Coronavirus (COVID-19) National Lockdown
With the continued spread of COVID-19 resulting in further national lockdowns across the UK, the majority of NCA Officers continue to work effectively from home. The NCOA recognises that there are some roles where home working is neither appropriate nor practical. During this third national lockdown, the HM Government guidance in England on work is clear and unambiguous:
You can only leave home for work purposes where it is unreasonable for you to do your job from home. This includes, but is not limited to, people who work within critical infrastructure, construction or manufacturing that requires in-person attendance.
With the support of the NCOA the agency has sought to mitigate the risks of travelling by public transport by supporting the use of both NCA and private vehicles for the commute to and from workplaces. With associated risk assessments being regularly reviewed, workplaces should be COVID -19 secure and the data provided to the TUs shows that appropriate PPE is widely available for those officers who require it.
Whilst we await further information, the NCOA see the widespread availability of testing as a positive move to mitigate the risks of potential asymptomatic workplace transmission in the NCA.
NCOA members must remain vigilant and for the continued safety of themselves, their families and work colleagues and only attend a workplace if their role cannot be done from home. It is apparent from analysis of the NCA site footfall data that there has been over a 30% increase in the number of officers attending NCA offices when compared to similar data collected during the first national lockdown (March – June 2020). Documents seen by the NCOA, show that some NCA officers are choosing to attend workplaces voluntarily although this is not a requirement of their roles. This may go some way to explaining the increased footfall.
Whilst it is understandable as we approach a year of COVID-19 being a part of our daily routine, which has meant that some NCOA members have worked at home exclusively for many months, to crave a change in working environments. The HM Government guidance is clear though and states: Do not leave home unless necessary.
The NCOA remain supportive of the swift actions of the NCA to adapt to an ever-changing pandemic situation. This, together with the continued vigilance of most officers has meant that in the main there have been relatively low levels of COVID-19 in the NCA.
With an obvious increased number of positive COVID-19 cases in the NCA which coincides with the prevalence of new, more transmissible strains of the virus is a worrying trend. We ask that NCOA members now think carefully before making any unnecessary journeys to work.
Remember the Government message:
National lockdown: stay at home
- Coronavirus (COVID‑19) is spreading fast.
- Do not leave your home unless necessary.
- 1 in 3 people who have the virus have no symptoms, so you could be spreading it without knowing.
National Officer - NCOA