Report to:

East Sussex Health and Wellbeing Board


Date of meeting:


30 September 2021


Director of Public Health



East Sussex Outbreak Control Plan



To update the Health and Wellbeing Board of the results of emergency planning exercise and the plan to refresh East Sussex Outbreak Control Plan


The Board is recommended to:


1)   review the update from the emergency planning exercise and the associated recommendations


2)   agree to receive an updated East Sussex Outbreak Control Plan at its 14 December 2021 meeting.

1              Background

1.1       COVID-19 (a coronavirus) was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation in March 2020 after sustained global transmission.

1.2       East Sussex County Council (ESCC) published the first version of the East Sussex COVID-19 Outbreak Control Plan (OCP) at the end of June 2020 as required by the Government, to prevent cases of the virus where possible in East Sussex and to respond to any local outbreaks.  The OCP continues to be an iterative document, with continuing updates as more learning / guidance is produced, as well as structured whole reviews every 3 months. The latest version of the OCP agreed by the Board is available online.

1.3       At its meeting of 13 July 2021, the Board agreed to receive an update on development of the OCP.

1.4.      Following the emergency planning exercise, a report was written to review the exercise and identify associated recommendations.

2          Supporting information

2.1       The OCP was produced in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders including the NHS and Borough and District Councils.

2.2       Planning to prevent and respond to cases of Covid-19 in our communities requires a whole system and multi-agency approach, including the NHS Test and Trace programme. From November 2020 East Sussex County Council has been supporting contact tracing where an individual has tested positive, but the NHS Test and Trace system has not been successful in making contact with them. This locally supported contact tracing aims to improve the proportion of people successfully followed up. From February 2021 this is being further supported by the Districts and Boroughs through door knocking where people are not able to be traced.

2.3       Budget plans for the £2.5m allocated to East Sussex to support the development of its response have been developed, including an allocation to Districts and Borough Environmental Health Teams, and ESCC Trading Standards, Emergency Planning, Communications and Public Health functions.

2.4       All OCPs have gone through a national assessment process, which involved being reviewed by both Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). The OCP was judged against 12 essential criteria, with three possible outcomes for criteria: not met; met; or fully met. The East Sussex OCP was assessed as meeting or fully meeting all 12 criteria. The was followed by a Sector Led Improvement process with neighbouring authorities (Surrey County Council and Buckinghamshire Council) to share best practice.

2.5       A multi-agency emergency planning exercise was carried out on 16 June 2021 to test the OCP. A detailed report has been produced and the associated recommendations and action plan is being discharged through the Operational Cell. These recommendations can be summarised as follows:

·         The Escalation Framework to be removed from the OCP and replaced by the Contain Framework

·         Further high risk groups that have been identified as part of the exercise which will be included in the OCP

·         The creation of a new Part 2 section in the OCP which will focus operational guidance according to emergency planning processes

·         A set of key recommendations associated with future exercise planning

2.6       The OCP will also need to be updated to reflect the easing of restrictions since July 2021 and further national changes in August 2021. However, it is recognised that with easing of restrictions there are more limited opportunities to reduce transmission rates of COVID and therefore a greater emphasis will need to be on accessing testing and getting vaccinated.

3.         Conclusion and reasons for recommendations

3.1       The Health and Wellbeing Board, as the local accountable body, required an update following the exercise and the plan to update the OCP.

3.2       Members of the Health and Wellbeing Board will be updated as further guidance is received from Government and the East Sussex Outbreak Control Plan is developed. It is also proposed that a report providing an update on the Plan is made to the next meeting of the Health and Wellbeing Board on 14 December 2021.



Director of Public Health

Contact Officer: Rob Tolfree, Consultant in Public Health

Tel. No. 07923 240932


Background Documents: