Service updates

Last updated: 25 November 2020

Coronavirus is currently affecting some of our services across the county. For more information, check the individual service updates below.

Training centres

Medium impact

We have reopened some of our adult education training centres. For more information please visit the Kent Adult Education website.

Adult education courses

Medium impact

During this time, some of our courses can be run virtually, learners on courses such as languages, maths, fitness, creative writing and much more will be contacted directly with information about how this can happen. Alternatively, for those who are unable to complete their programme because of the closures, we will offer an appropriate alternative.

We are committed to ensure that as many learners as possible can complete their qualifications. In the case of GCSEs, we will be guided by national advice. For other qualifications such as functional skills in English and maths, we are currently exploring ways in which learners will be able to sit their exam in an appropriate setting. We will be providing details of how this can happen in the near future.

If you would rather take part from home, we have an extensive range of online live, interactive classes taught by our experienced tutors. View our online courses.

Social care

For answers to common questions about how coronavirus is affecting social care, check the social care section of our your questions answered page.

Birth registrations

Medium impact

Birth and birth declaration registrations are still being completed during the November lockdown (5 November to 2 December 2020).

We are opening as many appointments as safely as possible in chosen locations. However, not all locations that were previously open are currently available for birth registrations.

For more information please visit our register a birth page.

If you need any further information about registering a birth, call us on 03000 41 51 51.

Death registrations

Medium impact

Due to the current situation with coronavirus, it is not possible to book an appointment to register a death in person. Instead, death registrations will be carried out by telephone.

Find out more about our new temporary registration process.

Ceremonies

Medium impact

Ceremonies are currently not permitted until after 3 December 2020. After this date ceremonies can include up to 15 guests, including the couple.

For more information visit the Kentish Ceremonies website.

Citizenship ceremonies

Medium impact

Citizenship Ceremonies are still being completed in very small groups during the current period of national restrictions from the 5 November 2020 to 2 December 2020

You would normally expect to book your ceremony within 3 months of being sent an official invitation from the Home Office.

Due to COVID-19 this has been delayed till 6 months.

If you are successful in your application, the Home Office will send you a confirmation letter. The letter states that you must wait until you receive a formal invitation before book your ceremony.

If you have not yet received the official ceremony invitation please wait and do not contact us. Once we have received the notification from the Home Office, we will be able to book your ceremony.

Certificate Centre enquiries

Medium impact

Our Certificate Centre is running a limited service and certificates will be issued as soon as we are able.

The centre is closed for face to face appointments.

Face to face assessments

High impact

We are currently unable to offer any Blue Badge face to face assessments.

Our assessment team will be in contact with any applicant that already has an appointment booked, and we are taking every measure to continue to assess applicants using alternative assessment methods where possible.

If we need to hold your application because of this temporary freeze on appointments, we will be in touch with you as soon as possible. Please do not contact us regarding these appointments unless you receive an email from us asking you to contact us directly.

Application processing

Medium impact

Application processing may take longer than usual during this period, but the assessment team are continuing to progress applications as normal.

Adding additional documentation:

If any applicant would like to submit further information or evidence from a professional to support their application, you can upload this using our self-service portal or email this to imaadmin@kent.gov.uk. This evidence should give information about how applicants are impacted when mobilising outside of the home environment, and details of any conditions which impact the applicant when mobilising.

Postal applications:

We also may struggle to process post at this time, which will delay applications either being made or already in progress using this postal route. To ensure that your application is not delayed, please use the self-service portal to upload any documents to support your application.

New applications:

If you need to make a new application, please use the online application form. We will try our hardest to process all paper applications, but any application or information received by us after this date using Royal Mail may be delayed.

Adoption

Low impact

Find out more about adoption in Kent and their up and coming information events by visiting the Kent Adoption website.

Fostering

Low impact

Find out more about adoption in Kent and their up and coming information events by visiting the Kent Fostering website.

Country Parks

Low impact

Our country parks remain open for customers with the café continuing to offer a takeaway service. The shops and visitor centres are closed but you can still buy logs and kindling from Shorne Woods Country Park and Lullingstone Country Park by using our click and collect service.

Birthday party bookings

High impact

We will not be taking any new bookings for venue hire or birthday parties for the foreseeable future.

Events

High impact

Our events are suspended for the time being but will be reviewed against any changes in government guidance.

Venue hire bookings

High impact

Our venue hire is suspended for the time being but will be reviewed against any changes in government guidance.

Courses

Medium impact

Due to social distancing regulations that are currently in force, we will continue to provide online courses for the following courses:

  • National Speed Awareness Course
  • National Motorway Awareness Course
  • What's Driving Us Course
  • Safe and Considerate Driving Course

Please book your course online.

The Rider Intervention Development Experience Course (RIDE) is currently not being offered. For further information please email KDE@kent.gov.uk or visit the NDORS website.

Courses in October

If you are due to attend a course in October your classroom based course will now be transferred to an online digital course via the digital video platform Zoom. You will be sent an email confirming the details of the course including any changes to both dates and times. If you are unable to attend an online course please email KDE@kent.gov.uk.

Nursery places for children of key workers

Low impact

Early years and childcare settings and schools are currently open. However there there may be occasions when this is temporarily prohibited for a particular school or setting for reasons related to Covid-19. If you cannot find a childcare place for your child, please contact us:

For nursery and childcare settings:
Email kentcfis@theeducationpeople.org
Call 03000 41 23 23

Alternatively you can read:

Special educational needs and disability (SEND), Kent’s local offer

Medium impact

For more information and for details of the temporary new law about education health and care plans and assessments, read our guidance for families during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Education, health and care (EHC) needs assessment requests

Medium impact

We want to ensure that, as far as is possible, our services to children, young people and their families are maintained. However, postal services and our internal processing of mail is severely impacted. Our SEN officers are able to work remotely so we hope to continue with our work without too much disruption

If you would like to request an assessment of your child’s education, health and care needs, please could you could send a short email to let us know that you wish to make a request and provide your contact details. We will then get back to you with information about next steps and to arrange how you can share any information about your child with us.

If you’re unable to contact us by email, we would be happy to receive a request over the phone during this period.

For our contact details please visit the SEND team page.

Chaperone licence DBS checks

High impact

Unfortunately, the service for the ID checks for a DBS is now on hold until further notice due to current government advice. This will be reviewed regularly.

You are still able to continue with your chaperone application but there will be a delay in your licence being issued due to the DBS checks being on hold. If you chose to continue with the application, we will be able to inform you once this service has been resumed.

Children in entertainment licences

High impact

Due to the government’s new rules on staying at home and away from others, we have suspended the issuing of performance licences, Body of Persons Approvals and work permits until further notice. This will be regularly reviewed, and arrangements adjusted accordingly as and when the guidance changes.

If you need to contact us for any queries regarding this, please call 03000 420883 or email childemploymentandentertainment@kent.gov.uk.

Children Centres

Medium impact

We have now opened 12 children's centres:

  • Bluebells Children's Centre
  • Buckland Children's Centre
  • Folkestone Early Years Children's Centre
  • Greenfields Children's Centre
  • Little Forest Children's Centre
  • Little hands Children's Centre
  • Murston Children's Centre
  • Oakfield Children's Centre
  • Riverside Children's Centre
  • Sixbells Children's Centre
  • Swanley Children's Centre (partial reopen with Swanley Youth Hub)
  • Woodlands Children's Centre.

For their opening times please visit our children's centre page.

Ashford Gateway

High impact

Ashford Gateway is closed.

Find out more about our library services.

Find out more about births, ceremonies and deaths.

For benefits, housing and other district services, visit the Ashford Borough Council website.

Dover Gateway

High impact

Dover Gateway is closed.

For benefits, housing and other district services, visit the Dover District Council website.

Eden Centre

High impact

Eden Centre is closed.

Find out more about our library services.

Find out more about births, ceremonies and deaths.

For benefits, housing and other district services, visit the Sevenoaks District Council website.

Gravesham Gateway

Medium impact

The Gateway is open for essential pre-booked appointments only.

For benefits, housing and other district services, visit the Gravesham Borough Council website.

If the service you require cannot be accessed online please contact Gravesham Borough Council to discuss on 01474 337000.

Sheppey Gateway

High impact

Sheppey Gateway is closed.

Find out more about our library services.

Find out more about births, ceremonies and deaths.

For benefits, housing and other district services, visit the Swale Borough Council website.

Swanley Link

Medium impact

The building is open with the following services operating:

Post Office: Monday to Friday 9am to 5:30pm and Saturday 9am to 1pm.

Find out more about our library services.

Find out more about births, ceremonies and deaths.

For benefits, housing and other district services, visit the Sevenoaks District Council website.

Tenterden Gateway

Medium impact

The building is open with the following services operating:

Post Office opening hours:

  • Monday: 9am to 5:30pm
  • Tuesday: 9am to 5:30pm
  • Wednesday: 10am to 4pm
  • Thursday: 10am to 4pm
  • Friday: 9am to 5:30pm
  • Saturday: 10am to 2pm
  • Sunday: closed

Find out more about our library services.

Find out more about births, ceremonies and deaths.

For benefits, housing and other district services, visit the Ashford Borough Council website.

Thanet Gateway

Medium impact

The Gateway is open for essential pre-booked appointments only.

For benefits, housing and other district services, visit the Thanet District Council website.

If the service you require cannot be access online please contact Thanet District Council to discuss on 01843 577000.

Tonbridge Gateway

Medium impact

The Gateway is open for essential pre-booked appointments only.

For benefits, housing and other district services, visit the Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council website.

If the service you require cannot be access online please contact Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council to discuss on 01474 337000.

Tunbridge Wells Gateway

Low impact

Tunbridge Wells Gateway is open.

Please only visit if it’s an emergency and follow government guidelines.

For benefits, housing and other borough services, visit the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council website.

Health visiting service

Medium impact

The health visiting service is operating on a reduced basis.

If you are pregnant, we will be in contact with you.

If you have a new baby (between 10 and 14 days old) we will offer you a face to face appointment at home.

We'll also arrange virtual sessions (by Skype or WhatsApp) when your baby is:

  • 6 to 8 weeks old
  • 9 to 12 months old
  • and 2 to 2 and a half years old.

We may be able to offer face to face sessions in some circumstances.

Two to three healthy child clinics are run in each district every week. Appointments are available, following triage, on a bookable basis through your local duty line.

We have also launched Solihull online parenting courses. These free online courses are for anyone pregnant or caring for a child in Kent up to the age of 19

Visit our health visiting service page for contact details of our local teams and duty line numbers.

Immunisations

Medium impact

The Kent and Medway Immunisation Service has restarted the 0 to 19 vaccination programme. Any child or young person that missed a vaccination this year during the school closures, will either be offered an appointment at a catch up clinic or be seen in the new academic year at their school.

HPV 1 and 2: summer catch up clinics are being held for anyone that missed their HPV vaccinations due to school closures and lockdown. All other missed HPV vaccinations will be given in the new academic year when the team visits schools.

Td/IPV MenACWY: children who missed their vaccination in 2020 (year 9) will be offered this during school year 10 in Spring 2021. Next year’s school year 9 will be invited as usual.

Flu: the nasal flu vaccination programme will be offered to all children at primary school between October and December 2020. This vaccination will also be offered to children in year 7 this year. Parents will receive details of how to consent via an online portal nearer the time.

Other vaccinations: if you believe that your child has missed any other vaccination please contact our team and we will be able to advise you.

The immunisation team has put together some frequently asked questions here for anyone concerned at the current time. For more information please visit the Kent Community Health NHS website.

To contact the team email kchft.cyp-immunisationteam@nhs.net or call 0300 123 5205.

Infant feeding services

High impact

Breastfeeding drop in groups have been stopped.

Those requiring breastfeeding support are encouraged to:

For those mothers or babies with complex feeding needs, the specialist service will continue to operate and referrals should be made via the Kent Community Health NHS website.

Live Well Kent

Low impact

Live Well Kent services in all areas are continuing to provide support while adapting the way they work to follow the latest official advice and guidance across Kent.

If you are currently being supported by a Live Well Kent service, they will be in touch with more information about how they can continue to support you. If you have any questions or need to speak to someone, please contact the particular service that is supporting you.

The service are still accepting referrals, so if you need support or need to refer someone you can call their referral line 0800 567 7699, email info@livewellkent.org.uk or contact services directly.

For up to date information and advice about the coronavirus, please visit our Live Well Kent coronavirus webpage.

For support about managing your mental health during this difficult time please visit one of the following websites:

If you require further support please call 0800 567 7699.

NHS Health Checks

High impact

The NHS Health Checks service has been suspended until further notice.

No new appointments will be made and all patients with existing appointments will have received a notification of appointment cancellation.

One You Kent Ashford shop

High impact

Unfortunately the One You Kent shop in Ashford is now closed to the public and all groups and events have been postponed.

One You Kent healthy lifestyle service

Medium impact

We are offering advice by telephone and video calls as well as virtual groups (this service may vary depending on where you live).

Due to an increase in demand you may have to wait a while before getting an appointment with a smokefree adviser.

You may be directed to other types of support while you are waiting including mobile apps and websites.

Complete our referral form and a friendly advisor will call you to talk through the options in your area.

For more information about how we can help you please visit our One You Kent website.

One You Kent health walks

High impact

All health walks have been suspended until further notice.

This includes group walks, social activities and other meetings. Please visit the Walking for Health website or the One You Kent website for more information.

One You Kent smokefree

Medium impact

For new referrals please call our support line on 0300 123 1220.

We still welcome new referrals, however due to increasing demand you may be added to our waiting list.

One You Kent weight loss

High impact

All weight loss groups have been stopped temporarily. Support will be offered by telephone for those on existing groups.

Postural stability

High impact

Classes have temporarily stopped and no referrals are being taken for the time being.

If you're using the service, your provider will be in touch to check on you.

Residential recovery housing

Medium impact

The service is now taking new referrals. They are assessing people on the waiting list and are able to move people into the properties when vacancies are available and assessments have been completed.

School Public Health Service

Medium impact

The School Public Health Service is operating on a reduced basis.

All referrals to services including the Emotional Health Service should be made through the Single Point of Access (SPA). Referrals will be triaged daily and referred to an appropriate service. The service will deliver sessions through digital platforms such as; phone, WhatsApp or Facetime.

Please contact the service via the Single Point of Access by:

Other School Public Health Services:

  • Bereavement support is available for children and young people aged 4 to 19 who have been bereaved as a result of COVID-19. Referrals should also be made through the Single Point of Access (SPA).
  • Vision and hearing assessments for reception year pupils are not being carried out.
  • Chathealth confidential texting service for young people aged 11 to 19 is running as normal.
  • Young people can text the School Health Team about any concerns or health issues on 07520 618850. The number is monitored Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Parents, young people and schools can also access a range of helpful information and resources via the Kent Youth website, or for more information visit Kent Community Health NHS website.

Sexual health clinics

Medium impact

For all new attendances, sexual health clinics will operate on an appointment only basis and will no longer offer walk in clinics. Patients will be triaged by phone and appointments organised based on those presenting the highest risk. Those that require a face to face appointment will be required to wear a mask or face covering for the duration of their visit to the sexual health clinic.

You can access home testing for sexually transmitted infections to avoid attending a clinic. HPV, hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccinations are not urgent and can be postponed.

If you are HIV positive and worried about your risk of coronavirus, there is currently no evidence that people living with HIV are at any greater risk of either getting coronavirus, or becoming unwell due to coronavirus, than the general public. We do not recommend that you should attend for additional blood tests to check your CD4 count.

For more updates visit the British HIV association, however, we do recommend that you follow current NHS guidance about how best to protect yourselves and others from coronavirus. If your appointment is coming up soon then we may contact you beforehand to offer you a telephone or Skype consultation instead of coming into a clinic.

If you would like to discuss your attendance with a member of the team, please call:

Emergency oral contraception

Low impact

Emergency oral contraception is still widely available via pharmacies in Kent.

If you require this service, you will need to call your pharmacy for a virtual consultation first which, after completing, will enable you to collect your treatment

Substance misuse service

Medium impact

CGL and Forward Trust will continue to take referrals but will screen the most urgent cases. Due to this response times and waiting list times will be longer than usual.

Advice and support to patients will be provided but capacity will be limited due to staff having to self-isolate. Please refer only the most urgent cases. Contingency is being sought for opioid substitution therapy for prescriptions .

Group sessions for psychosocial support will be suspended.

The needle exchange programme will continue to operate.

For more information, visit your provider’s website or call them directly.

Targeted relationships

Medium impact

The service is currently continuing to accept online referrals via the Barnados website, however we will no longer be offering face-to-face sessions. Project workers will aim to deliver sessions through digital means, for example by phone, Skype or Facetime.

For those vulnerable young people still attending school, schools will be asked to provide a quiet environment in order for the session to take place by phone. Project workers will also offer all young people a wellbeing check via phone call between sessions.

The service will continue to accept referrals for the foreseeable future via the usual routes.

Young person substance misuse service

Medium impact

We Are With You will continue to take referrals but will screen for the most urgent cases.

They will offer phone, skype or other digital communication during this time.

As education and community settings start to re-open due to the lift of coronavirus restrictions, we will begin to transition back to face to face delivery.

Please do not make postal new referrals, please alternatively either:

Fixing problems on the road or pavement

Medium impact

In consideration of the latest guidance from the government it has been necessary to change our normal approach to dealing with customer enquiries in relation to the highway. First and foremost is the safety, health and wellbeing of our front line staff and the very important service they provide in keeping the highway safe.

We are prioritising works to remove potential hazards and keep the highway safe for users. You may well see them out in KCC Highways vehicles and they have authority to continue working as they are providing a critical service.

If you need to raise a highway enquiry please do so in the normal way by reporting it online or by calling 03000 41 81 81 (emergencies only). Please do not approach highways staff whilst they are going about their work as we need to follow government guidelines on social distancing.

We are continuing to provide a highway maintenance service and you will see existing and planned roadworks continuing. Our contractors are constantly reviewing government advice on construction work so this may change.

Many utility companies are also continuing with their work to ensure services are provided to customers.

Please accept our apologies for the delays in routine highway enquiries but these are exceptional circumstances we find ourselves in.

Traffic surveys

High impact

We will not be accepting any traffic survey data obtained from our network from 16 March 2020, until further notice. Transport consultants and developers will need to discuss individual applications with us to determine if any other solutions may be available. Speed surveys will be considered on a case by case basis.

Archives

High impact

The Archive Search Room is now closed for the November lockdown period. We will reopen and bookings will recommence as soon as this lockdown is over and confirmed we can do so.

Find out more about our Kent Archives service.

Home Library Service

High impact

The Home Library Service is continuing during the November lockdown period.

If you are an existing home library service member, we will be contacting you directly to offer our voluntary befriending service. This would involve the opportunity of a call on a weekly or two weekly basis to chat to a member of our friendly volunteering team and staff.

Find out more about other befriending services if you are feeling lonely during this time.

Libraries

Medium impact

Many of our libraries are offering a Select and Collect book borrowing service during the November lockdown. We are also offering pre-bookable 1 hour computer and WiFi sessions at these libraries.

Find out more about our libraries and the services available during COVID-19.

Remember that our digital collections are always available. These include reference resources as well as free e-books, e-audio books, a vast range of the latest e-magazines and daily e-newspapers. These can be accessed via our libraries pages.

The Ask a Kent Librarian Service will remain available on 03000 41 64 38, email akl@kent.gov.uk or via 24/7 chat online.

You can now create a free temporary 3-month membership online, without leaving your home. This enables you to download free eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines, and eNewspapers.

Planning applications

High impact

We have suspended notifying neighbours of planning applications submitted to the County Planning Application for a decision.

For as long as we are able to, we will continue to advertise applications using a site notice in the vicinity of the application site and, where necessary, a public notice in local newspapers.

View details of planning applications.

Fixing problems on a public right of way

Medium impact

Due to the coronavirus outbreak our officers are only visiting the countryside where social distancing can be implemented and its considered safe to do so.

Contracts to clear natural surface vegetation are underway as normal but will be delayed due to additional safety measures. Other programmes of maintenance work are also subject to delay or have been halted and our volunteer wardens have ceased activity.

However please do continue to report any problems and these will be prioritised. We are continuing to organise programmes of work and progress our legal work as far as we can.

Byway permits

Medium impact

We can now process byway permits. For more information please visit our byway page.

Changes to bus services

Some bus journeys and services will change to become school-only services. These changes, which bus companies have made following a request from government, have been made to make sure that there is enough space for all children needing to travel. This means that these journeys are unavailable for other adult passengers. Details of the re-designated journeys are available on our return to school page and passengers are advised to check with their operator before travelling.

Bus passes for older or disabled people

Medium impact

From 1 September pass holders will no longer be able to travel free of change before 9:30am, except during weekends or bank holidays. Now that the pressure on food shopping is easing and to support the return of schools in September, from the end of August bus passes for older or disabled people will revert to national hours of valid use.

The quickest and easiest way to get your bus pass is to apply online. There is limited access to our offices at the moment, therefore postal applications will take longer than usual to process and this may mean delays in getting your pass to you.

To apply please use our online application form or email buspass@kent.gov.uk.

KCC Travel Saver and 16+ Travel Saver

Low impact

Applications are now open for the KCC Travel Saver and 16+ Travel Saver. Please read the information on the page about COVID-19 to help you decide if getting a Travel Saver will save you money this year.

Requests for replacement passes can still be made over the phone and online and we are trying to arrange for these to be sent to your home address directly.

Gravesend to Tilbury Ferry

Medium impact

Due to social distancing a maximum capacity of 20 persons have been enforced for passenger safety.

Passengers wishing to avoid crowded spaces are requested to use alternative sailings.

There will be two exceptions (in the interest of children travelling to and from school), the 7:25am and 4pm sailings will operate at the normal capacity of 50.

School children wishing to travel outside these times will still be permitted however will be subject to the restricted capacity/social distancing measures.

Government advice is changing daily, please check one of the following for more updated information:

Kent Karrier

Medium impact

The Kent Karrier continues to be available to members who need it most. The service should only be used as a means to access essential services and shopping and if members are able to get their shopping and access essential services in any other way, they should do so.

We will allow each Kent Karrier member who needs to, to nominate a friend, neighbour or relative to use the Kent Karrier to collect members' shopping.

The member or their nominee will need to pay for the journey as usual, and the nominee will need to be picked up from and dropped back at the member’s address with their shopping and/ or medicines.

The booking will still need to be made by the Kent Karrier member and when the booking is made, the operator should be told that the member is making use of the nomination system and who the nominee is. The nominee will need to quote the Kent Karrier membership number, so members need to make their nominees aware of their Kent Karrier membership number.

Kent Karrier membership is being extended for a whole calendar year. All members whose membership ran out from January 2020 onwards, will continue to be a member of the Kent Karrier and have the right to use the service until further notice. Members do not need to contact us or do anything else even if their membership is expiring, they can carry on using the service as usual if they are unable to nominate someone to do so on their behalf. We will write to members when we re-introduce their membership charge.

Community transport

Low impact

Due to COVID-19 some community transport services may be affected. Contact the transport provider directly for the most up to date information.

Find out more about community transport schemes in Kent.

Buses to hospitals

Low impact

To help key workers get to and from Kent hospitals, we have arranged for some of our funded bus services to continue on Sundays.

The following services will all operate over the long weekend to maintain links for the areas concerned:

  • 36 (Herne Bay to QEQM Hospital)
  • 58 (West Malling to Maidstone Hospital)
  • 297 (Tenterden to Tunbridge Wells)
  • 666 (Faversham to Ashford)

Passengers are encouraged to check with their operator for particular timetable details.

Household waste recycling centres (HWRC)

Medium impact

Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) are open for socially distanced use, you will need to book a slot before visiting.

We, together with the district and borough authorities, urge residents to protect themselves from illegal waste carriers who often target householders with cheap rates to take their rubbish away.

If you want to dispose of waste, consider using a reputable skip hire company or HIPPO bag supplier who can also supply you with a waste transfer note to evidence where your waste will be disposed of.

Household waste rubbish collection

Low impact

Contact your district council to find out when they will collect your rubbish and recycling.

We're keeping vital services running

5,101 online library joiners and 368,388 digital items borrowed.

Over 950 adult education courses converted to online delivery.

Online youth hub sessions. More than 1,000 young people accessing and taking part.

We supplied 6.3m pieces of PPE in over 3,000 separate deliveries.

Over 230 bus services supported to operate across Kent, helping essential shopping trips and key worker journeys.

89,212m2 of roads patched and 5,669 potholes filled.