First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced tighter Covid restrictions this week in a bid to try and slow the spread of the virus which has been increasing steadily over the past days and weeks. The new restrictions come into force by law today (Friday).
We understand that this is difficult and unwelcome news after the months of lockdown that you have already endured. For many of us, it will be an anxious time with winter looming and the prospect of not being able to socialise with family and friends in the same way in which we have been able to do again recently.
The new restrictions mean we have had to make tough decisions including pausing our route map for recovery at the current stage we are at. This means that we will not be bringing any more services back on line for the time being.
We know that many of you will have concerns about coming in to the workplace following recent announcements therefore we would like to provide clarification. The Council is a Category 1 responder and as such, all council employees are classed as key workers. In addition, as set out by the First Minister in her address on 22 September, keeping our schools open remains a national priority and is vital to the health, wellbeing and future prospects of young people.
We have an obligation to balance the needs of the community we serve and our statutory obligations along with the new guidelines which have been announced. Throughout the last few months our guidance has been, and will remain for the time being, that staff who can work from home should continue to do so where possible. But in certain roles, staff will be required to attend their workplace to meet business needs. Please be assured that if you need to come into work, significant efforts have gone into putting in systems of work that enable a biosecure working environment which complies with the latest government guidelines.
While we try as far as possible to maintain essential business, we appreciate the efforts of all staff across the council to ensure we are there for the most vulnerable people in our community. We know it hasn’t been an easy few months, particularly for those staff who work directly with services users and the community in variety of services from education and social care to leisure, housing and environment.
It is now more important than ever that we all take responsibility and follow the Scottish Government guidance. As hard as it is, we need to make this final push to ensure that we can return to some semblance of normality hopefully in the not too distant future so please remember the FACTS:
F - face coverings – wear these in enclosed spaces.
A – avoid crowded places, for example bars which look a bit too busy.
C – clean your hands and any hard surfaces.
T - 2 m distancing. Keeping your distance from friends and family can be really difficult. But it’s an important and effective way of reducing transmission.
S - self isolate. If you have symptoms, self isolate and book a test. If you are named as a contact of someone with Covid, self isolate for 14 days and get a test if you develop symptoms.
With so much information to take in, we appreciate that the messaging around what restrictions relate to work and what restrictions relate to our personal lives can be confusing.
We want to ensure that you have the clearest and most up to date information and we hope the FAQs below will help you understand the guidelines and what they will mean for you in the workplace as well as at home.
If you still further queries about any of the new regulations and how they affect you with regard to your workplace please email emergency planning on email@example.com
The First Minister has advised that people should work from home where possible. Should I be coming in to my workplace?
Local authorities are Category 1 responders and Council employees are classed as key workers. While we continue to encourage staff to work from home where possible, your role may require you to attend your workplace to allow us to meet our statutory obligations.
If you have any queries or concerns about coming in to your workplace, please speak to your line manager.
Is car sharing permitted?
If you require to share a vehicle with a colleague in the course of your work with the Council ie maintenance workers, refuse workers, social care workers etc the current guidance remains the same and this is permitted. However please ensure that you follow the risk assessment in place.
For personal purposes, including car sharing to and from a workplace, you should follow the new guidance which is only share a vehicle with those from your household or extended household.
What are the new rules for meeting indoors?
You cannot meet people from any other households indoors in your home or another person’s home socially, unless they are in your extended household. These rules also apply to children, however children whose parents do not live in the same household can move between homes.
I am a tradesperson. Does this mean that I will not be able to carry out my role?
No. Under the new guidelines, tradespersons can continue to work as they have been working.
Are there any other exemptions?
Yes. The new regulations currently only apply to people meeting socially.
People who receive care and support, or informal childcare can also continue to receive this.
Children whose parents do not live in the same household can move between homes.
Can I meet people socially in other settings indoors?
Yes. You can meet people from one other household at a time, up to a maximum of 6 people, in public indoor spaces such as cafes, pubs and restaurants.
Children under 12 from the two households meeting do not count towards the maximum of 6 people.
However restaurants, pubs and bars now have a curfew and will have to close their doors by 10pm.
What about vulnerable people, can I visit their home?
Yes. You can go into someone’s house to provide essential care or support, but you should be careful to follow good hygiene measures.
Am I allowed to go into someone’s house to get to their garden or use their toilet?
If you are meeting another household outside in their garden, you should only go into their house to:
How do the new regulations affect children and young people?
Children under 12 from the two households meeting outdoors do not count in the maximum number of households or people that can meet outdoors. They do not need to maintain physical distancing. This means that an adult from another household looking after young children does not need to physically distance from the child.
Young people aged 12 to 17 can meet outdoors in a group of up to 6 people. They can be from 6 different households but all must be aged under 18. However they should still maintain physical distancing.
Is there a limit to the number of households I can meet in a day?
There is no limit to the number of households you can meet in a day HOWEVER, you should try to limit as far as possible the total number of households you meet.
Will the new restrictions have any impact on Childcare, including ELC and school wraparound care?
No. The restriction does not apply where there is sector specific guidance already in force.
What about staff who move between education establishments. Will this be allowed under the new regulations?
In line with Scottish Government Guidance and measures, movement between schools (e.g. of temporary/supply/peripatetic staff etc) should still be kept to a minimum. Visiting teachers, psychologists, nurses, social workers and those providing therapeutic support can continue to be in schools in order to meet the needs of children and young people.
The school should continue to follow their risk assessments including hand washing and physical distancing precautions in order to prevent transmission of the virus within and between schools.
As a parent, will I be able to have a face to face meeting with my child’s teacher?
The use of digital and virtual meeting should be the first choice for meeting with parents however if a parental visit is essential, they can attend a meeting in the school with the appropriate risk assessments in place.
Can parents still use grandparents / friends as childcare and does this count towards their limit?
Informal childcare can continue within the new restrictions.
INDOOR/ OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
Some organised indoor and outdoor activities (adult and child) have restarted – will there be an impact on these activities? e.g. October school holiday clubs, sports clubs, other clubs, toddler groups.
The new regulations will not impact on organised activity which has been risk assessed. Relevant guidance should be followed.
Can I still participate in sport?
You can participate in organised sport, where there are the necessary risk assessments and sport specific guidance in place.
If you are meeting friends for informal sport ie running or cycling, you need to abide by the rules on meeting other households eg maximum of 6 people from no more than 2 households.
Please note that there is separate guidance for sport within schools.
Kickstart is part of the Government’s plan for jobs tackling some of the impact of COVID 19 and aims to create large numbers of fully funded positions. The first placements are likely to be available from November 2020 and the scheme will run for 18 months.
If your service has any job placement opportunities that could be offered to a young person please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Sports Development team would like to find out more about the sport and physical activity interests of our local residents. To help us shape the opportunities we offer as COVID-19 restrictions lift, please complete our online surveys via the links below:
The surveys should take less than 5 minutes to complete.
Thank you for taking the time to complete our survey(s). Your feedback is very important to us.
At the start of the pandemic the Scottish Government asked those members of the public who were deemed to be at most risk of COVID-19 to Shield.
The restrictions on Shielding were eased a the end of July, however with rates of infection increasing once again further guidance has been issued by the Scottish Government. Key points to note are:
If you have any concerns about your safety please speak to your line manager, a member of our health and safety team of your trade union representative.
Additional information and support to help those staff previously shielding
Mental health and wellbeing
You can also book GP appointments for support. Help is available online too from the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH).
Staff who have been shielding should soon be receiving a letter inviting them and anyone else in their household for a free flu vaccination. The flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19 but it will help protect them and their household from this year’s flu.
Staff should contact their GP if they have not received a letter in the next few weeks.
I am pleased to formally advise staff that the Appointments Committee has appointed Lorraine Sanda as our new Strategic Director for the People portfolio.
Lorraine, who will also continue to undertake the statutory duties of Chief Education Officer, takes up her new role today 15/09/20 following an extremely rigorous recruitment exercise which included a full assessment centre and final interview with a panel of elected members.
On behalf of colleagues I would like to offer our warmest congratulations to Lorraine and to wish her well in her new role.
COSLA has joined forces with Trade Union colleagues to launch a mental health awareness video. With many people still working from home or away from their colleagues six months into lockdown, it is important that we reach out and make sure that those who need a bit of support know where to find it.
‘Don’t Stay on Mute’ aims to reassure people who are suffering from anxiety or uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic that they are not alone and that a variety of support is available. You can view the video here https://youtu.be/x0-DH6nOw5w
There is information for staff on Wellbeing on our web pages, including our employee assistance programme.
The Clackmannanshire Alliance will facilitate two virtual events to support Challenge Poverty Week in 2020. More information is available via the Challenge Poverty Week events diary entry or the booking links below:
A new NHS Scotland contact tracing App – Protect Scotland - has been launched and can be downloaded for free onto Smartphones from the Apple and Google Play stores.
The App uses Bluetooth technology to anonymously alert you if you have been in close contact with another App user who tests positive for coronavirus. And if you test positive, it can help in determining contacts that you may have otherwise missed while keeping your information private and anonymous.
Using the Protect Scotland App, along with sticking to current public health measures, will help us to stay safe when we meet up, socialise, work or travel.
As we see the rate of infection start to rise, it is important that we download and use the Protect Scotland App to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
As NHS surgical procedures recommence, if you are due to have planned surgery it may be that you will be required to self-isolate for a period before and after any surgery. This can be between 3 and 14 days and the exact requirements will vary from case to case. The length of time any self-isolation will be required will be determined by NHS Scotland who will also advise if members of your household will also need to self-isolate.
If you existing sickness absence leading up to surgery, this should continue as it is unlikely that you would be fit to carry out any work.
If you are not on existing sickness absnece and have upcoming surgery that requires you to isolate or you have been asked to self isolate as a household member of someone who has upcoming surgery, you should provide your manager with a copy of any NHS correspondence relating to this.
If you are able to work from home, then this should continue.
If you are not able to work from home, then this period will be regarded as special leave.
If you have any queries about this, please contact your HR Business Partner.
Seven priorities projects which will form part of the Council’s Be the Future transformation programme have been agreed following a special council meeting today.
The Be the Future update report was a follow-up to the Respond, Recover and Renew paper agreed by Council in June which looked at the impact of the pandemic on the Council’s plans and what this might mean for staff, residents and communities.
We have a critical role to play in minimising as much as we can the impacts both locally and regionally from the Covid-19 pandemic. We have been doing this by working collaboratively with ourpartners to protect and support the most vulnerable people in our communities.
Today’s paper to Council outlined how we will be reprioritising the activity which was set out in our Be the Future programme, our Organisational Redesign Plan and our Recovery Plan to enable us to continue to support our community. Since une we have been working with iESe again to help us ensure that our own and our partner resources can be targeted to best effect.
We know that this will have an impact on staff and we have carried out an exercise across each service portfolio to identify immediate and medium term resourcing needs.
We continue to encourage our staff, where possible and in discussion with managers, to work from home. We are also developing approaches to provide a more sustainable and blended pattern of attendance in the workplace for staff and elected members which minimises risk and ensures that we continue to meet health and safety requirements. As well as this, we will continue to develop our communication methods to ensure that officers and elected members stay connected with colleagues across the Council.
The seven priority projects are:
People and Place Hub pilot: to address the development of a "localism" or place based approach, work had already commenced to develop a programme of related projects under the People and Place Hub pilot initiative. Work to date has been between Council and HSCP officers but includes the strategy for engaging a wide range of local and national stakeholders, including Strathclyde University, Alliance partners, communities, Columba 1400, Stirling University, Scottish Government and the Hunter Foundation, in both the development and delivery of proposals. Work is currently being taken forward with the University of Strathclyde to develop workshops for delivery in late September, the output from which will be used to engage with potential partners and funders.
City Region Deal, Scotland’s International Environment Centre and Sustainable Ageing proposals: to address issues relating to economic recovery and economic development both locally and from regional and national perspectives. This range of activity includes work to provide employment opportunities, support families and provide skills development capacity locally, as well as to provide a stronger economic footprint for the area within the Forth Valley Region and nationally. There has been significant recent activity to expedite the refinement of the original proposals in the economic context of the pandemic.
STRIVE pilot: this is well underway with the pilot being extended from six to twelve months to facilitate the further development of partnership learning and to maximise the opportunity to consider how the redesign of multi agency service delivery can be developed to capitalise on the earlier intervention, prevention and improved outcomes the pilot is suggesting have the potential to be secured.
Income maximisation: this aspect is focussed on minimising the impacts of poverty as well as ensuring the financial sustainability of the Council as an organisation. The reprioritisation activity will include additional activity to ensure that a transparent programme of related activity is in place through the Be the Future Programme.
Digital strategy as an enabler: Work has already been progressed as part of the Be the Future Programme with the agreement of the Digital Strategy in April 2019. Activity levels and the importance of this aspect has been highlighted significantly during the Council’s Covid-19 response phase which has provided a positive and catalytic effect on taking forward potentially significant changes in how services are delivered, how we engage both internally and externally and how our staff are deployed. The importance of the potential for digital exclusion and the need for blended models has also been highlighted.
Workforce: the Council was updated in June on a significant range of issues that require to be addressed to further develop sustainable employment models, employment policy and procedures and the associated and significant culture change that this represents. This has also been highlighted as a priority area in the feedback from the iESE discussions. The Council’s experience of the Covid-19 response phase also suggests a need to prioritise how we maximise the opportunity for staff empowerment through effective and streamlined governance arrangements and better sustain supports for employee wellbeing within the new operating context.
Communicate Values: The planned work to embed and communicate the Be the Future ambitions and the Council vision and values will be prioritised as this is critical to establishing a sense of common purpose.
Programme and project specifications will now developed for each of these areas of work. I plan to update staff on progress regularly.
Staff will be aware that the global pandemic has been the catalyst for a more rapid shift to digital within the Council than was previously envisaged.
At today's Council meeting, expenditure on several key digital projects was approved to ensure ongoing business efficiency continuity in the face of continuing uncertainty.
Virtual meetings, video conferencing and paperless working has become the norm for many staff and a report to Council today set out the need to update our operating system with a fair degree of urgency.
Councillors have agreed to implement Microsoft 365 in a plan to modernise the workplace and support the wider digital transformation agenda. A programme of investment in new IT equipment has also been agreed.
One of the benefits of Microsoft 365 is that applications that can be accessed from any device and from any location with an internet connection which enables remote, home and flexible working.
This improvement fits with the Council's Be the Future transformation programme and represents significant investment in our workforce to allow us all to be able to do our jobs efficiently and effectively in a post-Covid world.
Look out for further updates on the roll out of Microsoft 365.
Senior Manager – Partnership and Transformation
A new briefing has been added to the Management Briefing section of the staff website to provide clarity on how annual leave and or special leave should be utilised as well as the provisions in place where measures are put in place at local/school level to minimise transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
You can read the full briefing here.
A reminder to all staff that if you
you MUST remain in isolation for 14 days.
In these circumstances, even if you get a negative Covid-19 test you MUST remain in isolation for the full 14 days, remaining at home and NOT coming into work.
All managers have been reminded of the guidance.
The latest advice can be found at NHS Inform.
As a Council, we strengthened our support for former and serving members of our armed forces in Clackmannanshire by signing the Armed Forces Covenant earlier this year. This means that we will endeavour in our business dealings to uphold the key principles of the Covenant which are:
We now have a programme of e-learning modules on Clacks Academy for staff who will be working with members of the Armed Forces in the community. The modules focus on particular audiences and needs including:
(If the link to Clacks Academy doesn't work for you the link is available via the home page of Connect).
The Armed Forces Covenant for Frontline Staff
This is aimed at front-line staff who engage with individuals and families on a regular basis. The training provides an overview of the unique challenges of Service life and how staff can help support the Armed Forces Community. It will help staff understand and apply the principles of the Covenant at a local level. It includes sources of further information and support.
It includes sections on:
The aim is that it will help staff understand and apply the principles of the Covenant with confidence.
Housing, Homelessness and the Armed Forces Covenant
This module looks at the Armed Forces Covenant and how it applies to housing and homelessness. It explains through case studies some of the specific needs of, and issues experienced by, current and former service personnel and their families, and how they can be supported. It also includes information on legislation, sources of support and housing agencies who work with those who are ex-armed forces.
For further information, contact email@example.com.
Forces in Mind toolkit
The Forces in Mind Trust is a charitable organisation that aims to enable ex-service personnel and their families to lead successful civilian lives. The Trust frequently commissions research and has produced a report on effective delivery of the Covenant within communities. The report is available on the Forces in Mind Trust website.
The report includes a toolkit for councils to help implement the Covenant which is based on a review of successful councils and how they help deliver the Covenant in their area. The toolkit begins on page 42 of the report. Armed Forces Covenant partnership have developed a programme of e-learning modules focused on particular audiences and needs. There are 2 modules applicable to Local Authorities which are:
The last few months have been unlike any we have ever known and our staff have had to work at unprecedented levels to ensure that we continued to provide vital services to the most vulnerable members of our community.
The latest edition of Connected is a special Covid edition which provides a snapshot of all the hard work which has been carried out across the Council's services.
You can also read about maintenance operatives Mark Allan and Stephen Lamb who helped to save a man's life while out on a routine work call and our emergency resilience officer Karen Kirkwood who was chosen to feature in a key worker local hero portrait exhibition at Forth Valley Royal.
We hope you enjoy this edition of Connected and on behalf of the Senior Leadership Group, thank you for all your efforts.
Photocard licences or entitlement to drive that expires between 1 February and 31 December 2020 have been extended for 11 months from the date of expiry.
Under the changes, drivers whose photocard driving licence or entitlement to drive runs out between 1 February 2020 and 31 December 2020 will have their entitlement automatically extended from the expiry date, for a period of 11 months. Drivers do not need to apply to renew their licence until they receive a reminder before their extension expires.
The initial extension expired at the end of August. This has now been further extended to the end of the year under temporary changes announced by DVLA as of 1 September.
The temporary extension is automatic, and drivers do not need to do anything. Drivers who have already applied to renew their photocard driving licence or entitlement to drive can usually carry on driving while we process their application, providing they have not been told by their doctor or optician that they should not drive.
Please visit the GOV.UK website for more information.
Climate Week kicks off 14-20 September this year but things might look a little different! This year, the Scottish Government has partnered with Home Energy Scotland and Zero Waste Scotland among others to deliver a programme of events which are designed to benefit both businesses and the consumer.
There will also be a series of ministerial announcements throughout the week, starting from Monday which will be linked to how public sector organisations can deliver their plans to reach net-zero by 2045.
A programme of events available to book can be found on Eventbrite.
A reminder that information and application forms are available via Connect on Capital Credit Union which is one of the largest credit unions in the UK. Offering a range of ethical and fair financial services, membership is open to Clackmannanshire Council employees. You can arrange for savings to be deducted from your pay.
Every Christmas, some of the proceeds of the CFSLA lottery are donated to good causes locally in Clackmannanshire, Falkirk And Clackmannanshire. The CFSLA staff lottery committee would like to know what type of cause employees of the three local authorities think we should prioritise for Christmas 2020 donations.
To share your views, use the link below to go to the short online questionnaire:
If you have any questions about CFSLA staff lottery, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or check the CFSLA page on Connect. If the link doesn't work for you, visit Connect -> Staff Information -> Staff Lottery (CFSLA).
A number of multi-agency public protection resources have been added to a newly created Social Services updates page.
We have developed a QR code for each facility to ensure compliance with Test and Protect information for contact tracing.
Visitors should scan the QR code with their phone and fill in the requested details - name, home postcode and contact number this is then automatically transferred to a centralised database should we require the information. All details are automatically deleted after 21 days.
If any of your visitors do not have a phone please take a note of their name, home postcode and contact number and email this to email@example.com on the same day they were in your facility and we will manually add to the database.
Visitors who are just coming into a facility to pay a bill or drop something off do not require to give us this information however if they are coming in to meet with someone, browse library books, or are in the building for 10 minutes or more they should leave their details.
Staff do not need to use this we have their details on the Paxton swipe system.
Due to the quick turnaround on this, paper copies will go to reception areas in the first instance until we receive the delivery of the wipeable plastic signs.
All QR codes have been tested all are working. Any queries or further information please call Karen Kirkwood on X 2537.
I hope that you are finding the regular weekly messages from the Directors and I informative and useful. The latest message can be read on the SLG messages page.
This week, I wanted to send an additional personal message to recognise the fantastic and extremely valuable work you continue to deliver in this very challenging context.
I think everyone is now coming to appreciate the complexities of managing a global pandemic and the significant local impacts this has. Every aspect of our lives, from our home, family, social and community perspectives is affected. Our collective acceptance of living and working with this level of continuing uncertainty represents a significant change and challenge in itself.
Over the last ten days, we have additionally experienced significant local disruption due to the extremely adverse weather the area has encountered.
The response by Council staff, working in collaboration with both our partners and communities has been excellent.
As we head towards the weekend, I simply wanted to say thank you. I very much appreciate the practical approach and commitment that you have shown to make sure we keep our communities safe.
I hope that you are all able to have a well deserved rest over the weekend.
Kilncraigs based staff
School based staff
We are pleased to say that we have been working and planning with a range of partners across the Council, including Health & Safety, to open Alloa Family Centre to enable family contacts and family support work with the children and families open to Children's Social Work Services. This work / support is strictly by appointment only and has required robust planning and risk assessment in line with Scottish Government Covid-19 Guidance. We are re-opening carefully and gradually in terms of numbers permitted in the Family Centre at any one time. We shall be continually reviewing this arrangement to ensure the health and safety of our staff and our families. We were able to open on 3rd August 2020 in line with our plans. We look forward to welcoming our first families, linked to their planned contacts, on 10th August 2020.Children’s Social Work Services wish to thank our community for their understanding during the lockdown period.
As a member of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS), you have access to a valuable new staff benefit.
Clackmannanshire Council is now offering LGPS members access to a Shared Cost Additional Voluntary Contribution (Shared Cost AVC) scheme, facilitated by our partners AVC Wise.
Shared Cost AVCs are a cost-efficient way to top up your pension pot, providing both Income Tax and National Insurance contributions (NIC) relief. The extra NIC savings you make can either be re-invested into your Shared Cost AVC pot, or you can choose to receive it as part of your take home pay.
A £100 contribution will actually cost a basic rate taxpayer just £68.12!
The key benefits of a Shared Cost AVC facilitated by AVC Wise are:
You are invited to an important webinar
AVC Wise is hosting webinar sessions soon to give you an opportunity to learn more about the Shared Cost AVC scheme and ask any questions you may have.
|Tuesday 18th August||10:30-11:30|
|Thursday 20th August||13:00-14:00|
To book your place onto a webinar, please go to: https://bit.ly/2Ws1mHQ and register. Then, select the webinar you wish to attend and AVC Wise will confirm your place.
IMPORTANT – PLEASE READ
Please note, the webinar cannot be accessed via Internet Explorer.
Please use another browser where possible – Google Chrome is the best browser to use to access our webinars. Other browsers such as Safari, Firefox or Microsoft Edge should also work but you may still encounter some issues.
The webinar can be accessed on any device including desktop or laptop computers, tablet or smartphone.
To access the webinar, please copy and paste the webinar link (provided in your booking confirmation email) into a suitable browser.
Simply clicking the link will just open the webinar in your default browser, which may not be suitable.
If you have any issues once in the webinar room, please ensure you are using the right browser, and try and refresh and re-enter.
If you have any questions, please email support@AVCWise.co.uk or call 01252 784 546.
For the past few months, managers and trade unions have been working together towards the implementation of Health and Safety measures for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the safety of our staff.
All Clackmannanshire Council workplaces have now been risk assessed based on national guidelines and plans have been put in place to keep our buildings and working environments 'Covid Secure'. Now that the plans are in place we must ensure that all staff are aware of the measures for their places of work and that they are following them. Failure to follow guidance such as the minimum distancing rules, wearing the appropriate PPE or following the correct cleaning processes could put colleagues and service users at risk of infection and as such may constitute a breach of our health and safety policies and procedures.
Any breach of the Covid 19 measures must be recorded and documented using the Health and Safety incident and near miss form. These incidents will be reviewed by the Health and Safety team and will allow us to provide further guidance to those involved in any incidents, help us to monitor how effective our measures are and to improve them where necessary. Should we have a situation where someone within one of our working environments is confirmed to have Covid 19, it will allow us to provide those operating the track and trace service with the information they require to contact anyone who may have been exposed.
Like any situation where there is a breach of our Health and Safety procedures failure to adhere to them may result in disciplinary action should an investigation find that someone was deliberately ignoring our agreed procedures or had put others at serious risk of harm. In situations where a less serious breach had taken place such as someone forgetting to maintain social distancing the first step will always be an informal discussion with those involved to ensure that everyone is aware of the procedures in place and emphasise the importance of following them.
We fully understand that these measures seem unfamiliar and that we are all learning to adapt to the changes being introduced however it is imperative that we all take all possible steps to protect our colleagues, their families and our service users from unnecessary exposure to the Covid 19 virus.
Managers are responsible for ensuring that every member of staff has seen the up to date risk assessment/building guidance and the list of safety measures for their places of work.
If any member of staff has any concerns around the safety measures in place at their place of work we would ask that they contact their line manager, a member of the health and safety team (firstname.lastname@example.org) or their trade union for further advice and guidance.
Further information regarding changes to Health and Safety can be found on the staff information pages on the Council Website. An e-learning course entitled "Revised Ways of Working" is also available on ClacksAcademy.
A large number of people have been issued with IT equipment to work from home over recent months.
The normal expectation is that a full Display Screen Equipment (DSE) assessment should be undertaken for every employee who is working from home but due to the speed at which this was required to happen, this was not possible. We are now asking all managers to ensure that staff who are working from home (whether constantly or periodically) complete a self-assessment form to help identify anyone who may be experiencing difficulties and help us prioritise the full assessments which need to happen.
You can access the form here.
HR Information on Off-Payroll Workers
HR has published new information on Connect about procedures for dealing with Off-Payroll Workers. You need access to Connect to read these documents or contact HR for more information.
You can find this information by visiting Connect -> Home -> HR -> Recruitment -> IR35 (off-payroll workers)
There are a number of changes and updates to be aware of:
Corporate Wi-Fi / Clacks Guest - This is being replaced with a new solution. There will be periods of time when you are unable to get a connection, once completed we will be able to support more devices, e.g. mobile phones supporting video services.
iTrent HR / Payroll - will be offline from 8am Friday 10 July until 8am Monday 13 July for supplier updates
Citrix Profiles - Some users are experiencing long periods of time to log in because they have not cleared down their profiles - internet histories etc. IT Services have done this for you and this has resulted in the background image appearing black on the desktop. This is not a problem, but a visual cue for us while we do this housekeeping for you. You may find you need to re-pin your apps back onto the Start menu and printing settings will be reset, helping us to realign with the new printing services.
Requests for remote working and user guides - If you or your staff members wish to rework remotely, please read the information on our web page. We have a prioritised list of people to set up with remote access. Without the essential information we need, any request received will be held up until it has been provided.
Have we got the correct contact details for you? Please update the Council Phone book in Lotus Notes. You can use the notes section to include messages for colleagues such as 'this is a personal mobile number - do not share'.
Throughout the current crisis and as we move into the recovery phase, it is vital that we keep in mind that the requirements of the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) remain in force.
It is important to ensure that we consider the needs and disadvantages faced by people with different protected characteristics as we respond to Coronavirus.
We must assess the equality impact of new or revised policies and practices against the three needs in the PSED. Equality impact assessments are an important tool to help you ensure you don’t unintentionally discriminate or deepen existing inequalities in our communities, and that you consider the ways you can advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations.
More information on assessing equality and poverty impacts can be found on the Equality and Diversity pages including our impact assessment framework, guidance and previously published impact assessments.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published guidance on assessing equality impact and having due regard to the PSED during coronavirus.
The by-election postponed in March due to Coronavirus has been rescheduled for Thursday 19 November 2020. For more information, please refer to our LG By-Election 2020 web page.
Instructions for requesting and authorising annual/special leave is available by following the link.
This message supersedes that previously issued on 24/6/20.
The HSE have revised the guidance in relation to the use of fans. The guidance now states:
"Where possible, consider ways to increase the supply of fresh air, for example, by opening windows and doors (unless fire doors).
Also consider if you can improve the circulation of outside air and prevent pockets of stagnant air in occupied spaces. You can do this by using ceiling fans, desk fans or opening windows, for example.
The risk of transmission through the use of ceiling and desk fans is extremely low".
The use of fans is now therefore permitted in Council premises.
NHS CAMHS have collated lots of useful information and resources for young people and families who may be feeling anxious or worried about their child's mental health.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic meeting room capacities have been reduced to comply with the current 2m social distancing rules.
All meeting rooms are equipped with cleaning materials and it is the chairperson's responsibility to ensure the meeting area/space is wiped down prior to and after the meeting. Please only use a room that you have booked.
MR2.01 is currently being used as the Incident Management Room and can accommodate eight people sitting at desks. If you require to use it, you must email email@example.com in advance outlining the proposed use and numbers.
Rooms not listed below have a capacity of 2 people.
Prior to lock down staff who were considered as being at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus were advised to limit their social interactions and ensure strict physical distancing.
At this time and throughout the lockdown, the Council took the decision that these staff should not physically attend work and would work from home where ever possible.
The Council is now considering its response and recovery plan and identifying which services will start to be reintroduced. It should be noted that wherever possible staff working from home will remain to do so for the foreseeable future. However, where a job does not allow for homeworking and there is a need to ensure delivery of services staff may be asked to return or potentially to move on a temporary basis to support other service areas. Appropriate risk assessments will have been undertaken to ensure all practices and work places are COVID secure.
In line with the guidance i.e. “Staying at home and only going outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you can’t work from home)” staff who are in the high risk category and who are being asked to return as they cannot work from home will have also individual risk assessments conducted by our Health and Safety team. Only where we are assured that it is safe to do so will staff in these high risk categories be asked to resume duties.
The high risk categories are: *
And those with: