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Management Briefings

Management Briefings

10 September - Guidance on use of annual leave/special leave from September

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, in line with Government guidance, we asked that staff work from home wherever possible. 

As a Category 1 responder however, we also needed to identify key/essential staff required to attend work, in order to ensure we could respond to the pandemic, as well as services continuing to be delivered to our most vulnerable citizens/communities.

As the government continues to implement measures to ease national lockdown as well as ensuring transmission of virus is minimised (e.g through the introduction of local downs), we as a Council are also looking at how we will deliver all services going forward and how we will reintroduce staff who have been unable to work back into the workplace.

As part of our recovery plan all council workplaces have been risk assessed and modified to meet national guidance and make them "Covid secure". We have introduced individual risk assessments for anyone deemed high risk to make additional provisions (where necessary) to reduce risk and protect their safety while at work. We will also, as restrictions ease, undertake individual assessments for those staff who have been shielding. We have also updated our home working risk assessment and are working with services to provide office furniture and IT equipment to make sure that homeworking is a viable option for as many people as possible.

Now that schools and child minders have reopened and government advice allows for children to be cared for by others again we continue to move back towards all staff either working from home or coming back into the workplace to undertake their contracted hours.

The following briefing is intended 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.

Leave options from September 

All staff MUST ensure they are utilising their annual leave and should liaise with their managers to agree leave dates.  Early planning will enable services to ensure they have available staff resources to maintain service provision for the year ahead and to make sure there is no unnecessarily large carry over of leave into the following leave year. Due to the volume of annual leave not taken so far this leave year, large scale carry over of leave has the potential to disrupt service provision for the following year. Once staff have recorded their annual leave in iTrent it can be amended at any point, following discussions and agreement with their manager.

Clackmannanshire Council are working to the principle that no member of staff will be disadvantaged and lose annual leave because of the situation with Covid 19.

We understand that some staff in key services may be unable to utilise their full leave entitlement due to commitments at work and/or further outbreaks of the virus which would put additional pressure on services. Managers should discuss work commitments and leave with their staff members and where staff are unable to take their full compliment of annual leave due to work commitments/service need, 10 days may be carried into the following leave year.

In exceptional circumstance, where work commitments/service need are very high or further Covid 19 issues result in annual leave having to be  be cancelled or put on hold to allow continued delivery of Council services then staff members may carry over more than 10 days (to a maximum of 20 days)  into the following leave year. This type of carry over and the reasons for it should be highlighted to the appropriate Director by the Senior Service Manager.

Staff and managers are reminded that time away from work is essential for staff to rest and recuperate. Requests for annual leave should only be declined in exceptional circumstances only which relates to service delivery.

Staff working at home (with no childcare/caring responsibilities)

Staff whose role allows for homeworking and have been set up to safely homework will remain doing so for the foreseeable future whether permanently at home or on a rota basis. Staff must continue to utilise their annual leave in the normal manner and schedule breaks throughout the year.  

Staff working at Council Premises (with no childcare/caring responsibilities)

Staff must continue to utilise their annual leave in the normal manner and schedule breaks throughout the year. 

Staff working at Council Premises or at home (with childcare/caring responsibilities)

As School and Childcare provision has now resumed, staff should have in place their normal childcare arrangements, however,  where staff have ongoing  issues with working their contracted hours due to childcare or caring responsibility they should discuss this with their manager and consider one of the following policies which may be of assistance: 

  • Special leave policy - If employees are required to be absent from work to make alternative arrangements arising from family emergencies, up to 1 day’s leave with pay will normally be granted for each incident (subject to a maximum of 3 days in a 12 month period). Family emergencies may include incidents such as the sudden or unexpected illness of a relative, partner or child, disruption to the care of a dependent or an incident involving children at school/childcare.
  • Family friendly policy (unpaid parental leave) - Unpaid parental leave for up to 18 weeks per child, available from birth or adoption placement, limited to 4 weeks per year up to the child’s 18th birthday. Leave must be taken in blocks of 1 week, or multiples of 1 week. It is not possible to use as single days or multiples of one day, unless a staff member has a child who is disabled. This could be helpful for staff who are unable to attend work for prolonged periods due to childcare needs at this time.  We will also look favourably on extending this provision beyond the statutory allowance wherever possible for any member of staff who requests this due to COVID reasons.
  • Carers policy - The Councils carers' policy provides various paid and unpaid options for carers, a carer being someone who provides support to a dependant who is affected by long term illness, disability or addiction who could not manage without this help. Examples may include a dependant who is ill, older and/or frail or disabled; or where there is a change in circumstances or health of a dependant who is ill, older and/or frail or disabled.

Test and Protect

Staff should ensure they are familiar with the test and protect guidance previously issued. This is available on the Council’s main website at https://www.clacks.gov.uk/coronavirus/managementbriefings/

Staff unable to work (not shielding)

Staff unable to work any contracted hours, as their roles do not allow for homeworking will, wherever possible be allocated alternative duties commensurate with their skills and grade.  This will be in line with the temporary redeployment protocols agreed with our trade union colleagues. We will offer training to help support any employee taking on work of an unfamiliar nature to help them transition should this be an available option for them.

Staff must utilise their annual leave in the normal manner and schedule leave throughout the year.

Staff unable to return or work from home following risk assessment

Staff who have been identified as high risk or had previously been shielding and who are unable to work from home or return to work following a Council risk assessment, are required to liaise with their line manager to discuss and agree how their outstanding annual leave will be utilised for the remainder of the annual leave year. 

Further  engagement will be undertaken with  TU colleagues to identify  a longer term solution for staff that fall into this category.  , It is hoped all staff should be able to achieve some form of return to duty, providing it is safe for them to do so.  Other tasks may also be allocated to be carried out at home if this is appropriate and possible to allow this. 

10 September - Proposed special provision to manage local lockdown

 If there is a local lockdown, we have taken into account the following situations:  

  1. Local lockdown and staff having to manage caring/childcare responsibilities from home whilst continuing to work from home
  2. Local lockdown and staff having to manage caring/childcare responsibilities but  unable to work from home
  3. School Closures and staff having to manage childcare responsibilities from home whilst continuing to work from home,
  4. School Closures and staff having to manage childcare responsibilities and being unable to work from home,
  5. Children required to isolate and staff having to manage childcare responsibilities from home whilst continuing to work from home
  6. Children required to isolate and staff having to manage childcare responsibilities from home whilst unable to work from home

Regarding the situations outlined above, where staff are working from home and balancing childcare/school needs, they will require to liaise with their manager to agree weekly working hours/pattern of work. Changes to work patterns including both working days and hours should be given full consideration by all line managers.

Where the total number of contracted hours cannot be worked and all other possibilities have been exhausted, staff will need to identify and agree with their managers:

  • paid special leave (COVID) of up to 1 day per week.  This is in addition to the special leave policy which is for emergency use/ unplanned leave.  The 1 day per week could be broken down into set hours to be used over numerous days in a single week to help meet caring needs. (For example a member of staff who works 7 hours a day could use  2 half days or 1 hour 30 mins per day) Staff should discuss their particular needs with their manager to agree how this time will be used.
  • any annual leave/ flexi leave/ TOIL/ unpaid days which are proposed to assist with childcare time required
  • Agreement to work hours at an alternative date/time.
  • any periods/ days of unpaid parental leave they wish to apply for/utilise.

Where both parents are working (whether or not with the Council) we would ask that both parents liaise to agree work patterns which will allow childcare to be shared during this period.  This will allow both parents to undertake some, if not all, of their contracted hours and the other measures can then be utilised as outlined above.  If both parents work for the Council, the line mangers may wish to have a discussion and come to an agreement which suits both service needs as much as possible.

  1. staff with no childcare/caring responsibilities unable to work from home,

It is envisaged that this particular example will only arise in  exceptional circumstances. Given the Council is a category 1 responder staff should be able to attend a place of work.

Should this circumstance arise it will be managed on an individual basis with the assistance of HR.

28 August - Display Screen Equipment (DSE)

Firstly a reminder that all employees who are working from home (whether permanently or on rotas or ad hoc) should complete the DSE Self Assessment Form. A copy of the completed form should be sent to hands@clacks.gov.uk for recording on iTrent.

If further equipment is needed to allow an employee to work safely there is a legal obligation on the Council to ensure that this is in place.

Where employees are working mainly or fully from home, it may be appropriate for office furniture to be taken home.  Managers must ensure that they keep an accurate record of all Council property taken home by staff.  If employees are utilising a blended approach, it may be that additional equipment needs to be purchased.  There is no central budget for this, so managers will need to take account of this as they agree working arrangements with staff.  

Office furniture required should be purchased from suppliers on the agreed list.

It is possible that not all staff will be able to accommodate the full equipment needed to keep them working safely within their home environment.  Managers must not allow employees to continue to work at home where this is the case. 

28 August - Travelling for work

One area of work which can cause particular issues during the pandemic is transportation.  There is national guidance available on a variety of travel methods.

All managers should have risk assessments in place which cover any travelling which their teams undertake, but these should be updated to take account of the Covid control measures now required.

28 August - IT Update

Over the past few months IT Services has been providing remote support to staff with a skeleton presence to provide essential cover for computing hardware, putting in network switches, helping staff with remote working solutions including telephones, PC’s, terminals and laptops.  

As we are a support service to you, we are trying to ensure that we do not become a route for transmission of the Coronavirus.  
We have updated our risk assessment and adapted our procedures to maintain cover whilst frustrating any potential transmission routes.

Individual staff members are working proactively, in a planned way, minimising the buildings we visit in any single day. Sometimes we may ask you to return a laptop to IT Services. Please don't come to visit IT without prior arrangement. It would greatly assist us if you would print a copy of your helpdesk call number or attach a label to the laptop bag before leaving it at the drop off point within IT Services.  

We have arranged appointments for non-IT staff to come into the IT area to keep within the permitted numbers of people who can be on the floor. Any laptop / hardware fixes will be done between appointments and we will contact you when you need to call back to collect equipment.

If you require us to visit your site to look at fixed hardware issues, e.g. Whiteboards, networking, etc.,  we will schedule a day and approximate time we plan to undertake the fix.

Once again, thank you to everyone for their support over the past few months.  It has been very challenging for all of us.  If anything, we have all improved our IT skills and found new ways to undertake old tasks.  If you need to contact it Services, the quickest service, available 24x7 is to email us: it@clacks.gov.uk

31 July - Changes to self-isolation

As you may have heard, there has been a change in the requirements to self isolate if you are experiencing symptoms.

The most common symptoms are: 

  • new continuous cough
  • new fever/high temperature (37.8C or greater)
  • new loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste (anosmia)

A new continuous cough is where you:

  • have a new cough that’s lasted for an hour
  • have had 3 or more episodes of coughing in 24 hours
  • are coughing more than usual

A high temperature is feeling hot to the touch on your chest or back (you don’t need to measure your temperature). You may feel warm, cold or shivery.

If you have these symptoms you now have to self-isolate for 10 days.  If someone in your household is showing symptoms, the self isolation period for all others in the household is still 14 days.

Self-isolation means that you do not leave your home unless for essential medical treatment.  Food should be delivered through contactless delivery and you cannot go out (except in your own garden) even for exercise.

Is is important that a test is arranged for anyone experiencing these symptoms arranges a test.   Employees can also arrange a test by using the government portal at https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or phoning 0300 303 2713 (7am - 11pm).  Most Council employees should check the box to say they are an essential worker which will mean they get priority for getting a test.

Managers must ensure that they email emergencyplanning@clacks.gov.uk if an employee is self isolating due to their own symptoms.

As we move into the Autumn it is likely that we could experience significant disruption as employees develop coughs for a number of other reasons.  These employees will still have to self-isolate until tested.  Managers should ensure that their Business Continuity Plans remain up to date and appropriate to deal with a scenario where a significant proportion of their workforce are unavailable at the same time.


31 July - Covid Recording on iTrent

Over the last few months we have asked managers to ensure that iTrent is updated with appropriate COVID absence reasons. This has supported daily reporting to Elected Members, Managers etc as well as external reporting including to the NHS. 

Given the immediate need at the outbreak of the pandemic to ensure we were capturing data we did not create a specific COVID absence scheme rather we asked managers to recorded  under Other Absence. We understand this is now causing additional work for managers and staff in terms of booking leave, flexi etc and the system preventing saving as it may overlap with the COVID absence.

Having reviewed we will from 10/08/20 be extracting all existing COVID data out of the itrent system and deleting all recorded data. Our iTrent team will maintain the exported data and I would ask that going forward from that point any absence types related to COVID (other than sickness) are emailed to itrent@clacks.gov.uk  . At that time please do not record any COVID related absence types in the system, unless sickness related.

When advising the itrent team please provide the staff name, start of COVID absence, end of absence (if applicable), the absence type and the COVID reason (See below).  

In order to confirm accuracy of data we will be issuing data extracts to relevant line managers. We would ask that you review and advise of any amendments/omissions.

If you have any queries regarding this matter please email the iTrent team at itrent@clacks.gov.uk

30 July - Shared Cost AVC

There are two webinar sessions on 18th and 20th August where staff can find out more about the benefit of this scheme. Find out more here: https://www.clacks.gov.uk/coronavirus/latestnews/

30 July - Quarantine

A reminder that all staff who have returned from a country which is not on the exempt list MUST quarantine for 14 days.  If the staff member can work from home they will be able to do this but they must not leave their home address unless for essential medical treatment.

30 July - Kilncraigs staff only

A reminder that the fire alarm will be on test tomorrow morning and so the alarm will sound periodically between 10.15 - 11.45am.  If the alarm continues for more than a few seconds you should evacuate as normal.

24 July - Employees returning to the workplace

A reminder that all employees should be aware of the revised ways of working for the building they are working from before returning to work - in some cases this was issued some time ago, so a reminder may be helpful.  

Staff should also be encouraged to complete the e-learning module on Clacks Academy which takes them through the general principles of the changes we have made.  

All employees should have a discussion with their line manager before returning and this should be documented in the form issued last week.

(More information about Clacks Academy is available via Connect/Human Resources/Learning and Development).

24 July - Employees who are Shielding

The First Minister announced on Thursday that Shielding is expected to be paused at the end of next week.  This means that it may be possible for some people who are Shielding to return to the workplace.  We have already contacted the managers of those who we are aware of to progress individual risk assessments.

If you have a member of staff who is Shielding and would like to return but have not had a message, please email hands@clacks.gov.uk to request an assessment.  

The following information will be required:

  • Employee Name    
  • Basis of proposed return (eg full time, 1 day a week, on a 3 week rota)
  • health condition (if known )
  • brief description of duties including duties which the employee could be asked / redeployed to do within the service if their actual duties are not currently required 
  • normal working location & if different, proposed working location 
  • contact telephone number so I can speak to them regarding their condition and medication 
  • Confirmation that someone has spoken with the employee regarding their return 
24 July - New OH portal

From Monday we will be using a new web portal to arrange Occupational Health referrals. The system is called MY OH and is available by following the link.

For your first use, you will need to click on the link to Register New Account to get your login details. The system is much more user friendly than the Cohort system we have been using up until now. The user guide is available via this page and the portal.

A number of demo sessions are being set up over the next few weeks - if you are interested in attending, please email hands@clacks.gov.uk to arrange to attend one.

The Cohort system will remain in use for all existing referrals.

14 July - Test & Protect 

Test and Protect, Scotland’s approach to implementing the "test, trace, isolate, support" strategy is a public health measure designed to break chains of transmission of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the community.  

It will help Scotland prepare for the next phases, where we are better able to identify where the infection is, so that society and the economy can avoid a return to lockdown and adapt to a new normal.

The NHS will test people who have symptoms, trace people who may have become infected by spending time in close contact with someone who tests positive, and then support those close contacts to self-isolate.  That means if they have the virus they are less likely to pass it on to others.  Employers will play a vital role in ensuring that their employees are aware of and able to follow the public guidance.

What to do

As an employer we follow Public Health Scotland guidance as outlined in Information and Guidance for General (Non-healthcare) Setting available from Health Protection Scotland

If a member of staff becomes unwell with coronavirus symptoms at work they should leave work  to self‑isolate straight away and, if possible, wear a face covering on route and avoid public transport. 

Employees should then arrange for a test to be carried out by logging on to NHS INform website or, if they are unable to get online, they should call 0800 028 2816.

Until the staff member has been tested and told it is safe to leave home, they should not attend work under any circumstances. It is important  that Managers reassure  staff members that by not coming into work, they are following Government guidelines and will continue to be paid as normal. The staff member should not  feel, or be left feeling, that they have to come in to their place of work. 

Key links and contact details: 

  • NHS Inform
  • NHS inform (Telephone) - 0800 028 2816
  • Isolation Note
  • HR Contacts - 01259 45 followed by 2167 / 2171 / 2179 or 2166
13 May - Guidance on the Leave Buy Back Scheme Annual Leave

At the end of last week, guidance was issued on the use of annual leave during the COVID-19 pandemic and managers asked to discuss planned annual leave with all members of their staff.

With the guidance now in place, we have also considered how the leave buy back scheme is impacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The scheme, part of our commitment to flexible working, allows employees the opportunity to supplement their annual leave entitlement by buying additional leave and making payment for it via monthly deductions from their salary.

As outlined in our earlier guidance, it is important to understand that everyone needs to take a break and it is good practice to encourage employees to use a proportionate amount of their leave entitlement during this period where this is possible.

We also recognise that, for example, planned trips away/abroad cannot now be undertaken and that some staff may as a consequence no longer require the additional leave that they have purchased.  In order to identify whether or not staff wish to continue to participate in the scheme, HRBPs will shortly be in touch with services advising which staff are participating in the scheme and will ask managers to discuss with their staff whether or not they wish to remain in the scheme. For those that do not, we will refund any payments made in a future salary payment. In order for these conversations to be had we will suspend leave payments for May.

It is important to note that employees cannot carry forward bought leave into the next leave year.

7 May - Guidance on the Treatment of Annual Leave during COVID-19

Over the last few weeks CoSLA and the national unions have been finalising their guidance on how annual leave should be utilised during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Managers are asked to review and ensure implementation of the following guidance. Your HR Business Partner is available to assist with any queries/areas of clarification that may arise.

Please note this guidance does not apply to teachers’ annual leave as leave practices amongst teaching staff remain, however it will apply to the associated professionals in education.

Line mangers should speak to all members of staff to discuss Annual Leave so that Services can understand what staff resources will be available in the coming months. Line managers will need to balance service delivery with individual staff member needs to ensure fairness and consistency. Staff members should be supported during this difficult time and reaching agreement with them on planned Annual Leave is fundamental to this process. Line managers should speak to their HR Business Partner to discuss any concerns they have or if they encounter any issues while trying to reach agreement with members of their teams.

Staff Health & Wellbeing

As part of our duty of care and the health and safety commitment to our employees, it is important to understand that regardless of what role is undertaken, everyone needs to take a break.  This is key to ensuring good health and wellbeing of all staff.

The proportionate use of annual leave across the calendar year can be a health and safety and wellbeing concern. This is even more relevant at the current time when employees are facing this unprecedented crisis. The fact that a planned trip away cannot be undertaken does not mean that annual leave cannot be taken but it may mean that employees will not be able to enjoy their leave to its fullest given the lock-down restrictions.  It will be good practice to encourage employees to use a proportionate amount of leave entitlement during this period where this is possible.

Taking annual leave is the best way to ensure good health and wellbeing in these unprecedented times.  This is particularly important if employees are experiencing stress, work related or otherwise, due to the current crisis. 

It is important now more than ever that personal circumstances are also taken into account in discussing an employee’s annual leave with them.

No employee should be forced to take annual leave that was booked prior to the crisis just because it is in the diary.  If a planned trip can no longer be taken it is not unreasonable for an individual to wish to change their arrangements to make the most of their leave when they can.

You should be flexible in responding to requests to change leave to accommodate changed individual circumstances and service needs.  You will need to understand the individual circumstances of your staff and how best to offer support – for some that will be a break from work, for others taking leave might exacerbate feelings of isolation and may not be the best outcome for that individual.  Attention needs to be paid to employees mental, as well as physical, health needs.

Workers who are shielding, have underlying health issues or caring responsibilities and unable to work

Any member of staff who is not doing essential work and who can’t work from home or are shielding, have childcare or other caring responsibilities or are in a higher risk category, should be encouraged to schedule a reasonable period of annual leave and you should discuss and agree this with them. 

It is important that all staff in this category understand and observe this guidance for their own health and wellbeing and avoid accruing too much leave for the second half of the leave year.   As a manager you need to ensure you treat all categories of employee in a fair and equal manner when considering annual leave arrangements. 

Key Workers

It is recognised that some key workers may need to cancel leave to assist with the crisis but managers should try to avoid enforcing the cancellation of leave wherever possible – those workers still need to take a break to remain fresh and effective.  It may be that two weeks off may not be possible at the current time but discuss how employees can reasonably take a break taking into account service demands and make sure they are able to schedule longer periods of leave later in the year.

Leave Carry-over

The Government has relaxed the rules around carry-over of statutory leave in response to Covid-19 easing the requirements on business to ensure that workers take the statutory amount of annual leave in any one year and allowing up to 4 weeks of unused leave to be carried into the next 2 leave years.  The SLG have considered and agreed that contractual leave will be treated in the same way. In addition the normal rules for carry forward balances to be used by 30th June are relaxed this year and next.

It is however recognised that many employees will currently not be in roles where the demands of the job will prevent them from taking their planned annual leave.  It is therefore anticipated that there will not be a need for many staff to arrange to carry forward their annual leave unless operational requirements prevent them from doing so.

FAQ’s

A brief FAQ document has been prepared for all staff and can be accessed on the staff FAQ pages at https://www.clacks.gov.uk/coronavirus/stafffaqs/ 

Key Principles for managers to consider

  • Line Managers should start discussing planned annual leave with all members of staff.
  • Personal circumstances should be taken into account in discussions with staff about their annual leave. 
  • A blanket approach – in either cancelling all leave or forcing employees to use up their leave during the crisis - is unlikely to assist the Council or retain the motivation of our staff.
  • Employees and managers should, as usual, discuss and agree what leave can be taken during this period taking into account service delivery requirements and the need for employees to be able to rest and recharge.
  • Unless there are any extenuating circumstances it would be good practice to honour any leave which was approved before Covid-19.
  • New leave requests should to be considered and approved, wherever possible, by line managers.  It is important to ensure that employees are not working for protracted periods without a break.
  • There is an expectation that all employees will continue to take a proportionate amount of annual leave.
  • If due to the current situation employees wish to cancel or amend annual leave this should be discussed and agreed as per normal practice
  • When the normal delivery of services resume, annual leave requests will need to be managed in line with our operational requirements, the conditions of service and the Government’s extension to the leave carry-over period.
  • Given the fluid circumstances to the Covid-19 situation, these arrangements will be kept under regular review.

7 May - Accessing People Manager 

Managers now have the ability to access not only employee self service, but the people manager functions of iTrent outwith the Council environment.  

People Manager can be accessed through the link in Employee Self Service.

When accessing this you must ensure you comply with the principles of data protection.  If you are unfamiliar with these principles please ensure you complete the mandatory training available on clacksadacademy.  Always keep your passwords confidential and never download or store information on any non Council device.

It is important to be aware that any breach of personal data must be reported to the Councils Data Protection Officer (Annette McEnaney on 01259 45 2112 or amcenaney@clacks.gov.uk) immediately so it can be assessed, reported and investigated in line with relevant Council policies. Serious data breaches require to be notified to the ICO which could also result in significant fines being made against the Council.  

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23 April - Casual (Relief) Staff

It is recognised that during the COVID-19 outbreak  there will be disruption to established patterns of work and arrangements for maintaining service delivery. This may result in workers whose names are on casual worker lists experiencing a change in the offers of work made that they can accept. 

CoSLA have recently issued a circular in relation to payments to casual staff impacted by COVID-19. The arrangements broadly align to the principles we had looked to implement at a local level.

The circular suggests  that compensation be considered for each pay period commencing after 20/3/20 (when schools were closed by the Scottish Government). It is suggested that it should be reviewed on a monthly basis and discontinued when it is judged that working arrangements  have regularised. 

The following eligibility criteria have been recommended:

  • If a casual worker has not been offered work because of service disruption related to COVID-19, consider for compensation.
  • If a casual worker has been offered and accepts work but has been offered less work than normal overall because of service disruption related to COVID-19, consider for compensation.
  • If a casual worker cannot accept work because of being symptomatic or ill because of COVID-19, or because they are self-isolation in line with medical guidelines, consider for compensation.
  • If a casual worker cannot accept work because they are "shielding" consider for compensation.
  • If a casual worker has been offered and declines work, they will not normally be eligible for compensation. This includes offers of work of a type that they would not normally do but are capable of accepting.
  • There will be no need to consider compensation if a casual member of staff is clearly already earning more than normal.

Our payroll and HR teams are currently reviewing those staff who had been engaged on a casual basis from January through to March and determining relevant  compensatory payments. It may be that some staff will be engaged and making claims as normal and as such no compensatory payment would be due unless, as a result of the pandemic, they are working fewer hours than would have been anticipated.

Similar arrangements are in place for Supply Teachers based on SNCT Circular  JS/20/78  which outlines if a supply teacher has been on a supply list during the 2019/20 school year and has been engaged for the period 1st January 2020 to 31st March 2020, the mechanism for determining the compensatory payment for loss of expected earnings until the end of June will be calculated with reference to the average hours worked over the three month period. 

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22 April - Scottish Government Cyber Resilience Team Update

Please follow the link for this useful Cyber Resilience Notice about keeping safe online.

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20 April - PPE Guidance

Please follow the link for the latest cascade on PPE guidance from the emergency planning team.

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14 April 2020 - Members of staff who are Shielding 

Over the last week the Scottish Government has written to those individuals identified by the NHS who are at risk of severe illness if they catch the Coronavirus (also known as COVID-19). This is because these individuals have an underlying disease or health condition that means if they catch the virus, they are more likely to be at risk of serious illness than others. 

These individuals, who may include members of our staff, must stay at home at all times and avoid all face-to-face contact for at least twelve weeks from receipt of their letter, except from contact with carers and healthcare workers who they must see as part of their medical care. In order for us to record any staff members who are included in the Shielding Programme a new absence reason COVID-19 Shielding has been created. This can be used against Homeworking or Special leave (paid).  It is important that as part of your regular contact with staff recorded as Self Isolation High Risk No Symptoms that you ask if they have received a Shield letter. Please ensure iTrent is updated to reflect any staff that have received a letter.

A National helpline has been set up for those who are over 70, pregnant, in receipt of the flu vaccination for an underlying health condition or registered disabled.  These people are not within the shielding group, but may have to take extra care of themselves during this period.  The helpline signposts people to sources of help, but some calls will come through to the Council to provide support.  It is intended to provide support to those who are vulnerable and do not have a good support network.  The number is to call is 0800 111 4000.

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14 April 2020 - Annual Leave

Staff are reminded that annual leave requested continues to stand.  If there is an urgent need for an employee to be at work during a period when leave was scheduled, this should be discussed with the relevant manager and the leave cancelled in iTrent.  If an employee is on special leave, the annual leave should remain in place.

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14 April 2020 - Redeployment 

In order to support critical services, we will shortly be issuing a staff wide skills audit aimed at identifying those who may be able to assist with service delivery in other areas of the Council. This will include looking at staff skills, experiencing and qualifications across all areas of our organisation, to ensure we find the best fitting staff members who have capacity to support the Council's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Managers are asked to support this skills audit as a priority, and ensure that returns are made as soon as possible. Full guidance on temporary deployment of staff to support essential services will be made available shortly.

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14 April 2020 - Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Clackmannnanshire Council continues to have good levels of PPE available, with additional supplies on order and due for delivery shortly.  If PPE is required, a request should be emailed to hands@clacks.gov.uk (phone x2225 if urgent).

Guidance on what PPE should be used and when is available on the Health Protection Scotland website https://www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/a-to-z-of-topics/covid-19/.  It is important that you check this regularly as this information is being constantly reviewed and updated.

Facilities are available to dispose of PPE which may have been contaminated with COVID-19.  Such waste should be removed as soon as it is safe to do so, and double bagged.  Each residential premises will have their own arrangements in place for storage and collection.  For staff working from Kelliebank Depot, this can be placed in the Clinical Waste area at the back of the depot.  In Kilncraigs, a bin is available in Room 0.01 for this type of waste.

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14 April 2020 - Staff Testing for COVID-19 

A process is now in place which allows us to get people tested to ensure that our critical staff members can get back to work.  If you have a staff member who is having to self-isolate due to symptoms, or a family member displaying symptoms, please email emergencyplanning@clacks.gov.uk with the following details:

Name

Date of Birth

Service

Role

Home address

Contact Phone number

Symptoms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Depending on the level of demand for testing, these requests may be prioritised based on factors such as the number of others able to fulfil the role and the criticality of the role being carried out.  This prioritisation is happening across Scotland using the same matrix.

As yet there is no test available to test for those who may have had it in the past and built up an immunity.

Please remember to keep checking the staff website at https://www.clacks.gov.uk/coronavirus/staffinformation/ for updates and further guidance.

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9 April 2020 - Message from Senior Leadership Group 

Colleagues

As we go into the Easter bank holiday weekend, it’s clear for all to see that this year will be unlike any other we have ever experienced. You will have heard the words "unprecedented", "challenging" and "difficult" quite a lot over the last few weeks and no one can argue the impact that the Coronavirus is having on every aspect of our lives. Although as Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand reminded us today, the Easter bunny is an essential worker, so Easter will certainly still go ahead in some capacity.

We have been filled with a sense of pride on a daily basis by the way our staff are going above and beyond to enable us as a Council to continue to support the most vulnerable people in our community.

Staff from services which are currently not operating have been volunteering or are being redeployed to keep other critical front line services going. Some are taking calls via our Community Support Helpline from those most in need, while others are helping deliver food and medicines in the community. If you have volunteered and haven’t been contacted yet, don’t worry we’ll get back to you soon and very much appreciate your continued support.

Huge effort has also been put in by colleagues to ensure that guidance about social distancing and advice on appropriate protective equipment for specific roles is clear and well communicated. We have been working hard to ensure we have enough PPE supplies to keep our essential staff safe which is a key priority for us.

Our IT Team have also been working hard to ensure that staff who are able to work from home have the necessary equipment to do this. But it hasn’t been an easy task as demand had outstripped our supply and we appreciate your patience with this.

Whether you are front line and out and about or working from home you are part of this critical workforce and together we are playing a key role in "Keeping Clackmannanshire Connected".

It’s equally important to ensure that we are supporting all our colleagues in these uncertain times. We have created a staff page on our internet https://www.clacks.gov.uk/coronavirus/staffinformation/ which can be easily accessed from home computers, laptops or phones. On there, you will find the latest staff updates, guidance and advice on wellbeing, particularly if you are working remotely. We are working to make this even better and we would encourage you to check regularly for updates. Both managers and colleagues are reminded of the importance of keeping in touch with each other through weekly video meetings, calls, Whats App chats or whatever method that is secure and mutually agreed by you. Now more than ever it’s important to make sure that we remain connected to each other.

For those of you who are unwell, or who have families members who are unwell, please know that our thoughts are with you and we hope you get better soon.

If you are off work over the course of the Easter weekend please remember the key national message: stay home; protect NHS; save lives. This is the big contribution we can all make.

Where possible, we hope you all have a well deserved break over Easter.  Very many thanks for all of your continued commitment and efforts.

Stuart, Fiona and Pete

Strategic Directors

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9 April 2020 - Update on IT remote working programme 

Colleagues

We want to give you an update on the IT remote working programme that is being implemented to enable people to work from home. Our IT team have been working hard to ensure that, during these difficult times, staff who are able to work from home have the necessary equipment to do this.  We have had to prioritise allocation, however we have aimed to ensure that all critical services have staff set up to work remotely.  We now have 290 people working remotely and regularly logging into Citrix.  

We have ordered more new laptops from our suppliers but due to current high demand nationally, they are estimating a delivery date for these in mid-May.  In the meantime, the team are doing all they can to try and source local suppliers and get as many staff who are needed to run critical services working from home as soon as possible.  

We are also looking at options to make the best use of existing IT kit (older laptops; PCs and Terminals) and enabling these to be set up for people to access Citrix from home in a secure and safe way.   We are currently testing options for this and will come back to you shortly with a further update.  

In the meantime can I ask all services to identify any laptops that are currently sitting on desks, in cupboards or in homes which are surplus to requirement email IT at it@clacks.gov.uk know on  in order that we can arrange for these to be assigned.

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31 March 2020 - Redeployment and Staff Requirements

Over the last 2 weeks the Council’s Incident Management Team have been responding to and dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Working with managers, unions and staff across all Council areas we have had to rapidly identify and develop new ways of working to ensure we are able to meet the needs of our communities in these difficult and exceptional times.

The response from our staff and unions who have risen to this challenge has meant we are able to continue providing services where they are needed. The contributions from right across our Council area are recognised and greatly appreciated.

During this time we have also put together a staff information portal, created and answered a number of questions/concerns raised by our colleagues as well as creating a fact v fiction page. The responses we have given have been informed by our HR Colleagues, taking account of local policy, terms and conditions and government guidance in a fast changing environment. We have recently been advised that COSLA has also been leading a working group, with representatives from the national trades unions – UNISON, UNITE, GMB, SSTA, EIS, SLS, AHDS, NASUWT and produced a comprehensive set of FAQs. Having reviewed these it is encouraging to see that the approach our Council has taken, and the measures we have put in place, prior to having seen sight of the CoSLA paper aligns to the national position.

We have also received a copy of a letter, agreed jointly between the Scottish Government and Scottish TUC, which focuses on ensuring fair work during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Scottish Government have high expectations of how fair work principles should be applied during the current crisis. This means an approach where workers, trade unions and employers work together constructively to reach the right decisions on all workplace issues that arise throughout this crisis. As a Council we agree with these principles, demonstrated through our recent signing of our Working Together Agreement, and our engagement with our union colleagues throughout this crisis. The commitments outlined in the letter are commitments we as a Council fully endorse.

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30 March 2020 - No Mail Today

There will be no mail deliveries or uplift today due to local industrial action at the Alloa sorting office. At this time we are unsure when the situation will be resolved.

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30 March 2020 - TechOne

I appreciate that services are dealing with their own particular priorities however, corporately we must ensure that we pay suppliers within our contract terms and enable them to continue to provide vital services to the Council.

Can all users please check their Workflow in Technology One to ensure they are approving requisitions, goods receipting orders when they have been received which allow invoices to be matched. Can all invoices received also be passed to creditors either by email to Creditors@clacks.gov.uk or in the creditors mail tray located at the front of the office on floor 2.

Access to Technology One outwith Citrix

Managers can approve documents from any Council mobile device or Technology One can be accessed out with Citrix through any internet web browser (preferably google chrome) using the URL https://cla.t1cloud.com and entering your username and password.

Username and Password

Your username will be the first part of your email address eg the username for email address jbloggs@clacks.gov.uk would be jbloggs.

If you do not know your password, you can select the Forgotten password? option from the log on screen,

You will then be prompted to enter your username or work email address. The response email will be sent to your work email address as held on the system, so please do not enter a personal email address, as the link will not be sent.

If you do not have access to your work emails, please email creditors@clacks.gov.uk and your password will be reset for you and you will be emailed back with your new password.

Thank you for your support at this difficult time.

Lindsay Sim
Chief Finance Officer
e: lsim@clacks.gov.uk

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26th March 2020 - Redeployment and Staff Requirements

Over the last 2 weeks we have been asking, and continue to ask, that services provide information regarding what capacity there may be within their teams for staff to be redeployed. The redeployment could  support other critical Council services which are experiencing higher levels of staff shortages. 

In addition at the start of this week we launched a staff survey seeking volunteers which will also support continued service delivery.

This information is being collated and reviewed on a daily basis.

If you have an urgent requirement for additional resources to support critical service delivery  please forward the completed attached template to emergencyplanning@clacks.gov.uk

Your requirements will be reviewed and compared against the information we have received from our staff volunteering survey and the information provided from services regarding potential capacity. Where we identify staff that may be redeployed or have volunteered and match your skills requirement we will advise both you and the relevant manager so engagement can be undertaken with the employee(s).

You should be aware that volunteers may decline any offer of engagement.

Staff members should only be  redeployed to a role that matches their skills and that they are comfortable to undertake. No staff member, whether volunteer or redeployee, will be engaged without the following:

  • A relevant  induction,
  • Necessary training to undertake the duties of the role,
  • Required PPE and
  • Training on any relevant risk assessments related to the area of work they will be undertaking.

It is important to emphasise that we are reliant on the goodwill of both staff and volunteers  to undertake these roles during this unprecedented period.

We are also working with our Trade Union Colleagues to reassure staff who may be redeployed that this is a temporary measure to support critical service delivery and they will return to their substantive role on conclusion.

We would also express our thanks hanks all all our staff who have volunteered their flexibility and understanding are greatly appreciated,

Any staff member wishing to complete the questionnaire can access at:

https://bit.ly/2J9bqyu 

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24th March 2020 – Essential Staffing – updated list

Created: Wednesday, 25 March 2020 09:00

Message for all staff regarding essential working.

The last few weeks have been unprecedented and as a Council, we have had to change our working practices in order to ensure we deliver essential services to the most vulnerable in our communities.

We understand that our staff will be anxious and have concerns and we appreciate the support we have received and the remarkable efforts made from across all Council service areas. Thank you.

Government advice and guidance has been changing at an incredibly fast pace. The welfare of our staff remains a priority for us.  In addition, we are faced with the difficult challenge of delivering statutory services to meet the needs of our communities.

Over the last few days we have been developing a list of key workers who we have identified as being critical to maintain essential council services.
The broad categories identified are:

Essential (required to be at work)

  • Care staff (Ludgate, Menstrie House and Woodside Unit)
  • Catering Staff at the School Hubs and Class Cuisine
  • Refuse Collection staff
  • Streetcare staff
  • Burial grounds staff
  • Designated Social Work staff across HSCP, Criminal Justice and Children’s Services (as directed by Chief Social Work Officer)
  • Registrars
  • Council Incident Officers (as directed by Emergency Planning Officer)
  • Fleet (as directed by Senior Manager)
  • Cleaning and facilities staff for Council premises that remain operational
  • Designated Finance & Revenues staff (as direct by Chief Finance Officer)
  • Health and Safety
  • IMT Comms Officer
  • Tenancy Services and Homelessness (as directed by Team Leader)
  • Designated Environmental Health staff (as directed by Senior Manager)
  • School Hub/Key Worker support/Online learning/ (As directed by the Chief Education Officer)
  • Senior Managers (Corporate rota being development)
  • Contact Centre Staff (as directed by Team Leader)

Essential (homeworking)

  • Procurement Manager
  • Designated Finance & Revenues staff (as direct by Chief Finance Officer)
  • Payroll
  • Communication Staff (with the exception of IMT comms officer)
  • Business Standards (as directed by Senior Manager)
  • Tenancy Services and Homelessness (as directed by Team Leader)

Essential Standby (at home but may be called upon to report to work)

  • Registrar Support
  • IT (as advised by Team Leader)
  • Designated Social Work staff across HSCP, Criminal Justice and Children’s Services Staff (as directed by Chief Social Work Officer)
  • All Land Services Staff
  • Road Services
  • Housing Repairs
  • Other Catering staff (primary schools)
  • Planned work and compliance team

In addition to the above a number of staff have been identified to complete particular pieces of work to reduce normal services. These staff should continue to report to work as normal until the work is completed.

Staff who are on the list, should be reassured that we will be taking all steps necessary to ensure their continued safety at work. They should continue to follow good practice by washing hands regularly and ensuring social distancing, as advised by Public Health Scotland, is followed.  With less staff in buildings we will be able to maintain the recommended guidelines for social distancing.

Staff who are not office based should also follow the recommended guidelines and liaise with the line managers on how best to achieve this.

Services will be required to review their Risk Assessments based on any changes to working practices.

The Council’s health and safety team will be able to provide guidance if required. Our H&S Colleagues are available at hands@clacks.gov.uk.

Staff who have not been identified on the above list should not attend work at this time to comply with both UK and Scottish Government guidance. 

If you are able to work from home and have the facilities to do so, you should ensure that you speak with your line manager to identify work priorities.

Staff who are not on the list but are unable to work from home may be able to utilise their own laptops and PCs to review policies, procedures and research practices and complete mandatory training which can now be accessed through the dedicated staff page on this staff portal - www.clacks.gov.uk/staff (then select links).

We would also encourage all staff members who are working from home to ensure they are taking steps to look after their wellbeing during this time.

This includes: