Salisbury Group guidance information on COVID-19 (updated 14/12/2020)
The following frequently asked questions (FAQs) will be updated on a regular basis and as advice changes from the UK government, devolved administrations, the NHS and other official agencies.
What is COVID-19?
The NHS states that “COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.” Full descriptive information can be found on the official website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.
What is Salisbury doing to keep people safe and well?
We are taking the following steps to keep people safe while maintaining business as usual activities as far as practicable:
- Following the specific advice and guidance of the governments in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – and Public Health England, Public Health Scotland, Public Health Wales and the Public Health Agency of Northern Ireland
- Dedicating a team of senior people to take the lead on our response, with the team headed by the Group Managing Director
- Supporting employees who can work from home to do so
- Carefully considering the working processes for employees who cannot work from home in order to keep them safe in line with official guidance
- Asking employees to hold meetings by video or conference call
- Working closely with our clients and customers to support them as they react to the situation
- Monitoring the situation closely and providing as much support, care and advice as we can
What is the company’s approach to handling the situation?
We have a dedicated team working on our response to COVID-19. We are monitoring numerous sources of information and explicitly following government advice and guidance from Public Health England and related official agencies. The Group Managing Director, Andrew Lunt is chairing the dedicated team. We have developed our strategic priorities, have a fluid emergency preparedness plan and a number of contingencies. The long-term strategy is to return to operations as soon as is practicable and at all times protect Salisbury’s employees, values and reputation.
What are the restrictions on personal movement?
There are a range of national lockdown measures or regional tier systems in place across different parts of the country. It is likely that we will go in and out of lockdowns and tier-based restrictions over the coming months. Therefore, you must refer to the specific restrictions for your own area. You can check them by using the following links:
- Guidance for England – https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
- Guidance for Northern Ireland – https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/coronavirus-covid-19
- Guidance for Scotland – https://www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/
- Guidance for Wales – https://gov.wales/coronavirus
In general, we advise our employees to:
- Stay at home as much as possible
- Work from home if you can
- Limit contact with other people
- Keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
- Wash your hands regularly
Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.
I am or a member of my household is showing symptoms. How can I get tested?
The government is ramping up the UK’s testing capacity for COVID-19 and is encouraging anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 to get tested. To confirm, this test is to judge whether you currently have the coronavirus and not if you have already had it.
Anyone with symptoms can now get tested, however the tests are not suitable for children under 5 years old. You can ask for a test:
- For yourself, if you have coronavirus symptoms now (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
- For someone you live with, if they have coronavirus symptoms
You need to have the test in the first 5 days of having symptoms. It’s best to ask for the test in the first 3 days, as it may take a day or two to arrange the test. The test will be undertaken either at a regional testing centre or via an at home testing kit.
If you want to organise the test yourself, you can do so via https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-for-coronavirus/ask-for-a-test-to-check-if-you-have-coronavirus/ – but please let us know if you are doing this so we can be aware you have symptoms and need to self-isolate.
Don’t forget that if any member of your household is showing symptoms and you are waiting for a test to be scheduled or reported on, you must continue to self-isolate at home. Once you’ve got the test results, you’ll need to let us know as normal so we can be aware whether or not you need to continue self-isolating.
If you or a member of your household are showing symptoms and you want to request a test, please let us know via email@example.com and we will be happy to support you.
Will I be contacted if I come into contact with someone with the coronavirus?
All nations of the UK have now announced coronavirus test and trace systems. This is a vital part of the national testing and containment strategy. These systems are now live with further measures, such as the NHS coronavirus app, due to be rolled out. Please go to the corresponding link for your nation for detailed guidance on the test and trace systems:
- England – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works
- Northern Ireland – https://www.publichealth.hscni.net/covid-19-coronavirus/testing-and-tracing-covid-19
- Scotland – https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-test-and-protect/
- Wales – https://gov.wales/testing-coronavirus
You may be contacted by the NHS if you have come into contact with someone carrying coronavirus and be asked to self-isolate for 10 days. If so, it is very important that you ask for official confirmation from the NHS by letter or email and then forward this to firstname.lastname@example.org. This is to reduce the risk of fraud. Furthermore, you must let us know as soon as possible that you’ve been contacted so that we can arrange cover for you.
When you receive a message from the test and trace system, you must go into self-isolation for 10 days – unless instructed otherwise by the health authorities in an official communication. Any deviation from the 10-day period must be confirmed with the HR team so we are aware and can support you. We also encourage the other members of your household to go into self-isolation for the same 10-day period to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
If you have been asked to self-isolate but are not showing symptoms, you must still self-isolate for the period but you can work from home where this is possible and according to your role.
If you have been classified as a vulnerable or shielded person, you should continue to follow the government or NHS guidelines communicated to you. We do not expect you to physically come back into work at this point. However, if you are currently working from home then please continue to do so.
What should I do if I think I have caught the virus?
As well as the restrictions on personal movement outlined above, please follow this advice, which adheres to guidance from the UK government and Public Health England:
- Review the testing guidance above and contact email@example.com regarding a test
- People experiencing mild symptoms – such as a new continuous cough, fever or loss/change in your normal sense of smell or taste – should self-isolate for 10 days
- For mild symptoms, do not telephone NHS111 but report it online at the special website https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance
- If you have severe symptoms or your health is deteriorating – you must phone the NHS111 immediately and seek medical help
- If anyone in your house has the virus or the symptoms, all members of the household without symptoms are to self-isolate for 10 days
- Reduce your general risk by taking care with personal hygiene and washing your hands frequently for 20 seconds
- Remember that exposure risk is 15 minutes within 2 metres of an infected person
- If you are affected by the virus in any way then please let us know by calling your line manager or contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
The NHS has detailed guidance here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.
How should I stay safe if I don’t have the virus?
Follow the personal movement guidance set out by the government in your area of the UK (see above for links). Reduce your general risk by taking care with personal hygiene and washing your hands frequently for 20 seconds. Remember that exposure risk is 15 minutes within 2 metres of an infected person. If you are affected by the virus in any way then please let us know by calling your line manager or contacting email@example.com.
Are our main offices still open?
All our phone lines and email addresses are open as normal. We have reduced access to our main offices, asked people to hold non-business critical meetings by video or conference call, and asked everyone to follow the public health agencies’ guidance on personal hygiene. It is important that all of us comply with the rules on personal movement. Please stay in regular contact with your line manager throughout this time.
What should I do if my role requires me to travel to buildings and facilities?
Some employees have roles that are supporting an essential service at this time – this could be a public service or an essential service in the private sector such as logistics. If you are unsure of what this means for you and your role, please discuss it directly with your line manager who will assist you.
Salisbury delivers important services to clients and due to this importance, continuity of service is critical. We need to mitigate the risk to our people while delivering these critical services. Clients are reviewing their operating procedures for their facilities and we are working closely with them in a spirit of partnership. When changes affect specific sites or specific parts of our business, we will let you know what is happening and how it affects you and your teams.
Do I need to wear a face covering within the working environment?
Please refer to specific face covering guidance for your nation. In general, at work you should wear a face covering when using public transport for business travel and when you can’t carry out work in a socially distanced way, i.e. more than 2 meters away from the nearest person. Where this rule cannot be adhered to, please advise your line manager who will carry out task-specific risk assessments that will identify reasonably practicable control measures which must be applied.
If you require a face covering for use during work time, please contact your line manager or the HR team and we will organise it for you. It may also be possible to purchase it locally and expense it, but you must obtain line manager approval beforehand. You can also make your own face covering at home but it must cover the mouth and nose.
More information on face coverings in England is available here, along with links for guidance in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-safe-outside-your-home/staying-safe-outside-your-home#face-coverings.
What if I’m planning on going abroad?
From 10 July 2020, the UK government relaxed the quarantine rule for travelers entering the UK from specified locations which no longer pose a high risk. There may be slight differences between the position of the UK government and the devolved governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. You can view guidance on the list of destinations here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-countries-and-territories-exempt-from-advice-against-all-but-essential-international-travel.
We are monitoring this policy very closely. If you are planning to travel abroad in the coming weeks and months, you need to review the government travel checklist which differs in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus.
As your employer, we want to reassure you that we are taking appropriate measures to protect our staff and ensure we continue with our operational delivery as much as is reasonably practicable. We are constantly monitoring the changing situation and as a responsible organisation, we recognise we have a duty of care towards safeguarding our people.
We have implemented a process for monitoring foreign travel of our employees to enable us to carry out risk assessments and implement risk control measures as appropriate, for anyone that has travelled from an country of concern.
We ask all staff intending to travel abroad to email firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible, providing the following details:
- Dates of travel
- Country or countries to be visited
- Destination airports/transport hubs used
Please ensure you read the government guidelines before travelling to your chosen country. If you are required to quarantine on your return from travel, you should speak to your line manager prior to your departure.
Who should I contact if I have problems with my IT and equipment?
You can contact the IT service desk as normal via IThelpdesk@salisburygroup.com or 020 7788 1900.
I am worried about information circulating on social media. What should I do?
You should only refer to the latest guidance from the government, NHS and other official agencies. The accuracy of information circulating on social media cannot be verified and we ask all staff members to remain calm and follow the official advice only. Please do not contribute to the circulation or sharing of rumour on social media as this is unhelpful and causes unnecessary anxiety for others.
Where can I view the latest medical advice?
The NHS has set up a dedicated website which we recommend you visit and read: https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19. This website also contains further links for the NHS agencies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Who should I speak to if I have any concerns?
Please speak to your line manager in the first instance. You can also contact email@example.com and have a confidential conversation with a member of the HR team.
How have we made our head offices COVID-secure?
We have taken many steps to make our Milton Keynes and London head offices secure for our employees. We have appropriately assessed all risks and taken measures to mitigate the identified risks. The various steps include changing the office set-up and desk spacing, introducing regular sanitisation points, and producing guides for all people who will use the offices. You can see our COVID-secure certificates below.