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FAQs on new restrictions

Friday 18 September, 5.30pm

We’ve put together some answers to questions staff and our residents may have about the new Coronavirus restrictions which have been announced.

You can read them on our Liverpool Express news website.

We're here for you

Friday 18 September, 5pm

The announcement of new Covid-19 restrictions may have left you feeling downcast or anxious.

You’re not alone. It’s a tough time for all of us, but help is at hand.

Supporting the health and wellbeing of our staff remains one of our top priorities.

Our brilliant Mental Health and Wellbeing Champions are just a phone call or email away. They are all mental health first aid trained, available to chat and listen, and can signpost you to organisations that offer support. 

Every Wednesday we publish a Wellbeing update on the intranet and Staff Facebook. The most recent was packed with helpful advice on dealing with anxiety.

On our Staff Extranet you can watch videos made by Learning and Development, on how to manage stress levels. From breathing techniques to building resilience, each one is short enough to squeeze into your busy working day.

There’s also a wide range of FREE virtual wellbeing courses on offer every week. See the LearningHUB for more.

Weekly Occupational Health Open Access Clinics are running for any colleagues who wish to speak to a nurse for confidential advice.

Appointments are every Friday for up to half an hour and you simply need to email occupational.health@liverpool.gov.uk or call 07925 358552 to book. You don’t need your line manager to refer you.

If you're a member of a trade union, you can approach your union for a whole range of advice and access to welfare services. 

Finally, for support for you, your family or friends, take a look at the Live Your Life Well website. Our Public Health colleagues have put together information, expert advice and support on how to look after yourself during these difficult times.

On top of that, there's the Kind to Your Mind website where you can access a range of online therapy courses developed by professionals, as well as a knowledge base of free health and wellbeing apps.

Whatever you're going through, you can always contact The Samaritans 24/7 on 116 123 or one of the other mental health charities like Mind.

If you're worried about a young person's mental health, please see the Young Minds website and Liverpool CAMHS.

Please reach out, talk to your line manager, your colleagues, or one of our champions.

There is no need to suffer in silence.

Looking after ourselves has never been more important than right now.

Covid restrictions: What they mean for you
Friday 18 September, 2.30pm

We appreciate the new government restrictions, announced today, will have an impact on us all. However workplaces can continue to open as before.

Therefore please carry on coming into the workplace if you are doing so already.

Our buildings are Covid-secure spaces, with robust measures in place to help ensure colleagues are protected from the virus as far as possible.

It is essential that you follow all the guidelines in our Workplace Protocols to keep yourself and your colleagues safe. 

You must in particular:

  • Continue to socially distance yourself from colleagues whilst in work
  • Wash your hands frequently, for 20 seconds at a time
  • Use the hand sanitiser gel provided
  • Clean your workspace before and after your shift
  • Wear a face covering in all building lifts
  • If you are not well with symptoms of Covid, don’t come to work, contact your manager, self-isolate and only leave the house to get a test.

If we all follow these rules, our workplaces will remain a safe place.

In addition we ask:

  • You wear a face covering if visiting shops, cafes or sandwich bars before or during work (on your lunch break)
  • You wear a face covering on public transport
  • You wash your hands thoroughly, or use hand sanitiser, after visiting any retail establishment, and before you return to your desk
  • You do not touch anyone else’s PC, phone or other equipment such as pens whilst in the office
  • You stick to the rule of six, when outside of work you MUST not meet in a group of more than six, indoors OR outdoors. (Note, workplaces are exempt from the rule of six)

Previously shielding or vulnerable

If you were previously on the government’s shielding list, or classed as vulnerable due to an underlying health condition, we know this will be a particularly anxious time for you.

Please speak to your line manager to discuss your working arrangements and the option to work from home if you are currently in the workplace.

We will shortly be introducing a new Risk Assessment which will assess an individual’s risk based on multiple factors including ethnicity, BMI and underlying/long-term health conditions. We are in the process of communicating with managers about this and there will be more on the intranet next week.

Public transport

Under the new restrictions, the government has advised against the use of public transport unless it’s for an essential journey – such as going to school or work.

If you are using public transport to get to and from your workplace, you must wear a face covering and regularly sanitise your hands. Please wash your hands thoroughly as soon you enter your workplace, and before you reach your desk.

If you can walk, cycle or drive to work you may wish to do so. City-centre based staff can now apply for a parking permit to park in the multi-deck car park at King’s Dock. A permit costs £25 a month.

If you would like to request access to another workplace car park, you must speak to your line manager initially, then contact your car park directorate rep for approval, which will be subject to capacity.

Childcare

We know that the new restriction on households meeting may affect the child care arrangements of some of our staff.

If this is the case, please raise this issue with your line manager as soon as possible to discuss. Where possible we will offer flexibility to help you to manage your caring responsibilities whilst still working.

 

IMPORTANT: Our return to workplaces is paused

Wednesday 16 September 2020

Staff safety, and your health and wellbeing, will always be the council’s number one priority.

This is why, in light of the recent rise in Covid cases across the city, Chief Executive Tony Reeves has today (Wednesday 16 September) decided to press pause on the continuing return of office-based staff to the workplace.

This pause will affect all city council workplaces.

This decision has been agreed with trade unions. It follows the government’s decision to place Merseyside, and therefore Liverpool, on their area of concern list last Friday.

Therefore if you / your team has not yet returned to the office, please continue to work from home until we advise otherwise.

If your team has already begun its return to the workplace, you can carry on with this plan only if you are working on a rota basis and numbers in the workplace will remain the same week on week. If however you/your team is planning to bring more colleagues back in a staged return over the coming weeks, which will increase the overall number of people you have in the workplace on any given day, these plans need to pause as we do not want additional numbers in the workplace, over and above those we have currently.

Normal duties are unaffected by this change as long as they are carried out in line with our protocols on safe working, and this includes visits and meetings where required.

We know these times are challenging for us all, if you have any concerns and would like to discuss your individual situation, please speak to your line manager.

It is still our policy to bring staff back into the workplace but we will only do so when it is safe. We will communicate any further changes to workplace arrangements through all our usual channels – email, the intranet, extranet and staff facebook – as quickly as possible

Protocols reminder

Monday 14 September 2020

A reminder of our Covid-19 Workplace Protocols - the measure we have put in place to make our workplaces safe for your return. 

Please download all the protocols here

Rise in Covid cases and Cunard fire escape latest

Friday 11 September, 3pm

Please continue to wash your hands frequently, keep your distance from those outside your household and wear a face covering in enclosed spaces.

You will no doubt be aware of the rising number of cases of Covid-19 across Liverpool and Merseyside. Today, the whole of the region has now become an official ‘area of concern’.

We want to assure you that the safety of colleagues remains paramount and we are doing everything we can to support the safe return to the workplace.

We are tracking figures daily so that we can take swift decisions based on staff safety.

We are in close discussions with trade unions and we will make decisions based on your best interests.

For staff due back into the Cunard Building on floors 2-6 next week (from Mon 14 Sept) there has been a slight delay in your return, while we install scaffolding around the two external fire escapes. Thank you for the patience while this issue is resolved.

We will keep colleagues informed of any further updates.

In the meantime, we urge you to follow guidelines. Please wash your hands regularly, keep your distance from others and wear a face covering in enclosed spaces. Maintaining these measures will help us to keep our staff, our city and our residents safe.

Watch Tony Reeves' latest video message about the rise in cases. 

Staff car parking update

Thursday 10 September, 9am

We know that many staff are currently driving into the city centre for work, and that many others will make the same decision due to Covid-19. Whilst we are no longer able to offer free parking to staff, which was made available during lockdown, we want to support as many colleagues as possible, to get appropriate and affordable car parking near their workplace.

Car park charges

Following the temporary halt to staff car park charges during lockdown, normal charges resumed on 1 September 2020. If you no longer wish to take advantage of the car parking offer, and you’ve not yet notified PMU and Payroll, please do so as soon as possible.

Mount Pleasant

Employees who currently park in Mount Pleasant car park on a contract basis will be moved to Kings Dock car park late October/early November.  This is to allow for additional parking to support the Paddington Village development.  There is ample space at King’s Dock and all employees currently using Mount Pleasant will be provided with a space at King’s Dock. Further details about this will be issued shortly. 

Cruise Terminal, Premier Court and Victoria Hall

Any employees who have been temporarily parking in the Cruise Terminal, Premier Court or Victoria Halls car parks during lockdown, will need to make alternative arrangements, as access will cease from 1 October 2020. Please see details below about parking permits for King's Dock. 

Kings Dock

There is currently capacity for staff to park in the temporary multi-deck car park at Kings Dock.

The car park will be more convenient for staff who work on the waterfront side of town, and who temporarily used the Cruise Terminal car park, or Victoria Halls during lockdown.

Permits will be paper-based for you to display in your car window, and will cost £25 per month. This fee will be taken directly out of your salary on a monthly basis. Alternatively you can pay by cheque or BACS if you wish.

If you would like to apply for a permit please complete the current Mount Pleasant and Kings Docks Parking Permit form on the intranet and state in the ‘Permit Details (renewals only)’ box that you are applying for a permit for Kings Dock.

Your application will be sent to Parking Services who will print your permit and be in touch with you directly about collecting it from Mount Pleasant car park, dropping it off at your office, or posting it to your home address.

Your application will also be shared with Payroll to arrange a monthly deduction.

 

Update for parents and carers of school age children

Wednesday 9 September, 5pm

With the new school term underway, we know that parents and carers are facing a period of uncertainty over how the pandemic will affect your child(ren) in their school/class ‘bubbles’, and the potential impact on your ability to work.

We are currently in discussions with trade unions to confirm arrangements for when colleagues need to stay at home, with a child who has been asked to isolate, due to a positive case of Covid-19 in their school bubble.

Guidance will be provided later this week, and communicated on the intranet, extranet and staff facebook.

Carrying over and purchasing additional annual leave

Friday 28 August, 1pm

We issued a communication on annual leave a few months ago and it is worth reiterating these arrangements:

We recognise that all of you sometimes need a break from work, and particularly so at the moment. Annual leave is a statutory and contractual right, so we want to make sure that employees can take leave and don’t lose out, while also taking into account the operational demands that are in place right now.

Annual leave can still be booked as usual with the agreement of your manager (including whether you are working from home or otherwise), and we would continue to encourage staff to take annual leave where possible. However, in light of the impact of Covid-19, we have developed our position on carry over of annual leave.

In summary, if it has not been reasonable practicable for you to take all or some of your contractual leave entitlement due to the effects of coronavirus:

  • Any pre-booked, agreed contractual annual leave in any holiday year that has been cancelled due to the effects of coronavirus can be carried forward into the following holiday year.
  • Any contractual annual leave accrued in any holiday year which you have been unable to take due to the effects of coronavirus can also be carried forward into the following holiday year
  • Any leave that is still left at the end of the following holiday year can be carried over to a second year, up to a maximum of the statutory leave entitlement of 20 days or 4 weeks (pro rata for part time people).
  • If you leave your employment during this period, current practice will apply, so only untaken statutory leave will be paid
  • Any Bank holidays not taken but accrued, either because of work requirements or cancelled leave, can also be carried over as set out above
  • Bank holidays carried forward should be taken prior to the same bank holiday in any second additional year.

Purchasing Additional Leave

A reminder of the key points when purchasing additional leave:

Additional Leave that you have already purchased:

  • Any pre-booked, agreed additional leave already purchased in any holiday year that has been cancelled due to the effects of coronavirus can be carried forward into the following holiday year.
  • Any additional leave purchased in any holiday year which you have been unable to take due to the effects of coronavirus can also be carried forward into the following holiday year.
  • Any additional leave that is still left at the end of the following holiday year can be carried over to a second year, up to a maximum of the statutory leave entitlement of 20 days or 4 weeks (pro rata for part time people).
  • If you leave your employment, you are encouraged to take leave, as only outstanding statutory entitlements will be paid and will be based on each day being 1/260 of annual salary or 7 hours (pro rata for part time people)

If you wish to purchase Additional Leave during Covid:

  • You must complete an application form as normal (please note that the form is updated) and submit it to your line manager.
  • Please note that the calculation used for the purchase of additional leave is 5/260 of annual salary or 35 hours (pro rata for part time people) or 1 week’s pay.  Only full weeks can be purchased at any time to a maximum of 4 weeks.   
  • Your line manager will assess the form and will agree the request provided that:
    • you are not carrying forward any contractual/statutory annual leave above the standard 5 day carryover allowed OR
    • the carried forward leave plus your normal annual leave is not enough to cover the reason why you want the additional leave. For example, if you wish to purchase 4 weeks additional leave for future childcare commitments, and you are carrying over 2 weeks contractual leave from the previous year, you would be allowed to purchase 2 weeks additional leave only (on the basis that you are already carrying over 2 weeks contractual/statutory leave which you would be expected to use for this purpose).
  • You can only purchase additional leave in blocks of full weeks. If you work full time, each week purchased will be expressed as 35 hours. If you work part time, this will be a pro rata amount, eg if you work 20 hours per week, each week purchased will be expressed as 20 hours.
  • Only additional leave that has already been purchased prior to 1 April 2020 or that was being purchased at this date, that is untaken due to the Covid-19 lockdown only, can be sold back to the Council if you wish to do so. You will be refunded for this leave based on the calculated amount of salary deducted from you and this will be refunded as salary. You should complete the same amended application form as above, which should be authorised by your line manager who will submit the request to be processed.
  • If you leave your employment for any reason, any refund of untaken leave will be calculated based on the statutory leave entitlements only and will be based on each day being 1/260 of annual salary or 7 hours (pro rata for part time people.  It is therefore in your interests to take any annual leave owing to you as time off before you leave.

Cunard relocation moves

Friday 28 August, 10.45am

Following issues identified with Cunard Building's two external fire escapes, plans have been agreed to relocate teams who normally sit on floors 2-6 across the basement and floor 1 of Cunard, and also to Premier Court, Venture Place and the Town Hall. 

Managers were notified of relocation plans earlier this week and this is an opportunity to share all the relocation plan with staff. 

Download the Cunard relocation plan here

Cleaning and decluttering workspaces

Thursday 27 August, 4pm

As we move towards having 50% of colleagues back in the workplace from September, it would be helpful if those of you already in the office, or returning shortly, take some time to declutter and tidy your desks, cupboards and general working areas as soon as possible.

Having a clear workspace is not only important for data protection purposes, but it makes it easier for our cleaning staff to clean and vacuum the area quickly and effectively.

It also helps when we need to relocate teams, as we will be doing in the Cunard Building over the coming weeks. Having a clear-out and disposing of unnecessary paperwork, files, boxes and even furniture will save time when it comes to Premises Management moving you – just don’t forget to check our Data Retention Policy and ensure any personal or sensitive data is disposed of in the confidential waste recycle bins, not the general purpose one.

It’s more important than ever that we work in a hygienic and clutter free space, that’s regularly serviced by our colleagues in cleaning services, so please do you bit to help them to do their job efficiently.

Please also make use of the cleaning stations that are placed around our buildings, where you can pick up disinfectant sprays and blue roll to clean your own PC, desk and chair handles.

Cleaners are very busy keeping general office space tidy, so the onus is on you to look after your individual workstation. You should clean it at the start and end of every day and ensure you don’t let colleagues use any of your equipment, including telephones.

We appreciate your support in making our workplaces a safe and hygienic place for all of us.

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Face coverings in lifts

Thursday 27 August, 1pm

Earlier this summer we introduced a series of ‘protocols’ - safety measures which are designed to reduce the transmission of coronavirus in our workplaces, and protect the health of you – and your family and friends at home.

We said at the time that these protocols would remain under review and we are taking this opportunity to update our guidance on the use of lifts.

In addition to all lifts having a reduced maximum occupancy, we now advise employees to wear a face covering whilst in a lift and travelling between floors.

This is because not all colleagues have been following the current guidance to stand facing away from each other in the lift. Floor markings indicate which direction you should stand in.

The use of face coverings will reduce the risk of anyone infected with Covid-19 unwittingly spreading it to others in the confined space of a lift. Particularly if you are standing face to face or in the same direction. We would still urge you to stand facing away from each other as an extra precaution.

Exemptions apply to anyone who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability.

This updated guidance is in line with government advice on the wearing of face coverings in indoor spaces where it’s not possible to socially distance yourself from people you would not normally meet, and is supported by Public Health.

You will shortly see new posters in our lifts encouraging the use of face coverings.

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Quarantine - full list of countries affected 

Thursday 27 August, 10am

Colleagues who return to the UK from the following countries below must quarantine by self-isolating for 14 days from the date of return to the UK.

You must not return to the workplace during your quarantine period.

Anyone who attempts to return to the workplace without observing the full quarantine period will be sent home immediately and may be subject to disciplinary action.

Please help us keep our workplaces safe for everyone.

The full list of countries on the Government’s quarantine list are:

  • Andorra (from 8 August)
  • Aruba (from 15 August)
  • Austria (from 22 August)
  • Bahamas (from 8 August)
  • Belgium (from 8 August)
  • Croatia (from 22 August)
  • Czech Republic (from 29 August)
  • France (from 15 August)
  • Jamaica (from 29 August)
  • Malta (from 15 August)
  • Monaco (from 15 August)
  • Netherlands (from 15 August)
  • Spain
  • Switzerland (from 29 August)
  • Trinidad and Tobago (from 22 August)
  • Turks and Caicos Islands (from 15 August)

Please note, you no longer have to quarantine when returning from these countries:

  • Brunei (from 11 August)
  • Malaysia (from 11 August)
  • Portugal (from 22 August)

A reminder of how quarantine is recorded and the impact on our employees:

1. Holidays booked PRIOR to 8 June 2020
If you had leave booked prior to 8 June 2020 to travel abroad, in accordance with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice, and you still go on holiday, you will not suffer a financial detriment during quarantine.

2. Holidays booked AFTER 8 June 2020
However, if you have or intend to book leave after this date, you did so knowing that there may be a risk of enforced quarantine and must therefore factor in the additional time required to quarantine for 14 days when you return to the UK.

This may include changes the Government makes to quarantine rules for certain countries, as it has done with Spain.

If your job requires you to be in the workplace, this period of quarantine must be taken as annual leave, or unpaid leave.

If you have to take unpaid leave, the council will allow the financial deductions to be taken in 12 equal monthly instalments. However, please be aware that this option may affect benefits outside of the council's control.

Before taking leave to cover the period of quarantine, all options should be discussed with your line manager, who should inform HR of any agreed arrangements.

Desk Fans

Tuesday 4 August 

Desk fans are now allowed following a review. This decision has been reached after receiving expert advice and following regular reviews of our workplace protocols.

When we introduced our protocols to make our workplaces a safe space for staff to come back to, one of the measures we put in place was a ban on the use of fans in the workplace. 

We told you at the time that all our measures were being kept under review. 

Having taken expert advice from Public Health England (PHE), the national Health and Safety Executive (HSE), and the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) we have decided that a ban on fans is no longer required.

You can use your office and desktop fans in the workplace with effect from Monday, 3 August.  

Our protocols have been updated to reflect this change. 

Building Risk Assessments

Tuesday 30 June 2020

Building risk assessments are now available for 29 of our buildings, including the Cunard Building, Venture Place and Premier Court.

The risk assessments have been developed by Health and Safety, Premises management and building operational managers, and agreed by JTUC.

They have been published on liverpool.gov.uk so that both staff and visitors can access them easily.

More will be added shortly.

Access the building risk assessments.

Return to workplaces - protocols 13-16

Monday 29 June 2020

In the run-up to staff returning to workplaces, we're taking a closer look at some of the protocols in place to make our buildings safe to return to.

Today, we're focussing on some of the points in protocols 13-16.

Protocol 13: On-site vehicles and heavy equipment

  • All visitors on council premises must maintain social distancing.
  • Drivers/passengers should only leave their vehicles when social distancing can be observed.
  • Vehicular access to council premises should be contactless. Suspend the use of padlocks and other security devices if site security can still be maintained.
  • All contractor equipment should be checked for cleanliness before use in the building
  • Where possible, all contractors must remove equipment at the end of each day. Areas contractors are working in should be restricted.
  • Where equipment is left on the premises, regular touch points should be cleaned regularly by the contractors’ staff.

Protocol 14: Work-related travel

  • All work-related travel should be kept to a minimum. No non-essential trips.
  • Meetings should be done remotely using online software, phone or email.
  • The number of people travelling in a vehicle should be kept to a minimum to maintain social distancing.
  • If social distancing cannot be maintained, put additional safety measures in place, such as:
    • Issuing PPE (in accordance with the relevant risk assessment).
    • Ensuring the vehicle is well ventilated
    • Seating staff as far apart as possible and avoiding face-to-face contact
    • The use of fixed travel partners to minimise the number of interactions
  • All vehicles touch points should be cleaned and sanitised at the end of each day.
  • The inside of vehicles should be kept clean and tidy with only essential items inside.
  • Eating and drinking inside vehicles is not permitted.
  • All staff who work from vehicles must wash their hands regularly. Where vehicles are not fitted with wash stations, staff should be issued with hand sanitiser.
  • When refuelling vehicles, staff must use protective gloves.

Protocol 15: Refuse collection and disposal

  • Staff handling and disposing of waste should maintain social distancing.
  • Staff moving or handling waste bins must wear gloves.
  • Staff should regularly wipe down and disinfect exterior bin surfaces using the additional cleaning facilities provided.
  • Staff must wash their hands immediately after placing waste in waste bins.
  • Access to bin storage areas should be restricted to authorised personnel.

Protocol 16: Off-site working

  • All staff working off-site should ensure they and those they are meeting maintain social distancing.
  • All protocols on work-related travel must be adhered to when off-site.
  • Meetings should be avoided and only critical ones should take place.
  • Wherever possible, use meeting technology instead of face-to-face site meetings.
  • All staff working off-site must follow with any protocols in place in the building or site they are visiting.
  • All staff working off-site will be issued with hand sanitiser.
  • All non-LCC staff attending meetings must be made aware of the need to socially distancing.
  • If staff have to enter private residences, risk assessments must be produced that deal with any relevant COVID-19 issues.
  • If staff are required to enter premises where there is a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, PPE must be worn and procedures on its use and disposal followed.
  • All potentially infected PPE or other workwear must be disposed of or hygienically stored and arrangements made for safe disposal.
  • No potentially infected waste is to be placed in vehicles or transferred into other buildings for disposal.
  • No items for any meeting should be shared. This will include papers, reports, stationery or other equipment.

Return to workplaces - protocols 9-12

Friday 26 June

Here's an overview of protocols 9 to 12 to help you see, at a glance, the measures in place to keep ourselves and colleagues safe. 

We've selected a handful here and boiled them down to make them easier to digest.

Protocol 9: Common contact surfaces

  • Hand sanitising stations will be at entrances to publicly accessed buildings.
  • There will be more handwashing facilities in toilets and kitchens. 
  • Our cleaners will focus on common contact surfaces, making sure they are thoroughly and more frequently cleaned.
  • 'Cleaning stations' will be available so staff can wipe down surfaces, for example printers, cabinet handles and kitchen surfaces. 
  • Doors will be propped open where possible, without compromising safety/security. (This doesn't include fire doors.)
  • Vending machines will not be in use, apart from for sanitary items in the toilets. 
  • Gloves will be provided for staff handling documents, mail etc.

10: Hygiene - handwashing, sanitation and toilet facilities

  • Hand sanitising facilities will be outside toilet areas where necessary.
  • As soon as you arrive at work, please wash your hands. 
  • Before preparing food and eating, please wash your hands.
  • Wash your pots and dishes as soon as you've finished using them and put them away.
  • Social distancing will be in place in toilets, with a limit to the number of staff allowed in, at any one time. 

Protocol 11: Changing rooms and showers

  • Access to changing areas will be restricted due to social distancing.
  • Cleaning stations will be provided in changing rooms.
  • No sharing of lockers
  • No hanging clothes/towels etc in changing areas.
  • All staff using showers must leave them clean and ready for the next person. Don't leave any items behind.
  • Dry and dress in the shower area, please avoid using communal areas.
  • Cyclists should wipe down seats and handles on their bikes

Protocol 12: Handling deliveries and distribution

  • Only essential items are to be ordered and delivered to workplaces. No personal items. 
  • Please use email as much as possible, and avoid sending mail. (Don't forget you can use the Write a Letter app to write and send out external mail, without moving a muscle)
  • All deliveries to the workplace should be contactless. 
  • Delivery vehicles must observe social distancing while waiting to unload. 
  • If staff are have to sign electronic devices, handle packages or paper
    documents, including mail, they will be issued with protective gloves. 

Return to Workplaces - protocols 5 to 8

Thursday 25 June 2020

Here's an overview of protocols 5 to 8 to help you see, at a glance, the measures we are being asked to follow to keep ourselves and our colleagues safe. 

Protocol 5: Meetings and use of meeting facilities

All face to face meetings should be avoided if possible, with staff using phones, Teams and Zoom to host meetings and stay in touch. Where in-person meetings are held, please note that capacity in meeting rooms has been significantly reduced to allow for social distancing. 

Meeting rooms will be left unlocked for the time being to avoid the use of keys and windows should be opened while the room is occupied. 

Please wipe down a meeting room after use with the available cleaning products and make sure no items are left behind. 

Protocol 6: Communal kitchens and dining facilities

Staff kitchens will be rearranged where necessary to allow for social distancing. Staff cannot use fridges (except to store essential medication including food required for a specific dietary requirement, for storage of expressed breast milk, and for products needed to run council services).

Use of microwaves, and shared cutlery and mugs is also not permitted and kitchen cupboards will be emptied and will be out of use. Staff are advised to go into work before 1 July to remove personal items such as mugs, or ask a colleague to do this for you if they are in the workplace. 

Staff must not refill drinks bottles directly from the tap or nozzle to avoid cross-contamination but should instead use a jug or glass, which does not need to touch the tap or nozzle, in order to refill water bottles. 

All surfaces including taps should be wiped down before and after use. 

Please eat your lunch at your desk where possible. 

Protocol 7: Receptions, counters and waiting areas

Signage will be in place to advise visitors to our buildings to clean their hands thoroughly on arrival and observe social distancing. Hand sanitiser will be available in publicly accessed buildings. 

Screens will be installed where staff are required to have face to face interaction with visitors and all visitor passes sanitised on return. Waiting areas will be rearranged to accommodate social distancing. 

Deliveries to reception desks must be collected immediately. 

Protocol 8: General housekeeping

Staff must follow the council's Clear Desk Procedure including the area under your desk. 

Staff must clean their desk on arrival and departure and hang your coat on the back of your chair. Please do not bring in any non essential items to work including magazines, books and so on. 

Additional cleaning will be undertaken on a daily basis for common contact surfaces. 

NEW: Return to Workplaces inductions - how to book

Thursday 25 June 2020

Staff inductions on returning to the workplace will be available for colleagues returning to our three largest buildings - Cunard Building, Venture Place and Premier Court - on Wednesday 1 and Monday 6 July. 

Three sessions will run in each building on each of these dates, at 9am, 11am and 2pm. 

You must book onto a session if you are coming back into work on these days and are based in one of these three buildings. 

Book your slot via the LearningHUB

You must first enrol yourself, and then book your slot. Click 'View all events' to see the full list of dates. 

Please note that staff not working on these days are not expected to come in to attend one of these sessions. 

Staff outside Cunard, Venture and Premier Court are not expected to travel in to one of these buildings to attend. 

All the information available at these briefings will also be posted on the intranet and extranet. 

These sessions are being led by HR with support from health, safety and wellbeing colleagues and, first and foremost, are an opportunity for staff to be welcomed back with a face to face hello from our HR team. 

NEW: Return to Workplaces Q&A

Thursday 25 June

The next round of questions and answers regarding returning to the workplace are available below:

Q1. Staff are being given free parking in the city centre to allow them to return to work safely.

Will staff who are only able to travel via public transport still be expected to return to the workplace and if so, will any allowances be made for them?

A1. The car parking monthly charges have been waived up until August, as it would have been unfair to charge staff when the vast majority of staff have been working from home. Potentially a small proportion of staff may use it minimally in July/August, as we begin to welcome some staff back into the workplace. This will be reviewed at the end of August.

In the meantime, staff who travel in by public transport can access the council’s Travel Pass Scheme in order to make savings on the cost of their travel.

Q2. Will the return to work protocols with regards to seating arrangements be reviewed if the two metre rule is reduced to 1 metre?

A2. The Government has announced that from 4 July the two metre social distancing rule will be relaxed to ‘one metre plus’.

However, it’s important to note that we’re planning for 10% of staff to return to workplaces from 1 July, rising to 50% in September. And the existing two metre distancing plans will be in place, for these numbers to return to the workplace.

It’s also important to note that the NHS Test and Trace service will still be operating on the basis of ‘two metres’ at this stage. So, all contacts identified by the service who have been within a two metre distance of a positive case would still need to self-isolate at home for two weeks, in case they develop symptoms.   

Q3. Has the position of desks next to walkways/ thoroughfares been taken into account?

Staff at these desks may be exposed to a greater level of risk, with people walking by at less than 2 metres distance. The advice to look the opposite way is appreciated but will only be practical for short distances between desks.

A3. Yes, we have taken this into account and our workplace protocols 1 and 3 specifically look at staff movement around buildings and the actions required to ensure the two metre social distancing takes place.

Q4. While I appreciate efforts to prevent spread of Covid, denying access to fridges and microwaves will mean that staff have very limited options for lunch. 

ALL prepared food should be refrigerated, so we are risking food poisoning by bringing a sandwich to work and leaving it in our bags all day, we can’t heat a tin of soup etc so staff will be relying on snack food all day (crisps, chocolate etc hardly a balanced diet). If microwave access is limited surely the kettle will be? 

Will staff be allowed extra time on lunch breaks to go out/queue for food, but again aren’t we trying to cut customer contact in shops?

A4. We do appreciate not having access to a fridge or microwave is inconvenient for staff.

We are doing this to protect you from exposing yourself to an increased risk of contracting Covid-19 through touching contaminated surfaces. We will keep these measures under review.

Here’s some suggestions for what you can do instead for drinks/lunch:

  • Use UHT milk
  • Bring a flask to work (for soup, or coffee etc)
  • Bring a small cool bag/insulated lunchbox
  • Choose food that does not need to be refrigerated/microwaved.
  • Support local coffee shops/cafes

If staff wish to go out at lunch to buy drinks/food, this would need to be done within their usual break time.

Q5. Does Liverpool City Council have a supplier from whom face masks (standardised and approved by public health) can be purchased in bulk and staff can purchase, at a discounted price to enable them to travel on public transport to and for work?

A5. There are no plans to bulk buy face coverings and sell them on to staff.

If you are planning to travel to work by public transport, you must wear a face covering to protect fellow passengers and help to avoid spreading the virus if you are infected but not showing any symptoms (asymptomatic). Face coverings are not the same as face masks. It is important that people do not use medical grade PPE masks to ensure these remain available for frontline health and social care staff.

You can use a scarf or a bandana, or make face coverings yourself, following the simple instructions on the Government’s website or you can buy inexpensive coverings from a wide range of shops.

There are some teams who may need to use PPE to carry out certain activities. Where this is the case, it will be detailed in the risk assessments your manager has to complete for your service area, and you will be provided with what you need.

For all other staff, as long as you adhere to social distancing within the workplace, wash your hands regularly and stick to the measures set out in our workplace protocols – which are all designed to minimise the risk of infection – there is no need to wear PPE in the workplace.

We will however, keep this under review, and monitor for any changes to the Government advice. 

If you have any specific concerns about PPE, please speak to your line manager.

Q6. Have the council looked into the issue of BAME staff with underlying illness such as high blood pressure, returning back to the workplace?

A6. Managers are being asked to complete risk assessments for individual members of staff with an underlying health condition.

Managers should ensure that the risk assessment processes for individuals consider and adjust processes for matters relating to equality and diversity including ethnicity, creating a level playing field.  

The risk assessment will determine if additional measures are needed in the workplace over and above those in place for the service/team before a member of staff returns. The risk assessment should be shared with the individual and discussed in detail.

Managers can request risk assessment templates and further guidance from Health&SafetyUnit@liverpool.gov.uk 

Q7. Are there any plans for front line social care assessment staff to receive the antibody test like the NHS?

A7. For social care staff, the testing programme will be rolled out in a phased way across regions and discussions will be held with local leaders to decide the best way to go about this. 

We will keep staff informed of any further updates.

Q8. Has any thought been given to access to other car parking sites around the city? I mention this after seeing the new building opening hours 6am – 10pm.

I currently park in Mount Pleasant car park and walk across to the Cunard, but this car park opening hours are 7-7 if I remember correctly. Will alternatives be provided?

A8. Additional car parking is going to be made available for staff in the Waterfront (Kings Dock) car park.

There is going to be a park and cycle option for staff who live more than five miles away from the city centre. 

This could be with their own cycle or one of the council’s own Citybikes. 

The council has also applied to be one of the pilot areas for e-scooters and these could be made available for staff too, in due course. 

The timescales we are looking at, for a new for park and cycle scheme are mid/end August in preparation for 50% of staff returning to workplaces in September.

We will keep staff informed of developments.

Q9. Will there be revised guidelines for fire drills (or real evacuations) as it is impossible to maintain a safe distance when leaving the building in this way?

Will there be a requirement to bring a mask/face covering to work to use when this happens as social distance cannot be maintained? Or will we be designated a certain exit to ensure the main stairs are not swamped?

There were a number of real fire alarms not long before lock-down so any information on this would be appreciated.

A9. Government guidelines on returning to the workplace advise that in an emergency, for example, an accident or fire, people do not have to stay two metres apart if it would be unsafe.

Initially, the council is planning for 10% of its staff to return to the workplace in July, increasing to 50% in September.

Face masks will not be needed during an evacuation/fire drill.

Staff should maintain social distancing wherever possible but not at times when it may cause danger to themselves or others.

Q10. In terms of working from home in the future will this be an option for those that feel it benefits their productivity and mental well-being?

As prior to Covid we had to be office based with working elsewhere not considered to be an option.

A10. It may be an option for some staff to continue working from home, all, some or part of the time, in future, but this is something that staff will need to discuss with their line managers.

It will also be dependent upon the needs of your service area.

Q11. I appreciate that each building will have its own risk assessment completed prior to staff returning to work. 

If specific buildings are found to be very restricted or unsuitable to return to, what other options are being explored besides working from home?

A11. The risk assessment process hasn’t revealed any buildings that are unsuitable to return to as yet.

However, we are considering what additional space may be available within council buildings should it be needed.

Q12. Is it correct that workstations/desks can only be used/allocated to one person and cannot be used by multiple people on a rota basis?
Are the 10% (1st July), 20% (1st Aug) and 50% (1st Sept) figures mandatory requirements or expectations?

It has been explained to staff in our Division that each desk/workstation will be allocated to a single member of staff and that staff are restricted to only using that desk/workstation and only on those days when that particular desk is available to use (based on the Divisions red team/green team rota).

We have also been told that to achieve the 50% staff return requirement, from 1st Sept staff will have to come into the office on those days that their desk is available. 

Can you confirm if that is the intention? 

If that is the case it will massively reduce flexibility with regard to when and where staff can work and how teams can operate. 

Will it not be possible for one member of staff to use a workstation one day, for it to be cleansed and then potentially a different member of staff use it the next day? 

Especially if staff are using laptops and so would not need to touch a desktop keyboard/mouse/PC etc? 

We have heard how the roll-out of VDI will give greater flexibility with regard to desk usage as desks won’t be ‘locked out’ by people remotely accessing them but this won’t make any difference if staff can only sit at the workstation allocated to them and only on the given days that that desk is available. 

Appreciate the issues with hygiene/social distancing/controlling the virus etc but we seem to be moving to a place where we have less flexibility in terms of working arrangements than we had before Covid and certainly less than we have had during it – how does this reflect our aims for agile working or is it just a temporary lack of flexibility until we are out of the crisis?

A12. Yes, it is the case that unfortunately workstations cannot be used by multiple people on a rota basis due to 1) the infection risk and 2) if you log on to someone else’s PC whilst you’re in the office, it stops them being able to ‘remote on’ at home.

While we have increased cleaning in all our buildings, and we’re asking all staff to clean their own workstations/phones/PCs at the start and the end of each shift, we still cannot allow staff to share PCs because of the reasons above.

This situation should improve when ICT rolls out our ‘virtual desktop infrastructure - or VDI - introduced later in August/September. 

Please note it is our aim to bring back 10% of staff in July, 20% in August and 50% in September and it will be down to managers to plan for this, taking into account the needs of their service, the set-up of their office environment and the individual circumstances of their team members.

All managers have been asked to be as flexible as possible and to have open discussions with their staff about returning.

If you have particular concerns about returning to the workplace, please discuss these with your line manager.

Q13. Would it be possible to introduce more fridges in the 4th Floor kitchen by removing the tables and chairs that are currently there which will enable more room to facilitate this?

A13. Unfortunately we do not have the budget to buy additional fridges, and even if we did, we would still need to restrict access to them, in order to protect staff from exposing themselves to an increased risk of contracting Covid-19 through touching contaminated surfaces.

The only items permitted in fridges are critical medical supplies, items critical to the delivery of council services and expressed breastmilk.

Colleagues are asked to bring in UHT milk or a small insulated bag for any items they need to keep cool.

Q14. A colleague is not in at the moment due to self-isolation (although I am not sure of this). 

As they were also off at the beginning of the lockdown self-isolating how does the rest of the staff know that they have not been exposed to the virus?

Is it realistic to ask that we are all tested or to be reassured that colleagues such as the one in question has been and is clear?

A14. If a staff member is concerned that they may have been exposed to coronavirus at work, they should raise with their line manager who will advise whether any action is needed.

Managers will usually find out about someone having symptoms or being confirmed as having coronavirus through the staff member themselves.

If a staff member has symptoms, they should tell the line manager immediately who should advise them to isolate immediately and arrange to have a test. There is no requirement to tell other members of the team that someone is self-isolating.

Similarly, if a manager finds out from the individual member of staff or from the test and trace system that the person is confirmed positive, anyone who needs to self-isolate (close contacts) will be identified through test and trace processes, with the involvement of the line manager if necessary. There is no requirement for line managers to inform the rest of their team.

The test and trace system is still in development, and it is possible that a line manager may find out from a staff member that they have tested positive before the national test and trace system get in touch. If this happens, the line manager should phone one of the LCC Public Health consultants as an interim arrangement.

Q15. There has been reference made to buildings, including Cunard, having extended opening hours to allow for staggered hours. When will this be implemented and will access to staff car parks be revised to reflect this?

A15. Buildings in the city centre, including Cunard, will have extended opening hours from 6am to 10pm, subject to demand, from Wednesday 1 July.

If there is demand from staff to use our buildings during these extended hours, and car parking is also required, we will of course look at extending staff/council owned car park opening hours.

Q16. A couple of the protocols make reference to non-essential items being removed from offices:

  • Protocol 4 Workplace planning and workstations – Pt 7 - All staff must observe a clear desk policy and remove all work items and belongings for storage in desk pedestals or store cupboards when not in use. All non-essential items must be removed from the workplace.
  • Protocol 8 (General Housekeeping) – Pt 1 - All non-essential items not required for the delivery of council services shall be removed from the workplace and disposed of appropriately.

Whilst non-priority officers are currently asked not to return to the office; will they be given opportunity to collect their personal effects (eg coats left on coat stands) before storage or disposal? 

It would seem to make sense, from a health & safety perspective, to give individuals the opportunity to come in to collect; rather than numerous people searching through belongings that have been put in to storage

A16. All staff will be given the opportunity to return to the workplace to retrieve personal effects that cannot be stored at their place of work.

You should arrange to access your workplace to collect your items via your manager.

Q17. We have been told a percentage of staff will be going back into offices in July with a further increase in August. How will the powers that be decide who goes back and when?

A17. Managers are being asked to start planning now for which staff will be in the first tranche of those returning in July.

To help them do this, we’ve asked them to consider:

  • The needs of each service and how well it can be delivered from home
  • Staff who have expressed a wish to come back and/or whose wellbeing would benefit from coming back
  • Staff who have childcare or other caring responsibilities, or who are living with shielded people, and may struggle to return at the moment
  • Staff who are over 70, pregnant or shielding due to underlying health conditions and are currently at home on medical grounds

Managers will be in touch with staff to discuss the plans.

Q18. Have the capacity of our cycling facilities been considered alongside the plans for people to return to the workplace?

There has been a huge increase in cycling during lockdown and many people who would normally use public transport may now opt to cycle, particularly due to safety concerns. The bike facilities [in Cunard] were often full before Covd-19 and social distancing/keeping people safe/increased numbers will put added pressures on the capacity of the space and additional space may be needed.

A survey could gauge our staff travel plans to see how many people plan to cycle in Sept, though other offices in the building also use the space.

A18. From July, only 10% of staff will return to the workplace, increasing to 50% from September.

Although there has been an increase in the popularity of cycling, we expect this will balance out with fewer staff in the building overall.

Therefore we believe the existing cycling facilities will be sufficient in the Cunard.  

However, should we need more overspill spaces for bikes, this can be put in place.

If we do need more parking/changing facilities, on a temporary basis, the cruise liner terminal is a short term option. 

Alternatively, the lower ground of Cunard could also be used (where Underwater Street used to be based) temporarily to provide additional capacity for cycle parking and staff change.

Q19. Those who rely on grandparents for childcare on some of their working days may find that they are unable to send their child(ren) there due to shielding/fears of catching the virus. This will presumably be the case until there is a vaccine/ the UK is free of cases.

Will those staff members be expected to find alternative childcare arrangements on those days, or will there be allowances made for continuing working from home/ flexible working?

A19. We appreciate some staff may struggle to return to the workplace due to childcare issues/school closures.

We will of course be flexible so that staff can continue working from home when they have caring responsibilities. We ask staff to discuss any barriers to returning to the workplace with their managers.

Q20. When things get back to normal will the council consider allowing staff to work from home 100% of the time given that they have proven during the lockdown that they can work 100% effectively (if not more effectively than when in the office, due to other distractions) by using the technology now available through the council such as Microsoft Teams and VDI?

A20. It may be an option for staff to continue working from home, all, some or part of the time, in future, but this is something that staff will need to discuss with their line managers.  It will also be dependent upon the needs of your service area.

Q21. Will shielders be some of the staff returning to work immediately from 1st July?

There has been no clarification as yet from government on any extension, however this does not reduce the risk of severe illness to current shielders on catching the disease.

Will the council be factoring in to the plans the option for shielders who can work from home to continue to do so for the foreseeable future?

A21. Managers are being asked to start planning for which staff will be in the first tranche of those returning in July.

We’ve asked them to consider:

  • The needs of each service and how well it can be delivered from home
  • Staff who have expressed a wish to come back and/or whose wellbeing would benefit from coming back
  • Staff who have childcare or other caring responsibilities, or who are living with shielded people, and may struggle to return at the moment
  • Staff who are over 70, pregnant or shielding due to underlying health conditions and are currently at home on medical grounds

If you are shielding, or live with someone who is shielding, please discuss this with your manager.

Individuals’ circumstances will be taken into account when managers are planning for the return to workplaces.

Individual risk assessments will also be completed by managers for certain staff, e.g. those with underlying health conditions, to see if additional measures are needed in order to enable you to return to the workplace work safely.

Do you have a question?

For many, the next few weeks will be an anxious time as we turn our thoughts to returning to the workplace.

If you have any questions, please send them through to the internal comms team and we will do our best to provide the answers for you. We will seek guidance from colleagues in Public Health and HR, and every Wednesday we will post the findings here.

Please send your questions to internal.communications@liverpool.gov.uk

Protocols in focus (No1-4)

Tuesday 23 June 2020

We thought it might be helpful to unpick some of the 20 protocols that have been agreed with trade unions: the measures we are introducing into workplaces to make them a safe space for staff to return to.

Every day for the next five (working) days we will feature a breakdown of a set of protocols. Here's protocols one to four:

Protocol 1: Social distancing in workplaces

Signage will be in place across buildings to remind staff to stay apart and observe social distancing guidance - this includes when entering and existing workplaces, and in kitchens and toilets, as well as general work space. 

Staff are also being asked to turn their face away when passing colleagues.

Protocol 2: Coming into and leaving work

Where possible one way systems for entry and exit will be established, and staff and visitors will be reminded to keep well apart as they come in and out of buildings. 

Hand sanitisers will be available in public buildings, and reminders in place to wash hands frequently.

Some buildings, such as Cunard Building, Premier Court and Venture Place, will be open for longer to allow staff to stagger start and finish times and avoid 'peak hour' rushes at entrances. 

Protocol 3: Moving around buildings and worksites

Non-essential trips between buildings are being discouraged and the use of phones, Zoom and Teams encouraged for staff interaction and meetings. 

As staff move around corridors they are being asked to turn their face away from each other, maintain a distance, and warn colleagues of their approach if they have not been noticed. 

Lifts will be limited to one or two persons and use of stairs encouraged. Face coverings must be worn by all staff and visitors at all times when using lifts.

Protocol 4: Workplace planning and work stations

Staff are asked to clean workstations before and after use each day, this includes keyboards, mouse and telephones. Cleaning stations are positioned across offices, where you can pick up disinfectant spray and wipes to clean surfaces. (Please note:some bottles may say disinfectant spray and others sanitiser spray but they both do the same job.)

Desks must be kept clear of any items, following our Clear Desk Procedure. This will help you clean your desk more easily too. Staff are asked to remove any clutter from underneath desks and store coats on the back of your chair. 

If you are not intending to go back into the office in the near future and you have a colleague who can safely remove items from your desk and store them for you, please ask them to do this. 

The use of fans is not permitted. 

Staff must not sit directly next to or opposite a colleague. 

Over the next few days we will run you through more protocols, unpicking some of the key measures you need to know about. 

Return to workplaces - inductions

Monday 22 June 2020

Staff returning to the workplace in July are asked to attend a short induction briefing to help you understand the new ways of working.

The sessions will take place at the council’s three main buildings – Cunard Building, Premier Court and Venture Place - on Wednesday 1 July and Monday 6 July, at 9am, 11am & 2pm.

In the Cunard, the sessions will be held in the Arrivals Hall, ground floor.

In Premier Court, the sessions will take place in the 4th floor main office.

In Venture Place, the sessions will be on the 3rd floor.

Staff will be briefed on the new workplace protocols and will have the opportunity to ask questions.

Please attend one of the sessions.

Return to workplaces - protocols

Update: Monday 15 June 2020

Chief Executive, Tony Reeves, has outlined our aim to reopen buildings for 10% of staff in July, 20% in August and 50% in September.

To ensure our buildings are as safe as possible for all staff and visitors, we have agreed 20 new workplace protocols with trade unions.

They cover all the main activities that happen in the workplace and give clear instructions on how we can work safely.

They should address the issues and concerns that you raised in our recent staff survey.

Here’s a summary of some of the measures:

  • One-way systems will be introduced at entry and exit points to buildings, and in other key areas, where possible
  • Hand sanitisers will be at entry points to all publicly accessed buildings
  • Signage will be in place to remind you to wash your hands regularly and to keep your distance
  • Colleagues will not be allowed to sit opposite or directly next to each other at workstations
  • Cleaning stations (with disinfectant sprays and blue roll) will be available to clean your workstation regularly
  • Clear desk policy will be in place for all
  • Telephone handsets cannot be shared
  • Coat rails will not be available - you will be asked to hang your coats on the back of your chair
  • Staggered start and finish times will be introduced to give staff more flexibility
  • Our main buildings will have longer opening times: Cunard Building, Premier Court and Venture Place will be open from 6am-10pm
  • There will be no stopping in walkways/corridors
  • Colleagues will be asked to turn their heads away when passing each other
  • Lifts will be limited to one or two persons (max) depending on the size of the lift. Priority will be given to disabled staff
  • Face coverings must be worn by all staff and visitors at all times when using lifts.
  • Meeting rooms will be reconfigured to allow social distancing
  • All non-essential meetings/trips will be discouraged - staff should carry on using technology like Zoom, Skype and Microsoft Teams, as well as phone and email
  • Kitchens will be open, however social distancing will need to be observed, and there will be no access to microwaves. Access to fridges will be limited to essential medical supplies (including food required for specific dietary requirements), items essential for the delivery of council services and women expressing/storing breast milk 
  • You will be asked to eat at your desk where possible or use outside areas when the weather allows
  • Kitchens, toilets, waste bins, handrails and lift/door handles will be cleaned regularly
  • The number of staff in toilets at any one time will be limited
  • An equality impact assessment to consider the needs of staff with protected characteristics is underway

We realise that these measures will make our workplaces feel different to normal, however, everything is being done with your safety in mind, and to protect you, your colleagues and your family and friends at home.

We ask you to be kind, be patient and be responsible when you return to our buildings, which we know you will be.

You can download the full set of protocols on the extranet. (Updated 14.09.20 to add the use of face coverings in building lifts)

Risk Assessments

In addition to protocols, each building will undergo a risk assessment and once these are agreed with trade unions, they will be published on our website, so staff and visitors can access them.

We will let you know when they are available. All risk assessments must be agreed by trade unions.

Line managers are also being asked to complete templates for their team(s) and these too will be discussed with your trade unions.

Once team/service risk assessments are finalised, your manager will share them with you.

Returning in July

Managers are beginning to plan for who will return to the workplace in July, and should be talking to their teams about how it will work.

We are asking managers to split staff into two or more groups, to return on a rota basis to maintain good standards of health and safety. We are also asking managers to consider:

  • Who has expressed a wish to come back and/or whose wellbeing would benefit from coming back
  • Staff who have childcare or other caring responsibilities, or who are living with shielded people, and may struggle to return at the moment
  • Staff who are over 70, pregnant or shielding due to underlying health conditions and are currently at home on medical grounds

We know some colleagues will feel anxious about returning. We will do everything we can to ensure you feel as safe, confident and comfortable as possible. A huge amount of work is taking place in the background to get our buildings ready to welcome staff back.

In addition to our protocols and risk assessments, we will be providing a comprehensive staff handbook and online training.

To help you travel as safely as possible to work, free car parking will be available at the Cruise Liner Terminal, Victoria Hall and Premier Court until the end of August, at which point this agreement will be reviewed. You will need to request access through Premises Management Services if you have not done so already.

Staff who hold a parking permit for Mount Pleasant car park will not be charged for their permit in July and August. This will be reviewed for September.

Questions?

In the first instance, please speak to your line manager if you have any queries about our return to the workplaces plan.

Staff Survey key findings

A big thank you to those who recently completed the staff survey, which sought views on how staff have found home working during the Covid-19 pandemic, and what your thoughts are on returning to the workplace.

The survey was aimed at the 4,000 or so colleagues who are currently working from home, and received 2,441 responses - a fantastic return rate providing invaluable feedback.

The main findings of the survey have been analysed and are shared with you below under four themes; working from home, caring responsibilities, return to work concerns and support measures in place.

Download the results graphic here

Your views are important as we want you to feel confident about coming back into the workplace when the time is right.

Staff will not be allowed to return to buildings until risk assessments have been undertaken across all sites, agreed and consulted with trade unions, local infection rates are going down and a testing and contact tracing regime is established in the city. We will be following government guidelines at all times and will have robust plans in place for you coming into a building safely (including how you social distance, our cleaning regimes, access to kitchens and so on) before we give the green light to anyone. We are in regular contact with trade unions on the matter.

Whilst some staff are keen to come back, we ask you to please be patient whilst the next steps are formally agreed and implemented.

You will be kept fully up-to-date as and when there is more to say. If you have any questions in the meantime please speak to your line manager. 

Return to work plans

Update from Thursday 28 May.

Chief Executive Tony Reeves has updated staff on plans to reopen our workplaces. He writes:

Dear colleague,

I would like to take this opportunity to provide a short update on our plans around reopening our workplaces.

Firstly, thank you to all of you who filled in our recent survey about homeworking and for letting us know how you feel about returning to the workplace. More than 60 per cent of staff who are currently working from home took the opportunity to give us your feedback. We were delighted to see how engaged you all are, it is critical for us to be aware of your views.

I know that some of you have concerns and anxieties about returning to work, this is of course, entirely understandable. I would like to reassure you that your safety is our number one priority and we will be following government guidelines carefully. Working closely with our trade unions, we will also be undertaking risk assessments across all of our sites before welcoming staff back. Our plans include how you access buildings safely, continuing our robust cleaning regimes, how we implement social distancing, as well as use of kitchens, photocopiers and so on. We are leaving no stone unturned.  We will also need to be satisfied, as will our Public Health colleagues, that the local infection rate is going down.

We are continuing to keep our trade union colleagues informed of our plans and discussions. We have also started talking to partners such as Merseytravel to ensure all necessary measures are in place to protect you and give you the reassurances that you need before you return to work.

We will have more details to share with you next week, along with the results of our staff survey.

Please bear in mind that when staff do start returning to work, it will be a phased return, we are currently assessing how this will pan out across all of our services.

For those of you who are keen to return to work as soon as possible, our message is, please bear with us. We cannot allow this, until we are sure that we will all be safe and we have agreement from our unions.

Thank you for your continuing patience, your hard work and your dedication to ensuring all of our essential services keep going.

A special thank you to all of our colleagues who are back at work risk assessing our buildings and preparing for colleagues to start their return - your work is not going unnoticed.

Tony Reeves, Chief Executive

Staff Survey

**As of Friday 22 May, the Staff Survey is now closed**

Covid-19 has posed many challenges for Liverpool City Council and our workforce.

What is clear is that it has not changed our commitment to providing vital services to residents. Staff have gone above and beyond to ensure service users and the most vulnerable in our society have been supported throughout the pandemic. There is a sense of pride across the organisation that we have not let this challenge defeat us, and if anything, it has brought colleagues and services closer together. We need to hold onto this for the future.

With the easing of lockdown restrictions on the way, we know that more change is around the corner, and we need to start preparing now for the ‘new normal’. Quite what this will look like we do not know, but to help us introduce the right changes, at the right pace for staff, we would like to hear from you.

Please complete this survey and share your views on home working and how you feel about a potential return to the workplace. Your feedback will not only inform our short-term plans, but will also help shape our future, long-term working arrangements.

Complete the Staff survey here

This survey is anonymous and should take no more than three minutes to answer.

Tony Reeves
Chief Executive

 

IMPORTANT: Staff update on lockdown review - 10 May

Important information for all staff following the Prime Minister's announcement on Sunday 10 May, regarding updates to the current coronavirus social distancing guidelines.

The Prime Minister has announced some changes to the current social distancing guidelines that are currently in place to combat Covid-19.

Following the Downing Street statement, discussions will take place this week between the Executive team, Mayor Anderson and Trade Union representatives to assess the impact of the easing of the lockdown restrictions.

Further details of how workplaces and schools across England will be affected, will be revealed in Parliament tomorrow.

The Prime Minister’s announcement of this ‘conditional plan’ to ease restrictions, will not have an immediate impact on your current working arrangements. If you are currently working from home, you will continue to do so.

Your direct line manager will inform you of any changes that may need to be made to either your place of work, or your working practices.

The availability of the transport network will be a major consideration during this review by senior management.

Thank you for your cooperation and patience during this time.

 

IMPORTANT: Staff update on lockdown review 07 May 

Important information for all staff ahead of the Prime Minister's planned announcement on the lockdown on Sunday.

On Sunday the Prime Minister is expected to announce changes to the current social distancing guidelines that are currently in place to combat Covid-19.

The Prime Minister’s announcement will NOT have an immediate impact on your current working arrangements. If you are currently working from home, you will continue to do so.

Discussions are currently taking place between the Executive team and Trade Union representatives to assess future changes that may be required in our working environment.

Your direct line manager will inform you of any changes that may need to be made to either your place of work or your working practices. 

The availability of the transport network will be a major consideration during this review by senior management.

Thank you for your cooperation and patience during this time.

UPDATE: Thursday 7 May, 3.45pm

Instructions for setting up a work mobile

Following the announcement of a UK lockdown, managers were asked to identify technology that their staff needed in order to be able to work from home. 

ICT has now taken delivery of a number of mobile phones, which are in the process of being collected by managers so they can be distributed to relevant staff. 

If you are receiving a phone, you will need to set it up yourself. 

If you have recently been given a work Samsung mobile so you can do your job from home or a new location, view the mobile set-up instructions now. 

Policies and procedures

Did you know that you can access the council’s policies and procedures and you don’t have to be connected to the corporate network? Simply visit our policies and procedures section.

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Mersey Waves  - Council Life

Do you enjoy Podcasts? Then why not tune into one our latest episodes which have been produced with you - our staff - in mind. Each episode will explore a range of topics that cover all aspects of life within a council in particular during this time of change.

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