Kingston’s new LibDem Council leader oversees disastrous Covid-19 response

New report reveals Kingston Council Covid-19 failings: Only 11% of volunteers given anything to do, vulnerable left uncontacted and £millions unaccounted for.

A new report has revealed that the Covid-19 volunteer service managed by LibDem-controlled Kingston Council has failed many local volunteers and residents in need. Of the 1,200 Kingston residents who volunteered, only 136 were successfully offered a role. The disastrously run volunteer scheme has meant that in many instances, much-needed community support simply did not happen. 

Despite the council receiving over 2,000 requests for help from vulnerable people, only 321 received help with medical deliveries, 140 with other help and 43 were referred to health and social care services. Many highly vulnerable residents on the “shielded” list have still not yet been contacted.

The Conservative Government has so far given Kingston LibDems £8.5million to respond to the crisis, yet it has emerged that less than £50,000 was spent supporting volunteers. Over £40,000 of that money was spent on existing council staff building a digital platform.

When pressed at a recent council meeting the newly installed Council Leader said she “could not think of anything that had gone wrong during the crisis”, yet the figures on volunteering speak for themselves. The newly installed LibDem Council Leader seized control of Kingston Council at the start of the Covid-19 outbreak, ousting the more experienced Leader in a secret LibDem political meeting.

Cllr Kevin Davis, Leader of the Conservative Group, said: “LibDem-run Kingston Council has probably the worst record in London for engaging volunteers and supporting the vulnerable during the crisis. It has emerged that the Council only arranged a volunteering role for 136 of the 1,200 generous residents who offered their services. Thank goodness that many of Kingston’s residents took volunteering into their own hands.

“We have been calling for an urgent review of their response to Covid-19 chaired by an independent person. The Council has refused this and now we seem to know why – their record is catastrophic. In Kingston we have been lucky not to suffer the same level of the outbreak as other parts of London. However, I fear for a return of the disease later in the year, and as things stand the Council will have learnt nothing.”

Cllr Rowena Bass, Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group, said: “It is becoming clear why the new LibDem Council Leader doesn’t want an investigation into their handling of the Covid-19 crisis. Residents haven’t been effectively engaged with, and many of those most at need have been left wanting as a result. There has been too much emphasis on secrecy and PR spin from this LibDem Council, rather than delivering a good service for local residents.”

Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash