This procedure has been drawn up by reference to the Government’s guidance, in particular “Working safely during COVID-19 in offices and contact centres”. The aim of the procedure is to ensure that risks are controlled so that both visitors and staff remain safe when visitors attend Council buildings.
Who does this procedure apply to?
It applies to all residents and members of the public who visit Council buildings for an interview with a member of the Corporate Investigation team. Staff involved in co-ordinating visits should ensure that the steps set out in this policy are adhered to.
Separate procedures are in place for visitors to tenants of Council buildings, such as the Department for Work and Pensions, the Police, or tenants of the Retford Enterprise Centre.
Control of Risks
The Council’s approach to controlling risks arising from the Covid-19 pandemic is in accordance with the following hierarchy, starting from the top:
|Elimination||Eg: closing council buildings|
|Substitution||Eg: providing services on-line or by phone rather than face-to-face|
|Engineering Controls||Eg: ensuring social distancing – 2 metres gap|
|Administrative Controls||Eg: reducing the number of people in the building|
|PPE||Personal protective equipment is the least effective measure|
In accordance with this hierarchy, access to services will be managed as follows:
The main Council buildings will not be open to visitors except by prior appointment for specific services. This includes Queen’s Buildings at Worksop, the One Stop Shop at Retford and Carlton Forest House at Carlton-in-Lindrick. It also includes the two town halls at Worksop and Retford.
From 1 September, services for which face-to-face appointments at Worksop and Retford main office sites can be booked in advance include:
- Money advice ( This includes help with claiming benefits or advice about debt if you are unable to do this by phone, or on-line)
- Homelessness / housing needs
- Housing surgeries for council house tenants (Housing Officers and Rent Officers)
- New council house tenancy sign ups
- Fraud investigation ( If you have been invited to an interview to take a statement or interview under caution only)
MOTs and taxi inspections can be booked in through the Council’s website, or by calling 01909 534333 in advance.
This procedure only relates to visitors attending an interview arranged by the Corporate Investigation Team. Separate procedures are available which set out the arrangements for customer appointments to access other services listed above.
Wherever possible, the above services will be provided remotely, rather than face-to-face. All other appointment services will be provided remotely.
If you do not have access to the internet or you need assistance to access the service you need, you can contact the Council by phone on 01909 533533.
Engineering and Administrative Controls for Visits
Interviews carried out by the Corporate Investigation Team will be undertaken via a face-to-face appointment at a Council building, and will be booked in advance. Please bear in mind that the person you need to see may be working from home and so they will need advance notice to come to the building should you need to change the appointment for your visit.
Please contact the officer named on the accompanying appointment letter if you need to discuss the appointment further.
This procedure sets out how the visit will be managed so you know what to expect.
- Please do not visit the Council if you have any symptoms of Covid-19. This includes:
- a high temperature (you feel hot to touch on your chest or back), or
- a new, continuous cough (coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours), or
- a loss or change in your sense of smell and/or taste (either you cannot smell or taste anything, or things taste or smell different to normal).
- Most people with Covid-19 have one or more of these symptoms.
Queen’s Buildings and Retford sites
On arrival at the Council, you will be met by a member of staff. You will be asked to confirm that you do not have any symptoms before you enter, and a record will be kept of your details including name and contact number, and the date and time of the visit to comply with test and trace requirements.
Upon entering the building you will notice that there are markings and signs asking you to observe social distancing and to use the hand sanitiser provided.
You will be escorted to the interview room, which will be screened. Interview rooms and meeting areas will be cleaned between each use.
The Council has a limited number of areas available for meetings, and due to the need to clean them between use, the number of meetings and visits that can take place each day will be limited, within the time periods that the Council has reserved for visits.
To safeguard customers and staff, the number of customers and visitors in the building at any one time will be limited to three in the Reception area on the ground floor. Please consider this when attending and if possible, come alone when you visit. However, as part of the interview process you are allowed to bring another person with you.
You are asked to contact the Investigation Team on 01909 533731, no later than seven days prior to the pre booked appointment, to confirm that you will be attending the appointment, provide a telephone number on which you can be contacted, and let us know whether you will be bringing another person with you. If you are you will also need to provide their names.
If you attend the appointment with another person that we are not aware of and we are unable to accommodate this extra person for the duration of your appointment, your appointment may be cancelled and rebooked for another time.
PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
Personal protective equipment will be provided to staff if necessary, according to the job requirements.
Face Coverings / Face Masks
All customers are required to wear a face covering / face mask whilst on Council premises, in line with Government guidance. Customer Services/Security staff working in the Reception area will wear a face covering or be behind a screen when greeting visitors. The Council officer hosting the visit will wear a face covering during the visit or will be behind a screen. Other Council staff in the building are not required to wear face masks, although they may do so if they wish. During a recorded interview you will be asked to remove your face covering to ensure the integrity of the recording, you will be protected by a screen in the interview room.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I find out the best way to access services?
Please visit our website at www.bassetlaw.gov.uk.
Alternatively you can call 01909 533533 for the information you need.
How do I book an appointment to see someone?
Email or phone the service you need. The officer you speak to will advise you whether they can deal with your query over the phone or by email. If that is not possible they will arrange an appointment for you to visit the Council offices.
I am worried about visiting the offices, how will you ensure my safety?
- The council has limited numbers of staff in the building as most employees are working from home.
- Two metre marks are in place in our buildings to help everyone maintain social distancing.
- Hand sanitiser will be available on entry to or exit from the building, and during the visit if required.
- Our meeting rooms are set up to ensure people can stay at least 2 metres apart.
- We have enhanced cleaning arrangements in place, particularly for communal and public areas such as meeting rooms.
- Visitor numbers will be limited each day.
- Visitors will be reminded not to enter the building if they have any symptoms of Covid-19.
- Staff understand the need to self-isolate and not attend Council buildings if they or any members of their household have symptoms of Covid-19.
- The person you are visiting will wear a face covering during the visit, or will be behind a screen.
My visit is urgent but I have suddenly developed symptoms. What should I do?
Stay at home and self-isolate in line with the Government’s guidance. If you are well enough please email or call the officer you were due to visit to let them know. They will try and help you with your query over the phone or by responding to your email.
I need to have someone with me when I visit, to help me. Is this allowed?
If you need someone to help you then they can accompany you. Because the number of visitors that can be in the building at any one time is limited, this may mean that other visitors have to attend at a different time or on a different day. It is important that you notify us seven days in advance of who will accompany you.
I don’t have childcare so my children will have to come with me. Is this allowed?
For a recorded interview we are unable to accommodate children. If the interview is not to be recorded, please contact the Investigation Team to discuss this further. Please note there will be no play facilities or toys available for them and they will need to maintain social distancing and hand hygiene rules. It is important that you notify us seven days in advance of who will accompany you.
What happens if I am late for my appointment?
You will need to make a new appointment because of the controls in place on the number of visitors in the building at any one time.
Last Updated on Thursday, September 17, 2020