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New 'Plan B' guidance

10 December 2021

You will have seen the government announcement and news reports regarding the introduction of ‘Plan B’. This covers guidance to work from home where possible, increased requirements for wearing face coverings and the use of COVID passes.

As a result, we're asking all colleagues who can work from home to do so from Monday 13 December 2021.

As previously, if it's essential for you to be in the workplace to deliver your role then you can continue to be so and our covid protocols around cleaning and ventilation will obviously continue to be in place.

It is important that those, such as some social care colleagues, who need to make visits to vulnerable residents, continue to do so.

In order to protect our residents and colleagues it is now a requirement that face coverings are worn in all communal areas (including corridors) in all of our buildings, regardless of whether they are open to the public.

In terms of social distancing, it is expected that a space of 2 metres will be in place: if there is an essential need to have people closer together then please review and add to the relevant risk assessment. Colleagues should only share vehicles (operational vehicles and cars) for work purposes where it is essential and a risk assessment has been undertaken, and face coverings should be worn unless exempt.

As you will know the Modern Ways of Working programme was preparing to make spaces available for staff to return to offices very soon. That will now be paused and those who have returned, and who do not need to be in the office to deliver their role, will be asked to again work from home. Preparations for return to offices will still take place so that once Plan B is lifted we can have offices ready for people to return. Face to face meetings and training should only take place if it is essential and can't be delivered in another way.

Testing and vaccination are still vital defences against COVID-19 and the new Omicron variant. If you do need to attend a workplace regularly please take a lateral flow test twice a week, and if you are attending as a ‘one-off’ for a particular reason please take a test before you visit. You can order tests through the government website. Obviously some services will have specific testing requirements in place and you should continue to follow that guidance.

Given the time of year some colleagues will have Christmas celebrations planned. Any that were planned to take place in council buildings will now unfortunately have to be postponed. For any gatherings planned to take place outside of work premises and time then you should, as always, consider the current guidance to keep yourself and others safe.

The news of Plan B and the Omicron variant may cause concern for some colleagues. If you are concerned about your wellbeing please speak to your line manager and make use of the support that is available.