Updates on council services

Please see below for all current updates on council services. You can also read more about how we are supporting vulnerable people.

Schools, learning and employment support  

Last updated: 03 April 2020

Schools

Schools and colleges closed at the end of Friday 20 March 2020 to all except the most vulnerable children and children of key workers who would otherwise need to stay at home. See more information and who the key workers are.

  • Parents and carers who qualify as key workers should contact their child’s school or college directly.
  • There is NO requirement for parents and carers to send their children to school if they do not wish or need to do so.
  • If you qualify and wish to send your child or children to school, please let your school know as soon as possible so they can plan staffing.
  • If you do not wish to send your child to school, please be aware that schools may not be able to help should you subsequently decide to do so.

Schools, early years settings and colleges will make every effort to remain open for as many vulnerable children as possible, and will be contacting parents and carers of eligible children directly regarding their eligibility. Due to staffing ratios, special schools in Southampton are only able to offer support for the children of key workers and those most vulnerable at this time.

School crossing patrols have stopped due to limited numbers of children attending schools.

Free school meals

Children who are eligible for free school meals will continue to be able to be provided with food during the current period of school closures. Schools are contacting eligible parents and carers directly to inform them of the arrangements.

In most cases, schools will continue to prepare meals or food parcels that can be delivered to, or collected by, families.

Education resources

Many children are currently at home as a result of school closures due to the Coronavirus, or due to self-isolating. If you need some inspiration about what online resources are available, the Education Otherwise website lists a wide range of resources that have been recommended by families who have chosen to electively home educate their children.

In response to a significant number of requests for advice, Education Otherwise have produced a guidance document for families currently endeavouring to home educate their children.

Summer exams and grades

The government has announced that this summer’s exam series, including A Levels, GCSEs and other qualifications, have been cancelled. The government has set out its approach to ensuring that affected students can move on to the next stage of their lives, which will include awarding grades based on work already completed and providing an option for students to sit exams early in the academic year should they wish to do so.

Home educated students

Ofqual have today issued guidance relating to Summer 2020 grades for GCSE, AS and A level, Extended Project Qualification and Advanced Extension Award in maths.

How will this affect private candidates and home educated students?

We know that private candidates are anxious to know how these arrangements apply to them. Where centres have accepted entries from private candidates (students who they have not taught themselves, because they have been home-schooled, following distance-learning programmes or studying independently) those students should be included where the Head of Centre is confident that they and their staff have seen sufficient evidence of the student’s achievement to make an objective judgement. We are urgently exploring whether there are alternative options for those students who do not have an existing relationship with a centre and who need results this summer for progression purposes but unfortunately this is unlikely to be possible for all external candidates, some of whom may instead need to take exams in the autumn to get their grades.

We appreciate that this is a matter of real concern to private candidates and will provide an update as soon as possible. We have asked organisations that represent higher and further education providers to consider the steps that providers could take when making admissions decisions this summer for any private candidates who do not receive a grade. They have told us that they believe that institutions will consider a range of other evidence and information for these students to allow them to progress wherever possible.

Employment support

We have stopped all face to face meetings and work clubs, and postponed events and Employability Courses. We are still conducting virtual meetings with clients by phone, email and video messaging. Please contact your Employment Officer for advice. We are still accepting referrals for our projects and new clients will be contacted as soon as possible. You can find advice and guidance online. Follow us on Twitter @sotoncareers for updates.


Bins, waste and recycling  

Last updated 1 April 2020

We announced on 30 March that we would be stopping:

  • Kerbside glass collections
  • Kerbside garden waste collections
  • Chargeable bulky waste collections

General waste and recycling collections for all households and flats will continue to run as normal.

Other services that currently remain unaffected include the Clinical Waste collection service and commercial waste and recycling collections.

The Household Waste and Recycling Centre at City Depot, Millbrook is closed until further notice. Other centres in Hampshire are also closed.

Please refer to the Government advice about cleaning and disposal of waste.

Please note: Extra capacity requests for bins cannot be accepted at the moment. Please continue to use your bins responsibly, ensuring any personal waste is double bagged and placed within your bin.

Glass recycling

With the city’s glass collection service currently suspended, mixed glass bottles and jars should be stored safely at your home until the service is reinstated. Do not put glass in your general waste bin. If absolutely necessary it is possible to deposit glass at one of the many glass bottle recycling banks in Southampton, however this should only be done as part of an essential journey, such as visiting a supermarket or convenience store to purchase necessities. Where possible, please select goods and groceries that have recyclable packaging, such as canned goods or cartons, rather than glass.

Garden waste

Residents who are subscribed to the 2020-21 Garden Waste collection service will receive a renewal discount for the 2021-22 service that will reflect the duration of disruption to this years' service. In the meantime, please consider home composting as much of your garden waste as possible.

Textiles recycling

It is not currently possible to recycle unwanted clothes, shoes and household textiles at textile recycling banks across the city, or by taking them to a local charity shop. Please store these items in your home, ready to be recycled or re-used when recycling banks and charity shops re-open.


Council venues, places and events 

Last updated: 24 March 2020

The following venues and places are now closed:

Further libraries information

Events

Public events: For the most up-to-date information about each of Southampton’s public events please visit the event organiser’s website.

Mayflower 400 events: You can find updated information on Visit Southampton.


Parks and green spaces 

Last updated: 30 March 2020

Our parks remain open for you to enjoy a safe daily walk or run to get essential exercise - but please keep at least two metres apart from others.

Some areas and facilities within our parks have been closed or restricted:

  • Play areas - all SCC owned play areas have been physically closed
  • Multi-use games areas, tennis courts and other fenced hard surfaced courts - all SCC owned courts have been physically closed
  • Outdoor gyms and Trim Trails - all SCC owned outdoor gyms and trim trails have been disabled and are not for use during the current lockdown
  • Benches - unable to close, public to keep at least two metres apart from others
  • Skateparks - unable to close, public to keep at least two metres apart and follow government guidance with regards to group dispersal by the police
  • Weston Shore - At the request of Hampshire Police we have closed all car parks at Weston Shore. This is in order to follow the Government’s advice that there should not be gatherings of more than two people in public. We will continue to work with the police to ensure people are complying with these new measures. The decision will be regularly reviewed

Read the latest national guidance on using green spaces.


Travel, public transport and parking  

Last updated: 30 March 2020

Itchen Bridge

The Itchen Bridge will be free to everyone from 7pm on 24 March 2020. The situation will be reviewed in three weeks’ time.

Parking

Southampton City Council has suspended all enforcement of on-street and off street Pay and Display restrictions for all essential travel. The measure is primarily designed to support NHS and Social Care workers in our city working so hard in the response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis. It is also to ensure people carrying out the vital work of supporting vulnerable members of the community, as key workers in other areas or as volunteers. Please note that disabled bays and electric vehicle charging bays will be enforced as normal. We will review this decision in three weeks’ time.

The Council is currently prioritising the enforcement of yellow lines, zig zags, bus stops, taxi ranks, loading bays and disabled bays. We would advise all drivers to give particular attention to these restrictions as they are important for keeping the highway clear for emergency services, supply chain deliveries, public transport and other vital users, as well as maintaining road safety. We hope the public understand why this is important and ask that the Civil Enforcement Officers are respected while carrying out these essential duties.

The City Council recognises that many residents are now staying at home to look after children, self-isolate and observe the government's instruction to work from home where they can. Therefore permit parking restrictions will not be enforced in Resident Parking Zones 1 – 18, 20, 22 & 23 (the other zones are non-residential). The decision to suspend enforcement of permit parking restrictions will allow residents to park without receiving a Penalty Charge Notice and assist in ensuring government advice is followed. This will be reviewed on the 30th April 2020.

The Council will be temporarily lifting the permit parking restrictions in Holly brook Cemetery to facilitate parking for the additional NHS resources required to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak. This only applies to the marked bays within the cemetery. Vehicles should not be left on the “No Waiting” restrictions within the cemetery as this space will be required for cemetery operations such as funerals. The Council recognises this will create a visual impact within the cemetery, but feels that this is outweighed by the need to assist NHS employees during a time where the City faces an unusual and challenging set of circumstances. This will be reviewed on the 30th April 2020.

Concessionary travel

From Monday 23 March 2020, we will be allowing concessionary travel every day without time restrictions. This is for all eligible pass holders on all bus services across the city. This is to support concessionary pass holders during the coronavirus outbreak and will continue until further notice.

Bus pass applications, replacement and renewals

The Gateway building is now closed until further notice. You can see all our guidance on bus pass applications, replacement and renewals on our SmartCities pages. If you can't apply online, please download and complete the PDF form from those pages and email to the SmartCities team.

Public transport

Please view the websites of individual operators to view the latest updates on their services.

Bus companies operating in Southampton

Train companies operating from Southampton

Coach operators from Southampton

Ferry operators from Southampton


Local health services 

Last updated: 30 March 2020

GP practices

The Southampton City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has updated its Primary Care referral system to protect patients and staff. This will change the process of getting a GP appointment.

Drug and alcohol support

Our drug and alcohol support services are still available.

Help to stop smoking

Face-to-face stop smoking consultations are now on hold. Your community pharmacies will stay open as much as possible, but they might change how they offer support, for example via telephone or an online call.

Stopping smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health, now even more than ever. See more information about stopping smoking.


Council homes and communities 

Last updated: 3 April 2020

Suspension of housing possessions action

The Coronavirus Act 2020 has set a minimum three month notice period for eviction for statutory tenants in the private and social rented sectors. The court service will suspend all ongoing housing possession action – this means that neither cases currently in the or any about to go in the system can progress to the stage where someone could be evicted. This suspension of housing possessions action will initially last for 90 days.

Local Housing Offices and Neighbourhood Wardens

With isolation measures affecting staffing levels, there’s likely to be fewer members of the team out and about on estates. As we prioritise emergencies and offer support to those who need it most, this will inevitably cause delays in dealing with more routine enquires.

Please only contact your Local Housing Office if you have an urgent issue. If you do need to get in touch, please send us an email and a member of the team will come back to you as soon as they can

Repairs

We are now only able to provide essential services, which means we will only attend to critical health and safety housing repairs until further notice.

This means that while our Customer Contact Centre remains open, we ask that you only contact us in the event of an emergency repair – i.e. one that compromises the safety, security or structure of your home, or anything that affects the supply of essential facilities (water, lighting or heating).

Please report your request using our online tool, or call 023 8083 3006.

If we need to carry out emergency work, our staff will complete a doorstep risk assessment before entering your home and, if appropriate, wear personal protective equipment. For our safety and yours, we will be following social distancing guidelines, which we kindly ask you to respect when we are in your home or communal areas.

Property maintenance and improvements

We are channelling all our resources into emergency works to ensure our tenants have safe homes to live in. We have therefore taken the difficult decision to suspend all non-critical works. Unless you are contacted by a council employee telling you otherwise, please assume no 'business as usual’ planned works or non-emergency repairs are being or will be carried out at your property at this time.

As the restrictions are lifted, we will update this information and tenants with works due will be contacted.

Fire safety improvement works

A range of fire safety improvements, including fitting sprinkler systems and installing new fire doors, have been completed in the majority of our high-rise residential blocks. Whilst there is still further works to be completed, the council’s contractor has decided to pause works for a period following the government’s recent guidance on social distancing.

Tenant safety remains our priority, so we’ve instructed the contractors to leave all the areas that they have been working in safe. We will also be working with our contractors over the coming weeks to regularly inspect the blocks and reassure tenants.

Please email us if you have any immediate concerns or would like more information.

Townhill Park

We have decided to temporarily suspend the decommission process at Townhill Park.

We feel this is the best solution, until we have more certainty about the resources available to support tenants’ moves. All affected tenants will be contacted directly, via letter, in the coming days, with more information and where to go for support.

Potters Court and Oaklands developments

Building work on these sites has been suspended.

Our contractor, Drew Smith Group, has taken this decision in accordance with the government’s advice on safe distancing, and to protect the health, safety and welfare of its customers, employees and supply chain.

Some personnel will remain on site in the short term, while the sites are made safe and secure.

Drew Smith’s customer service teams remain available to help with normal service issues, but they will be handling emergency issues only. If you need to raise an urgent issue, please call 01489 861 400.

Homebid

Our choice-based lettings service, Homebid, has temporarily been taken offline.

This has been done to minimise unnecessary movement at this time, and to ensure other critical services can be prioritised, such as emergency repairs for tenanted properties.

A limited number of council home vacancies will still be let in emergency situations, where appropriate. We will also continue to honour any offer already made, but please be aware there could be delays in progressing these applications.

Any queries should be directed via email to the Allocations team

Support for vulnerable tenants

We are staying in close contact with tenants across the city who have an identified support need.

As the government advice for over 70s and people with an underlying health condition is to self-isolate, we will be carrying out this support by phone wherever possible.

If you do require a home visit, don’t worry, we will be in touch with details as soon as possible. Please offer to help any elderly or vulnerable neighbour you are concerned about – either by picking up some shopping or just checking they are okay. And, as per the government guidelines, remember to keep a distance of two metres from other people at all times.

If you're a telecare user, the service will continue as normal and you should press/pull your alarm for advice and assistance in an emergency. Please only use this facility if you are unable to receive help from other sources, such as family members.

Junior Neighbourhood Wardens

Regrettably, all upcoming activities have been cancelled.

Junior Neighbourhood Wardens and their families will be contacted directly with details of future arrangements.


Weddings, ceremonies and registrations  

Last updated: 3 April 2020

All ceremonies are currently under review following government guidance of 23 March 2020. Please do not contact us in relation to your forthcoming ceremony unless it was meant to take place within the next three weeks and your query is not answered below. As the situation evolves we will be contacting all customers affected.

Please follow these guidelines for all appointments and ceremonies:

  • Follow the NHS advice on staying at home and do not come to the Register Office if you should stay at home
  • Payment will only be accepted by card instead of cash. Certificates will be limited to four per registration.

Registrations

Registering a birth

In line with The General Register Office directive, unfortunately all birth registrations are suspended until further notice. See information on claiming Child Benefit. It is not possible to obtain a birth certificate (normally needed to claim Child Benefit) until the Register Office has re-opened. However, Child Benefit claimants can still complete a CH2 claim form and send it to the Child Benefit Office to begin the claims process, with a note that the birth certificate will follow later. Due to the coronavirus situation, the government are currently being flexible with when the birth certificate needs to be supplied.

Registering a death

All face to face appointments to register a death have now ceased during the current pandemic situation. Currently all registrations will be completed via a telephone conversation between a registrar and qualified informant. To arrange a telephone appointment please complete this form and email to registrars@southampton.gov.uk. Please remember to ensure the hospital or GP surgery has electronically sent us the medical certificate or the Coroner has confirmed they have sent us the documentation. Please ensure that a valid contact number is included. A registrar will call you and complete the registration.

Notice of marriage / civil partnership appointments

Following government COVID-19 guidance of 23 March 2020 all appointments to give notice of marriage or civil partnership have been cancelled until further notice.

Certificates

Our usual certificate ordering service is currently suspended until further notice. If you have registered a death with Southampton Register Office from 6 April 2020 and have been advised by the registrar to do so, please request a death certificate online. However certificates are limited to four per registration during this current situation and applications for any other purpose will not be processed. Please note that only the £11 service is available.

We will fulfil orders from customers who have already placed their orders with us by 30 March 2020 as soon as possible but are unable to guarantee a delivery date. If you have an urgent requirement for other certificates, please contact the General Register Office (GRO) who should be able to supply most certificates for you.

Citizenship ceremonies

All citizenship ceremonies are suspended until further notice. We will contact customers affected in due course.

European Settlement verification and scanning service

This service is temporarily suspended. Please see full guidance on how to scan your documents from home using your own device.

Contacting us

If you have any queries please email registrars@southampton.gov.uk. Please do not telephone the office as we need to keep the telephone lines clear for death registrations enquiries.


Crematorium and cemeteries  

Last updated: 26 March 2020

Following government guidance, the number of mourners is now restricted to 10 only for cremation and burials. We ask that no more than 10 people attend, including your chosen minister/clergy/celebrant. At the crematorium any other attendees will be asked to stay outside with at least a two-metre space between them.

In line with Government advice on staying at home it is crucial that you stay at home if you or members of your household are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Staying at home will help control the spread of the virus to family, friends, the wider community and the most vulnerable. If someone you live with has experienced the symptoms of COVID-19 (including the deceased) you must follow guidance to self-isolate for 14 days from the first day they become ill.

Those defined as ‘extremely vulnerable’ are also advised not to attend.

Our rest-room facilities will no longer be available for use. Please ask mourners to wash their hands with soap and water before leaving for the crematorium and on returning home after the funeral. Mourners are encouraged to use tissues to avoid touching their face with their hands, and to bin these after use.

The Book of Remembrance will no longer be available to view at Southampton Crematorium or South Stoneham Cemetery, but can be viewed online.

We may need to reduce numbers further, we will keep you informed.


Allotments  

Last updated: 26 March 2020

Visiting your allotment is currently still permitted.

Plot-holders who are self-isolating must not leave the house to visit their allotment. If you are vulnerable, due to underlying health conditions, and 'shielding' yourself you should not be visiting your allotment.

It is essential you follow social distancing and hygiene advice when at your allotment

  • Attend your allotment on your own, or with members of your own household
  • Keep a hand sanitiser with you and use before opening and closing gates and locks
  • Do not share seeds and tools
  • Remain on your plot and stay the appropriate distance from other plot-holders
  • No unauthorised people allowed on allotment plots

Council data  

Last updated: 19 March 2020

Due to unprecedented challenges facing the Council during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, resources are being diverted from service areas, so that key services can be provided. As such, there will likely be delays in the following areas:

  • Providing information requested via the Freedom of Information Act 2000
  • Processing data rights requests, subject access requests and third party information requests under GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018
  • Processing requests for CCTV footage

The Council will continue to process all requests, and responses will be sent as soon as possible.


Complaints 

Last updated: 23 March 2020

Unfortunately, due to the need to deploy resources to front line and critical services, the Council has taken the difficult decision to suspend its complaints policy and procedures until the current Covid-19 response allows. You will still be able to log service requests through the normal channels but we will not be accepting NEW complaints during this time. We will make arrangements for complaints to be submitted retrospectively as soon as resources allow.

Please be assured we do take all complaints seriously and will work with our customers to try to address any service concerns as soon as possible and we thank you for your patience during this time.