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Council officer follows ‘Government guidance’ to work from home

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Council officer follows ‘Government guidance’ to work from home

A senior officer admits “there may be a delay in response” as her Fenland Council employer continues to follow “Government guidance” about working from home.

The email sent out on September 8 has a footnote explaining in detail the council’s current policy.

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“Please note: We are working remotely following Government guidance and will no longer be available for face-to-face meetings,” it says.

“We ask that you avoid sending correspondence/applications in the post, and instead scan and email directly to us.

“If you need to contact me directly, please correspond via email.”

The footnote adds: “Please be advised that there may be a delay in response owing to the new working arrangements.”

Many Fenland council employees continue to work remotely.

A report this summer acknowledged that half its 150-work force is likely to stay working from home – providing they pass the ‘chair check’.

Councillors queried numbers continuing to work from home during a debate on the council’s corporate health and safety annual report.

Responding to a question from Cllr Maureen Davis, the health and safety manager David Vincent explained that staff working from home must complete a risk assessment.

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And that, according to the minutes of the meeting, “examines the homeworking set up and suitability of workspace and equipment such as chairs etc.

“All staff are supported by their managers and a bespoke approach is taken in each case.

“Where working from home is not suitable, arrangements are made to return staff back into the workplace.”

Cllr Davis began by asking how many staff are still predominantly working from home and if they are being supported in health and safety matters.

Human resources manager Sam Anthony replied that half are still working from home regularly.

“And yes, they are being supported in health and safety,” she said.

Staff are also enabled to use Microsoft Teams and are provided with work mobile phones to stay connected with managers and colleagues.

Cllr Jan French said that in her view 50 per cent seems a high number and asked when more staff will be returning to the office.

Ms Anthony replied that this is dependent on a number of factors, one of which is the ongoing accommodation.

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