Visit NHS UK for health and wellbeing advice on dealing with coronavirus (Covid-19) or Gov.uk for the government’s guidance on coronavirus.
We have closed most of our public buildings but will continue to run essential frontline services. Our priorities at this time are to:
If you need to contact us please do it online in the first instance, or by phone on 0118 937 3787 if it is an urgent welfare issue. We appreciate your patience as we deal with enquiries at this busy time. We will prioritise those in most urgent need of our help, and we will respond to everyone as soon as is possible.
We are asking people to sign-up now to join a list of response volunteers who can be called upon to support the activities of local organisations in their response to the coronavirus outbreak as required – Reading Voluntary Action – coronavirus volunteer sign-up information.
The government’s advice on coronavirus will change regularly. Please check back here for the latest council service information.
Local business advice
Face-to-face visits are being limited to essential only. We are making phone and virtual assessments where necessary and viable.
Strathey Close Day Centre is open with restrictions.
Whitley Wood Respite Service is running with limited capacity.
Maple Day Centre closed until further notice.
Nursing homes – please contact nursing homes directly for their policies and guidance.
Local services – see Reading Services Guide’s Wellbeing Newsletter and latest updates about local services for Covid-19.
Some of the adult care forums have moved to online meetings and members have been contacted with information on how to join. If you would like to join a forum or if you need IT support to do so, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07811 026070.
The Home service can be contacted at 0118 901 5118.
All other libraries remain temporarily closed – see the latest regarding the library service here.
We are experiencing pressure on our telephone lines for permits, please make any queries about parking permit applications by email: email@example.com.
We are making free parking available at Queen’s Road Car Park for Royal Berkshire Hospital staff for the duration of the Covid-19 response. The car park works on automatic number plate recognition technology. Royal Berkshire Hospital will supply a list of registration numbers so that the hospital workers can park for free. There are no lifts in action at Queen’s Road Car Park.
Housing Officers will be available to discuss any urgent housing or anti-social behaviour issues you may have. You can contact them on 0118 937 2161 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please be advised that as a result of the closure of the Civic Office in line with the social distancing advice from the government, we are changing the way we are delivering our service. Therefore please be aware of the following:
Please continue to pay your rent as normal. You can pay us using the following methods:
We are aware some of our customers are having difficulty in contacting our Rents teams by phone. We are working to try and resolve this and apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause.
The Rent Guarantee Scheme is offering many of our usual services, although some may be delivered in a different way to normal. Please be aware that we will be asking screening questions before arranging face to face appointments.
RGS viewings and signups will no longer be taking place, unless there are exceptional circumstances. However, we will continue to support existing RGS landlords at this time. Please email the team on email@example.com if you have any queries.
Advice and guidance for HMO landlords regarding the pandemic is available in the Landlord Focus newsletter.
The Landlord Focus newsletter contains advice and guidance for landlords on how to manage their properties during the coronavirus restriction.
The planning service is still operating. However, staff are now entirely home-based, and this has had some implications for the way that the service is running.
General enquiries should be made through the council’s contact centre as normal. In order to ensure that you receive a response, please provide an email address.
Case officers will be available to contact by email, and this is the preferred method of contact. General email addresses for other parts of the service such as Planning Policy and Natural Environment will continue to be used. Planning enforcement enquiries should be made through the website.
Planning, enforcement or natural environment officers will not be able to undertake site visits until further notice. Applicants should please provide comprehensive photographs of the outside and inside of a property and/or relevant views out. Some applications will not be able to be considered at this time, and the Council is currently considering how this should be approached.
The preferred method of submission is via the Planning Portal. Applications submitted by hard copy will experience delay in processing.
Whilst we are operating in this manner, for any consultations on planning applications that have not yet commenced, only consultation responses sent electronically, either by email or submitted online, will be accepted.
The planning section will not be able to print and send site notices at the current time.
Officers of the planning service will not be conducting face-to-face meetings until further notice. Officers are contactable over email or by phone. Pre-application enquiries for a scoping meeting will need to be delayed in most cases.
While the Civic Offices are closed to the public, appointments for registering deaths will continue by telephone only. To make an appointment, call 0118 937 3533.
We are now taking for Birth registrations appointments by date of birth order. If your baby was born up to and including the 6 September 2020 please contact us on 0118 9373533 . Please note The Register Office is located within the Civic Offices on Bridge Street, Reading RG1 2LU
Where families need to access benefits, the advice is that customers can now make a claim for child benefit or universal credit prior to the birth being registered, where they have not been able to do so because of the Covid19 Pandemic. We will update the website when we can offer the next group of appointments.
The birth certificate printing service is available. Please call 0118 937 3533 to make payment. Express (next day) replacement certificate service closed, but standard 14 day service still available.
As restrictions lift, we are re-scheduling customers who had existing bookings during the lockdown period. We are pleased to be able to increase the ceremony party size from 4 to a maximum of 12 people including the couple and two witnesses. Please note that anyone sitting together must be from the same household group or social bubble. Individuals from different households may not sit together. We will be open for new bookings as soon as we are able to. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
The office will re-open on Tuesday 4 August, initially on restricted hours:
Please make an appointment if you need to attend the office. The maximum number of visitors in the office is 2, restricted to one individual per household. Contact the office by telephone on 0118 937 2200 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Government guidance allows a modest number of close friends and family of the deceased to attend the funeral. Consideration must be given to the two metres social distancing requirement.
As from 8 August, families and mourners attending funeral services in the chapels will be required to wear face masks. This will also be required for anyone visiting the cemetery and crematorium office.
Mourners who are self-isolating for 14 days due to someone in their household being unwell with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), but are not symptomatic themselves may attend the funeral in person should they wish to do so. We have processes in place to minimise the risk of transmission. Please inform your funeral director prior to the service so arrangements can be made.
Mourners who are clinically vulnerable or in a shielded group will also be able to attend, with processes in place to minimise the risk of transmission. Please inform your funeral director prior to the service so arrangements can be made.
Any mourner who is showing coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms (a new continuous cough or high temperature) should not attend the funeral as they pose a risk to others. We can provide web casting of the funeral, to allow for remote participation.
We have followed government guidance to calculate the maximum number of attendees in the chapels of Reading Crematorium
We are going to trial using West Chapel as part of the South Chapel service, to allow 30 attendees. This option will be available from 3 August with restrictions. Only services booked in the South Chapel at 1.45pm, 2.30pm and 3.15pm will have this option. If families wish to use this option, please be aware that ten mourners will watch the service on a screen in the smaller chapel. Tributes can also be shown on the screen.
Webcasting and other media options are available for services.
You can have an organist.
Singing is not allowed at services due to it posing an additional risk of infection, even if social distancing is being observed or face coverings are used.
We are not using the PA system as we do not want to encourage additional mourners to attend.
The curtains can remain open but families are not allowed to go up to the coffin.
The charging of a coffin can be viewed via a camera link and viewed in the chapel as part of the service. Due to the size of the crematory, no one will be allowed to attend directly.
We ask that service sheets be brought to the crematorium on the day of the funeral. Please send a copy via email to email@example.com, so we can check the music requirements.
We allow an open coffin but ask that mourners do not go up to the coffin.
Your funeral director will decide whether the coffin can be carried by family. Please bear in mind the government guidelines on social distancing and minimising the handling.
A maximum of 30 can attend a grave burial.
Attendees will have to give track and trace information. The funeral director will ask the funeral organiser to complete a form of consent.
If you have requested to collect them from the crematorium, please phone the crematorium office on 0118 937 2200 to arrange an appointment for collection.
Hand washing facilities and hand sanitiser are available. The outside toilets are open.
From 10 August, we will re-introduce back filling of graves by family. This is on the following basis only:
The rules for referrals and issuing MCCDs have been changed in light of the Covid-19 outbreak. For advice and information please refer to your LMC guidelines, or click here to see the government’s guidance.
Covid-19 is an accepted cause of death and does not need to be referred to the Coroner unless another referral criteria is met.
Waste collection crews are taking a number of precautions to help prevent the spread of Covid19, including the use of gloves and regular use of hand sanitiser. There are further steps everyone can take to help us and help protect our key workers. Please wash your hands before putting your bins out and clean your bin handles before bringing the bin back in.
Please do not put out extra waste next to your bin. If you have had a clear-out please store the waste at your house, in your garden or garage, until the current government restrictions are lifted to reduce pressure on collection crews. This is very important as the recycling centre (tip) is now closed.
Waste collections will start from 6am each day rather than 7am until further notice.
Bulky waste collections have been resumed (29 April).
Bin deliveries have been stopped until further notice.
Both recycling centres – Island Road, Reading and Longshot Lane, Bracknell – are now closed.
Bottle and clothing banks – due to increased demand we are increasing collections from the banks. If the banks are too full to use, please take your recycling home and try again when the banks have been emptied.
The garden waste collection service has now resumed (27 April).
Cleansing services will be maintained but some changes to frequencies will be introduced.
Essential highways maintenance and emergency work will continue until further notice.
We have been working hard on plans to reopen our leisure centres. We are pleased to announce that Reading Sport and Leisure (RSL) centres at Meadway Sports Centre, Palmer Park Sports Stadium and South Reading Leisure Centre, reopened from Monday 3rd August.
It will be a phased reopening with the safety of the public and our staff as a top priority. We will be closely following the national guidance and governing body safety recommendations, including measures such as enhanced cleaning schedule at all centres and staff working in small ‘bubbles’ to reduce risk of transmission. You will also see safety guidance signage and where appropriate, queuing and one-way systems.
Centre opening times will be reduced and the number and variety of activities offered will be limited to allow for social distancing guidelines. You can view opening times here.
You will need to pre-book gym, exercise classes and swimming online or call the centre direct. Please only visit the centre if you have an advance booking.
Gym and swimming sessions will be a standard length of 45 mins, with 15 minutes cleaning/change over time between sessions.
All Direct Debit payments for both membership and people on courses have been suspended. No further Direct Debit payments will be taken until the centres are running as normal. Any credits on accounts will be adjusted on resumption of the Direct Debit, or if customers prefer we will give a pro rata refund for fees paid.
All bookings have been suspended whilst the centres are closed. Booking slots will be held so you won’t lose your slot when we return to normal operation. If payment in advance has been made then our administration team will be in touch to arrange refunds or credits
All bookings for the next six weeks have been suspended. We will be in touch and either rearrange the booking or issue a full refund for any party/event affected by the closure.
General enquiries relating to credits and payments can be made by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org quoting your name, address and membership number.
Parks remain open but please comply with the government restrictions and social distancing advice.
All children’s playgrounds and outdoor gyms are closed until further notice. We are putting notices in all our playgrounds, ball courts and outdoor gyms, asking people to respect the new restrictions during this difficult time. Where possible we will secure the entrances – but this is not practical in all locations.
Allotments remain open but we are reducing the allotment maintenance service – grass cutting, waste removal and general maintenance from 26 March. We will still carry out emergency repairs.
Reading Town Hall and The Pantry remain closed.
If you are planning to provide support to vulnerable people by cooking for them, please remember the 4 Cs on cooking, chilling, cleaning and cross-contamination. See further advice on food safety for community cooking and food banks. Be aware of any allergens in your food and pass this information on to others.
Please contact the Food and Safety Team for advice by emailing email@example.com
In accordance with the latest government advice, which includes social distancing measures, the decision has been taken to suspend regular councillor ward surgeries until further notice.
Your ward councillors remain contactable and you can still reach them by phone or by email. Councillor contact information.
We have been assessing the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on our ability to continue to deliver our services in respect of Complaints, FOI requests and Subject Access Requests, while at the same time protecting our colleagues.
We have been reviewing the developments and Government announcements on a daily basis and have closely followed the advice issue by Public Health England.
We temporarily suspended our service effective from Wednesday 25 March. At this current time our Offices are closed and staff are working from home. A number of staff have also been redeployed to front line services to ensure the Council can provide essential services to the most vulnerable at this time.
This means, during this time, we will not able to process new complaints and may not be able to process FOI or SAR enquiries and we may be unable to continue to work on your existing case at this time. This is because the Council is a front line response service and considerable effort is being made to keep essential services running by redeploying staff from other areas. It is inevitable that there may be disruption to our usual services as we are prioritising maintaining social care services, reaching the vulnerable with support and supporting businesses. In that context, we have to make difficult decisions and it will take longer to respond to your enquiry or complaint.
The Deputy Senior Presiding Judge (SPJ) has directed the Magistrates Courts to take rapid action to adjourn certain non-urgent or non-essential cases given the current exceptional circumstances.
The categories of case identified by the Deputy SPJ are:
All defendants will be sent written notification that their case has been adjourned to 30 June 2020 for a non-effective hearing. The court will in the meantime allocate a revised effective hearing date to all parties.
For further information on how the courts and tribunals are planning and preparing for COVID 19 see the latest guidance:
Council officials are currently unable to sign Proof of Life Certificates for residents who need this for the continued payment of their overseas pensions. This service has been suspended while the Civic Offices are not open to the public, and the staff who usually certify this documentation are working from home. Please consult the embassy or consulate of the country paying your pension for further advice.