This guidance intends to walk you through returning to deliver services safely. Please also refer to the official health and safety advice: Government guidance and Health and Safety England.
Prepare for the session
Organisations may take the difficult decision to provide (or not provide) a face-to-face service. If you have prioritised your services, carried out your risk assessment and are ready to go ahead with delivery, these are some important next steps.
Before the session
Go through your risk assessment, contingency and work plans. Allocate actions including the lead person responsible for each action and deadlines. Example actions that may need to be taken of are:
- Set up new systems in advance
For example: Triage, client booking or appointment systems, and staff or volunteer rotas with clear roles.
Create a register to collect the names and contact details of all staff, volunteers, interpreters, clients and visitors attending. You may need to use this for track and trace. You will need to provide information on how this data will be stored and what it will be used for.
- Plan and buy essential equipment
Before making a booking for anyone - make sure you have sufficient supplies of PPE, cleaning equipment, extra stationery and other items that people shared in the past. Each person will now need their own personal items.
- Enhanced triage
As part of your triage process, build in a question checking if clients have any COVID-19 symptoms or if anyone in their household has symptoms.
Stress that they should not attend if they have symptoms, but should follow current guidance. Explain how they can be supported remotely.
- Briefing for clients
Conduct briefings with clients who have been triaged and are going to attend in-person. Give instructions and explain the procedures they will have to follow.
Prepare the building
As outlined in step 2
- Create a timetable
A timetable can help plan when sessions are running, including cleaning times; staggered breaks and lunch; arrival and departure; briefing and debriefing slots.
- Allocate clear roles and responsibilities
Write clear instructions on what tasks need doing and who is responsible. For example, door staffing, managing the queue and turning people away, signposting and cleaning and hygiene procedures etc.
Designate a ‘go-to person’ to oversee everything, including checking that procedures are being followed and trouble-shoot issues. Ideally, this should be their only role in the first few sessions until it's established how well the return to face-to-face is going.
- Prepare to implement a contingency clan at short notice
To keep everyone involved, create a notice (digital and physical versions) to use in the event that you need to close unexpectedly. Ensure access to appointment details and client contact details in case you need to revert to remote delivery.
- Identify safe transport options
As per your risk assessment, identify safe means of travel for your clients, volunteers and staff. Ensure that clients, volunteers and staff have the right PPE for safe travel.
The government has produced guidance on how to make a face mask.
If you usually reimburse travel fares, plan how they can be made safely or paid remotely.
Run the session
- Run a health and safety briefing
The briefing should be staff and volunteers at the start of each session, and for anyone arriving later.
- Designate roles
As per the guidance in prepare for the session. For example: someone on the door, a lead Health and Safety, someone to top-up and dispose of PPE.
- Confirm your arrival system
Make sure the queuing and waiting system you created in Step 2 works in practice.
Ensure it is easy for clients to use PPE, and for your staff or volunteers to safely register contact details for the track and trace system.
- Confirm your one-way system
Test with a few staff members to make sure the system you designed in Step 2 works smoothly.
- Confirm entry and exit points
Ensure these are well signposted and understood by your staff and volunteers so they can direct clients.
- Designate PPE Stations
Ensure these are spaced across your building, fully stocked, each with areas to dispose of any used PPE, tissues etc.
Instructions on how to use the PPE Stations can either be given by a nearby staff member or volunteer, or illustrated by posters or signs.
- Handwashing facilities
Make sure handwashing facilities are available and easily accessed for all staff members, volunteers and clients where applicable.
- Follow social distancing rules
Make sure the government social distancing guidelines are understood and adhered to by staff, volunteers, clients and visitors. Physically mark distances on the floor with tape if appropriate.
- Ensure safe disposal of PPE
As with Step 6, once PPE has been used, follow government guidance on safe disposal.
- Run a health and safety debrief
The staff and volunteer debrief should be scheduled within the timetable at the end of each session. Record issues raised at the debrief to use in your regular review of safety.