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.

The health, safety and wellbeing of our staff is paramount, and in accordance with current government guidance, it remains the case that all staff should continue to work from home if they can.

The corporate offices (Bartholomew House, Brighton Town Hall, Hove Town Hall, Moulsecoomb Hubs, Portslade Town Hall, and Whitehawk Hub), have been made COVID-safe by Property & Design with support from Health & Safety and Public Health colleagues.

The content of this toolkit is to help ensure a consistent approach is taken across all other council workplaces. Each building will have an identified Site Responsible Person who needs to work with the services present in that building, and use the guidance available in this toolkit, to ensure a safe working environment for all staff who need to attend the workplace.

It is a line manager’s responsibility to ensure that any of their staff who need to come into the workplace understand what is expected of them and act appropriately. The content of this toolkit will help ensure consistent messages are being given to staff about their re-induction to the workplace and how they need to behave at work to keep themselves and colleagues safe.

In addition to the toolkit, support, advice and guidance is available to all Site Responsible Persons and managers.

Priority Office Users

Although the corporate position is that all staff should work from home, it is recognised that homeworking may not be an option for staff who: 

  • deliver a service that cannot be provided from home
  • need to use specialist equipment or software that can’t be provided at home

There are also cases where staff may need to work from a council building for one of the following reasons:

  • working from home adversely affects their mental or physical health
  • there is no adequate space available to work from home
  • working from home causes financial difficulties.

In these cases, a risk assessment must be completed by the staff member’s line manager to protect the health and wellbeing of the staff member and their colleagues. The risk assessment will help you balance the risk of staying at home with the risk of coming into the office, where you may be in the same space as people from outside of your household.

Contacts

For guidance on completing Risk Assessments, send an email to HealthAndSafety@brighton-hove.gov.uk.

For technical information about the building you are responsible for, send an email to PremisesTeamHelpdesks@brighton-hove.gov.uk.

For help with applying design principles to your workplace, send an email to Workstyles@brighton-hove.gov.uk.

For support with managing staff issues, contact your HR business partner.

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

All staff planning to come into council buildings for the reasons listed below need to complete an Individual Risk Assessment with their line manager:

  • working from home adversely affects their mental or physical health
  • there is no adequate space available to work from home
  • working from home causes financial difficulties

The purpose of the risk assessment is to protect the health and wellbeing of the staff member and their colleagues. It will help you balance the risk of staying at home with the risk of coming into the office, where you may be in the same space as people from outside of your household.

Staff coming into council buildings for the following reasons should be offered an Individual Risk Assessment by their line manager, but completing it is not mandatory:

  • they deliver a service that cannot be provided from home
  • they need to use specialist equipment or software that can’t be provided at home

In this context the risk assessment is most relevant for those who have concerns about returning to their normal place of work. It will allow you to hold a structured conversation to record any worries you have and agree any additional control measures that can be put in place to improve staff safety.

If a shielded staff member declares they wish to remain in the workplace or to return to work during the shielding period because of exceptional domestic circumstances an individual risk assessment must be undertaken and agreed control measures put in place.  

Under no circumstances should a member of staff who is shielding be required to remain in/return to the workplace during the shielding period. Risk assessments must take account of specific advice employees have received from those involved in their clinical care as well as concerns employees may have themselves.

You can seek further advice from your Health and Safety Business Partner.

Individual Risk Assessment and guidance

Re-induction for staff returning to the workplace

All staff need to have completed a workplace re-induction with their line manager before entering the office. This can take place in person if the manager is based in the same building as the staff member. Otherwise the re-induction should be delivered remotely via Teams.

To complete the re-induction, you'll need to do the 'Returning to the workplace' elearning course on the Learning Gateway

Control measures for staff and customer safety 

Always consult with staff and unions on the most appropriate safety control measures. If you can, visit the site to trial the control measures you’re planning and include union reps in this process.  

You will need to discuss and agree control measures with staff before resuming face to face service. Follow these steps to protect yourself, your staff and your customers:

  1. Remind your customers and staff to wear face coverings in any indoor space or where required by law. This is especially important if your customers are likely to be around people they do not normally meet. Some exemptions apply. Check when to wear a face covering, exemptions, and how to make your ow
     
  2. Provide adequate ventilation. This means supplying fresh air to enclosed space where people are present. This can be natural ventilation through windows, doors and vents, mechanical ventilation using fans and ducts, or a combination of both. Read the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advice on air conditioning and ventilation
     
  3. Clean more often. Increase how often you clean surfaces, especially any being touched a lot. Ask your staff and your customers to use hand sanitiser and wash their hands frequently
     
  4. Encourage staff to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) where appropriate – get guidance on using PPE in the PPE section in this toolkit
     
  5. Take part in NHS Test and Trace by keeping a record of all your customers, visitors and staff for 21 days. This is a legal requirement. Some exemptions apply. Check advice from the government on maintaining records to support NHS Test and Trace
     
  6. Turn people with coronavirus symptoms away. If a staff member (or someone in their household) or a customer has a persistent cough, a high temperature or has lost their sense of taste or smell, they should self-isolate. Any employer asking a worker to break self-isolation to work is committing an offence
     
  7. Encourage regular testing – remind staff that everyone can receive regular testing using lateral flow devices. There are a number of ways of accessing this and we strongly encourage all staff to take advantage of this opportunity. Anyone who takes a lateral flow test which comes back positive should self-isolate immediately along with their household and the individual should seek a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to confirm the result

Guidance for working face to face with customers 

Staff who cannot work from home and need to work from a council workplace can get:

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. 

Download building safety notices

Floorplans for council buildings

You can view the floorplans and desk layouts for both Hove Town Hall and Bartholomew House.

First Aid in council buildings

Our First Aiders guidance and advice on First Aid delivery provides information for First Aiders about:

  • physical distancing
  • hygiene measures
  • PPE
  • cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • providing assistance to an individual who may have COVID-19
  • cleaning the area where assistance was provided

Fire safety in council buildings

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.

Guidance and support for home working during Covid-19

Many of us are continuing to work remotely from home during the COVID-19 Pandemic and this brings many challenges. It’s more important than ever that we take care of ourselves and look after our health, safety and wellbeing at this difficult time.

For general support with working from home, please refer to our guidance on hybrid working.

Wellbeing support

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:

 

Team agreements

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.