• Coronavirus - Foreign Travel during Covid-19 Pandemic FAQsNational Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland

    These FAQs should be read alongside DL 2021 (13) - QUARANTINE (SELF-ISOLATION) FOR NHS SCOTLAND STAFF RETURNING TO THE UK

    1) Can I travel abroad this summer?

    At this time, staff can no longer book foreign travel in good faith on the assumption that a quarantine/self-isolation period will not be required on return.  You should closely follow Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Scottish Government advice in relation to essential international travel and are advised not to travel to a country on the amber or red list.

    Travelling abroad also carries a risk of bringing new cases and variants of COVID-19 into Scotland.  You should think carefully about whether your trip abroad is necessary before booking travel.

     

    2) If I need to travel abroad due to emergency/unforeseen circumstances, what leave am I entitled to on return?

    If you are travelling for essential international travel such as a consequence of a family illness or bereavement then special leave or homeworking (if appropriate) will be granted, as appropriate, during quarantine/self-isolation arrangements on your return.  You should discuss this with your line manager prior to travel.

     

    3) If the country I have travelled to changes from the green list to either amber or red while I am there, what leave or payment an I entitled to?

    If an individual travels to a country where no quarantine restrictions apply at the time of travel, and the advice changes whilst they are in that country meaning quarantine is required on return, the employee should work from home if possible.  If this is not possible, this time should be taken as (paid) Special Leave.

     

    4) If I need to self-isolate or quarantine on return from international travel, what leave am I entitled to on return?

    NHS Scotland staff are advised not to travel to an amber or a red list country and staff should check prior to travel as this can change on a frequent basis.  If staff travel to a country on these lists, and the country has amber or red status prior to travel, they will not be entitled to paid leave if they are required to quarantine or self-isolate on their return.  This will apply even if the country was on the green list at the time of booking.

  • Health & Wellbeing - How do I access the Wellbeing HubNational Services Scotland

    How do I access the Wellbeing Hub in Teams Channel?

    It is important, as part of the pilot, that staff have access to TEAMs through the mobile app - this will ensure access at all times to the NSS Wellbeing Hub.

    In order to download the app you should go to the Google Play store App (for android) or the App Store (for Apple) which you will find on your phone.  

    • Enter TEAMs into the app store search engine and choose the Microsoft TEAMs app .
    • Once you have clicked on the TEAMs app you should choose the option to INSTALL and once installed choose OPEN.  
    • You should then follow instructions by signing in with your work my.name@nhs.scot email address.  
    • You will then be prompted by Microsoft to enter your network password.  
    • Microsoft will send you a verification code either by SMS / Messenger or another means of your choosing which you should enter to complete sign in.
    • Once signed in press NEXT to take you through a short intro to TEAMs and press GOT IT to close for access to the application.

    Now you should be able to access NSS TEAMS

    • At the bottom of your screen press the icon to take you into the TEAMS channels and look for the NSS Wellbeing Hub and access to the “Safe Space for Staff”
  • Health & Wellbeing - I am looking for financial supportNational Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland

    Financial Support

    There are lots of places offering financial support and advice at the moment. We have included a link below to some of the places we know about, that can support you, should you need it. 

    • HELP EAP - our internal employee assistance programme who can provide support on a range of issues, including financial. 
    • Citizens Advice (Scotland)- who offer a wide range of advice and information on financial support during COVID-19
  • Health & Wellbeing - I am looking for breavement supportNational Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland

    Bereavement Support

    • Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland - Scotland's bereavement charity offering support following any bereavement online and over the telephone (0845 600 2227)
    • NHS inform - also have links to support you through the early days of a bereavement
    • Our Special Leave Policy includes information on bereavement leave
    • Child Bereavement UK provides information for families, groups, schools and nurseries, as well as information on local projects
    • HELP have created three resources that offer support on traumatic bereavement, coping with talk of death and dying, grief in isolation (please see below tabs for information)
  • Health & Wellbeing - I am looking for emotional supportPublic Health Scotland, National Services Scotland

    Emotional Support

     If you are starting to feel overwhelmed, it’s important to acknowledge your feelings and speak to someone you trust, whether that’s a colleague, a friend or a family member, or a helpline including:

    Clear Your Head is the Scottish Governments new online support tool that is full of helpful ideas and suggestions to support your mental wellbeing. 

    Here is the link to the new National Wellbeing Hub for staff working within Health and Social Care:

    https://www.promis.scot/

  • How do I get my Covid vaccination Certificate?Healthcare Improvement Scotland, National Services Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland, Public Health Scotland

    If you were vaccinated through the NSS Vaccination programme you can now access your vaccination information

    How to access my vaccination information

  • Future Ready - About Future ReadyNational Services Scotland

    1. What’s the difference between the staff survey and RSA workshops?

    The survey and the workshops are complimentary and will both significantly influence the NSS Future Ready strategy. The Future Ready staff survey was the first step. It gave NSS colleagues an opportunity to share their experiences of working during the pandemic, feedback their preferences for future working and provide tactical recommendations on how NSS can improve ways of working.

    The next step was to run RSA workshops with the Executive Management Team, Joint Shop Stewards and all SBUs. In addition to exploring how the recommendations from the survey could be put into practice, the workshops also took a more strategic view. This included examining our future approach to service delivery, partnership working, behaviours and leadership. This insight will be used to drive NSS strategy, ways of working and planning.

     

    2. When we've all had the vaccine, will any of this be necessary?

    Guidance on how and where we work in relation to the ongoing threat of COVID-19 are determined by Scottish Government and NSS will always act in line with the latest guidance and advice.

    COVID-19 workplace guidance will be informed by the scientific evidence and approved by the Health and Safety Executive. As the vaccinations are novel there are a number of studies currently reviewing the efficacy of the vaccines in terms of COVID-19 outcomes and possible transmissibility. The findings of these studies will inform the remobilisation plans for workplaces.

    For now, the advice is to continue with all current COVID-19 measures even if both doses of your vaccine have been received. Hopefully, over time some of these restrictions will be lifted as guidance allows.

     

    3. Given that working from home works for many people (using objective measures such as targets met, client survey results) has been a success, should we instead ask how do we justify a request for someone to be present in the office?

    The staff survey showed the majority of staff wish to work from home either permanently or in a blended way with some time spent in the office. Future Ready is acting on those results and exploring how we can make that a reality for our people. This needs to be carefully considered against requirements set out by Scottish Government along with service and user needs.

  • Future Ready - HR and Occupational Health & PoliciesNational Services Scotland

    1.  How is NSS supporting staff at home who don’t have dedicated workspaces?

    More than 80% of respondents to the Future Ready staff survey reported having access to a workspace such as a dining room or kitchen table, or home office. Those without had some innovative solutions but reported far lower levels of satisfaction.

    NSS is able to support colleagues without dedicated workspaces in two ways. The first is through the working at home self-assessment form and 'requests assets' form, which enable discussion about your working space with your line manager and provide access to appropriate equipment to work comfortably. 

    The second type of support is enabling a return to the office, if that was desirable and when government rules allow. We know from the Future Ready staff survey that some staff want to return fully to the office, or would benefit from doing so. Consequently, the initial focus on office returns will prioritise staff who will go back to being onsite regularly. If you want to request a return to an NSS building for business reasons or due to personal circumstances, you need to fill in this form.

    Some staff have advised, through the staff survey, that they are holding off on improving their home working environment until there is a finalised decision on the future of working in NSS. The Future Ready programme will make recommendations on this topic at the end of August and these will be implemented towards the end of 2021. It is likely however that a larger majority of staff will work from home going forward at least part of the time, if not on a permanent basis.

     

    2.  How can I access the right equipment to work from home?

    First, you should fill in a working at home self-assessment form if you haven't already. This is something to discuss with your line manager.

    After you've done that, you can request equipment such office chairs, monitors and risers using this 'requests assets' form, as well as smaller items like a keyboard and mouse.

    If you’re unsure whether you need any items, you can review how to establish good desk posture.

    In most cases you’ll need to collect your equipment from an NSS site at a set time, subject to agreement from your line manager. You can only stay onsite as long as it takes to collect what you need.

    Line managers, please review the guidance on HR Connect's COVID-19 hub for how to process office equipment requests.

    Ideas and advice on how to set up your working area can be found within the Working at Home Employee Guidance on HR Connect.

     

    3.  What's being done to support mental health of remote workers?

    Healthy Working Lives is rolling out mental health awareness training for line managers. This is designed to help managers with techniques to enable sensible, sensitive conversations with staff who may require support.

    There are mental health first aiders (MHFA) across the organisation who have received recent mental health awareness training. The MHFAs have made themselves known within their SBUs and colleagues can request contact with a MHFA within a confidential breakout room through the NSS wellbeing hub’s safe space channel. 

    Colleagues can also find supportive information on the wellbeing pages on HR Connect; find wellbeing advice on working from home on HR Connect's COVID-19 hub; and join the NSS wellbeing hub on Teams. These sites include links to the Employee Assistance Programme and the Promis website, which is the national wellbeing hub for staff working within health and social care.

     

    4.  Working at home whilst balancing childcare or home schooling can be difficult. What does the future of flexible working look like for NSS?

    NSS and NHS Scotland have a variety of flexible working policies that can be found on HR Connect and we have encouraged all staff and managers to be as flexible as possible during the pandemic to ensure staff are able to balance caring commitments and home schooling. Our aim is to continue this as one of the lessons for the future as feedback suggests staff have welcomed the approach and the benefit this has given them through difficult times.

    We understand that caring commitments and sharing your temporary home working environment with others can be difficult. If you have any concerns regarding your contractual hours or adhering to your normal recognised work pattern, please discuss this with your line manager in the first instance. Support can be provided to explore our policies with staff and managers so that appropriate solutions can be found to meet the individual needs.

    You could also refer to the ‘Working from Home’ guidance and FAQs on the COVID-19 Hub on HR Connect.

     

    5.  Will the ability to continue working from home be based on your distance from your workplace?

    No. The past year has taught us that by using digital technology to engage and communicate, this negates the previous requirement on distance from the office. Therefore, working from home or returning to the office will be determined by a combination of business needs and what individuals want.

     

    6.  Will staff receive compensation for working at home, such as a stipend to offset electricity costs, or to purchase things needed to set up a home office?

    Currently NSS has no ability to offer or enact any form of financial compensation to offset against such costs and as such we are not in a position to provide staff compensation for working from home.  This would be a matter for discussion at a national NHS Scotland level and should anything change, we will ensure staff are informed.

    However, staff are eligible for tax relief for the additional household costs they incur, such as heating and electricity. (Please see the next question for details.)

    You can request equipment such as office chairs, monitors and risers to be lent to you using this 'requests assets' form.

     

    7.  Can I get a tax break from the government for working at home?

    Employees who are required to work from home can claim tax relief of £6 per week, backdated to 6 April 2020. No evidence of receipts, bills or contracts is required.

    Further details on how to make a claim to HM Revenue and Customs can be found in the Coronavirus - Pay and Leave FAQs (question 10) available on HR Connect.

     

    8.  What will we maximise face-to-face or in-person office working?

    One of Future Ready’s main objectives is to explore how to make the most of how and where we work in a post-pandemic world. We know in-person collaboration is the main driver for many people to return to office, even if it’s only occasionally.

    Future Ready is currently running tests of change to explore how to enable onsite group working. The test sessions will be run once each to explore different working set ups, such as plenary and breakout sessions; a meeting of the disability network; a hybrid meeting with some attendees joining remotely; case management and product testing.

    The experience and outcomes from the tests of change will be analysed and form part of Future Ready’s recommendations to the programme board in August. These proposals may include suggestions such as how to configure our working spaces to promote collaboration.

     

    9.  Will workloads be reviewed as we move out of the pandemic? How can staff maintain a good work/life balance if we continue to work from home?

    Keeping a good work-life balance can be tricky. As NSS remobilises and services begin to re-focus on business as usual activity you might find it helpful to agree priorities and time boundaries with your line manager.

    To avoid burning out or feeling constantly anxious when you should be winding down with your loved-ones, be strict with yourself. Try to set working times and daily work schedule as you would have when we were in an office environment. Switch off your work devices when you finish, and disconnect your work email from your personal phone.

    You can find further guidance and support on HR Connect’s COVID-19 Hub

     

    10. How will the ‘always-on’ culture of back-to-back Teams meetings be addressed to help staff focus on delivery and switch off?

    The move to homeworking necessitated Teams. We recognise that the increased use of technology has in some instances created a culture where colleagues feel they’re always expected to be available. Many of us attend back-to-back meetings on a daily basis.

    The future NSS Wellbeing Strategy will include our approach to Digital wellbeing and inform more around how we want to work but ensure we keep ourselves healthy whilst increasing our use of digital tools to deliver services. 

    In the meantime, NSS trusts us to make the right decisions for healthy working. We all have a responsibility to each other to facilitate and encourage healthy working practices, and call out actions that negatively impact on others. Staff are encouraged to speak with their line manager in the first instance to highlight any concerns.

    Good Teams etiquette can be established locally, with best practice outlined in teams or departments. This could include agreed rules around diary management – for example ensuring there’s ten minutes between consecutive meetings; planned lunch breaks are blocked out in diaries; focus work time is blocked out and enabled through the ‘Do Not Disturb’ status option on Teams, etc.

    If you have further ideas or suggestions, please share them in NSS wellbeing hub.

     

    11. How can I make more of MS Teams? Is training available?

    Microsoft offers comprehensive training materials on Teams.

    The best way to get more from Teams is to experiment, and share what you learn! You can post your discoveries in the NSS 365 Network Teams area, which is also a really useful forum to ask questions and see how colleagues are using Teams.

    If you’re looking to troubleshoot issues, you’ll also find resources in the Knowledge Base on ServiceNow.

     

    12. How will NSS engage staff and ensure they’re informed as remote working continues?

    When remote working began, NSS Communications adapted internal methods of communicating and adopted new technologies. Stay Connected, NSS’s internal newsletter hosted in Sway, is read by more than 25% of the organisation. Many SBUs and services have their own internal newsletters, too. Quarterly live events with Chief Executive Mary Morgan and Employee Director Ian Cant, as well as those run locally, provide an opportunity to hear updates and ask questions directly.

    Coupled with continuous engagement by line managers, all-staff emails remain the most effective method of reaching as many colleagues as possible to provide important information. Marketing and Communications continue to explore new technologies and methods for reaching all staff in NSS. If you have suggestions for the team, you can email them your ideas.

     

    13. How will NSS update on-boarding and training for new staff if it becomes a predominantly remote organisation?

    Over the past year, Learning and Development has transitioned its face-to-face sessions to webinars which mostly use Teams. We have adapted content from the “classroom” into shorter, online sessions with pre-reading.  The Learning and Development Team make good use of Teams for learning in a group environment, frequently run informal learning sessions and have guest speakers on the Teams Management Hub. There has been good uptake on events.

    Induction materials and processes have also been adapted for remote on-boarding. The first live induction and welcome event with CEO Mary Morgan was recently held via Teams. 

     

    14. Given that you are looking at the potential for staff to work permanently from home, is there any scope to work from a non-UK location?

    Future Ready is exploring three approaches to working: at home, at an NSS site, or a mix of both. Work is underway to scope out the approach required for staff around the future working arrangements, including any requirements around working from home policies, terms and conditions etc.

    The ability for staff to work from a non-UK location will be considered as part of our longer term look at future working. This is an unfamiliar approach for NSS, therefore some research will be required to understand fully any implications, such as any legal or tax requirements pertaining to different countries, in order inform a decision and to support both the employer and employee’s in such circumstances should we agree to work this way going forward.

     

    15. I’m struggling. Where can I get help?

    Living through a pandemic is difficult, before you add the rest of life’s stresses on top. If you’re seeking support, then first, please reach out to someone – whether that’s your line manager, a colleague or friend. You’re not alone.

    You can also speak with one of NSS’s mental health first aiders (MHFA). You can request time with a MHFA within a confidential breakout room through the NSS wellbeing hub’s safe space channel

    You’ll might find information on the wellbeing pages on HR Connect helpful too. These sites include links to the Employee Assistance Programme and the Promis website, which is the national wellbeing hub for staff working within health and social care. Clear Your Head is the Scottish Governments new online support tool that is full of helpful ideas and suggestions to support your mental wellbeing. 

    External support can be found here:

  • Future Ready - Using NSS BuildingsNational Services Scotland

    1.  What will the office look like? More meeting rooms, a few permanent desks, and hot desks?

    Future Ready is currently exploring how our workspaces should function. Proposals for operating models will be made in summer 2021. Once these models have been agreed and established, the office environment will be reconfigured if required. The speed of change will follow Scottish Government timelines as restrictions are lifted. Permanent changes will be more likely as life becomes more stable post-pandemic and restrictions are either reduced or embedded. 

    We know from the Future Ready staff survey that 48% of NSS colleagues want a hybrid model, working some of the time onsite and some of the time at home. There are a lot of variables to unpack to make this a reality; however, it’s likely that time spent in the office will be for group collaboration and meetings, so the setup of buildings will need to reflect this.

    What we do know is that our office environment will look and feel very different with far fewer people in our buildings. There are also one-way systems in place and signage which directs staff to follow COVID-19 safety measures when moving around the building. There will also be allocated desks which are cleared for use with a green tick, to maintain social distancing.

    If you have any ideas or suggestions for our future workspaces, please send Future Ready an email.

     

    2.  Will there be an app or system to book desks and workspaces?

    NSS already has a system for booking meeting rooms which could be extended to have more collaborative spaces to choose from. For any return to the office this year it’s likely that booking spaces will be managed locally as part of risk assessments in place. The need for any desk booking system will be determined as future demand against restrictions becomes clearer. Facilities Management is looking at new wider management systems which will have the options to add these system components if required.

     

    3.  What ideas are in place to mitigate aerosol transmission and improve ventilation?

    The current position within NSS is for staff to continue to work from home and this is not expected to change until national guidance allows. Any transition back to workplaces will be undertaken in a planned, risk-based and proportionate way.

    Adequate ventilation is one of the suite of mitigating actions for COVID-19 employed, as advised under guidelines from the Chartered Institute of Building Service Engineers.

    Ventilation systems were assessed in 2020 to instruct any changes needed to maximise the safety of the environment and will continue to be monitored in line with the latest Scottish Government guidance.

    Mechanical ventilation systems are intended to dilute stale or contaminated air by bringing fresh air into the building from outside, filtering it within the air handling unit prior to it circulating around the building. 

    Extract vents actively draw air from outside the building. Currently our sustainability processes (where approximately 25% of air would normally be recirculated air) have been turned off.

    Filters are in place, although HEPA filters are only expected to be used in healthcare facilities where there is a high risk of patients with possible infection or at high risk of acquiring infection.

    Where mechanical ventilation systems are not present in a premises, windows should be opened to increase airflow. This should not be done where mechanical systems are present as this could decrease the performance of the working systems.

    Aerosol transmission would most likely be encountered if a staff member was symptomatic and coughing, however staff are still expected to follow the COVID-19 guidance and not attend the workplace if they have COVID-19 symptoms.

    We are also encouraging all staff attending a site to take lateral flow device tests. This will help to reduce the risk of someone who is asymptomatic attending the workplace.

    In addition, if all other mitigating actions are in place and being followed, such as physical distancing, cleaning of workstations, regular hand hygiene and wearing of face coverings whilst entering and moving around the buildings, the risk is reduced. For this reason, it’s important to follow rules and guidance if you’re in one of our buildings.

     

    4.  Why was the Gyle chosen for the initial test of change, and when will details for other locations be shared?

    Future Ready is currently running tests of change to explore how to enable onsite group working. Gyle Square had a large vacant space available that could be quickly adapted to support the test of change and in a way that minimised its impact on other building users.

    The project is reviewing all existing collaboration spaces and vacant areas that could be used for onsite group working in line with COVID-19 guidance. We will provide details on other tests of change once they have been agreed.

    The test sessions will be run once each to explore different working set ups, such as plenary and breakout sessions; a meeting of the disability network; a hybrid meeting with some attendees joining remotely; case management and product testing. This list is not exhaustive and the outcomes will be shared in future communications.

     

    5.  How will Future Ready support disabled staff?

    The Future Ready programme is working with Louise MacLennan, Head of Equality and Engagement, as well as the NSS Staff (dis)Ability network. Louise sits on the project steering group as an advisor for equality and inclusion matters.

    Future Ready will carry out equality impact assessments as the programme progresses. We’re currently exploring the potential for running a test of change for disabled staff, and using the equality data provided through the Future Ready staff survey to inform recommendations and equality impact assessment work.

    NSS values the diversity of its staff and has policies and buildings that promote inclusion. We recognise that some of the temporary changes currently in place at our sites may cause some difficulties for members of staff. Because current government guidance is that you should work from home where possible, all staff returning to the office need to fill in this form. This process should capture any individual requirements and enable us to address difficulties where possible. 

    If you have suggestions for Louise or Future Ready, or want to get involved in the equality impact assessment work, please send us an email to NSS.Ability@nhs.scot.

     

    6.  How will catering staff be supported if the office isn’t used by as many people for much of the time?

    The Future Ready programme is looking at the experiences of all staff; those onsite as well as those working from home. Specific resource requirements for the future in many different departments are unknown at this point, and any staff who are concerned should speak to their line manager in the first instance. 

    It’s worth noting that Aroma café and other NSS staff restaurants are classed as NHS premises, rather than hospitality venues like high street eateries. This means any considerations and changes will need to be in line with the most up to date Scottish Government and Health & Safety Executive guidance for NHS buildings, rather than hospitality.

  • Future Ready - Possible Models of WorkingNational Services Scotland

    1.  Will those who are currently working from home continue to have the option to do so?

    Yes. From the Future Ready survey results we know that the majority of NSS colleagues want to work from home at least some of the time. Unless you are required to work onsite for business reasons you will be able to work from home. Current government guidance for all COVID-19 protection levels is that you should work from home where possible.

     

    2.  Not everyone likes working from home. What will be done to support these staff to return to the office?

    Although remote working still remains the default work location, it's recognised that not all of us are able to work from home. If you want to request a return to an NSS building for business reasons or due to personal circumstances, you need to fill in this form. The information helps the Senior Management Team in your business area (SBU) determine which requests need to be prioritised, whether or not to grant them, and how to implement each request.

    If your return to an office is agreed, your line manager will work with you to ensure that you have information on what to do before you come back into the building; what to do on arrival at the building; what to do when you locate your desk; and guidance on how to work in a building during the pandemic.

    All returns to the office will happen on a phased basis and in line with the latest Scottish Government guidance. Anyone who returns will need to undertake some basic training, such as re-familiarisation with first aid requirements and fire exits.

     

    3.  How will NSS facilitate staff coming in to the office for collaboration, training, team working etc?

    How to enable hybrid working is one of the biggest challenges NSS must tackle in order to address the future use of our workspaces. We anticipate it will take the remainder of this year to make hybrid working safe, fair, effective and sustainable. We also have to balance requirements against the current government guidance for all COVID-19 protection levels, which is that you should work from home where possible.

    Future Ready is currently running tests of change to explore how to enable onsite group working. The test sessions will be run once each to explore different working set ups, such as plenary and breakout sessions; a meeting of the disability network; a hybrid meeting with some attendees joining remotely; case management and product testing. This list is not exhaustive and the outcomes will be shared in future communications.

     

    4.  Is there an expectation that a set amount of days will be required in the office on a weekly basis, like a 3:2 hybrid model?

    Current government guidance for all COVID-19 protection levels is that you should work from home where possible. Therefore, we anticipate in this intra-pandemic period that there will not be a general return to the office. Only staff who are required to work in the office or have requested to work in the office and that request has been approved will be allowed to return to the office on a regular or permanent basis.

    At present there is no set expectation on the amount of days, this is something that Future Ready will be exploring as we determine the best way of bringing staff in to offices and our capacity in buildings.

     

    5.  How does remote working for most staff benefit NSS? Why does it make NSS a great place to work?

    93% of respondents to the Future Ready staff survey listed benefits to working at home. These included less travel, or no commute (68%); increased productivity (19%); better work/life balance (15%); caring/family time; flexibility; better health and more exercise. A happy, healthy workforce benefits everyone. The flexibility of how we can work is one of the reasons NSS is a great place to work.

  • Future Ready - Decision MakingNational Services Scotland

    1.  When will decisions be made on where we work? What timeline can I give my team?

    The Future Ready programme is divided into three phases; short, medium and long term.

    The short term considers the next three months. This is to enable the phased return of some staff to offices, in line with the dates and requirements outlined by Scottish Government.

    The medium term is looking at the next 12 months. How we enable effective collaborative working, in person, at NSS sites, will be considered. This will also be a phased roll out, but exploration will begin from August 2021.

    In the long term, the aim is to create a workplace that supports the ambitions of NSS and its staff. Future Ready’s proposals and outline plan will be agreed at the August 2021 Partnership Forum.

    For most staff, it's unlikely you'll return to the office before the end of the year. It's likely that only a small percentage of NSS colleagues will return to the office all the time.

     

    2.  Will NSS commit to long term decisions on working arrangements?

    Yes. The Future Ready team is exploring what has worked through the pandemic, as well as likely future demand on office space. Proposals and an outline plan will be agreed at the August 2021 Partnership Forum. All suggestions however must align with Scottish Government restrictions, which can make exact timelines for a roll out on new working arrangements difficult to determine.

    It is not our intention to make any immediate changes to staff contracts of employment in the short or medium term. We want to make sure we have agreed our plans going forward, engaged fully with staff and also take into account any future requirements placed upon us via Scottish Government.  We will endeavour to keep all staff informed of any such changes and timescales going forward as part of the programme of work.

     

    3.  What scope will individuals have regarding their own preferences should they disagree with decisions made by their SBU? Can you choose to work from home and only go in when required?

    Where you work should be an agreement between you and your line manager that balances the work you do with business needs. Provided there is no specific requirement for you to be physically on site, and it’s your preference to work at home for either some or all of your time, NSS will support your choice.

    The Future Ready survey provided insights into how NSS would like to work at an organisational level. Further analysis and data gathering, including SBU-specific workshops led by the Royal Society of Arts, will help us understand differences at an SBU level.

    Recommendations will be made an organisational level and SBUs will need to take into account the needs of their services and staff. The equality impact assessment process will determine if a one-size-fits-all approach for an SBU is appropriate or if alternate options are required to ensure it doesn’t indirectly discriminate on any equality protected characteristics. 

     

    4.  How will offset costs such as heating, lighting or rent savings be re-invested? Will it go back into SGHD to invest in frontline patient care or, for example, for maintaining team cohesion with lunches and activities as part of a quarterly in-person half-day meet-up?

    Fewer staff in NSS buildings means we’ve reduced our carbon footprint but unfortunately it doesn’t generate savings, as heating, lighting and rent still need to be paid as the buildings themselves have not fully closed. Because National Services Scotland receives funding from the Scottish Government to meet these financial requirements, should we no longer require funding it would be up to Scottish Government to determine how the money was spent instead. 

  • DSE - What if I have already taken DSE equipment home?National Services Scotland

    If you have already borrowed equipment from the workplace, please let DaS know by submitting a request through

    ServiceNow following the instructions above. In the ‘reason for your request’ section please state ‘already taken’.

     

    Remember, if you are working from home, please review the guidance and resources on HR Connect regarding

    safe set up of display screen equipment.

     

  • DSE - What do I need to do to collect any DSE equipment from a NSS building?National Services Scotland

    Once your line manager acknowledges your request, you can visit the appropriate NSS site to collect the item(s)

    you need – you should report to reception to advise that you are in the building to collect agreed items, and inform

    reception when you leave. We also ask that you are mindful of your own health and safety responsibilities and the

    requirements you need to follow when removing items, in particular the removal of heavy or bulky items. When

    travelling to and from work, please ensure you have your work pass with you at all times. 

     

    You should only retrieve items from workstations that are part of designated areas for you and your Strategic

    Business Unit. Items should be returned when you resume working from your usual base.

     

    Guidance for when you are onsite

    When onsite, please remember to follow social distancing measures staying at least two metres (approx.6 feet)

    away from other people at all times. Ensure you follow hand hygiene procedures in our buildings and when you get

    home – additional ‘arriving home safely’ information is available on HR Connect.

     

    As fewer staff are now working in Gyle Square, Meridian Court and the National Distribution Centre (NDC) we have

    closed some areas in the buildings to allow Facilities Management to consolidate and direct their services to help us

    all. Colleagues should not use these areas (including toilets, meeting rooms and teapoints) other than to retrieve

    equipment.

     

    Please refer to the Gyle Square floor plans on HR Connect for details of the areas that are now closed to staff

    (areas highlighted in black are closed). In Meridian Court the third, fifth and sixth floors, are closed to staff. The

    ground, first, second and fourth floors remain open.

  • DSE How to request equipment to support me at home?National Services Scotland

    If you are currently working from home and require office equipment to support your working arrangements,

    you can raise a ServiceNow request to temporarily borrow equipment you used in the office for home

    use during the coronavirus outbreak.

     

    To submit a request, visit ServiceNow ‘Request to take assets home’ complete the form, stating the

    reason for your request, selecting the item(s) you require (for example monitor, keyboard, chair, mouse

    and desktop riser) and the NSS location. Once submitted, an email notification will be sent to your line

    manager with a link for them to click on and confirm acknowledgement of the assets being taken home.

    If for any reason a replacement asset is required at some point, this would need to be ordered and purchased

    following the business as usual process.

     

    If you need a piece of equipment that you don’t currently use when working on site, please speak with your

    line manager in the first instance.

  • Covid19 Vaccination - I've had my 1st vaccination - what happens next?Healthcare Improvement Scotland, National Services Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland, Public Health Scotland

    I have received my 1st Covd19 vaccination at a NSS clinic - what happens next?

    At your first appointment you will be provided an indicative date for your 2nd appointment to allow you to book your 2nd dose via MyCohort at the appropriate time

    I have received my 1st Covd19 vaccination at a Local Board clinic - what happens next?

    You will need to contact them to book your 2nd appointment to ensure that you receive your 2nd dose at the appropriate time

    NSS Occupational Health Team do not have the ability to book or arrange this for you.

    If you have received your vaccination through your GP or NHS COVID-19 we ask that you please complete the attached forms so that your Board can understand how many of its workforce has been vaccinated when planning for future clinics and vaccine order requirements.

    External Coronavirus 1st Vaccination 2020/2021

    External Coronavirus 2nd Vaccination 2020/2021

     

     

     

  • COVID-19 How do I get a vaccinationNational Services Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland, Public Health Scotland, Healthcare Improvement Scotland

    NSS Project Team will email you asking you to make an appointment through MyCohort

     

    As guided by the Scottish Government each Board has been required to identify their priority staff groups against the information identified within the Green Book, Chapter 14

    NSS are currently arranging the 1st set of Priority Group clinics from february 2021 - please wait until you receive your email.

     

     

  • COVID19 - Which vaccine will I receive?Healthcare Improvement Scotland, National Services Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland, Public Health Scotland

    At all NSS Clinics you will be offered the AstraZeneca

     

    NHS Uk website - Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccine

    NHS Inform Website - COVID-19 General Advice

    AstraZeneca Website - COVID-19 UK Information

    Gov.Uk Website - Regulatory approval of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca

  • MyCohort - What if my personal details are incorrect? HIS and NESHealthcare Improvement Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland, National Services Scotland

    If your personal details have changed please let Occupational Health know by emailing nss.occupationalhealth@nhs.scot.

  • MyCohort - Registration Failed, the email address has already been registered, what should I do? HIS and NESHealthcare Improvement Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland, National Services Scotland

    If you didn’t receive a registration email as part of the process then return to the login page, select Resent verification link and enter your email address.

    If you have completed the registration process and are using the correct email address, then select Forgot password?  You will need to enter your logon (email address) and follow the instructions on the email you receive.

    If this doesn’t work then contact the Occupational Health team by emailing nss.occupationalhealth@nhs.scot.

  • MyCohort - Registration Failed, no registration matches found what should I do? HIS and NESHealthcare Improvement Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland, National Services Scotland

    Please ensure that you are using your correct email address and your date of birth is entered as DD/MM/YYYY

    NHS Board                                                    Email address ending

    • National Services Scotland:   xxx@nhs.scot
    • National Education Scotland:     xxx@nhs.net (for some staff this maybe your Turas email account
    • Public Health Scotland:       xxx@nhs.net or xxx@phs.scot
    • Healthcare Improvement Scotland:  xxx@nhs.net

    For NSS and PHS staff – all NHS.Net emails will be forwarded to your new account until the 18th of November

    If this doesn’t work then contact the Occupational Health team by emailing nss.occupationalhealth@nhs.scot.

  • MyCohort - No Registration details exist, what should I do? HIS and NESHealthcare Improvement Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland, National Services Scotland

    Contact the Occupational Health team by emailing nss.occupationalhealth@nhs.scot.  who can add your details to the system or confirm your login email address

  • MyCohort - My Account is temporarily locked, what should I do? HIS and NESHealthcare Improvement Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland, National Services Scotland

    This issue is caused by entering your password incorrectly multiple times.  Please wait 10minutes and retry.  We would recommend resetting your password if you are unsure of your password, again please wait 10minutes after the error message on the screen before resetting your password.

    If this doesn’t work then contact the Occupational Health team by emailing nss.occupationalhealth@nhs.scot.

  • MyCohort - I did not receive a registration email, what should I do? HIS and NESHealthcare Improvement Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland, National Services Scotland

    If you don’t receive a registration email when you tried to self-register with your email and date of birth then return to the MyCohort login page and select Resent verification link and enter your email address and a link will be sent to you within 10- 15seconds.

    If this doesn’t work then contact the Occupational Health team by emailing nss.occupationalhealth@nhs.scot.

  • MyCohort - How do I get a login? HIS and NESHealthcare Improvement Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland, National Services Scotland

    If you are new to MyCohort then you will need to complete self-registration.  Please watch this short video the explains what you need to do.  Then use this link to begin your self-registration MyCohort link or copy this link to your browser https://nss.mycohort.cohort.hosting/account/login

    If you don’t receive a registration email as part of the process then return to the login page, select Resent verification link and enter your email address.

    If this doesn’t work then contact the Occupational Health team by emailing nss.occupationalhealth@nhs.scot.

  • MyCohort - How do I change my email address? HIS and NESHealthcare Improvement Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland, National Services Scotland

    Contact the Occupational Health team by emailing nss.occupationalhealth@nhs.scot.

  • MyCohort - I have an issue with the system, who do I ask for help? HIS and NESHealthcare Improvement Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland, National Services Scotland

    If your issue is not listed on the FAQ then log a call by emailing nss.occupationalhealth@nhs.scot

  • MyCohort – Where can I find the login link?Healthcare Improvement Scotland, National Services Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland, Public Health Scotland

    MyCohort can be accessed via the Quick System Links on the HR Connect homepage or from the Annual Flu Programme page on HR Connect. The site is accessed via a web link and is compatible with mobile devices, laptops, PCs and tablets.

  • MyCohort - What web browser should I use?Healthcare Improvement Scotland, National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland

    MyCohort performs best on Edge or Chrome and is also compatible with IE but does face issues when launched on Firefox.

  • MyCohort - What if my personal details are incorrect?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland, Healthcare Improvement Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland

    If your personal details have changed please let Occupational Health know via Contact Us on HR Connect. 

  • MyCohort - Registration Failed, the email address has already been registered, what should I do?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland, Healthcare Improvement Scotland

    If you didn’t receive a registration email as part of the process then return to the login page, select Resent verification link and enter your email address.

    If you have completed the registration process and are using the correct email address, then select Forgot password?  You will need to enter your logon (email address) and follow the instructions on the email you receive.

    If this doesn’t work then contact the Occupational Health team via Contact Us on HR Connect.

  • MyCohort - Registration Failed, no registration matches found what should I do?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland, Healthcare Improvement Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland

    Please ensure that you are using your correct email address and your date of birth is entered as DD/MM/YYYY 

    Your email address should be your work email account, if you have recently migrated to o365 then it may be your previous NHSMail account.  If this needs changed please follow the How do I change my email address FAQ.  National Education Scotland staff may need to use their Turas email account to access the system. 

    For NSS and PHS staff – all NHS.Net emails will be forwarded to your new account until the 18th of November. 

    If this doesn’t work then contact the Occupational Health team via Contact Us on HR Connect.

  • MyCohort - No Registration details exist, what should I do?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland, Healthcare Improvement Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland

    Contact the Occupational Health team via Contact Us on HR Connect who can add your details to the system or confirm your login email address

  • MyCohort - My Account is temporarily locked, what should I do?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland, Healthcare Improvement Scotland

    This issue is caused by entering your password incorrectly multiple times.  Please wait 10minutes and retry.  We would recommend resetting your password if you are unsure of your password, again please wait 10minutes after the error message on the screen before resetting your password.

    If this doesn’t work then contact the Occupational Health team via Contact Us on HR Connect.

  • MyCohort - I did not receive a registration email, what should I do?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland, Healthcare Improvement Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland

    If you don’t receive a registration email when you tried to self-register with your email and date of birth then return to the MyCohort login page and select Resent verification link and enter your email address and a link will be sent to you within 10- 15seconds.

    If this doesn’t work then contact the Occupational Health team via Contact Us on HR Connect.

  • MyCohort - How to I book/ manage my appointments?Healthcare Improvement Scotland, National Services Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland, Public Health Scotland

    You will need to have completed your self-registration to get access to the system, refer to the How do I get access to MyCohort FAQ.

    Once you have successfully registered please watch this short video on how to view, book and manage your appointments.

  • MyCohort - How do I reset my password?Healthcare Improvement Scotland, National Services Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland, Public Health Scotland

    You can do this yourself from the MyCohort login page, select Forgot password? You will need to enter your logon (email address) and follow the instructions on the email you receive.

  • MyCohort - How do I get a login?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland, Healthcare Improvement Scotland

    If you are new to MyCohort then you will need to complete self-registration.  Please watch this short video the explains what you need to do.  Then use this link to begin your self-registration MyCohort link or copy this link to your browser https://nss.mycohort.cohort.hosting/account/login

    If you don’t receive a registration email as part of the process then return to the login page, select Resent verification link and enter your email address.

    If this doesn’t work then contact the Occupational Health team via Contact Us on HR Connect.

  • MyCohort - How do I cancel and rebook my appointmentHealthcare Improvement Scotland, National Services Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland, Public Health Scotland

    If you need to cancel and re-book your appointment then please watch this short video on how to book, view and cancel your appointment.

  • MyCohort - I have an issue with the system, who do I ask for help?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland, Healthcare Improvement Scotland

    If your issue is not listed on the FAQ then log a call via the Contact Us on HR Connect. 

  • MyCohort - How do I change my email address?National Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland, Healthcare Improvement Scotland

    Contact the Occupational Health team via the Contact Us on HR Connect.

  • Coronavirus - Annual Leave and Public Holidays FAQs - PHSPublic Health Scotland

    1. I agreed with my manager that I would delay taking my leave in March in order to support COVID-19 related work, and I have carried this leave forward into 2019/20.  I am concerned that I may not have sufficient time to fully utilise my now enhanced 2020/21 leave entitlement.  Can I be paid for the carry forward leave?

    Staff who carried forward leave from the 2019/20 leave year due to COVID 19 related reasons, can request payment of their unused annual leave.  You should discuss this with your manager and complete the COVID-19 Carry Forward Annual Leave Payment Form.  Payment for this leave will be as if at work.

  • Workplace Recovery FAQ - PHSPublic Health Scotland

    Safe Workstation Assessment for Working at Home (Covid-19)


    1. How long will I be working from home?

    Throughout the pandemic, PHS has continued to follow Scottish Government (SG) guidance on working at home.  The default SG position still remains that, wherever possible, employers should enable staff to continue to work from home.  As we are now 8 months into this way of working, in order to provide staff with some more certainty around how home working will continue, PHS Senior Leadership Team have agreed, in partnership with staffside representatives, that there will not be a return to the office until at least April 2021.

    As a result, staff will continue to work from home for the remainder of this financial year.

     

    2. Does this impact on my contract or terms and conditions of employment?

    No. This working arrangement is as a direct result of enacting Scottish Government advice and PHS does not consider creating a precedent for permanent changes to terms and conditions. These arrangements have been developed on a ‘without prejudice’ basis, All of your terms and conditions of employment are retained and are unaffected by this way of working as a result of the pandemic.

     

    3. Can I work from home permanently?

    We understand that for many staff, based on what you told us in the staff wellbeing survey earlier in the year, this way of working has become the norm. PHS has, in discussion with staffside representatives, agreed to look at the longer term PHS position on permanently working from home, which would alter staff contracts.  For now, the status quo remains but we are committed to exploring this in the future, taking into account any NHS Scotland guidance, Once for Scotland Homeworking Policy and any other relevant evidence. This will be reviewed with staffside colleagues as it becomes available. 

     

    4. I need equipment/furniture to enable me to work from home. Can I get it from PHS?

    Yes. As a reasonable employer, PHS wants to support staff whilst at home and wants to ensure that you can access the equipment you need.  We know that some people may already have borrowed or bought equipment, however, as we now have clarity around home working for the remainder of this financial year at least, we now want to  ensure that you have all the equipment that you need.

     

    5. I have already bought equipment can I claim expenses for this?

    Option 1 – PHS to reimburse full amount of purchase (Non Taxable)

    Employee can purchase equipment up to an agreed value (Desk £36 ex vat) and PHS reimburse in full.  This would be a non-taxable expense.  Employee must provide a receipt as proof of purchase which does not exceed the agreed value.

    Option 2 – PHS to reimburse a contribution to the total purchase (Taxable)

    Employee can purchase equipment over the agreed value (Desk £36 ex vat) and PHS can reimburse part of the purchase to the agreed value.  As PHS are not reimbursing for the full amount of the purchase this would be a taxable expense for the employee.  Employee will need to provide receipt as proof of purchase.

     

    6. Will I have to return any equipment provided by PHS?

    Although the property belongs to PHS, it has been provided for your use at home, for as long as the requirement exists for you to do so. PHS has made allowances for this from a budget perspective and this will be reviewed when we are clearer on a likely return to the office.

     

    7. What if the equipment gets damaged?

    This will be dealt with as it would if you were working in the office and will be repaired or replaced.

     

    8. Who is responsible for the equipment?

    PHS is providing you with the equipment to enable you to do your work. Staff are responsible for the care of all PHS property in the home, and for keeping it in good condition.

     

    9. Can we buy stationary/notepads and be reimbursed?

    The PHS Workplace Recovery Group’s primary objective is to ensure that PHS employees have the necessary supports at home and within the office by providing access to the appropriate equipment (IT, desk, chairs) and guidance.   Therefore, should employees require stationary to fulfill their role we recommend you discuss this within your team/department structures regarding the options available.

    Employees working in the office or attending for flu clinic, uplifting furniture etc you may wish to consider collecting stationary when attending

  • Wellbeing FAQ - PHSPublic Health Scotland

    1. What can I do to stay well?

    PHS is committed to ensuring you keep well and we have a range of tools to help you with this.  We can enable this but you need to access the information for it to have an impact.

    https://covid19.healthyworkinglives.scot

    - The Spark (http://spark.publichealthscotland.org/health-and-wellbeing/wellbeing-advice/ )

    - HR Connect (https://www.nhsnational-hr.scot.nhs.uk/occupational-health-safety-and-wellbeing-sub-areas/covid-19-hub/109321 )

     

    The Scottish Government has also created and promotes the following websites for us all to use:

    - HR Connect (https://www.nhsnational-hr.scot.nhs.uk/occupational-health-safety-and-wellbeing/employee-assistance-counselling/93982#ForEmployee) for the Scottish Government HELP Guidance

    - National Wellbeing Hub, https://www.promis.scot/ , this is for us all to use and has information and resources to support individuals and managers, including how you can access coaching support among other resources

    https://clearyourhead.scot/ , providing ideas on how to keep moving, creating routine, looking after yourself, staying connected and healthy eating

    https://www.parentclub.scot/topics/coronavirus advice and help with parenting during this time.

     

    Coaching for Wellbeing Initiative

    https://www.promis.scot/resource/management-and-coaching-support/

    Flyer and Elevator pitch for Coaching Initiative:

    https://mailchi.mp/projectlift/coaching-for-wellbeing-available-now-to-all-health-and-care-workforce?e=4df17c85a7

     

    Coaching for Wellbeing – a digital coaching service for all health and social care staff

    This service offers two options for online coaching, both designed to support you with issues you may be facing during these challenging times. Experienced coaches will support you in building resilience and improving your well-being and if you lead others there will be space to explore how you support your staff too.

    The service is for all staff and whichever option you choose, coaching will bring new ways of understanding yourself and your situation, clarity as to how you can play to your strengths and further strategies for staying on track.

    To find out more got to: https://www.knowyoumore.com/wellbeingcoaching

     

    Suicide Prevention

    Learning modules link

    - Counselling (Scottish Government Employee Assistance Service) - https://sg.helpeap.com/ or 0800 587 5670

    - Breathing Space      0800 83 85 87

    - Samaritans                116123

    - NHS 24                      111

  • Support whilst working from home FAQ - PHSPublic Health Scotland

    1. What support can I access whilst at home?

    PHS recognises the unprecedented times and want to support you at home just as we would if you were in the office.

    We have information and guidance on wellbeing can be found on the Spark here

     

    2. I am a line manager. What support is there for me managing staff at home?

    We appreciate the challenges that may be faced by staff and line managers and support information is available here.

     

    3. Can I keep in contact with colleagues without always having to talk about work?

    You should continue to speak to your line manager and colleagues on a regular basis but we encourage you to keep in touch with other colleagues as you would do if at work. You can still do this, just using a different form of communication - virtual Teams calls for this can be a good way to keep in touch. You can also speak to your staffside or H&S representative if you require help or support

  • Pausing of Shielding - Guidance & FAQsNational Services Scotland

    Shielding and Covid-19 Pandemic

    A number of NSS staff have been “shielding” during the Covid-19 pandemic due to being at higher risk of severe illness if they develop the condition. For some, that has meant working in their substantive role from home; for others that has meant working from home – but in an alternative role as their job cannot be undertaken from home.  In some instances, it may have resulted in someone being off work during this period, where it has not been possible for them to undertake alternative work from home.

    It has now been announced that with effect from 1st August 2020, the period of “shielding” will be paused and that, where appropriate, NSS colleagues can return to a Covid secure workplace.

    As someone who is currently shielding – what does that mean?

    The first step will be for you and your manager to have a discussion to look at what changes this may involve.  Your manager will work through this Risk Assessment with you to help to identify what the appropriate next steps are.  This may involve seeking some further advice and support from NSS Occupational Health.  This should be completed as soon as possible and certainly before any return to working in an NSS site.

    Does that mean that I will be returning to working normally?

    In some cases, if you have been working from home during the previous months, you will continue to do so.  If you have been working on alternative duties, or where no alternative duties have been available during the shielding period, it may be appropriate that NSS Occupational Health provide advice and guidance as to whether or not a return to your previous duties/site is appropriate and whether any adjustments are required.

    No-one will return to the workplace following shielding until a refreshed risk assessment has been undertaken, with input from NSS Occupational Health if appropriate and any necessary measures to make your workplace safe for your return have been put in place.  As there may be a number of staff in this category, this may take some time.

    What terms and conditions arrangements will apply until I have undergone my updated risk assessment?

    You will continue on the same arrangements you were on before 31st July 2020.

    What terms and conditions will apply if, after an updated risk assessment, I continue to be required to shield?

    If after completing the updated risk assessment you still need to shield, the present arrangements will continue to apply.

    5) What if I have concerns regarding returning to work?

    That would be understandable and should be discussed with your line manager during the completion of the Risk Assessment.  If any further advice or support is required, NSS Occupational Health would be happy to discuss.

    6) As the line manager of someone who is returning from “shielding” what additional support can I provide?

    Completing the Risk Assessment process is the first step in providing support.  NSS Occupational Health would be happy to provide any further advice and support required to you or your member of staff in helping them during this time.

    Wellbeing support services should also be sought for staff through the National Wellbeing Hub (https://www.promis.scot/) which signposts staff, unpaid carers, volunteers and their families to relevant services and provides a range of self-care and wellbeing resources designed to support the workforce as they respond to the impact of COVID-19.  All Health and social care workers can access mental health support through the national wellbeing helpline, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  The number to call is 0800 111 4191.

    To help you more fully understand the route to pausing shielding, please refer to the Scottish Government Shielding Route Map

    When would I be expected to return to my normal role/place of work?

    This certainly wouldn’t be before the risk assessment process was undertaken.  After that it may be appropriate to ease you back into work over a short period of phased return.  The arrangements for this would need to be discussed and agreed with NSS Occupational Health.  In some instances, it may be that homeworking will continue to be in place for a further period of time.

    8) I haven’t been booking Annual Leave during the shielding period – what happens now?

    You and your manager now have to agree how to make sure that you use your annual leave entitlement over the remaining 8 months of the annual leave year.  Applications to carry forward large annual leave balances are unlikely to be supported and it is important that you take time away from work for the benefit of your physical and emotional health.

    As a line manager, is there anything further I need to put in place once the member of staff who was shielding returns to work?

    Please remember that, if they were placed on Special Leave during this time, you should update records to show that this has now ceased. 

  • Contact Tracing – Call to Arms FAQsNational Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland

    1) When do you need people to start?

    As soon as but individuals do need to go through the training first which is the starting point t and then on line as soon as possible

     

    2) How many people do you need?

    Overall we are looking for up to 100

     

    3) How long will you need people for?

    Certainly for the next 8 weeks with option to review – this provides time to backfill with new recruits

     

    4) What type of staff do you need (is this open to anyone or specifically admin staff)?

    It is open to anyone – grade should not be a barrier. We need people who are confident on the phone, able to follow a script but are also inquisitive, ask questions and can make an assessment of the case

     

    5) Will staff be paid and at what rate?

    Deployees will of course be paid and at their current banding and any Saturday/Sunday premia will apply

     

    6) Is there a role description?

    Yes – here are the links to the Job Description and also the Personal Specification

     

    7) How long are the shifts?

    The NCTC operates 8am – 8pm, Mon – Sunday and shifts are ordinarily 4, 6, or 8 hours and inclusive of the weekend

     

    8) What type of training is available?

    There is a set training pack which is predominantly self directed with 1 x day facilitated followed on with supervision prior to individuals going live

     

    9) Is this a work from home role?

    Yes although if you are working with a computer in an NHS site then that is also possible

     

    10) How will individual members of staff be managed/assigned work?

    Individuals will be assigned to a Team Leader but due to shift working it will be the on-duty Team Leader that will be responsible for the shift. Individuals pick up the cases from the CMS system

     

    11) Do I need to go through a Disclosure Scotland check?

    Yes, all contact tracers do require a Standard level Disclosure Scotland check so whilst you go through the training we will ask you to complete your Disclosure Scotland application.

  • Coronavirus- how to record any absence from a staff member. SSTS new absence codesNational Services Scotland, Public Health Scotland

    New SSTS absence codes have now been set up to deal with the various possible COVID-19 related absences.

    If you are a line manager, please remember to keep this system up to date following the new codes:

     

    SP - Coronavirus – Covid 19 Positive
    Employees who have tested positive for the virus

    SP - Coronavirus – Self displaying symptoms – Self Isolating        
    This will record a staff member who is displaying symptoms and allow testing of key workers to be targeted (original self-isolating reason)

    SP - Coronavirus – Household Related – Self Isolating                 
    Someone in the household of the staff member is displaying symptoms

    SP - Coronavirus                                                                             
    This will record those who have caring responsibilities and are absent due to these

    SP - Coronavirus – Underlying Health Condition                            
    Staff member has Underlying Health Condition  putting them in the at risk category

    SP Coronavirus - Quarantine
    Staff member is required to quarantine (see Guidelines in Circular DL(2020)20)

  • Coronavirus - Annual Leave and Public Holidays FAQsNational Services Scotland

    1. I was unable to fully utilise my 2019/20 annual leave entitlement due to COVID 19 work pressures in my department.  Am I permitted for this reason to carry forward my unused leave?

    In the circumstances you describe, theStaff may – with agreement from their manager – have cancelled annual leave in order to support cover of key services

    Staff may also be seeking to postpone their annual leave scheduled in March, due to cancellation of flights and trips abroad.

    normal carry over leave provisions within both the NHS Scotland Annual Leave Policy (for staff under Agenda for Change and Executive Level terms and conditions) and Medical and Dental Terms and Conditions, will be waived and your full untaken leave will be carried over to the 2020/21 leave year.

     

    2. I agreed with my manager that I would delay taking my leave in March in order to support COVID-19 related work, and I have carried this leave forward into 2019/20.  I am concerned that I may not have sufficient time to fully utilise my now enhanced 2020/21 leave entitlement.  Can I be paid for the carry forward leave?

    Staff who carried forward leave from the 2019/20 leave year due to COVID 19 related reasons, can request payment of their unused annual leave.  You should discuss this with your manager and complete the COVID-19 Carry Forward Annual Leave Payment Form.  Payment for this leave will be as if at work.

     

    3.  I was asked to delay taking my leave during March 2019 because of COVID-19 and have carried this forward.  I’ve opted to take this as annual leave but have not yet decided when.  Can I change my mind further down the line and ask for payment instead?

    It would be preferable where possible that staff provide a decision either to use their carry forward leave or request payment for this as early as possible into the new leave year of 2020/21.  However, where staff have chosen to take annual leave and then change their mind, staff should discuss this with their line manager to ensure there is no impact on service provision and agreement can be made for payment to be provided.

     

    4. I asked my manager if I could cancel 7 days’ annual leave that I had booked in March 2020 because my holiday was cancelled as a result of COVID-19. In the circumstances, my manager agreed to this and to me carrying forward these 7 days into the 2020/21 leave year.  Can I get this carry forward leave paid?

    It is recognised that there were a number of wider impacts on staff that came indirectly due to COVID-19.  Staff who carried forward annual leave from 2019/20 due to an indirect consequence of COVID-19 – for example, flights or holiday were cancelled during March 2020 - can carry the untaken leave forward into 2020/21 and can opt to either use the untaken leave during 2020/21 or request payment of all or part of the untaken leave paid.

     

    5. I am self-isolating due to symptoms of COVID-19 but do not feel well enough to work from home.  I have a few days annual leave booked at this time.  Do I get my annual leave back?

    If you are self-isolating and do not feel well enough to work from home, the normal sick leave provisions should apply in relation to your leave.  Therefore, as long as you have followed the correct reporting procedures, you should receive your booked annual leave back.

     

    6. I am self-isolating due to symptoms of COVID-19 but I am well enough to work from home.  I have a few days annual leave booked.  Do I get this annual leave back?

    If you are self-isolating due to symptoms of COVID-19 but are feeling well enough to continue to work from home, you should discuss this with your line manager.  It is possible for you to take your annual leave, if you are still working and your manager may well encourage you to do so, particularly from a health and wellbeing perspective as it is important that you have ‘downtime’ away from your work.

     

    7. I am currently self-isolating and working from home for 14 days because a household member has symptoms of COVID-19.  I have 5 days annual leave booked.  Do I get my annual leave back because I’m self-isolating?

    If you are self-isolating because a household member has symptoms of COVID-19 but are continuing to work from home, you should discuss this with your line manager.  As you are still working from home, it is possible for you to take your annual leave and your manager may well encourage you to do so, particularly from a health and wellbeing perspective as it is important that you have ‘downtime’ away from your work.

     

    8. What if a staff member in my team does not take the minimum full statutory leave entitlement during 2020/21?

    Given that the COVID-19 situation is likely to continue for some time to come, it is essential that managers monitor the leave of staff at regular intervals throughout 2020/21 and identify early those staff who have higher than normal amounts of leave still to take, so that they can be encouraged to schedule their untaken leave. 

    The expectation for NSS, as determined by DL (2020)9, is that all staff are expected to take the minimum statutory leave within 2020/21 leave year.

    Managers should therefore work with staff to plan annual leave throughout the year and ensure that there is a balanced allocation of leave across the team. 

    Annual leave should be managed effectively to enable staff to take their full leave entitlement during 2020/21.  If due to COVID-19, this is not possible for everyone, the above approach should help ensure that staff at least receive their statutory leave entitlement.

     

    9. Staff in my team are reluctant to book leave at this present time in the hope that current travel restrictions will be lifted and greater certainty over low infection rates.  What should I advise my staff as I am concerned there will be a high level of annual leave requests for later in the year that for business reasons will be unmanageable?

    It is understandable that staff may wish to hold back their annual leave in the hope that the current travel restrictions and social-distancing requirements will end soon.  However, the current guidance would suggest that restrictions arising from COVID-19 are likely to continue for some time. 

    Staff may not be able to take the type of holidays they are used to but they can however still plan for leave away from work. It is also important for staff to regularly take leave in order to support their wellbeing and work life balance and managers should encourage staff to plan their leave throughout the 2020/21 leave year.

    From an operational perspective, this will also ensure that staff annual leave continues to be allocated throughout the year enabling staff cover to be planned.  Further guidance about the taking of Annual Leave during the current pandemic is contained in the NSS Guidance on Annual Leave and Public Holidays during COVID-19.

     

    10. I am currently shielding.  If the requirement to shield is paused as at 31st July, what does this mean in relation to booking annual leave going forward?

    Details regarding annual leave for 2020-21 in respect of staff who have been shielding are contained in DL (2020) 22.

    For those staff who have been in receipt of a shielding letter, it is anticipated that the current shielding period will not extend beyond 31st July 2020 if infection rates across Scotland continue to be low.  If so, from 1st August 2020, this may mean a return to the work place or commencing or continuing to work from home (and further guidance on this will shortly be provided to staff who are shielding and their managers). 

    To date, for staff who have been shielding, it has not been considered reasonable to expect them to take annual leave during the shielding period.  However, given the anticipated change in the shielding provisions from 1st August, it is therefore important, as with all other staff, that managers and those employees who have been shielding meet to discuss their annual leave plans for the remainder of the 2020-21 leave year.

    Please Note - There may be exceptional circumstances where the restrictions placed on employees by shielding make it impossible to enjoy an adequate level of rest and recuperation, even during time designated as annual leave. Employers are therefore asked to bear in mind that there may be instances where it would be unreasonable to expect a shielding staff member to take all their annual leave in 2020-21. Every individual’s situation will be different, so each scenario, and any potential for carryover of leave, will need to be dealt with on a case by case basis at a local level.