FORTY-FIVE temporary council workers are set to be recruited or have their contracts extended to help manage any further local outbreaks of Covid-19.

Since June 2020 Bolton Council has been allocated £7.76m from central government as part of the public health test and trace service support grant and the contain outbreak management fund grant.

The purpose of the grants is to provide support to local authorities in England in respect of the expenditure incurred in fighting outbreaks of the virus.

In a report to councillors Helen Lowey, Bolton’s director of pubic health gave details of how the money has been allocated as part of Bolton’s Outbreak Management Plan.

In the report Mrs Lowey detailed a number of roles which have been placed on fixed-term contracts to deal with the pandemic.

She said: “There is an urgent need to extend current temporary contracts, to define temporary roles and to recruit to temporary key posts to create the additional capacity needed to deliver Bolton’s ongoing outbreak management response.

“Fixed-term contract job roles have been created.

“The option to utilise existing council staff, through either redeployment or secondment will also be considered too and, if necessary, recruitment of agency staff and those with links to university.”

Among the 45 job roles outlined are 15 test operatives, seven case managers, three administrators, three public health practitioners and three test centre leaders.

Mrs Lowey went on to describe how the government cash will be monitored.

She said: “The total grant equates to £7,763,450 and the schemes have been profiled over a two year period and will be monitored on a monthly basis and updates provided to members through the quarterly finance report.

“Any reporting back to government will be co-originated through the public health team and the conditions of the grant will be adhered to.

“All schemes will follow the appropriate procurement process, depending on value, departmental expenditure and relevant approval levels.”

Financial allocations to schemes include £3m on community testing, around £850,000 on contact tracing, £560,000 on communications, £500,000 to the Bolton Fund and £300,000 on compliance and enforcement including the expansion of Covid marshalls.

Bolton’s executive member for well-being, Cllr Susan Baines has approved the plans for extending the work contracts at a meeting.

She said the the outbreak management plan was a “positive step forward in having the measures in place to get the borough of Bolton back to more normality”.