Coronavirus (Covid-19) - Information for council staff
The protection of our staff, and the health, safety and wellbeing of people in Orkney’s communities will be critical over the coming months in dealing with the Coronavirus COVID-19. Please use the links below for information and advice and check back regularly for the latest updates.
In line with the principles around social distancing, the Council is advising all work meetings be undertaken remotely by use of Skype or telephone wherever possible, instead of meeting together in one room. However, we appreciate this will not always be possible and in some cases will be unavoidable. Where meetings are going ahead, employees should be aware of the public health advice current at the time and ensure good hygiene and reasonable distancing takes place wherever possible. Advice can be found on the NHS inform website.
The Council’s default position is that all travel outwith Orkney on business should cease with immediate effect. Wherever possible, events or meetings outwith Orkney should be attended remotely. There may be some very exceptional situations where travel is deemed essential. Any such travel request must be approved in writing by your Executive Director.
Travel to and from the outer isles on work activities will be determined on a needs basis and where essential to continue the delivery of services.
At this stage, recruitment is progressing as normal. However, every attempt should be made to carry out interviews via Skype or telephone. HR staff are already being re-directed onto a number of alternative tasks, so we would ask that recruiting managers or their administrative support re-arrange existing interview arrangements so they can be carried out remotely.
If you are planning to carry out presentations as part of the assessment process, candidates should be asked to provide these to the recruiting manager in advance of the interview. Managers will need to consider how they carry out other assessments where they are essential to the process. Please seek advice from your HR Adviser on this if required.
We are aware that this means that you will not be able to carry out evidence of the right to work checks or qualification checks. These will be carried out at a later stage in the recruitment process once a preferred candidate has been selected.
We will endeavour to complete recruitment files for all candidates who are currently awaiting pre-employment checks as quickly as possible. Managers will be contacted directly with progress updates. We will be taking steps in the next week to identify ways to make this process quicker and these will be communicated in due course.
Normally, employees can carry over a maximum of five days’ annual leave from one leave year to the next. However, in light of current circumstances this policy has been suspended. You can therefore carry over any existing amount of annual leave. The facility to book annual leave is still available, but will depend on the needs of your service. It is now much more likely that requests for annual leave may need to be refused.