Search

Coronavirus means council staff told they will be working from home into 2021

PUBLISHED: 12:42 17 July 2020 | UPDATED: 16:19 17 July 2020

Norfolk County Council's headquarters at County Hall in Norwich and Tom McCabe, the council's head of paid service. Picture: Neil Perry/Supplied

Norfolk County Council's headquarters at County Hall in Norwich and Tom McCabe, the council's head of paid service. Picture: Neil Perry/Supplied

Neil Perry/Supplied

The bulk of staff at Norfolk County Council have been told that they will not be returning to their offices for work this year, because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Norfolk County Council's headquarters at County Hall in Norwich. Pic: Neil Perry.Norfolk County Council's headquarters at County Hall in Norwich. Pic: Neil Perry.

Council bosses said the 7,000-plus non-school staff employed by the authority, the majority of whom have been working from home since lockdown at the end of March, will continue to do so.

In the past week, only about 900 staff have worked from a council building, such as the authority’s County Hall headquarters in Norwich, at some point in those seven days.

Council meetings have also been conducted virtually, with the first full council meeting of all councillors since lockdown due to take place on Monday.

And Tom McCabe, head of paid service at Norfolk County Council, said lockdown had shown that council services can be delivered by staff working from their homes, with about 85pc of workers doing so.

Tom McCabe, head of paid service at Norfolk County Council. Photo: SuppliedTom McCabe, head of paid service at Norfolk County Council. Photo: Supplied

He said: “Our staff have been working from home where possible throughout the pandemic, in line with government guidance.

“This has been made possible by our adoption of remote working technologies that underwent successful testing before the lockdown, allowing our staff to deliver the services Norfolk needs away from council offices.

“We will continue work in this way for the rest of this year and into 2021, as the coronavirus remains in circulation.”

“We have put a number of measures in place to ensure our staff can work from home effectively.

“First and foremost we want to look after everyone’s wellbeing and we have measures in to help our staff feel fully supported.

“We have also reviewed our flexible working to allow staff with children or dependants to arrange their working day accordingly and supplied home working equipment to allow our staff to work from home.”

The official government advice is still “work from home if you can”, but prime minister Boris Johnson has said people should be talking to their bosses about “looking to come back to work in a safe way”.

But Sir Patrick Vallance, his top scientific adviser, showed some resistance to the change on Thursday.

He said working from home remained a “perfectly good option” and there was “absolutely no reason” to change the advice.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Eastern Daily Press. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Eastern Daily Press