What's the toolkit for?
This toolkit is designed to help managers and staff work safely at any location during the COVID-19 pandemic. It signposts to key information and documents to help you make safe working decisions in light of the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions.
The health, safety and wellbeing of our staff is paramount, and in accordance with current government guidance, it remains the case that most staff should continue to work from home wherever possible.
However, we recognise that in some cases this can be challenging, and with this in mind, we’re working to enable some staff to return to their usual workplace based on service or individual need and priority. This work is being co-ordinated by the Workstyles team.
What’s in the toolkit?
The toolkit contains guidance on:
- Workplace physical distancing
- Service Risk Assessment
- Individual Risk Assessment
- Checklist for staff returning to their workplace
- PPE guidance
- Building safety notices
- Floorplans for council buiildings
- Signage for council buildings
- First Aid in council buildings
- Fire Safety in council buildings
- Display Screen Equipment
- Supporting staff working from home
- Wellbeing and support during the recovery stage
- Team Agreements
- Supporting learning and development
- Other useful links
Workplace physical distancing
Service Risk Assessment
A Service Risk Assessment has been developed to enable managers to assess the COVID-19 risks within their services/teams.
It needs to be completed as part of your planning for reopening services and/or bringing more staff into the workplace where either your staff cannot work from home or there is a business need to have staff in the workplace.
Building Risk Assessments, with the 'workplace' section of the form already completed for the main corporate buildings, are also available.
You can seek further advice from your Health and Safety Business Partner.
Individual Risk Assessment
Any staff who have been identified as essential office users or have been shielding may have concerns about returning to their normal place of work and should be given the opportunity to complete an individual risk assessment.
This will allow you to hold a structured conversation to record any worries they have and agree any additional control measures that can be put in place to ensure their safety.
You can seek further advice from your Health and Safety Business Partner.
Checklist and presentation for staff returning to the workplace
Your staff may be returning to a very different workplace than the one they worked in before the pandemic.
You should meet your staff in person on their first day back, use the checklist to re-induct them into the workplace and ensure they sign the checklist on completion.
You can also use the presentation to illustrate the control measures in place for their safety.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
This guidance is designed to help assess teams’ needs for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and cleaning materials, such as hand sanitiser and surface wipes.
Our PPE guidance will help you develop relevant risk assessments and procedures and covers the following:
- Rationale for use of PPE
- PPE Demand Management Plan
- Wearing PPE in hot weather.
Building safety notices
Guides have been produced to advise staff and managers on updated safety procedures that must be followed when using the main corporate buildings during COVID-19. They include guidance on:
- updated emergency evacuation procedures and routes
- first aid
- cleaning desks
- building hygiene.
These are available for Barts House, Brighton Town Hall, Hove Town Hall. Moulsecoomb Hub North and South, and Whitehawk Hub.
Other sites will have their own procedures. Please contact the relevant Site Responsible Person for more information.
Floorplans for council buildings
Signage for council buildings
Internal COVID-19 safety signage
Workstyles and Print & Sign have produced a range of signs to instruct staff on the safe use of council buildings.
These signs have been ordered for the council’s main corporate offices and are currently being installed.
They can also be put up in satellite council offices, and can be ordered from Printandsign@brighton-hove.gov.uk for display in areas used by your service as necessary.
External signage - NHS Test and Trace
NHS Test and Trace have produced a poster that must be displayed at the entrances of any buildings likely to be used by members of the public. The poster includes a QR code that can be scanned to give building users quick access to the NHS Test and Trace app.
You'll need to complete a few details to generate a unique poster for the building in question.
First Aid in council buildings
- Physical distancing
- Hygiene measures
- Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
- Providing assistance to an individual who may have COVID-19
- Cleaning the area where assistance was provided.
Fire safety in council buildings
Where it is necessary for staff to come in to their usual place of work, please note that advice on fire safety has been updated in recognition that designated Fire Wardens may not always be present in council buildings.
Display Screen Equipment (DSE)
Many staff use Display Screen Equipment (DSE) for work, so it’s essential that any risks associated with using DSE are identified and managed, especially if staff are working at home or at another location away from their usual place of work.
Additional resources for safe home working
In addition to the DSE resources above, the links below provide tools to assess whether individuals’ home workstations are set up safely. If completion of the home working risk assessment identifies a need for additional equipment to ensure safe home working, they will also need to complete a DSE assessment (see the previous section on DSE).
Looking after your health and wellbeing is an important part of being able to work safely.
We have a number of tools that can help you and your staff (including those who are at higher risk - our Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) staff, those with underlying conditions, those with disabilities and staff who are pregnant) look after your wellbeing:
Consider taking the opportunity to review ways of working with your team and whether you want to do things differently in future. You could use the team agreement template to have conversations with your team, asking questions such as:
- What support do you need from your team members for us to be successful and effective?
- What kind of service do our customers/stakeholders need from us?
- How will we measure our performance? What are the team priorities?
Supporting your learning and development
You and your team can access a wide range of development opportunities to support new ways of working, through eLearning, virtual training sessions, coaching and so on. These include:
- Management: coaching, managing remote teams, compassionate leadership
- New ways of working: remote working, returning to work during COVID-19
- Wellbeing: resilience, managing stress
- Personal development: managing your time, effective PDPs
The Learning and Development team can also provide tailored support, such as facilitating team discussions. Access development opportunities on the Learning Gateway.
Other useful links
- Cleaning in non-healthcare settings
- Cleaning in healthcare settings
- Staff testing
- Reporting staff COVID-19 cases
- Staff cases – manager checklist
- HR Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently asked questions
The following sections provide answers to frequently asked questions from staff on reopening workplaces.
FAQ: Meeting rooms
Can I come in to use a meeting room?
The organisation’s position is still for staff to continue working from home and only essential office workers identified by service managers should be coming into the office and using the meeting rooms. For those staff WFH please can they join the meeting via MS Teams or Skype. There are screens in most of the meeting rooms in corporate buildings.
Can someone external to BHCC attend a meeting at a council building?
Where possible please can third-parties join via MS Teams or Skype for the meeting. If not, the meeting organiser will need to complete a risk assessment to meet third-parties – Covid-19 Risk Assessment for services – and ensure they are aware of our measures, and also consider any cross-over with other staff.
How many people can be in meeting rooms?
There is a sign on all meeting room doors giving the max capacity of each room. Please can the first person who enters the room sit the furthest away from the door and be the last to leave. This is because there is not usually adequate space in meeting rooms to pass one another safely. Please try to finish your meeting at 55 mins past the hour so that there is time to wipe the table with the wipes provided and leave the room vacant before next meeting attendees arrive.
When will meeting rooms be open to staff who are working from home?
The current arrangements are going to be reviewed at the end of September. We will open up the offices to more staff when it is safe to do so and the next stage is to provide facilities to support staff to continue working from home.
Please take all your belongings with you when you leave the meeting room.
FAQ: Essential office users
Do staff who have been working in offices throughout lockdown still need to be re-inducted?
Yes they do. Line managers will be carrying out staff re-inductions. There is a toolkit to help managers do this.
When can Essential office users return to the office?
From 12th August onwards after they have had their re-induction.
How do I know if I am an essential office user?
Managers have identified staff who meet the criteria for being an essential office worker, and have been allocated set desks for these staff to use. You would’ve also had a re-induction.
Can staff use hot desks?
There are no hot desks in any of the corporate offices. They have been allocated to service for essential officer workers to use.
I am an essential office worker and will be using the same desk every day so can I leave things on my desk?
No, please clear your desk at the end of every day so that the cleaners can clean the workstation properly every evening. The cleaners will not move items in order to clean properly.
What if a homeworking staff member’s situation changes meaning they can no longer work from home?
The Workstyles Team are not or approving or disapproving requests to become an Essential Office User or keeping an up-to-date list. This is a Service decision that must be based on the number of desks already allocated to that Service.
Note that every desk in Barts House and Hove Town Hall has been allocated to Services based on the original list of Essential Office Users finalised at the start of July. There are no free desks in these buildings. Therefore wherever possible Services within these buildings should accommodate individual changes of circumstance (or new Essential Office Users) either within their current desk numbers through a rota system or in other buildings. If it becomes impossible for services to accommodate all Essential Office Users they should contact the Workstyles Team to look at options such as the use of other buildings.
Will we need to wear masks? Will there be a stash available in the office?
There is currently not a mandatory requirement to wear a mask whilst at the office. If this guidance changes we will update our approach.
FAQ: Building management and adaptations
How do I find out who the Site Responsible Person (SRP) is for the building where I work?
Managers should know who the SRP is for their building but if not a list of SRPs is held by the Workstyles team.
My team are based at a non-council building. Are we covered by their assessments?
In cases where BHCC is the tenant, the landlord will have identified their own Site Responsible Person to co-ordinate the risk assessment and local procedures. The landlord should make this information available to BHCC staff.
Can we prop open some of the doors to avoid the amount of touch surfaces?
As long as they are not fire doors, it's OK to do this.
I need to collect a W10 laptop from Hove Town Hall - do I need re-induction?
Sign-in at reception for your appointment time and collect your laptop directly from IT&D as instructed when you booked your appointment. You will not require re-induction if the only thing you are doing is collecting the laptop. Once you have your laptop please exit the building right away.
Please don't go to other areas in the office or meet-up with others. If you need to collect other items, please arrange in advance with a colleague who is an essential office worker.
How does ventilation in council buildings affect COVID-19 safety?
There can be no guarantee that airborne viruses and particles will be completely eradicated inside buildings, even if they have efficient ventilation.
However, with the exception of Bart’s House, all corporate buildings have Fresh Air Handling machines installed to keep a flow of oxygen circulating, helping to prevent the spread of airborne viruses. In these buildings, the air filtration process means the air is far cleaner inside than out.
A new ventilation system is being designed for Bart’s House and the Building User Group and Trade Union reps are being updated on progress with this. Staff using Bart’s House are encouraged to keep windows open where possible to keep fresh air flowing through the building.
FAQ: Staff re-inductions
Does the staff re-induction have to be done on site?
Re-inductions should be completed by the staff member’s line manager in person wherever possible. Where it is not possible to do this (for example if the line manager is shielding), re-inductions can take place via video conferencing, or can be delegated to a line manager’s peer.
Accountability for the re-induction remains with the line manager.
I have a new starter, do I need to complete a staff re-induction with them?
Yes please. Health, safety and wellbeing is our top priority and we’re working hard to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace
Is the cycle parking open at Barts and Hove Town Hall?
The cycle storage facilities at both main corporate buildings is open. At HTH please use your Salto security pass to enter with your bike in the normal way, via the car park, but as the tunnel is closed you will need to exit and walk to street level and enter Hove Town Hall through main reception.
At Barts, please use your Salto security pass to enter with your bike in the normal way, in the entrance to BTH basement on Little East Street. Once you have locked your bike you must exit via the same way you came in and walk round to Barts Square. Staff are not permitted to use the internal staircase from BTH basement to the Ground floor like previously.
Can I come to the office to use the resource hubs?
Staff should only be going into buildings if they are essential users. If non essential offices users need to print/scan/shred please ask one of your colleagues who is an essential office user to do this for you. If there are no essential office users in your team and using a resource hub is critical to your work, then you will need to be re-inducted by your manager before accessing the buildings.
We will be creating touch down resource hubs near entrances to main buildings for non-essential office users can use without going further into the building and there will be more comms about this when ready. In the meantime, if you have a corporate council laptop you will be able to connect via USB to your home printer, or wifi if you have a wifi enabled printer.
Are the shower facilities open?
Yes they are. Please make sure you take all your belongings with you (including wet towels)
FAQ: Collecting equipment
Can I come in to collect equipment I need for homeworking?
Only essential office workers identified by the service are expected to come into the office. So, for equipment needed for working at home please can a colleague do this for you and/ or contact Premises Helpdesk for delivery. If not, please ask a colleague to leave the equipment at reception for you to collect.
If none of the above is possible, you will require a re-induction by your line manager to come into the office to collect. Please note that equipment still needs to be requested.