Key considerations from the recently published BEIS guidance and examples of how we can help.

BEIS has released new ‘COVID-19 secure’ guidelines to UK employers to help them get their businesses back up and running and workplaces operating as safely as possible.

The new guidance covers 8 workplace settings which are allowed to be open, including outdoor environments, construction sites and factories.

Some of the key considerations from this guidance are shared below, along with examples of how we can help customers across the public sector take practical steps to enable staff to continue and return to the workplace safely. 

COVID-19 risk assessments and compliance checks

Employers have been advised to carry out COVID-19 risk assessments in consultation with their workers or trade unions, to establish what controls and guidelines to put in place, and to publish the results on their websites where possible. For the built environment this may include areas such as ensuring any necessary inspections or recommissioning of assets whether these be mechanical (including heating, cooling, ventilation and exhaustion), electrical, plumbing or building fabric related, undertaking repairs, additional FM services or communications with any landlords are assessed before reopening. 

Our Estates Professional Services (EPS) and Facilities Management Marketplace agreements can support in helping you to identify and manage risk, against your own timelines, to current guidance for a compliant and safe reoccupation of your buildings.

Maintain 2 metres social distancing, wherever possible

You may need to think about re-designing workspaces to maintain 2 metre distances between people by staggering start times, creating one way walk-throughs, opening more entrances and exits, or changing seating layouts in break rooms.

Our EPS, Furniture and Fit Out frameworks can help you understand the current usage of buildings from deliveries to office traffic, develop control of access measures and deliver occupational solutions to comply with relevant guidelines.

Where people cannot be 2 metres apart, manage transmission risk

Employers should look into putting barriers or screens in shared spaces, creating workplace shift patterns or fixed teams minimising the number of people in contact with one another, or ensuring colleagues are facing away from each other.

EPS and the Furniture agreement can help plan social distancing planning, redesign spaces, monitor space usage and provide solutions to meet current guidance and enable future planning to update your Estate Strategy.

Reinforcing cleaning processes

Whether you require a deep clean before re-opening premises, or you need to consider changing or introducing a new cleaning regime in response to changes in working patterns, ensuring risk of transmission is minimised is essential.

Workplaces should be cleaned more frequently, paying close attention to high-contact touch points like door handles and keyboards. Employers should provide handwashing facilities or hand sanitisers at entry and exit points.

Our new Buildings Cleaning dynamic purchasing system (DPS) provides easy access to this, and we have created guidance on how to navigate your way through the additional requirements you may face.

We are working closely with all of our experienced suppliers, across all relevant frameworks, so that they are set up to offer you the best solutions to ensure your workplace is COVID-19 secure.

To find out how we can support you, please send any initial queries to info@crowncommercial.gov.uk indicating the type of assistance you need from CCS, so we can best help you meet your needs and respond appropriately.  

Please note, the current situation requires continual review, therefore any plans for reopening buildings or updating strategies should take into account current guidance, this article provides insight to the services CCS can provide and is not intended to supersede any official guidelines.

Other useful information: Procurement Policy Note 01/20: Responding to COVID-19: buying goods and services urgently.