Community Reassurance update from Shropshire Council

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks as we’ve started to see some localized outbreaks of Covid-19 across parts of the country. We’ve heard mainly about places like Leicester and the North West, but this trend has been echoed across the whole of the Midlands, the country and likely the world.  

You will have seen that Shropshire got into the national newspapers too, with reports about the Covid-19 outbreak at a caravan site in Craven Arms. I guess we all knew that an outbreak would come at some point, and at this stage in the pandemic we must expect outbreaks as the virus continues to circulate within communities.  

The outbreak at the Long Lane Traveller site in Craven Arms, worried a lot of people and caused great interest, both residents on the site and in the wider community. The good news is that things are now easing, and the majority of residents have either completed or are nearing the end of their self-isolation period. Those residents who had tested positive for coronavirus or are showing symptoms have been asked to self-isolate in line with government guidance.  Testing for the wider community has been in place since 25 July 2020, and no one in the wider Craven Arms community has tested positive so far. 

This successful containment has involved a lot of people. Thank you to all. Staff from across Shropshire council are continuing to work with Public Health England (PHE) Midlands, key partners and all people in the area to contain the outbreak. We are supplying food and essential supplies for those in isolation and officers have been in Craven Arms daily, both onsite and in the town, to offer support to residents, local businesses and the wider community. 

As an additional measure, testing has also been made available across Craven Arms, regardless of whether individuals have COVID-19 symptoms. A test site at Craven Arms Business Park is open every day from 10.30am to 3.30pm and Craven Arms residents can book an appointment to be tested. We are aware that some residents in and around Craven Arms have had some issues in booking their test via NHS 119. We have contacted the NHS with regard to this and been advised that local residents go online to book a test. We will also be offering a further drop-in session over the weekend and we will release further information on our newsroom in the coming days.

The important thing is that such outbreaks do serve as a reminder that the pandemic is still with us and that we cannot get complacent. We have to remain alert to the risks. It also shows that we all have our part to play when it comes to keeping ourselves, friends, loved ones and our communities safe, and there is a wealth of resources and information so that everyone can help pass on the key messages.

A range of posters have been added to the Council website which can be used in your communities and workplace, and contain the most up to date coronavirus public health advice. They include simple messaging around Contact tracing: what it is, privacy reassurance, ‘Enjoy summer safely’ in English, Bulgarian, Polish and Romanian, Face coverings, Know the symptoms, ‘Park open’ in English, Bulgarian, Polish and Romanian and how long to self-isolate. They can be found at this link:

Latest guidelines do seem to change at a rapid pace.  So, it’s worth repeating:

  • Wearing face coverings has become mandatory in supermarkets, shops, indoor shopping centers, banks, building societies and post offices – with museums, cinemas galleries and places of worship set to follow from 8 August. Guidelines and exemptions can be found here:  It’s clear from government guidance that face coverings can be beneficial in protecting against the spread of COVID where social distancing is not possible, in enclosed public areas. 
  • People who develop coronavirus symptoms, or test positive, will now be asked to self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days. The latest advice from the UK Chief Medical Officer means the period of isolation has been extended by three days from the previous minimum of 7 days. The new advice is in line with World Health Organisation guidance. 

Please be sure to keep up to date as things can change quickly and suddenly. You can find the latest news, developments and guidelines by visiting:

Finally, to finish on a lighter note, following the tireless efforts of staff across the Museums service, Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery and Shrewsbury Castle, along with the Soldiers of Shropshire Museum, have reopened…and in time for the school summer holidays, so perfect timing! 

Safety measures have been put in place to ensure people can enjoy a relaxing experience at all sites and museums staff are really excited to be able to welcome visitors back. And we nearly forgot to mention… Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery is giving everyone free entry until the autumn, making this a cheap and fun family activity during the holidays, but you must pre-book your tickets so visitor numbers can be monitored.

Keeping up the trend of our museums welcoming back visitors, Acton Scott Historic Working Farm will be reopening on Friday 7 August and can’t wait to welcome people back. Like Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery, you must pre-book your tickets, but be quick, the first day has already sold out!

Free central heating for eligible households! 

We may be in the middle of summer, but we’re encouraging people who may be eligible for free first time central heating to apply now, ready for the colder months.  Warmer Homes Shropshire initiative offers grants for eligible households across Shropshire.  

If you or someone you know feel would benefit from this scheme, call our Keep Shropshire Warm Team on 0800 112 3743 or visit online here. The scheme is also open to homeowners, as well as private tenants and their landlords. 

Stay alert and stay safe. If you have any worries at all, please simply call the Shropshire Council Covid-19 direct line on 0345 678 9028.

Community Reassurance update from Shropshire Council

As lockdown eases, we are all tentatively taking steps into what is being called the ‘new normal’. At this time, let’s not forget how important it is to stay and remind ourselves to adhere to guidance on the use of face coverings, hand hygiene and social distancing (don’t forget, that’s 2 metres where possible). To support this, please refer to the revised poster attached, note that this supersedes the version that I shared previously. Furthermore, this press release is a timely reminder to those out socialising this weekend –

Check here for full information and always remember our direct Covid-19 Helpline, for non-medical support and enquires, email or call 0345 6789028. If anyone that you know is experiencing financial difficulty related to Covid-19, please pass on the attached flyer which has useful contact details or get them to call theCouncil’sWelfare Support Team on 0345 678 9078. 

Local Outbreak Control Plan

Reinforcing the stay safe message Shropshire has produced its Local Outbreak Control Plan, which sets out the priorities and actions necessary to respond to a Covid outbreak and to prevent outbreaks from happening.

Rachel Robinson, Shropshire Council’s director of public health, summed things up; 

“Shropshire Local Outbreak Control Plan is in place to ensure we are well prepared to effectively contain the coronavirus and reduce its spread in the community. The outbreak plan will evolve and build as we learn.”

“Whilst I am confident our local arrangements are robust and in place to deal with local cases, we continue to rely on everyone to play their part, by maintaining social distancing, washing your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, and by booking a test if you have any of the symptoms of Covid-19, and by self-isolating. Although we are seeing a drop in cases across Shropshire and the UK as a whole, this is not a time to be complacent. As national restrictions are relaxed it is even more important that everyone plays their part to help protect their families, friends and neighbours from the risk of a local outbreak.”

If you would like to read the full Local Outbreak Control Plan use this link:

Bereavement Support Service

For anyone who is experiencing and suffering from bereavement and loss during the coronavirus pandemic a new Bereavement Support Service and publications are available. Run by Shropshire Council and community voluntary partners Samaritans, Cruse Bereavement Care, Severn Hospice and Crane Quality Counselling.

If you are seeking help and support, the new confidential bereavement service can be accessed by calling the Shropshire Council COVID-19 Helpline number on 0345 678 9028

Two new publications are available to complement the service: You can get the booklets here: Bereavement and grief during the Covid-19 pandemic:

Bereavement practical guide and checklist:

Survey for Community Groups – we’d like to hear your views

As you know, the pandemic has been a catalyst for an incredible amount of community support with people responding either individually or in groups to help those in their neighbourhood affected by the lockdown restrictions.

As these restrictions ease and life seems to start to get back to ‘normal’, it may be that some of this activity will come to an end because people will go back to work and have less time, or because it will no longer be needed. However, we also anticipate (and hope!) that some groups will want to continue and develop new activity or expand what they are doing and may need some help to do so.

Shropshire Rural Communities Charity (RCC) has created a survey in collaboration with Shropshire Council in order to understand more about what local groups have been doing in response to Covid-19, and to understand what groups feel they would need to develop and continue offering support within their community.

We would also like to understand how groups feel they will be able to support if there should be a local outbreak of the virus in their community. Finally, as we now know that BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) people are likely to be disproportionately affected should they contract Covid, we would value your thoughts on your group’s experiences of working with BAME community members.

As the contact for your group we have sent you a link to the survey. We would be really grateful if you would help us build a picture of what is happening in Shropshire, how community groups are best supported in the future and most importantly, how communities have supported themselves during this time. The survey should take about 15 minutes to complete in full. You may not find all questions relevant to your group or organisation – feel free to skip any that you cannot answer. 

Link to the online survey –

Shropshire Council and Shropshire RCC will use the responses to this survey to work with other partner organisations to design support services, activities and action to respond to the recovery efforts following the Coronavirus pandemic. The information you provide will be used to inform decision making and action planning.

This survey is not anonymous. We will be able to identify you from your responses and the information you provide will be attributed to your group or organisation. Please be assured that we will not share your information with any other external third parties outside of the partnership. Your information will be held securely, and if shared it will be shared securely. We comply with data protection laws concerning the protection of personal information, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Your response will be stored and kept in line with Shropshire Council’s Retention Schedule.

If you have any questions about the survey or how the information will be used please contact  You can read more about our work and how we support communities in Shropshire here:

National Emergencies Trust encourages Black Asian and Minority Ethnic organisations to apply for funding.

The National Emergencies Trust (NET) is encouraging charities and groups who serve the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities to apply for funds.

Research shows that people of BAME background are at a significantly increased risk of coronavirus.

Find out more about funding here:

WARMER HOMES – Free central heating now available for eligible households

Good news – free first-time central heating installation is now available for eligible households, thanks to a new grant scheme to help people reduce their heating costs.

Managed by Shropshire Council, the Warmer Homes Shropshire initiative offers grants for eligible households across Shropshire. The scheme is open to homeowners, as well as private tenants and their landlords.

Grants are available over the next two years to more than 300 households who don’t currently have central heating, many of whom rely on expensive and inefficient heating systems such as night storage heaters or portable electric heating. If a property needs to be connected to the gas supply to install a central heating system, this will also be covered by the scheme. Installing new gas central heating systems could save a household as much as £350 per year, along with the £4,500 cost of a brand-new heating system.

The team at Keep Shropshire Warm are available on 0800 112 3743 and can discuss the scheme in more detail, help residents apply and provide advice on any energy topic, big or small. If you are in a rural area and don’t have central heating, the team could still be able to help. Please encourage people to get in touch now.

Free central heating now available for eligible households

Free first time central heating installation is now available for eligible households, thanks to a new grant scheme to help people reduce their heating costs.

Managed by Shropshire Council, the Warmer Homes Shropshire initiative, launched in May 2020, offers grants for eligible households across Shropshire. The scheme is open to homeowners, as well as private tenants and their landlords.Warmer Homes Shropshire Programme

Warmer Homes Shropshire Programme

Grants are available over the next two years to more than 300 households who don’t currently have central heating, many of whom rely on expensive and inefficient heating systems such as night storage heaters or portable electric heating. If a property needs to be connected to the gas supply to install a central heating system, this will also be covered by the scheme.

Installing new gas central heating systems could save a household as much as £350 per year, along with the £4,500 cost of a brand new heating system.Warmer Homes Shropshire

Warmer Homes Shropshire

Robert Macey, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for housing and strategic planning, said:-

“Warmer Homes Shropshire provides much needed support and advice to householders over the next two years, helping residents stay warm and safe in their homes. It is fantastic to see partners coming together across the county, working to tackle the challenge of affordable warmth. Shropshire Council is committed to helping people afford the energy they need, and reduce the health impacts of cold homes. This project is a welcome step forward to helping us to achieve this.”

Jeremy Nesbitt, Managing Director of Affordable Warmth Solutions, said:-

“We’re delighted to be providing funding to Shropshire Council through the Warm Homes Fund programme. We are delighted to be working with the partnership to provide solutions to the challenges associated with homes living in fuel poverty.”

Keep Shropshire Warm

Keep Shropshire Warm

More than 16,000 households in Shropshire are believed to be in or at risk of fuel poverty, meaning they struggle to heat their home and stay warm affordably.

In addition to the grant, the council’s Keep Shropshire Warm scheme can offer a range of energy advice to help residents make their homes more efficient, cheaper and easier to heat, including to households in rural areas, where gas central heating may not be an option.

Oliver Rothwell, Project Manager at Keep Shropshire Warm, said:

“This funding allows us to reach out to many more households in Shropshire. Not only are we able to help to install first time heating for those that qualify, we can assist many more households with a range of energy advice and support over the phone and online. I’d encourage anyone who thinks we could help to get in touch – and for residents to think of any friends or family members who could benefit from the scheme.”

Working in partnership with Age UK Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Citizens Advice Shropshire, residents will also be supported to access benefit advice and support and maximise their income.

For more information and to apply visit or call 0333 202 4481.

The team at Keep Shropshire Warm are available on 0800 112 3743 and can discuss the scheme in more detail, help residents apply and provide advice on any energy topic, big or small. If you are in a rural area and don’t have central heating, the team could still be able to help.

Surveying and installation of central heating during COVID-19.

Further information

To help bring down the cost of heating bills for fuel poor and vulnerable households Shropshire Council, along with Herefordshire Council, have teamed up with several local charities and the energy supplier E.ON to launch the Warmer Homes programme. Under the scheme in Shropshire, eligible households could benefit from free first time central heating and gas connections.

The new scheme is funded by the £150m Warm Homes Fund, which has been established by National Grid and community interest company Affordable Warmth Solutions, who administer the fund on behalf of National Grid to support local authorities to address some of the issues affecting fuel poor households.

Keep informed and sign up to our Newsroom updates

Shropshire Council wants to keep you as up to date and informed as possible, about the coronavirus / COVID-19 crisis and all our news on services, from the council and its partners.

Please click here to sign up for Newsroom updates. Please do encourage your family and friends to sign up too.

Community Reassurance Update from Shropshire Council

Easing the lockdown in England

From July 4th

  • Two metre social distancing replaced with ‘1 metre plus’ 
  • Indoor gatherings of two households allowed, with social distancing
  • Places of worship, libraries, pubs, restaurants, cafes, cinemas, museums, galleries, bingo halls, hair salons & barbers can re-open
  • Outdoor gyms can re-open but indoor gyms remain closed
  • Hotels, B&Bs, holiday homes, campsites & caravan parks can re-open if Covid-secure
  • Theatres and concert halls can re-open but cannot stage live performances

From July 6th people who are shielded can:

  • Meet up to six other people outside, with social distancing
  • Create a ‘support bubble’ with one other household

From August 1st Shielding to come to an end. People who have been affected can visit shops, travel, and return to Covid-secure workplaces

As these dates approach quickly, here’s a quick reminder of some of the options that the council and its partners have in place to support your work. Talk to us at any time about how we can best help you support local people. 

Covid-19 Helpline and on-line information

For non-medical support and enquires call direct Covid-19 Helpline 0345 6789028  or email On the Shropshire Council website, there is a wide range of information available to help you support people. Find the full range of information here: This includes the three directories on: food provision, community support and community social networks.Please check that your support group’s details are correctly recorded on the relevant directories. Please email me as soon as possible if you would like changes to be made.

Test and Trace – outbreak update

You may have seen information in the press relating to Covid cases at the ABP plant in the north of Shropshire –

I want to assure you that the cases referred to in the north of Shropshire are mainly historical, meaning that they have happened since the start of the pandemic, and are not active cases. Shropshire Council are working closely with Public Health England and current close contacts will be notified through track and trace programme, to ensure that all measures to stop the community spread of Covid 19 are in place.  We ask people to continue to adhere to government guidance on social distancing and hand hygiene. Please see the poster attached which has been developed to promote these key messages. Please let me know if you have any comments on this resource and if you require it in any adapted formats e.g. easy read or other languages.

Getting involved with Shropshire’s Social Prescribing Service

Social Prescribing is a non-medical programme that supports people to improve their health and wellbeing with community support.

A Social Prescribing Advisor helps clients to understand their health and wellbeing needs and supports them in setting realistic goals and developing an action plan to achieve these. They enable people to access support and services in their own community by signposting or direct referral to local groups and activities, they are then able to monitor progress.

Social Prescribing is for people aged 18 years and over and is for anyone who would benefit from additional support to help and motivate them to take action to improve their health and wellbeing. People it can support, maybe:

  • Feeling worried or anxious
  • Feeling lonely or socially isolated
  • Living with a long-term condition
  • Wanting to make changes to their lifestyle
  • Caring for someone

At the moment, we are also keen to support people who would benefit from regular and on-going support to cope with their stress, concerns or anxieties caused by social isolation and Covid-19 or who may require more time and support from a Social Prescribing Advisor to work out how their practical needs will be met during social distancing.

Social Prescribing is a priority work programme for Shropshire and nationally a key component of Universal Personalised Care and the NHS Long Term Plan. 

Your organisation or group can get involved too

  • Become listed in a Local Directory used by the Social Prescribing Advisors so they can signpost clients to your group and activities.  This Directory is hosted by Qube and available on their website, so it is accessible to all.
  • Sign-up to become a Social Prescribing intervention, that Social Prescribing clients can be referred to.  This involves providing details of your activities and completing a Quality Assurance checklist and working more closely with us.
  • Join one of the Community Connector networks across the county to network and share with other groups and organisations.

Information and support on getting involved in Social Prescribing is available from members of the Social Prescribing team.  Please get in touch with Tracy Donovan (Tel 01743 254403 ) who will link you to the appropriate member of the team for your area.

Shropshire Libraries offer so much for old and young

  • Shropshire Libraries Youtube Channel – for Empathy Day Storytimes for children, Books Aloud, Memory Corner (for those living with Dementia)
  • Shropshire Summer Reads Escape into a good read with Shropshire Libraries this summer and support Shropshire’s fabulous indie bookshops at the same time! Simply sign up here and read and rate 4 books of your choice. Until libraries reopen, you can choose from our e-library or feel free to make your own choices
  • Shropshire Libraries – Silly Squad Summer Reading Challenge 2020 (ages 4-11 yrs) The Summer Reading Challenge for youngsters is moving online this year!

To sign up, children should go to They will need the email address and permission of a parent or carer to sign up. They then set their own reading goal and get reading! (including e-audio, graphic novels and non-fiction). Activities and rewards are unlocked each time a book is finished. Once a child reaches their reading goal they can download and print a certificate.

Keep an eye out for virtual library events and activities on our Youtube Channel or twitter feed @ShropLibraries such as lego clubs, craft sessions and online story times.

  • Arts Award with Shropshire Libraries For children aged 5-11. Get a qualification over the summer. Simply complete an online portfolio from home and earn a certificate from Trinity College London. We are excited to offer Arts Award at both Discover and Explore levels. For more information email us: 

What Summer activities for kids have you got planned this year?

Here’s a call out to local groups to let us know about summer activity for kids. Have you got plans for the children in your community? Let us know and we can help publicise.

Coronavirus diaries – from despair to pleasant surprise 

And finally, I’d like to finish with a positive observation from Ric, one of our Community Reassurance Team (CRT). Ric is a theatre technician who was redeployed within the Council, as his area of work was closed as per Government regulations. He joined the CRT and has been working in his local community. His comment below is one small salute to the efforts of everyone in local communities throughout Shropshire. He said: “Working with the CRT has allowed me to move from a despairing start to the lockdown, through building a new set of skills to being pleasantly surprised by how resilient our communities are. I started the year flying a magic carpet and dancing in an elephant costume, and yesterday completed a course in psychological first aid – adapt and survive, keep bouncing forward!” 

If you want to find more information about staying positive and resilient, visit our website – 

Guidance for using the Play Area – Covid-19

The Play Area in Fitzgwarine Drive will re-open from Monday 6th July. Parents / Guardians should supervise children at all times when using the equipment and you use these facilities at your own risk.

These facilities are NOT sanitised.

You must maintain social distancing from others when entering, waiting, using equipment or leaving the Play Area.

Wash your hands before you enter the play area and when you get home and if you can, bring with you hand sanitiser.

Public Rights Notice – Unaudited 2019/20 Accounts




Copies of the Annual Return can be found on the Finance page.

Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 Sections 25, 26 and 27

The Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/234)

The Accounts and Audit (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/404)

  1. Date of announcement: Friday 12th June 2020 (a)
2. Each year the smaller authority’s Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR) needs to be reviewed by an external auditor appointed by Smaller Authorities’ Audit Appointments Ltd.  The unaudited AGAR has been published with this notice. As it has yet to be reviewed by the appointed auditor, it is subject to change as a result of that review. Any person interested has the right to inspect and make copies of the accounting records for the financial year to which the audit relates and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers, receipts and other documents relating to those records must be made available for inspection by any person interested. For the year ended 31 March 2020, these documents will be available on reasonable notice by application to:   (b)   Amy Jones, Parish Clerk, Hawthorn Cottage, Porthywaen, Oswestry, Shropshire, SY10 8LX E: commencing on
(c) Monday 15 June 2020 and
ending on (d) Friday 24 July 2020
3. Local government electors and their representatives also have:   The opportunity to question the appointed auditor about the accounting records; andThe right to make an objection which concerns a matter in respect of which the appointed auditor could either make a public interest report or apply to the court for a declaration that an item of account is unlawful. Written notice of an objection must first be given to the auditor and a copy sent to the smaller authority.   The appointed auditor can be contacted at the address in paragraph 4 below for this purpose between the above dates only.  
4. The smaller authority’s AGAR is subject to review by the appointed auditor under the provisions of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014, the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 and the NAO’s Code of Audit Practice 2015.  The appointed auditor is:   PKF Littlejohn LLP (Ref: SBA Team) 15 Westferry Circus Canary Wharf London E14 4HD (  
5. This announcement is made by (e) Amy Jones  (Parish Clerk and RFO)


Please note that this summary applies to all relevant smaller authorities, including local councils, internal drainage boards and ‘other’ smaller authorities.

The basic position

The Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 (the Act) governs the work of auditors appointed to smaller authorities. This summary explains the provisions contained in Sections 26 and 27 of the Act. The Act, the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 and the Accounts and Audit (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 also cover the duties, responsibilities and rights of smaller authorities, other organisations and the public concerning the accounts being audited.

As a local elector, or an interested person, you have certain legal rights in respect of the accounting records of smaller authorities. As an interested person you can inspect accounting records and related documents. If you are a local government elector for the area to which the accounts relate you can also ask questions about the accounts and object to them. You do not have to pay directly for exercising your rights. However, any resulting costs incurred by the smaller authority form part of its running costs. Therefore, indirectly, local residents pay for the cost of you exercising your rights through their council tax.

The right to inspect the accounting records

Any interested person can inspect the accounting records, which includes but is not limited to local electors. You can inspect the accounting records for the financial year to which the audit relates and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers, receipts and other documents relating to those records. You can copy all, or part, of these records or documents. Your inspection must be about the accounts, or relate to an item in the accounts. You cannot, for example, inspect or copy documents unrelated to the accounts, or that include personal information (Section 26 (6) – (10) of the Act explains what is meant by personal information). You cannot inspect information which is protected by commercial confidentiality. This is information which would prejudice commercial confidentiality if it was released to the public and there is not, set against this, a very strong reason in the public interest why it should nevertheless be disclosed.

When smaller authorities have finished preparing accounts for the financial year and approved them, they must publish them (including on a website). There must be a 30 working day period, called the ‘period for the exercise of public rights’, during which you can exercise your statutory right to inspect the accounting records. Smaller authorities must tell the public, including advertising this on their website, that the accounting records and related documents are available to inspect. By arrangement you will then have 30 working days to inspect and make copies of the accounting records. You may have to pay a copying charge. Legislative changes have been made as a result of the restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus for the 2019/20 reporting year which mean that there is no requirement for a common period for public rights.  The period for the exercise of public rights must however commence on or before 1 September 2020. The advertisement must set out the dates of the period for the exercise of public rights, how you can communicate to the smaller authority that you wish to inspect the accounting records and related documents, the name and address of the auditor, and the relevant legislation that governs the inspection of accounts and objections.

The right to ask the auditor questions about the accounting records

You should first ask your smaller authority about the accounting records, since they hold all the details. If you are a local elector, your right to ask questions of the external auditor is enshrined in law. However, while the auditor will answer your questions where possible, they are not always obliged to do so. For example, the question might be better answered by another organisation, require investigation beyond the auditor’s remit, or involve disproportionate cost (which is borne by the local taxpayer). Give your smaller authority the opportunity first to explain anything in the accounting records that you are unsure about. If you are not satisfied with their explanation, you can question the external auditor about the accounting records.

The law limits the time available for you formally to ask questions. This must be done in the period for the exercise of public rights, so let the external auditor know your concern as soon as possible. The advertisement or notice that tells you the accounting records are available to inspect will also give the period for the exercise of public rights during which you may ask the auditor questions, which here means formally asking questions under the Act. You can ask someone to represent you when asking the external auditor questions.

Before you ask the external auditor any questions, inspect the accounting records fully, so you know what they contain. Please remember that you cannot formally ask questions, under the Act, after the end of the period for the exercise of public rights. You may ask your smaller authority other questions about their accounts for any year, at any time. But these are not questions under the Act.

You can ask the external auditor questions about an item in the accounting records for the financial year being audited. However, your right to ask the external auditor questions is limited. The external auditor can only answer ‘what’ questions, not ‘why’ questions. The external auditor cannot answer questions about policies, finances, procedures or anything else unless it is directly relevant to an item in the accounting records. Remember that your questions must always be about facts, not opinions. To avoid misunderstanding, we recommend that you always put your questions in writing.

The right to make objections at audit

You have inspected the accounting records and asked your questions of the smaller authority. Now you may wish to object to the accounts on the basis that an item in them is in your view unlawful or there are matters of wider concern arising from the smaller authority’s finances. A local government elector can ask the external auditor to apply to the High Court for a declaration that an item of account is unlawful, or to issue a report on matters which are in the public interest. You must tell the external auditor which specific item in the accounts you object to and why you think the item is unlawful, or why you think that a public interest report should be made about it. You must provide the external auditor with the evidence you have to support your objection. Disagreeing with income or spending does not make it unlawful. To object to the accounts you must write to the external auditor stating you want to make an objection, including the information and evidence below and you must send a copy to the smaller authority. The notice must include:

  • confirmation that you are an elector in the smaller authority’s area;
  • why you are objecting to the accounts and the facts on which you rely;
  • details of any item in the accounts that you think is unlawful; and
  • details of any matter about which you think the external auditor should make a public interest report.

Other than it must be in writing, there is no set format for objecting. You can only ask the external auditor to act within the powers available under the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014.

A final word

You may not use this ‘right to object’ to make a personal complaint or claim against your smaller authority.  You should take such complaints to your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau, local Law Centre or to your solicitor. Smaller authorities, and so local taxpayers, meet the costs of dealing with questions and objections.  In deciding whether to take your objection forward, one of a series of factors the auditor must take into account is the cost that will be involved, they will only continue with the objection if it is in the public interest to do so. They may also decide not to consider an objection if they think that it is frivolous or vexatious, or if it repeats an objection already considered. If you appeal to the courts against an auditor’s decision not to apply to the courts for a declaration that an item of account is unlawful, you will have to pay for the action yourself.

For more detailed guidance on public rights and the special powers of auditors, copies of the publication Local authority accounts: A guide to your rights are available from the NAO website.  If you wish to contact your authority’s appointed external auditor please write to the address in paragraph 4 of the Notice of Public Rights and Publication of Unaudited Annual Governance & Accountability Return.  

Shropshire Council – Coronovirus Support

Shropshire Council has expanded the information available on its website. Working with other local groups and organisations, Shropshire Council has gathered together new information resources that may be used by individuals or groups and organisations throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

The new information can be found on Shropshire Council’s coronavirus pages under Information for the public/ more information for the public.

It is likely that more information will follow but more recent additions include a searchable map of local food providers and food delivery services; a map of local social network groups, many established to provide support during the pandemic; a map of support services and information concerning help for those unable to pay energy bills.

Many other topics are also covered ranging from advice from Trading Standards to mental health and advice managing anxiety.

The interactive maps allow those able to access the internet to focus in on their local area and find out more about the services located nearby. Where known telephone, email and website addresses have been included to help people make contact with any services of interest to them.

Community Support

Community Social Networks

Food provision

Energy Advice and Other Support

Data has been compiled by Shropshire Council’s new Community Reassurance Teams and other members of staff at Shropshire Council (including library services staff). Shropshire Council has set up temporary area-based Community Reassurance Teams (CRT) to support the coordination of local responses during this crisis, the teams are linking to new and existing community groups set up in response to COVID-19, Town and Parish Councils and other organisations. The Teams aim to work with communities to complement and enhance the amazing work already happening to ensure that everyone gets the help and support that they need to stay at home and stay well and healthy. Over the coming weeks the teams will work to make any necessary changes to the information available to ensure data can be used as effectively as possible.

This information is not designed to replace other long-term information sources on local service provision such as Shropshire Community Directory. The information is based on new information and new services established to support people through the coronavirus pandemic.

Keep informed and sign up to our daily coronavirus email updates

Shropshire Council wants to keep you as up to date and informed as possible. To help us do this, we have developed a coronavirus update that will be sent daily at 8pm via email to anyone who has signed up to our e-bulletins.

This update includes the day’s key Shropshire Council news, and some key news from our partners, relating to coronavirus-linked issues.  Please click here to sign up for the updates.

Please do encourage your family and friends to sign up to the updates too. This will help us keep everyone up to date with the rapidly-evolving crisis.

Further Information

Find the new online resources here:

Community Reassurance Update from Shropshire Council

Shropshire Council and its partners have in place teams to support the vital role that that you and others are offering within local communities. This is just a snapshot, so please get in touch if you would like to discuss any of the information. I will be pleased to talk about how we can best support the people of Shropshire together.

Covid-19 Helpline

For non-medical support and enquires, the Council offers a direct Covid-19 Helpline 0345 6789028  or email . Other key contact numbers can also be found here:

Financial support for community groups

The Council is offering a package offinancial support to community groups and voluntary organisations who are providing Covid-19 support to those living in Shropshire. The small grants programme, providing £75 000 for local community groups, including community centres and village halls, is open for its second round of applications until Friday 22nd May 2020.  Check the details here: .

Keep Shropshire Warm Service

As many people are spending more time at home during the Coronavirus pandemic – and so using more energy, the Keep Shropshire Warm service continues to support residents with free and impartial support.   If anyone is struggling or worried about higher bills, or perhaps is facing issues with the topping up of pre-payment meters – the team can help by checking bills & tariffs, speaking to suppliers and helping to access grants and discounts. Call Keep Shropshire Warm on 0800 112 3743 or email See the link below for the flyer and for full contact details:

The scheme is backed by Shropshire Council and is managed by Shrewsbury based energy charity, Marches Energy Agency

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Mental Health

As the Covid-19 crisis continues and levels of anxiety are stretched, Shropshire MIND continue to provide invaluable mental health support.  The charity is open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. They currently have 7 call lines in operation, making or dealing with nearly 700 calls per week. Calmer Cafe No 1 (upstairs at Shropshire Mind) continues to remain open on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 6pm till 10pm. Two people are admitted at a time and must pre-book as there is an allocated time and all distancing and cleaning practices are followed meticulously.  8 to 10 people have been coming into the cafe every night.

Unfortunately, MIND’s drop-in service had to close recently but this will resume as soon as directions permit this in a safe manner. In a search for a creative alternative, Zoom sessions have been offered entitled Stress, Anxiety and Wellbeing, and these have been attended by just over 250 people to date. MIND FREE ZOOM SESSION – Topic: Stress, Anxiety and Wellbeing (Tues & Weds 3pm till 4pm, Thurs 4pm till 5pm – each week until the end of May).

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 850 4372 1339   Password: 799957

If you would like to find out more about the support available from Shropshire MIND call

01743 368647

Good things to do at home – Virtual Youth Clubs

Shropshire Youth Association (SYA) are taking part in what’s called the ‘2.6 Challenge’ to support local charities.

With their voluntary youth club partners, they are running 26 virtual youth clubs in the week commencing 11th May 2020. They run weekly virtual youth clubs in Bridgnorth, Ludlow, Minsterley, Westbury, Market Drayton – Phoenix centre, Whitchurch, Oswestry, XYZ for LGBT+ young people. They also support voluntary clubs in: Wem, Sutton Hill, Hinstock, Brookside & Stirchley, Broseley, Nesscliffe, Market Drayton – Zone, Hanwood, Beechtree centre – Whitchurch, The Bridge Bridgnorth, Telford Young Carers. All groups are accessed through the individual links placed on club Facebook pages and WhatsApp groups. For safeguarding reasons, there is a “hosted lock room entrance”, this stops people from bombing and hacking the meetings. Any parents or young people new to the clubs can contact Richard Parkes, ( and he will introduce them to Zoom and make sure that the youth workers know they are going to join the meeting. They are also putting quizzes and links to useful activities on their Facebook pages, while offering 121 phone, txt and virtual support to young people who are struggling.

Good things to do at home – Taking Part and the Qube

Working with Taking Part and the Qube, we are looking to highlight and develop resources called ‘good things to do at home’. This idea started with the need to rethink ways of working with adults with learning disabilities who were attending Council day services. As centres closed due to the Coronavirus, we wanted to develop new ways of working that meant people could do interesting things in their own homes. We started by delivering ‘happy boxes’ to people’s homes. The boxes included fun activities, learning activities and creative tasks. All ‘good things to do at home’. All were received positively and now we are looking to extend the ideas and use the talents of the people of Shropshire to create our very own resources that can support everyone’s wellbeing. As the locally created and sourced resources and ideas develop, the Qube and Taking Part will post information on their websites.

As well as creating our own resources there are many websites that people can access free of charge on-line. The trouble is that this sometimes feels a little overwhelming. So, we’ve also started to look for useful things to do and share that we know are good. Help us find and share resources that are great for others to use. Shropshire Telford & Wrekin Age UK have done just that by pulling together a number of resources that can help people stay fit in later life

Community Catalyst, an organisation that is helping set up care micro-enterprises in Shropshire, have started their own site called The Buzz, where people running micro-care enterprises have started to share their own newly created videos. In the meantime, if you’ve got a great resource that you think other people in Shropshire must know about, then drop a note to  and he’ll pass it on.

Take care and best wishes.


If you wish to opt out of receiving these updates then please inform me by replying to this email.

Lisa Jones

South-East Community Reassurance Team Leader

Tel: 01743 255734

Health, care and wellbeing support & services during the Covid-19 pandemic

Healthwatch Shropshire wants to know how the current pandemic is affecting people in Shropshire, their well-being, how they are finding useful information, how they are being supported, what helps them cope and how their experience of health and social care has been affected.

They are trying to establish what is working well, where the gaps are and where people feel things could be improved.

Lynn Cawley, Chief Officer, explained, “At Healthwatch Shropshire we know that staff and volunteers from across health, social care and the charity sector are working hard to support people in the community during the Coronavirus outbreak. Local organisations  from across the health and care system are working closely together to respond to COVID-19 whilst ensuring that essential everyday services carry on.

These organisations want to know what people think about the support available and if there are any gaps so they can make sure they are working as best they can for the people who use them. To help do this we have published a short survey asking people about their experiences and will share this feedback anonymously with the people organising services so they can see what is working well and where improvements could be made.”

Survey and more information:

Healthwatch Shropshire is the independent consumer champion for health and social care in Shropshire. It gathers the views and experiences of patients, service users, carers, and the general public about services including hospitals, GPs, mental health services, community health services, pharmacists, opticians, residential care and children’s services.  It also has statutory powers that it can use to influence service provision by encouraging improvements.

Purchasing food for those who do not have access to cash

Shropshire Council now have a system in place to purchase food for those people who are self-isolating and cannot purchase supplies over the phone using a debit or credit card and cannot access cash.

They can make orders on behalf of a customer over the phone with a Shropshire Council purchasing card and arrange for this to be delivered. The customer will then be invoiced for payment at a later date.

NB- this is an emergency measure for those who have no other options. It is only for those who have money in the bank but can’t get to it.  Anyone who doesn’t have money to pay for food should contact the Covid-19 Helpline 0345 6789 028 for access to a free food parcel.