CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) BUSINESS CONTINUITY PROCEDURE & PLAN

 

Policy Statement

The Managing Director is responsible for ensuring that business continuity plans for Harris Jones Recruitment are in place as COVID-19 evolves and spreads globally.  She will direct risk assessment and provide a suitable response to the issues of business continuity in this area on a daily/weekly basis and be responsible for updating our risk register and communicating our procedures in this critical area as required.

 

Objectives & Scope

Our primary objective is to minimise risk to our staff, clients, temporary workers and the general public with whom they come into contact as COVID-19 spreads within the UK and globally, whilst also ensuring business continuity for both ourselves and our clients as far as possible. 

The risks and responses to COVID-19 in relation to our workforce and that of our clients is changing on a daily basis, and as such we are following and updating advice provided by the UK Government, Department of Health and NHS. 

We have a risk register which provides an overview of the key strategic and operational risks surrounding COVID-19 together with its likelihood of happening within our clients/workforce, the degree of impact it is likely to have on the business, and a list of preventative actions/contingencies.  The preventative and contingency actions in this document are reviewed at least weekly, and on any changes to Government advice, so we are able to communicate such changes to staff, clients and temporary workers quickly and efficiently.

 

Key Contacts

The following people are responsible for developing our policies / procedures in relation to COVID-19 and for training, implementation and communication of this policy to staff, clients and temporary workers.

 

Name

Tel No

Email

Area of Responsibility

Amanda Harris

02083322622

amanda@harrisjones.co.uk

Overseeing the overall response to risks associated with epidemic/pandemic

 

 

 

Monitoring updates from UK Government/Department of Health and preparing/circulating information to staff, temporary workers and clients

 

 

 

Implementing operational procedures

Jacqui Earles-Barrett

Amanda Harris

Angela McSorley

02083322622

jacqui@harrisjones.co.uk

amanda@harrisjones.co.uk

angela@harrisjones.co.uk

 

Staff training

 

Coronavirus / COVID-19 General Business Approach

Our general business approach to the risks associated with COVID-19 relate to:

  1. Implementing a strategy that allows staff and where possible temporary workers to continue working without endangering them.
  2. Taking sensible and proportionate precautions to mitigate the risk of exposure to and the spread of the virus amongst staff, temporary workers, clients and to the general public.
  3. Following Government instructions and Department of Health and NHS guidance in relation to the virus.
  4. Sharing business continuity plans with clients, key vendors, staff and temporary workers to prevent panic and provide confidence.
  5. Presenting and communicating clear guidance to staff and temporary workers on what to do if they believe they may have been exposed to the virus or are showing symptoms/feeling ill (updated in line with Government guidance).
  6. Providing clear instruction to all parties on measures to take to minimise the risk of contracting and spreading the virus.
  7. Reviewing key supplier business continuity plans and implementing contingency arrangements to minimise business disruption in the event that key suppliers face quarantine/business closure or lockdown.

 

COVID-19 Business Continuity Measures

We have developed a range of business continuity measures designed to minimise the risk of contracting and spreading the virus as well as ensuring that in the event of a requirement to self-isolate, quarantine, business premises closure or lockdown, we can continue to honour our business commitments to clients and candidates safely as far as is practicably possible.  General measures relevant to both our own permanent staff and temporary workers are detailed below.

Minimising exposure/contact/travel and working from home:

  • Avoiding all non-essential face-to-face meetings and travel, and instead using video conferencing / Skype, telephone and email as an alternative where possible.
  • Cancelling attendance at events.
  • Advising staff that screening and interviews should be conducted via Skype. 
  • Face-to-face meetings with candidates should only be conducted  to complete legally required compliance checks.
  • Implementation of a clear “working from home procedures” to enable us to monitor performance and support staff working outside of the traditional office environment.
  • Providing staff with smartphones, laptops and software to enable them to work from home by logging into our remote system,sensuring that our remote access capability remains effective and all staff are fully trained to work remotely..
  • Diverting calls to specified landlines/mobile numbers to allow clients and candidates to maintain contact using our usual office numbers.
  • Sending the same temporary workers consistently to the same clients for long-term / repeat assignments (rather than introducing new workers) wherever possible to avoid exposing clients and temporary workers to multiple sites and people unnecessarily.

 

Communication, advice and guidance:

  • Writing and circulating clear instructions relating to basic hand hygiene and measures to reduce the likelihood of infection / spreading COVID-19.  This includes notices at all access points to the building, on notice boards and in toilets asking all parties to wash their hands on entry / exit of the building.  Notices in toilets and on notice boards also demonstrate how to wash hands effectively and detail other measures to minimise the risk of infection.
  • Providing details of our business continuity plans to clients, staff and temporary workers to ensure that everyone knows what precautions are being taken and what to do in the event of a change in their circumstances.
  • Daily monitoring of UK Government, Department of Health, Foreign & Commonwealth Office and NHS guidance and cascading this into our communications strategy to ensure staff, clients and temporary workers remain up to date with our plan and any changes to prevailing circumstances.  This will be communicated via webinars/training, social media, email updates/alerts, telephone and company intranet as soon as updates are received.
  • Provision of clearly documented instructions for staff and temporary workers on what to do if they experience symptoms / feel unwell (particularly if they experience a persistent cough or high temperature / fever).  This includes instructions relating to the process and duration of self-isolation, reporting procedures, and how/when staff and temporary workers will be certified “clear” and allowed to return to work.
  • Ensuring staff and temporary workers are clear on the procedure for reporting sickness / absence and monitoring self-isolation / quarantine periods.
  • Implementing and communicating our sick pay policy (including providing updates on SSP payments in line with the Government’s instructions / budget) for staff and temporary workers to ensure clarity, build confidence (as far as possible) and to assure anyone who thinks they  may be infected that sick pay entitlement will be paid in a timely manner so that they are not discouraged from self-isolating.
  • Requesting staff and temporary workers to advise us of any overseas travel undertaken in the most recent 2 weeks prior to returning to work.  If they believe they may have been exposed to the virus through attending events / via travel etc they must not return to work, but instead advise us immediately and self-isolate.
  • Setting up a page on our website www.harrisjones.co.uk to advise staff, clients, temporary workers and the general public of our status and actions in relation to COVID-19.

Business planning:

  • Monitoring news announcements regarding Government policies and advice to inform our business continuity plan.
  • Implementing working from home for all staff in line with Government guidance..
  • Mapping dependencies on third parties and suppliers in both the UK and other countries that may be impacted by COVID-19.  This will include obtaining supplier business continuity plans for COVID-19 and identifying potential alternative suppliers / service providers who will be ready to commence service provision at short notice if key suppliers experience business continuity / quarantine or closure issues.
  • Development of a network of partner recruitment agencies / businesses who can support with supply to offer continuity of service to clients in the event of business continuity / quarantine or closure issues.
  • Setting up a monitoring procedure for logging and analysing reports of suspected or actual illness and monitoring periods of self-isolation / quarantine to ensure staff or temporary workers do not return to work until they have completed the full self-isolation period and are categorised as “clear”.
  • Succession planning and cross training of staff to ensure service continuity if key individuals fall ill in any department / team and ensuring that nominated deputies are identified for key staff.
  • Advance planning on policies / how Harris Jones Recruitment will respond to issues created by the Government’s response to COVID-19 on an ongoing basis (e.g. school closures, etc).
  • Undertaking systems and scenario testing to ensure continuity plans work effectively when implemented.
  • Providing hand sanitation stations within work premises and ensuring supplies of soap and cleaning materials are available to cleaners to refill hand sanitation stations and ensure that telephones, keyboards, door handles and any surfaces that are touched regularly are disinfected as part of the daily cleaning regime. 

 

Advice to Staff and Temporary Workers

Speculation, rumour, and panic set in easily and are borne of lack of clear and accurate information.  We are therefore ensuring that our staff and temporary workers are advised of our plans and feel confident that we are doing everything we can to keep them safe, as well as financially secure.  Our permanent staff are fully covered by our company sick pay scheme; however, we are aware that temporary workers may be financially concerned about taking time off sick.  We have therefore put together an information leaflet on statutory sick pay entitlement and how to claim it which is being circulated to all temporary workers.  This is available in multiple languages if required.

Our own staff are continuously involved in the development and testing of our business continuity plan as the pandemic develops together with receiving information updates on a regular basis throughout this pandemic to ensure engagement and full understanding.

Staff and temporary workers are being given the following advice:

  1. To wash their hands thoroughly and regularly.  This includes instructions with pictorial information on how to wash hands using soap (including the backs of the hands, palms, knuckles, between the fingers, individual fingers and under and around nails for at least 20 seconds on each hand – equivalent time to singing “happy birthday” twice) and then drying them using either disposable towels or a hand dryer.
  2. To wash hands regularly (particularly after touching hard surfaces that other people may have touched and when arriving at / leaving buildings etc).
  3. To cough or sneeze into a tissue which then needs to be disposed of immediately.  Where this is not possible, cough or sneeze into a sleeve near the elbow.  Avoid sneezing or coughing into hands and always wash hands thoroughly and after disposing of the tissue.
  4. To avoid touching their face with their hands, particularly round eyes, nose and mouth.
  5. To use teleconferencing, Skype, the phone and email instead of attending meetings.  If they need to go to work / into a public place to stay at least  2m away from other people, wear any PPE they are given (and follow instructions on how / when it is to be worn) and avoid shaking hands.
  6. To only travel on public transport if you have to.
  7. To avoid social contact situations (e.g. attending pubs, restaurants, theatres, cinemas, clubs etc where there are people in close proximity) and avoid non-essential travel outside work.
  8. To avoid contact with people who are unwell wherever possible and to remain at least 2m away from anyone displaying symptoms of COVID-19.
  9. To contact us immediately if they have symptoms associated with COVID-19 (i.e. persistent coughing, high temperature / fever, shortness of breath / difficulty breathing) or are feeling unwell.  If this happens when they are at home, they should not go to work or attend A&E / their GP Surgery, but rather should self-isolate.  If they think they have been in close contact with someone with coronavirus, they should use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do on the following link:  https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19.  Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.
  10. If they think they may have been infected, are experiencing symptoms, or live with anyone who is showing symptoms they must self-isolate.  If they live alone the period of self-isolation is  7 days.  If they share accommodation then the whole household must self-isolate if any of the residents shows symptoms for 14 days from the day that the first person got symptoms .  Self-isolating involves:
    1. Staying at home.
    2. Not going to work, school or into public places.
    3. Not using public transport or taxis.
    4. Asking friends and family to deliver food and do errands.
    5. Not asking visitors into the house (although it is acceptable for friends, family and delivery drivers to drop off food).
  11. Staying away from people aged over 70, those with underlying health conditions and pregnant women wherever possible.

 

International Travel

We are following the Government’s advice in relation to international travel and are advising staff and temporary workers not to travel unless it is absolutely necessary and to check the Government’s foreign travel advice on a country by country basis on the following link if they are thinking of travelling or have recently returned from overseas:  https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

Some countries are higher risk than others, so staff and temporary workers are advised to call 111 for advice if they have returned from one of the countries on the following list and are experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19:  https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/advice-for-travellers/.

Staff and temporary workers must also advise us of any overseas travel undertaken within the 2 weeks immediately prior to returning to work / commencing an assignment including the country they have travelled to (or through) and the date of their return.

 

Staff Training & Communication

All staff within our business have attended mandatory training on our procedures relating to COVID-19 and are in possession of a copy of this policy.  Updates to procedures are communicated through training delivered in person / via teleconference and followed up with written instructions and an amended version of this policy if appropriate.

Staff have undergone training to cover each other’s roles / duties within teams in case of illness / absence.  This has been undertaken “on the job” and by ensuring all processes and procedures are documented for reference.

Temporary workers have been provided with written instructions as detailed previously and have been advised to call us if they have any worries or concerns regarding their work or pay in relation to Coronavirus during this period.

 

Procedures Testing

As part of our business continuity plan, we test our IT and telecoms systems regularly to ensure that they enable us to log in remotely and divert phone lines as appropriate.  During a pandemic it is particularly important to test remote access capabilities and to ensure all staff know how to operate and log into these systems from home / alternative premises.

All staff have therefore been involved in our procedures testing and participated in table top exercises and walk throughs of our continuity plans using a range of potential scenarios  (including office closure, quarantine situations, workers with symptoms / feeling ill, critical service provider disruption etc) so they are familiar with business continuity procedures.  Testing has been done on systems with all staff and additional testing will be undertaken every time there is a change to the process.

 

Insurance

We have been in contact with our insurance provider to review our policies and to prepare for potential claims.  We hold the following insurances that are particularly relevant to business continuity:

  • Key person cover
  • Business continuity insurance
  • Professional indemnity
  • Business Interruption

Harris Jones Recruitment is financially stable and has contingency finances in place to enable us to “ride the storm” of this pandemic.

 

Review

This policy will be reviewed weekly during the critical stages of epidemic / pandemic spread and will be altered in light of Government guidance/restrictions, legislative changes or other prevailing circumstances.

Signed: Amanda Harris

Name: Amanda Harris

Designation: Managing Director

Company Name: Harris Jones Recruitment

Date: 19/03/20

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