AN EMERGENCY committee has been established at Clackmannanshire Council for urgent decision making amid the "unprecedented" Covid-19 outbreak.

The temporary Emergency Decision Making Forum (EDMF) will be made up of elected leaders from across the political spectrum as well as chiefs at the local authority to help tackle the developing coronavirus crisis in the Wee County.

Chief executive Nikki Bridle already has broad authority in terms of emergency powers, but if any action proposed by her or any other service director would result in a new council policy, or if it would require formal council approval, the matter will be referred to the EDMF for quick decision making.

In a previously unseen move, leaders on the forum will be able to participate remotely, through video or telephone conferencing.

But should they be unable to meet in any way, the chief executive now has the authority to take any urgent decision as required, consulting with the council leader or her deputy, if available.

In a bid to strike a balance between the need for political oversight and the need to urgently make decisions when required, the EDMF will be headed by council leader Councillor Ellen Forson.

Cllr Dave Clark, the Labour leader, Cllr Martha Benny who is at the helm of the Conservatives and independent Cllr Chris Dixon are also on board along with deputy council leader Cllr Donald Balsillie.

Meanwhile, all other scheduled council and committee meetings have been called off until the beginning of June.

Cllr Dave Clark, Labour leader, sought to reassure members of the public that "everybody is in it together" in seconding the paper, adding there was "no contention" in the Kilncraigs chamber over the issue.

He, like many others, also paid tribute to hard working staff, some singling out those in education for putting arrangements in place.

Cllr Ellen Forson, who will chair the forum and will have the casting vote, explained the local authority was now in "unprecedented territory".

She also highlighted how fast the situation can develop, saying some plans drawn up at council, based on government advice, already had to be ripped up the following day.

And the council leader also paid tribute to the public sector staff who are working hard to ensure essential services keep going while adding she had trust in the chief executive and senior staff.