During the coronavirus pandemic, there are areas within the Council which will be put under unprecedented pressure as staff become affected by the virus in a range of ways, or demand from our communities increases. To deal with these exceptional demands, we have taken steps to ensure that we can have a workforce which is flexible, and ready to fill gaps in provision where they arise.
Our temporary redeployment guidance provides a framework from which we can fill these gaps in provision by temporarily redeploying staff who have the correct skills and experience into different service areas within the Council. Staff should be re-assured that this guidance will only be used in exceptional circumstances, and we will ensure that those staff members who are redeployed are fully trained, inducted, and we will be taking take every step to ensure their safety through adequate risk assessments, the provision of suitable PPE, and ensuring redeployee’s are suitable for a post. In addition we will do everything we can to try meet the needs of our employee’s by taking into account their personal circumstances.
The ability to be flexible, and supportive of essential services is one of the key ways in which we can all help the Council meet the unprecedented demands which the coronavirus is creating. If you have been approached about temporary redeployment by your manager, please ensure you read the guidance and raise any questions you may have as soon as possible.
What is temporary redeployment?
Temporary redeployment is where staff are redeployed to an essential job role due to identified gaps in service provision. The job role will be one which the identified staff member is appropriately qualified, skilled and will be trained to carry out. The period of temporary redeployment could last from a few weeks to a few months, and will depend entirely on both the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic, and on the availability of regular staff members (who may not be available due to self isolation for example).
During temporary redeployment, staff may be reassigned to:
Which staff will be required to be temporarily redeployed?
Commencing shortly, the Council will begin a staff-wide skills audit, sending pre-populated spreadsheets to managers of all service areas. Completion of these spreadsheets should be considered a priority, and mandatory task. The skills audit will ask managers and staff, to provide information on their current situation; this will identify the generic and transferable skills/qualifications and experience that staff can provide. This information will then be cross-referenced with the Council’s iTrent HR data to give a complete picture of our Clackmannanshire Council workforce.
The Skills Audit will cover all members of staff from Clackmannanshire Council, except for teaching, and those working within the Health and Social Care Partnership. Full and part time staff are
included. Permanent, temporary and supply/casual staff are included. Where necessary and appropriate, temporary and supply/casual contracts can be extended if staff agree and should this be necessary in meeting critical service demands.
Any member of staff working at home may be given appropriate alternative tasks to complete other than those of their substantive job.
Some staff who fall into the "vulnerable persons" category may, depending on their medical condition, still be able to work. In addition The Chief Medical Officer has issued guidance for the management of Health Care Workers with underlying medical conditions. The risk factors outlined in this guidance, along with the nature of an employee’s job role, will be used to undertake a risk assessment to determine whether or not an employee should be allowed to work and if they could be temporarily deployed should circumstances require it. The Council will take all individual circumstances into consideration, and will only ask people to fill positions where it is appropriate and safe to do so.
Staff with specific caring responsibilities may not be available for full temporary redeployment and will only be deployed where this is safe, reasonable and practicable. We understand that meeting care needs will be difficult in the current circumstance especially where schools are closed and alternative carers will not be available. We would like to reassure you that we will work with staff to ensure that their personal circumstances are taken into account.
Will temporary redeployment be voluntary or mandatory?
We will attempt to match all employees to a preferred role and wherever possible with the agreement of available staff.
However, the Council is a Category 1 responder under the Civil Contingencies Act and essential council services are at risk unless we identify available skilled staff and deploy them to specific essential job roles as required and where this is considered reasonable. This will take into account the suitability of the staff, the job role, the skills/qualification and knowledge of staff, location of the job, any issues with travel, the hours of work, ability to work shifts and any individual circumstances.
We assure you that we will do everything we can to keep staff safe and that we will take into account staff members personal circumstances, however these are exceptional measures which we undertake to use only where the circumstances are equally as exceptional. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented the Council with an unprecedented and challenging set of circumstances and we are asking staff to be as flexible as possible in helping us meet the needs of our citizens.
What job roles might staff be temporarily deployed to and will there be training?
Due to the diverse range of services we deliver, and the nature of the COVID-10 pandemic, there is not an exhaustive list of service areas where we may be required to initiate temporary redeployment. However, essential council roles will likely cover the following areas:
Some of the roles may not be existing roles and there will need to be flexibility in the roles carried out.
In meeting these demands, temporary redeployment to job roles will be explained clearly by the new line manager, and there will be individual discussions with the service to see if the member of staff is capable, skilled and able to undertake the job. A suitable induction will also be given to all those undertaking new roles.
Any necessary training or refresher training and support will be provided throughout the temporary redeployment. Where possible all training and refresher training will be carried out by e-learning or webinar, and only where absolutely necessary face-to-face training will be provided with appropriate infection control measures in place.
What safeguards are in place?
Clackmannnashire Council will ensure that staff should not work excessive hours or be placed in a job role that would compromise safe practice or the health and safety of staff or service users. Temporary redeployment across locations and areas must comply with health, safety, security and risk management arrangements, including the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) and arrangements for administrative purposes.
The risk factors outlined in specific guidance for staff groups, along with the nature of an employee’s job role, will be used to undertake a risk assessment to determine whether or not an employee is capable of work and if they could be temporarily deployed should circumstances require it. Risk assessment will be carried out by competent and trained individuals from the Council’s Health and Safety team.
Staff should get proper rest breaks and breaks between shifts which comply, unless otherwise agreed, with the working time directive.
There may be temporary redeployment to jobs which require membership of SSSC/GTC etc. or require PVG membership. Existing procedures may be subject to change based on guidance from professional bodies and Disclosure Scotland, with accelerated processes put in place where possible to process appropriate checks. The Council will also only redeploy individuals to positions which require SSSC/GTC registration where the individual already has this membership.
What terms and conditions will apply to the temporary redeployment?
Line Management - during the period of temporary redeployment staff will be managed by an allocated line manager, but they should maintain contact, wherever possible, with their usual manager or service with an agreed contact point who they can contact for support or information. This is considered critical to ensuring the on going health and well being of our staff members. Line management delegations will also be adjusted on iTrent to ensure the proper management of sickness / annual leave, and other leave.
The Council recognises that staff are being asked to work under unprecedented circumstances. We would therefore seek to re-assure staff that we will continue to support them at all times throughout the pandemic, and in particular throughout the lifespan of all temporary redeployment roles.
Pay - staff will continue to be paid their current rate of pay for the contracted hours of their substantive job. Any additional hours worked beyond their normal contracted hours will be paid in line with overtime arrangements and public holiday working arrangements or separate local agreement on public holidays.
Higher Duties – where it is identified that the job role is of a higher grade of a redeployee and the staff member agrees to undertake the higher duty, the temporarily undertaking higher duties arrangements and payment will apply from the first day of undertaking the higher duties. This will be identified at the start of the redeployment.
Hours of Work - it may be necessary to work shifts, a different shift pattern or other working arrangement for which appropriate payments will be made. Any changes to a staff members normal hours of work will be with agreement and taking into account individual circumstances during discussions about hours of work and working patterns. We are asking staff to be as flexible as possible which may mean getting very little notice of when they should start, however, should staff need time to get organised then this will be agreed with the manager.
Additional Hours beyond Contracted Hours - where additional hours of work are agreed, all efforts will be made to comply with the working time directive, unless otherwise agreed, and this will be monitored using the normal arrangements in place, ensuring that safe practices are observed. Payment for additional hours is in line with the overtime and public holiday arrangements. A temporary amendment to contract will be issued where the additional hours are for a longer period.
Standby/Call Out or Sleeping In – any need for standby/call out or sleeping in will be paid in line with the working arrangements allowances.
Car Travel/Car Sharing/Use of Own Car – if it is necessary for staff to use their own car for business travel and they are willing to do so they should ensure that their insurance policy permits them to use their car for business travel. Business travel mileage will be payable for eligible expenses.
Where car insurance does not permit business use, staff members should arrange for use of Council pool cars, in line with current policies.
Excess Travel Costs / Subsistence – any excess travel costs to and from the temporary base, beyond the normal commute to work, during the period of responding to COVID-19, will be met.
Any eligible expenses relating to subsistence can be claimed.
What if staff no longer wish to continue in the temporary redeployment?
We are asking staff to remain as flexible as possible as we are required to focus on maintaining essential services. However, any particular concerns should be discussed with their allocated line manager in the first instance, followed up with the Council’s HR team and/or appropriate trade union where necessary. We will only continue with redeployments where they are absolutely necessary and we will do everything possible to support staff during any redeployment into an essential role.