The Leader of the Council has praised staff for their ‘remarkable performance’ over the past year, adapting swiftly to the many challenges posed by Covid-19 and making sure that meeting residents’ needs have remained a priority. 

Councillor David Tutt made the comments after a report to Cabinet last night (July 14) that showed significant progress was made in 2020/21 towards achieving the council’s goals set out in its four-year Corporate Plan, despite the town being in lockdown for much of this period. 

Key achievements were delivery of £39.2m in grants to support Eastbourne businesses through the pandemic using a dedicated online portal; full refuse, street cleaning and recycling waste services continuing despite Covid-19; accommodating 148 rough sleepers in 2020; auditing ten public buildings and amenities for disability access resulting in improvements being made to promote inclusion of disabled people; publishing a strategy and plan of action to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2030; opening a new visitor centre at the Welcome Building. 

Councillor Tutt said: “It is no small feat to have achieved all this and more, at a time when Covid had turned the world upside down – but nevertheless we continued delivering our usual services plus extra efforts to care for the most vulnerable in Eastbourne. 

“This was a remarkable performance from council staff who responded brilliantly to changes needed in their way of working and I thank them for their diligence and flexibility.” 

Cabinet councillors last night also welcomed a number of performance achievements during 2020/21 including the best annual performance for several years in processing new claims for housing and council tax benefit. 

Elsewhere, 89.1% of calls from customers were answered within 60 seconds, well above the 80% target, and processing times for all types of planning applications far exceeded targets. 

In addition, 2,771 residents began following the council’s social media channels over the year as a way of engaging with the council. 

Councillor Colin Swansborough, Cabinet member for Place Services and Special Projects, said: “These are an impressive set of results which have taken hard work to achieve and show we really are continuing to provide a great service for residents while being as efficient as we can, despite problems caused by Covid-19.”