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Working in a council building

Staff in an office based role should be working from home, wherever possible. There are however some limited exceptions to this, such as for operational or business need or for health and wellbeing reasons.

Easing of national restrictions

A 4-step plan (or roadmap) to ease lockdown restrictions in England was announced on Monday 22 February. We are now in step 3 of the plan.

There will be a minimum of 5 weeks between each step to limit the risk of infections and hospitalisations, with at least 1 week's advance notice of the changes in restrictions.

Restrictions will be lifted across the whole of England at the same time with no return to regional tiers.

What does it mean for the council in terms of work going forward?

From Monday 21 June onwards, if you can continue working from home you should do.

While lockdown restrictions are easing, we recognise the challenge faced by working parents, those with caring responsibilities and the impact that restrictions have had on physical and emotional wellbeing.

Please speak to your line manager or head of service if there are particular issues which affect you and the way you work so that, together we can try and find a solution which works for you and your family, to make sure we get through this together.

Wherever possible, office based staff should work from home. However due to operatrional requirements or service demand, some staff may need to work from our office buildings.

Before you can work in a council building again you must undertake the following before you can return:

  • watch the informational video on working in a council building
  • complete the passport to work online form - there will also be the option of undertaking an individual risk assessment. If you have any concerns please speak with your line manager about this.

These are located on our staff guidance page.

All staff working from home should have a current working from home risk assessment.

There is also a frequently asked questions section below.

You should also familiarise yourself and understand the safe systems of work that have been put in place to make buildings COVID-secure.

It is strongly recommended that staff wear face coverings in workplace settings (unless exempt), where social distancing may be difficult and where they will come into contact with people they do not normally meet, such as when entering and leaving a building and when walking around a building.

You do NOT have to wear a face covering while at your desk or in your own office.

Visits from non-council staff, including external and third party suppliers, must be kept to a minimum to avoid any unnecessary contact. However, if it is essential, a meeting can take place if all other options, such as a Microsoft Teams call, have been considered. You must follow the guidance on our visitors to council buildings page.

Our main buildings, County Hall, Bridlington Town Hall and the Goole Offices, have now been fitted with appropriate signage and floor markings to advise staff of the new systems in place and hand sanitiser stations have also been installed at various locations throughout the buildings.

Similar measures have also been put in place at all our buildings and have been determined by service areas in conjunction with safety services. It is important that all staff, regardless of where they are based, follow all public health guidance.

FAQs

Now that you have read the above you may have some more questions.

We have tried to anticipate some of your questions below.

What is the overall message to staff?

Where possible, staff in office based roles should work from home. However due to opearational requirements or service demands, some staff may need to work from our office buildings.

Before you do you should follow the steps on our guidance for staff page which includes the passport to work form. When on site follow all COVID-secure measures.

If I am to continue working from home, should I complete a working from home self assessment?

If you have agreed with your line manager that you can continue to work from home, and you have not done one already, you must complete a working from home self assessment.

If you have already completed this and your circumstances change, for example your working environment at home, it is important that you update the assessment to make sure we have current information.

What should I do if I need to work in the office?

You should only attend work if you cannot reasonably work from home.

Before you return to the office you need to discuss this with your line manager.

You must complete the passport to work online form in conjunction with your line manager. This will confirm that you do not have any symptoms of COVID-19 and that you understand the new safety measures that have been put in place.

From 1 April, all staff are also strongly advised to take 2 lateral flow tests (LFT) per week. Find out more about lateral flow testing.

In addition to this, you will be offered an individual risk assessment where you will have the opportunity to share any concerns that you have about your circumstances or personal characteristics so that the council is able to support you with your return. The passport to work form and individual risk assessment are available on our staff guidance page.

What should I do if I am partly to work from the office, and partly from home, but the IT equipment that I currently have does not permit me to work from more than one location?

The council provides IT equipment which fully supports agile and remote working. If there is a new requirement this will need to be discussed with your line manager.

I have IT issues that are affecting my ability to work. What should I do?

If you have a fault with a council device please log the issue on the IT Service Desk, in the normal manner. If the issue is not related to a fault with a council device, please discuss it with your line manager.

What is the position on wearing face coverings in council offices?

Following advice from Public Health England and the Public Health Team within the council, staff are recommended to wear face coverings in council offices where social distancing may be difficult and where they will come into contact with people they do not normally meet, such as when entering and leaving a building and when travelling around a building.

Specific face covering guidance relates to different roles and environments across the council in accordance with your duties. If you are unclear of this please speak with your manager.

What measures has the council taken to make sure workplaces are COVID-19 secure?

Detailed planning has been undertaken and is ongoing to ensure that council premises are classed as COVID-19 secure. This has involved a number of initiatives including:

  • the establishment of a 'Managing in the interim normal' group to ensure strategic oversight of corporate process and practice
  • nomination of service area representatives to oversee a safe return to work
  • preparation of safe systems of work
  • implementation of social distancing in the workplace
  • detailed occupancy plans for work premises
  • production of a return to work video presentation for employees
  • preparation of a Passport to Work to be undertaken by all staff prior to returning to work
  • preparation of premises based risk assessments
  • the opportunity for all staff to have an individual risk assessment
  • development of a visitors registration form
  • safety officers have physically visited all our publically accessible buildings.

We strongly recommend that all staff take 2 lateral flow tests per week to help fight the spread of COVID-19. Find out more about lateral flow testing.

We have also established formal COVID-19 reporting protocols. You can access our COVID-19 incident reporting protocol document on our safe systems of work page.

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