Austin-Smith:Lord Coronavirus (COVID-19) Statement

Working from home

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Statement

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Statement
18th May 2020

Our COVID-19 Response Group liaises daily and meets formally weekly to ensure our policies and procedures are continuously reviewed and updated as appropriate as the situation develops and government/health authority advice evolves.

Our current position is as follows;

Our business remains fully operational and the steps we have taken enable us to deliver our services to agreed budgets, timescales and quality to the extent that external regulation and third party performance allows. This, in no small part, is thanks to the remarkable resilience and dedication of our staff.

We successfully implemented a switch to home working for all staff which has been fully in place since 20th March and, whilst we continue to develop policy and procedure for some form of return to our studios, they currently remain closed. We have issued specific guidance on Health & Safety whilst homeworking and continue to provide both collective and individual support to all staff as a matter of high priority.

We continue to follow Government and Health Authority advice, keeping abreast of changes to that advice and acting accordingly. We continue to issue advice to our staff on a regular basis through a dedicated Microsoft Teams Channel/Digital Notice Board, updating them of our own position, any changed policy or procedures and also passing on practical advice received from government and other bodies covering a wide range of topics including health, mental wellbeing and financial matters. We have requested all staff follow government advice, particularly with regard to staying at home, practicing social distancing and the ongoing need to self-isolate when circumstances dictate.

We are now operating, as a default, without physical meetings or travel so that we can fully play our part in reducing the spread of the virus. Project meetings are continuing as scheduled, fulfilled through video conferencing or telecon. The majority of our current activity is design work, together with ongoing business development conducted via video and telephone.

A relatively small proportion of our current activity relates to projects which are on site which are now subject to varying regulation and guidance across the UK. Where sites are open, our default position remains to provide our services remotely, by agreement with the client. However, as of the 18th May 2020, our Policy and Procedures have been updated to allow site visits, but only when these are essential, unavoidable and carried out under strict conditions following an in depth Risk Assessment. Our more detailed policy and procedure on site visits, together with the form of risk assessment has been conveyed and is available to all staff.

Our COVID-19 response is being led by an Executive Director assisted by both internal and external specialists in HR, H&S and IT. The situation is being monitored daily and all Executive Directors updated.

We have been in communication with our critical supply chain. This, in practice, is limited to a small number of consultants who are enabling us to provide non-core services to our clients. We have established that they are principally adopting a similar approach to ourselves including home-working where possible for business continuity and to date we have not been impacted by their own response to COVID-19. This aspect will remain under review.

You will appreciate that the situation with COVID-19 is fluid and our policy and procedure will be subject to change in direct response. We will be issuing regular updates to our clients and collaborators through our website and email.