Barnet Group – temporary-changes-to-workplace-policies-and-procedures

Sick piggy bank use thermometer fever and stethoscope check hygiene and stack coin put on the wood on sunlight in the public park, saving money for buy health insurance concept.

Barnet Group -COVID-19 – temporary-changes-to-workplace-policies-and-procedures

 

As coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) continues to spread, we recognise that our organisation needs to adapt its ways of working.

We want to help reduce the spread of coronavirus and safeguard the welfare of our staff during the coronavirus outbreak, while continuing our operations as normally as possible.

This policy explains what temporary changes we are making to our usual policies and procedures on sickness absence, flexible working, travel, and annual leave during the global health crisis.

Sickness absence

Sickness absence reporting

What is our normal policy?

Under our normal sickness absence policy, if you fall ill and cannot attend work, you would be required to:

  • notify your line manager before you are due to start work, or as soon as possible if that is not practical; and
  • provide medical evidence (typically, a fit note from your doctor) for sickness of more than seven calendar days’ absence.

What is changing temporarily?

During the coronavirus situation, it is vital that you do not attend work if you fall ill and experience any common coronavirus symptoms. These are:

  • a fever;
  • a dry cough; and
  • shortness of breath.

You should still notify your line manager of your absence before you are due to start work, or as soon as possible if that is not practical.

However, we recognise that you may be legitimately absent without having written medical evidence (typically, a fit note from your doctor). If you are given medical advice to self-isolate, we will not ask you to provide written medical evidence after seven calendar days’ absence.

This is because public health advice is that, if you show symptoms, you should avoid going to your doctor or a hospital to prevent infection from spreading. You may have been given medical advice via telephone from NHS 111 to self-isolate.

You will still be expected to:

  • explain to your line manager what medical advice you have been given and from whom; and
  • keep in regular contact with your line manager.

Given the coronavirus situation, you must make sure that your contact details are up-to-date on iTrent and your line manager has a telephone number and email address where they can reach you if you are in self-isolation.

Acceptable levels of absence

What is our normal policy?

Under our sickness absence policy, the formal procedures for managing sickness absence may be triggered as a result of:

  • 10 or more working days of sickness absence during a rolling 12 month period;
  • 4 or more episodes of sickness absence during a rolling 12 month period;
  • a single absence of 15 or more working days (long-term sickness absence);
  • any sickness that gives cause for concern or where early intervention might help.

in the previous 12 months.

What is changing temporarily?

If you are given medical advice to self-isolate (for example from NHS 111), or we ask you to self-isolate, we will not take this absence into account when determining whether or not we are taking formal action under our  sickness absence management procedure.

Sick pay

What is our normal policy?

You would normally receive, if eligible, statutory sick pay (SSP) where:

  • you have a period of sickness absence from work of at least four calendar days in a row; or
  • during sickness absence you are normally entitled, in any 12-month period to receive sick pay as defined in your contract which would reduce to half pay or no pay

What is changing temporarily?

You will be paid full pay if:

  • we have asked you to stay away from the workplace and self-isolate; or
  • you are self-isolating in response to medical advice from NHS 111, your doctor, or a local health protection team.

 

 

 

Flexible working

Requests for flexible working

What is our normal policy?

Under our flexible working policy, you can normally agree informally with your line manager to one-off or short-term changes to your working patterns or periods of homeworking.

However, if you wish to change your working patterns or work from home for an extended period, we normally ask you to make a formal request for flexible working and follow the procedure set out in our policy on employees requesting flexible working.

What is changing temporarily?

As long as the organisation’s operational needs continue to be met, you will be able to:

  • adapt your working patterns, for example to allow you to travel on public transport at less crowded times; or
  • work from home if your role allows for this,

for an extended period without having to follow our formal procedure. You can agree informally with your line manager to these changes.

You should speak to your line manager if you wish to take advantage of either of these options, or any other flexible working options that may help you at this time. However, the decision as to whether or not to agree to your request for flexible working remains with your line manager.

Once agreed, the temporary flexible working arrangement will continue until further notice. If circumstances change, your manager will discuss with you any adaptations to, or the withdrawal of, the flexible working arrangement, with the final decision remaining with your manager.

Requirement to work remotely

What is our normal policy?

Except by prior agreement with us, we do not normally require you to work remotely for an extended period.

There is normally no expectation that:

  • if you use a laptop, you always take it home with you after work each day.

What is changing temporarily?

Given the current global health situation, you may be asked to work remotely at short notice. This could be the case if our workplace closes unexpectedly as a precaution or public health measures, such as an area-wide lockdown, are introduced.

This could mean working from home, although you may have the option to work remotely from one of our other work sites if it remains open.

If it is not possible for you to work from home, you should discuss your options with your line manager.

You should ensure that, where possible, you take your laptop home with you after work each day.

You should contact the IT department if you have any queries about the remote-working system.

Travel

Non-work-related travel

What is our normal policy?

We do not normally have any rules around staff travelling outside work.

What is changing temporarily?

If you have been in a restricted area since the beginning of March 2020, you must inform your line manager immediately.

If you plan to travel to a restricted area in your own time, for example on a holiday or for family reasons, you must inform your line manager before you depart of where you are going.

You must not come to work on your return. Even if you have no symptoms, we will ask you to self-isolate for 14 days after your return from the restricted area.

On your return from a restricted area, your first step should be to visit the 111.nhs.uk website, where you can get further medical advice via telephone. You should do this even if you do not have any symptoms.

If possible, you should avoid going to your doctor or a hospital to prevent infection from spreading.

Annual leave

Changing your holiday plans

What is our normal policy?

Once you have booked annual leave, we normally allow you to cancel or change annual leave only in limited circumstances. These circumstances include where:

  • your personal circumstances warrant it and the cancellation or change does not inconvenience the organisation; or
  • you fall ill shortly before or during annual leave.

 

 

What is changing temporarily?

During the coronavirus situation, you may change your mind about travelling, or be unable to travel to your planned destination, and may wish to cancel or change annual leave that you have already booked.

If you would like to cancel or change planned leave, please speak to your line manager. We may allow you to change or cancel booked holiday, taking into account the coronavirus situation. However, this will continue to be a decision for your line manager, depending on the circumstances.

For example, if we have arranged cover for you, or arranged shift patterns on the basis that you will be on leave, we may require you to take the leave as booked.

Unused annual leave

What is our normal policy?

Our organisation’s holiday year runs from 1 April to 31 March.

Normally, we require you to take your holiday entitlement in the relevant holiday year and we allow you to carry over no more than[five days’ annual leave into the following leave year.

What is changing temporarily?

We recognise that you may be unable to take your remaining annual leave before the end of the leave year. For example, you could have an increased workload because of the coronavirus situation, or you may have cancelled or changed planned annual leave.

We are suspending our usual rule that / you can carry over no more than five days’ annual leave into the following leave year

While you should endeavour to take your holiday entitlement in the relevant holiday year, you should speak to your line manager if you think that you will be unable to do so.

As long as your line manager agrees, the annual leave can be taken later. The timing is a matter for discussion between you and your line manager.

 

 

 

OUTBREAKS OF COVID-19 IN CARE HOMES: INFECTION CONTROL MEASURES

Barnet UNISON has received a large number of concerns from careworkers who, now, like NHS staff are caring for individuals who have become infected with Coronavirus.

All care settings MUST comply with the advice set out by Public Health England. Please contact us if you are working in a setting where these minimal standards are not being adhered to.

Contact us on 0208 359 2088 (leave a message)

or email us at

contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

if you have any further concerns.

“Droplet precautions, isolation and personal protective equipment (PPE):

  • Care homes are not expected to have dedicated isolation facilities for people living in the home.
  • Isolation precautions should be implemented in the same way care homes operate for influenza.
  • A resident’s own room can be used if isolation is needed, ideally a single bedroom with en-suite.
  • If this is not possible, discuss the option of cohorting with your local PHE health protection team.

Staff should use PPE for close personal contact with a symptomatic resident or bodily fluids.

  • Aprons, gloves and fluid repellent surgical masks should be used in these situations.
  • If there is a risk of splashing, then eye protection will minimise risk.
  • New PPE must be used for each episode of care.
  • On leaving the resident’s room, PPE should be removed, and hand hygiene performed immediately, as per standard infection control precautions.
  • Isolation may end after 7 days from illness onset, so long as the case feels better and has no fever.”

Read full guidance by click link below.

Interim IPC advice for care homes_v1.2_20200318

When to use a surgical face mask or FFP3 respirator: Government Guidance

© Crown copyright 2020. Public Health England Gateway number 2019 271

“When caring for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, all healthcare workers need to – prior to any patient interaction – assess the infectious risk posed to themselves and wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimise that risk.”

Click on the link for full advice

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/874411/When_to_use_face_mask_or_FFP3.pdf

Front line worker: What should you do if you have someone else living with you?

Below is the latest government advice for those workers who live with someone who is defined as at risk from the Coronavirus.

“Guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from COVID-19”

Updated 30 March 2020

Background and scope of guidance

This guidance is for people, including children, who are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) because of an underlying health condition, and for their family, friends and carers. It is intended for use in situations where the extremely vulnerable person is living in their own home, with or without additional support. This includes the extremely clinically vulnerable people living in long-term care facilities, either for the elderly or persons with special needs.

Shielding is a measure to protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable by minimising all interaction between those who are extremely vulnerable and others. We are strongly advising people with serious underlying health conditions (listed below), which put them at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19), to rigorously follow shielding measures in order to keep themselves safe.

  1. Minimise as much as possible the time other family members spend in shared spaces such as kitchens, bathrooms and sitting areas, and keep shared spaces well ventilated.
  2. Aim to keep 2 metres (3 steps) away from people you live with and encourage them to sleep in a different bed where possible. If you can, you should use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household. Make sure you use separate towels from the other people in your house, both for drying themselves after bathing or showering and for hand-hygiene purposes.
  3. If you do share a toilet and bathroom with others, it is important that they are cleaned after use every time (for example, wiping surfaces you have come into contact with). Another tip is to consider drawing up a rota for bathing, with you using the facilities first.
  4. If you share a kitchen with others, avoid using it while they are present. If you can, you should take your meals back to your room to eat. If you have one, use a dishwasher to clean and dry the family’s used crockery and cutlery. If this is not possible, wash them using your usual washing up liquid and warm water and dry them thoroughly. If you are using your own utensils, remember to use a separate tea towel for drying these.
  5. We understand that it will be difficult for some people to separate themselves from others at home. You should do your very best to follow this guidance and everyone in your household should regularly wash their hands, avoid touching their face, and clean frequently touched surfaces.

If the rest of your household stringently follow advice on social distancing and minimise the risk of spreading the virus within the home by following the advice above, there is no need for them to also shield alongside you.”

Read more advice here

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

 

Barnet UNISON statement:

If you have any questions or concerns email the branch at

contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

You can keep up to date with Barnet UNISON here on our

Website here http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BarnetUNISON/

Twitter https://twitter.com/barnet_unison

Do you work in a care home or school? Dial Helpline details below.

Do you work in a care home or a school ?

Do you have some concerns about Coronavirus and what procedures should be in place in your work place?

Why not give the helpline a call?

Barnet Council have set up a Public Health (PH) helpline for care homes in Barnet.

The number is 0808 281 3210, choose option 5, which will state:

“If you are calling from a care home, school or are a Councillor needing public health advice, press 5.”

The PH Team will be able to talk you through the infection control procedures and organise PPE delivery, via covid19.

End.

Enough is enough. PPE for all care workers now.

Please sign this petition

http://chng.it/GqNGny9X

We demand Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is made immediately available for all care workers.

It is time for a change in the Public Health guidance on wearing PPE.

All care workers need to be provided with PPE (mask and gloves etc.) and training in how to use it.

Until now you have to be working with someone known to have the virus to have PPE.

That may have been right back then but now it’s got to change.

Care workers need PPE.

PPE needs to be provided on the assumption any of us could have Covid-19.

We can’t afford our care workers being exposed to the virus or passing it on to service users.

It takes just one case in a care home and suddenly care workers will be sent home to self-isolate.

But who looks after the residents if you send the care workers to self-isolate?

We don’t have enough care workers to work to this strategy which is why ALL care workers must be provided with PPE.

We can see there isn’t enough PPE for the NHS but this should not be a reason for not making this demand.

If care homes start falling where do you think this will end?

More admissions to hospitals!

If this Government can’t ensure there is enough provision of PPE then they should step aside and let others take over.

It’s already happening and we can’t stay silent on this any longer.

It’s a simple demand – PPE must be provided for all care workers.

No excuses, no delay.

End.

 

Barnet UNISON: Public Health guidance for Social Care workers

Dear Members

If you work in social care we want to make sure that you are being kept safe.

Below are links to Public Health England guidance for workers in Residential, Supported Living and Home Care.

Please read the information carefully. If you are not getting Personal Protective

COVID-19: guidance on residential care provision

Updated 19 March 2020

“Care home providers will routinely be procuring personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves and aprons. In addition, there will be a free issue of PPE to support adult social care providers to support compliance with the updated advice. This will be issued from the pandemic influenza stockpile. Arrangements will be put in place for adult social care providers to access further PPE as necessary.”

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-residential-care-supported-living-and-home-care-guidance/covid-19-guidance-on-residential-care-provision

 

COVID-19: guidance for supported living provision

Updated 19 March 2020

“Personal protective equipment

The risk of transmission should be minimised through safe working procedures. Care workers should use personal protective equipment for activities that bring them into close personal contact, such as washing and bathing, personal hygiene and contact with bodily fluids.

Aprons, gloves and fluid repellent surgical masks should be used in these situations.

In particular cases, if there is a risk of splashing then eye protection will minimise risk.

New personal protective equipment must be used for each episode of care. It is essential that personal protective equipment is stored securely within disposable rubbish bags.

These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste within the room. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in the usual household waste bin for disposal.”

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-residential-care-supported-living-and-home-care-guidance/covid-19-guidance-for-supported-living-provision

 

COVID-19: guidance on home care provision

Updated 19 March 2020

“Personal protective equipment

Care workers should use personal protective equipment (PPE) for activities that bring them into close personal contact, such as washing and bathing, personal hygiene and contact with bodily fluids.

Aprons, gloves and fluid repellent surgical masks should be used in these situations. If there is a risk of splashing, then eye protection will minimise risk.

New personal protective equipment must be used for each episode of care. It is essential that personal protective equipment is stored securely within disposable rubbish bags.

These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste within the room. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in the usual household waste bin.”

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-residential-care-supported-living-and-home-care-guidance/covid-19-guidance-on-home-care-provision

 

Barnet UNISON statement:

Please let the branch know if you are not being provided Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

by sending an email to

contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

You can keep up to date with Barnet UNISON here on our

Website here http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BarnetUNISON/

Twitter https://twitter.com/barnet_unison

 

Barnet Care Workers deserve the London Living Wage

Thursday 19th September Barnet UNISON wrote to The Barnet Group asking when the London Living Wage would be applied to the colleagues who transferred in from Fremantle Group.

As soon as we heard these workers were to be transferred into the Group we made it clear to the new employer that we wanted this for the care workers. The work these colleagues do is demanding and is a skilled job yet these workers receive rates of pay which are often only just above the National Minimum Wage (£8.21/ hr). Few workers are receiving rates of pay higher than the London Living Wage (Team Leaders for example).

We were very proud that our outsourced cleaners working in Barnet Council offices now earn the London Living Wage so the care workers must now receive at least the same wage.

In fact the ex-Fremantle workers are not the only care workers in the Barnet Group who receive less than the London Living Wage. The Barnet Group describes itself as a “London Living Wage” employer but unfortunately cannot retain this title so long as so many colleagues earn so much less.

“Caring for vulnerable people is a skilled job and should be recognised as such. There is no way care workers should be paid less than shelf stackers and cleaners. No one deserves less than the London Living Wage. We expect The Barnet Group and Barnet Council to pay this as an absolute minimum.” Helen Davies, Chair, Barnet UNISON.

“Barnet Group cannot be allowed to continue paying below the London Living Wage to these care workers, some of whom were council staff before they were “outsourced” to Fremantle, who attacked their pay and Terms and Conditions remorselessly. The Barnet Group is solely owned by Barnet Council and should fulfil the Councils commitment to the London living wage.” Patrick Hunter Barnet UNISON Convenor for Barnet Homes. 

“Everyone agrees that care workers are undervalued, overworked and unpaid. In Barnet we have had an agreement for several years that no staff would earn less than the London Living Wage (LLW) and in the event staff were outsourced the contractor must make the same commitment that no staff working on a Barnet contract must earn less than the LLW. Earlier this year Barnet Council honoured this agreement by ensuring contracted out cleaners were on the LLW. I am calling on Barnet Council and The Barnet Group (TBG) to ‘do the right thing’ and announce that all care workers working for TBG are upgraded to at least the LLW.” John Burgess, Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON.

More to follow……………………..

Colindale office UNISON H&S Inspection

 

Colindale office UNISON H&S Inspection

Background

Barnet Group to move staff and operations from Barnet House to new office site in Colindale. Move to commence June 2019.

UNISON representatives from the Barnet Group undertook a Health and Safety Inspection of the new site 12/4/19.

 


Housing Options Reception

 

Current arrangements – Barnet House

Client’s visiting Housing Options are initially held on the ground floor.

This means they can be searched away from Housing Options staff, and for security to confirm who has an appointment.

If there is an incident on the 2nd floor, clients can be held downstairs.

There is also space for client’s to wait and call Housing Options if they don’t have an appointment (as Housing Options is appointment only), although in some cases clients use phones on the second floor to contact benefit advisers etc.

UNISON notes that part of current security arrangements mean that when clients initially arrive at the building they can only gain access to the 2nd floor prior to being searched, and that the one member of reception staff on the ground floor is behind protective glass.

Current statistics on Barnet House anti-social, verbal and physical abuse incidents are too low – UNISON is concerned that there is a culture where abuse of staff is tolerated and incidents not recorded.

Proposed arrangements – Colindale

The proposed new reception has entrances straight from the street with clients queuing up and being searched in the reception area.

UNISON has been informed that there will be no barriers by the entrance, however there will be a reception desk with one or two security guards [to be confirmed], and a side room for more extensive searches.

Total security presence on the ground floor Housing Options Reception area has, as yet to be identified.

Concerns:

 

  1. As there is no protective barrier between clients and staff, clients could throw objects or liquids at staff without/before being searched.

  1. A violent client can push past security and gain access to staff without being searched.

  1. Customers in winter will not want to queue outside meaning they will be in the reception and potentially have access to staff without being searched.

  1. If there is an incident that requires security staff to deal with a violent client, there is no provision to stop other clients from entering the building.

  1. No way of stopping the flow of people to the entrance from outside the building whilst an incident is being managed.

  1. Housing Options regularly have violent clients who need to be removed from the building, there will be a safety issue in removing a disruptive client if other clients are queuing at the entrance.

  1. Housing Options clients include a high proportion of very vulnerable people, including children, who can be waiting the majority of the day for temporary accommodation – this will be unmanageable in the small space provided.

  1. Housing Options staff deal with many victims of domestic violence who may be fleeing violent and abusive partners. At the moment the proposed seating arrangements for people waiting for temporary accommodation mean that clients would be visible from the street through the large glass walls. This could potentially put both the victim of abuse and staff and other clients in danger if the perpetrator of the abuse sees them and would be traumatic for the vulnerable client.

  1. If a client doesn’t have an appointment there appears to be no place where they can call Housing Options to be triaged and assessed prior to seeing a member of staff. This needs to be resolved.

  1. General issues of safety in such a small space given that on a busy day Housing Options staff can have up to five or six families waiting to be seen by staff at any time, as well as families waiting for temporary accommodation.

  1. There does not seem to be any thought been given to the ‘maximum’ number of people that can be in the Housing Options Reception area at any one time.

  1. The Housing Options reception will be shared with Officers from Rental Income, Neighbourhood Housing, Antisocial Behaviour Officers and Leasehold Officers as the only secure interview space for staff to meet with customers. This will lead to severe delays in clients being interviewed. Staff may be tempted or feel pressurised into interviewing clients elsewhere in an unsafe environment due to lack of resources.

  1. Barnet Group Health and Safety Officers have not been given the opportunity to complete a joint inspection with UNISON.

  1. As there will be very limited space/privacy, clients visiting the interview area may be put in the position of having to disclose personal information and details which could be overheard by other members of the public, breaching Data Protection guidelines.

  1. There seems to be a lack of toilet facilities for clients in the Reception area and none in the waiting area.

Fire Safety

 

  1. Fire safety – Number of Fire Points. No fire safety documentation has been provided, as yet, in regard to the number of fire call points in each area.

  1. Disabled access – Unison request more details on this, particularly emergency procedures and evacuation protocols.

  1. UNISON is in ongoing dialogue with the Council and facilities in regard to evacuation protocol and PEEPs [see attached Appendix]

 

 

General Building Health and Safety Concerns

  1. No details available/provided of the building Temperature Control system.

  1. Toilets – at least one single gender toilet should be provided – Cubicles seem quite small for those who may need to wash upper bodies before prayer also wash hand basins are very small. Disabled toilets (public) Access? Mobility WCs should have grab aids on both sides of pan – not all users transfer from same side.

  1. Security arrangements for main building – can this be confirmed and Risk Assessments shared.

  1. Currently no provision where other Barnet Homes staff [not Housing Options] will be able to interview visitors. Lease Hold Services currently have visitors who drop off Right to Buy applications and attend RTB interviews and financial interviews. Rental Income Team, Neighbourhood Housing and Antisocial Behaviour Officers will need access to secure interview areas. Operations guidelines for these services need to be identified and fully Risk Assessed before the service is implemented.

  1. Main reception – the entrance doors partially obscured by stairs to 1st floor and a pillar, what security provision has been made to cover the ‘blind spot’?

  1. Roof garden – railings on the roof are low and easily accessible.

  1. Originally staff were advised that teams would have designated areas of work and on plans these were shaded in. UNISON has now been informed that all areas are hot desks. Does this mean that those who work from 10am will never get a desk?

  1. Cycle parking seems to be very limited – not under cover and just the metal hoop types – as the Barnet Group and the Council is encouraging staff to cycle to work more will need to be provided.

  1. Car parking Areas are located some distance from the main building – staff safety in walking to these areas needs to be Risk Assessed and shared.

  1. Car parks – need to be inspected for adequate lighting – it is unclear if any other safety measures will be put in place [such as CCTV] before the building becomes operational.

 

 

Risks

 

As there is no filter system for members of the public on entering the reception area clients will have to disclose personal details to security/reception and be overheard by other members of the public. The Barnet Group may be in held in breach of General Data Protection Regulations should a member of the public/client make a complaint.

Safeguarding of vulnerable clients visiting the Housing Options reception area is a priority – if victims of domestic abuse don’t feel safe to access council services and be seen by an Officer without the possibility of the perpetrator of the abuse seeing them then they won’t do it.

 

There is an overriding detrimental concern for Barnet Group staff Health and Safety putting the Barnet Group in legal jeopardy.

In addition, the Health and Safety of the Public could be put at risk leaving the Barnet Group open to litigation.

Staff in Housing Options have made it clear to UNISON that the proposed reception area is fundamentally unsafe.

As previously identified the recording/reporting of incidents at the Barnet House Reception is poor – This cannot continue at the new site.

UNISON is given to understand that many of these issues have been raised by staff and line-managers across the whole of Housing Options, but as yet the concerns have not been addressed.

If frontline staff are essentially expected to work in a dangerous environment UNISON will be left with no alternative other than to act on members concerns, inevitably leading to a breakdown in Industrial Relations, if the identified risks are not addressed before Housing Options reception becomes operational.

 

Recommendations

 

  1. Meaningful dialogue between UNISON, management and staff in regard to Housing Options reception to resolve the issues identified and the suitability of the Colindale site.

  1. Security provision to be identified and established, (including lines of reporting and training) and fully Risk Assessed before the building becomes operational.

  1. Public access procedures identified and fully Risk Assessed.

  1. Anti-social behaviour policy in regard to prospective clients to be produced and a zero tolerance of abuse towards staff to be implemented.

  1. Risk Assessments for the reception and interview areas, including those for violent and abusive members of the public to be completed.

  1. A further joint UNISON Health and Safety inspection in conjunction with Barnet Group Health and Safety Officers to be arranged to assess risks to staff and the public before the building becomes operational.

  1. UNISON to work in conjunction with Barnet Group Health and Safety Officers to encourage staff and managers to record/report any incidents of physical and verbal abuse. UNISON and Barnet Group H&S to co-operate, investigate cases of concern and produce joint recommendations.

  1. Safeguarding of vulnerable clients to be acknowledged and addressed contacting  the Safeguarding team at the Council about the risk to  vulnerable adults, children and the victims of domestic abuse visiting the Colindale site would be recommended.

  1. General Data Protection Regulation issues to be acknowledged and measures put in place to minimise risk.

  1. UNISON suggests that Housing Options clients use the main council reception when they first arrive, enabling clients to be filtered to the Housing Options reception once it has been confirmed that they are due to be seen by an Officer. This would significantly reduce the flow of people through the main Housing Options front entrance, It would also have the bonus of freeing up space as clients could wait in the main reception for temporary accommodation and the officers from the TA team (soon to be Housing Solutions team) come straight down in the lift to the main reception area . This would be a better solution for clients as there is a Costa Coffee in the foyer for their use while waiting to be seen.

Conclusion

Given the unpredictable nature of Housing Options operations as the tragic incident on the 2nd floor last year demonstrated – UNISON recommends that the concerns of staff, managers and Trade Unions should be fully addressed and the suitability of the proposed Colindale site fully assessed before the Housing Options Reception Area becomes operational.

 

 

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