Reopening council offices after COVID-19 – risk assessments for returning to work and reopening buildings

With many councils expected to return to their offices over the next few weeks and months, it is important to ensure there is an effective COVID-19 risk assessment strategy in place.

The UK Government recently released its ‘roadmap’ to lifting the coronavirus lockdown restrictions, which includes guidance for those returning to work if they are unable to work from home (read in full here: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy).

While many parish and town councils will be keen to get back to their offices, it is likely that the ability to resume operations and service will be pivotal on having a detailed plan for minimising the risk of contraction of COVID-19.

Strict measures will need to be in place to protect your clerks, councillors, volunteers, council staff and your community for quite some time – which will include social distancing measures, regular hand-washing, the use of PPE (personal protective equipment) where required, frequent cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces, symptom tracking and so on.

There are also health and safety considerations to be taken regarding reopening workplaces and premises. This includes reviewing your current protocols around staffing and personnel, your operating procedures and policies, the training you provide to council staff and volunteers, changing delivery arrangements from suppliers and much more.

To help councils with this process, we have put together the below risk assessment documents. There is a ‘generic’ risk assessment document detailing an actionable plan for dealing with the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace, as well as a more specific Council Recovery and Reopening Risk Assessment.

Please note that the below documents are general in nature and are not likely to cover all potential scenarios for every organisation. Much more specific risk assessments may be required for your particular council, so please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need more specific risk management advice.

BHIB Councils Insurance – COVID-19 – General Workplace Risk Assessment

This deals with managing the risk of COVID-19 spreading in the workplace, and provides a clear and detailed action plan for establishing new processes and procedures.

Download the risk assessment template for free here: BHIB Councils Insurance – COVID-19 – General Workplace Risk Assessment

BHIB Councils Insurance – COVID-19 – Council Reopening Checklist

This more specific risk assessment provides a clear guide to what parish and town councils need to take into account when reopening premises following a prolonged shutdown.

Download the reopening checklist for free here: BHIB Councils Insurance – COVID-19 – Council Reopening Checklist

Risk Management Webinar – NALC

Recently we held a very successful zoom call with 38 County Officers who joined us to listen to Brian Brookes, Risk Manager, giving an update on risk assessments in a COVID-19 world.

You can find the link to the recorded webinar by clicking here.

Please use the password: 5u@V.^6P

We are now working with NALC to produce a joint Risk Assessment guide which will be published on the NALC website.

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Clear Councils Insurance provides specialist insurance solutions for Local and Parish Councils. As part of Clear Insurance Brokers, we have been delivering professional insurance and risk management guidance to our customers for over 50 years.

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