communities, to develop the common approach across Surrey and Sussex, to complete the necessary Information Governance (IG) documentation in order to share more information ensuring routine reports to partners such as the Board.

    6.    She highlighted the specific lessons learnt from Leicester:

    ·         The importance of paying attention to border areas. In Surrey’s case it receives information from PHE South East and so it was important to also review data from London through the PHE national dashboard.

    ·         It had a different trend to other places so the challenge  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8/20



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    The next meeting of the Local Outbreak Engagement Board will take place in September 2020.


    The next meeting of the Local Outbreak Engagement Board will take place in September 2020.