COVID-19 Staff Information

Latest staff briefing

The latest staff briefing is available below. Previous messages are also available to view.

Make sure you also keep up to date with the latest HR guidance and information.

SBScene staff magazine

A special COVID-19 issue of the staff eMagazine is now online. Remember, you can view SBScene on mobile phones and tablets, as well as on PCs and laptops. You can save it to your device’s homescreen for easy access. If you need help to do this check out the video. You can browse through lots of stories in the different sections (listed at the top of the e-Mag).

COVID-19 property recovery - 18 September 2020

Please find a COVID-19 property recovery staff briefing and Headquarters COVID-Safe office timetable.

Latest Staff Briefing 39 - staff update 11 September 2020


A continued thank you for all your hard work and commitment throughout the COVID-19 emergency which has kept and continues to keep services running for communities and businesses. The flexibility staff have shown and continue to show is vital in maintaining our services and is greatly appreciated. As we continue through Phase three it is essential that we continue to operate in this way in order to deliver key services.

Health and wellbeing risk assessments

As the recovery of services continues and more activities are being undertaken, you may be concerned about attending work, or some of your work related activities. Please remember that activities are only resumed following approval from the Corporate Recovery Group and after a robust risk assessment process.

If you are anxious about your personal safety please contact your line manager and complete a health and wellbeing risk assessment.

A separate assessment is available for those previously shielding.

Advice is available from the HR Case Management Team by email [email protected] or phone 01835 825015.

Employees with more than one post

As new COVID-19 cases continue to arise, it is important that the locations people work at are known. This will allow swift action to be taken if there are any concerns about COVID-19.

You may work in more than one location, either at different Council establishments or out with the Council. If this is the case please make your line manager aware of this.

Please note that because of the risk of the spread of infection, special rules are in place for care and educational settings. Staff are not able to work in more than one care establishment or educational establishment in one day. This might mean that you are not able to carry out all of your roles at the moment. If that is the case, please speak to your line manager who will consider what alternative arrangements can be put in place.

Advice is also available from the HR Case Management Team by email [email protected] or phone 01835 825015.

Further restrictions on gatherings

New restrictions on how many people can meet come into force from Monday 14 September:

  • the maximum is six people from two separate households
  • this applies to both indoor and outdoor meetings
  • children under 12 are not counted in the six, but must be members of one of the two households
  • while restaurants, cafes and pubs will remain open, the restrictions apply to meeting there too
  • face masks will also have to be worn in these establishments, both by staff and customers, when not eating or drinking

Additional protection against COVID-19

  • NHS Scotland has launched a new contact tracing app to help suppress the spread of COVID-19. This is an extra tool complementing existing person to person contact tracing which remains the main component of NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect system
  • the Protect Scotland app is available as a free download from Apple and Google stores and is supported by a dedicated Protect Scotland website
  • individuals’ privacy is protected as the app uses Bluetooth technology to anonymously alert users if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, and advises them to self isolate. Users of the app who test positive will still get a call from a contact tracer to confirm their details and who they have been in close contact with
  • the app does not store details on an individual or their location but uses encrypted, anonymised codes exchanged between smartphones to determine all close contacts. Close contacts are defined as people who have been within two metres of someone who has tested positive for 15 minutes
  • more than 500k people have downloaded the app since it was launched on 10 September

Home working/agile working guidance

Many thanks to all who responded to the home working moving forward survey. Revised guidance on agile working and home working is being prepared and will be available soon. This will include details of how you can obtain equipment you may need for home working.

Use of electriv equipment - take a break

Many of you will be using laptops or other electronic devices more often and for longer periods at the moment. It is important to remember to take regular breaks from use, such as 5-10 minutes every hour.


We continue to have a number of vacancies in our Catering, Cleaning, Janitorial, Social Care and Health, Social Work and School Crossing services. Some Modern Apprenticeships are also available. More information is available in the jobs section of our website.

Staff emagazine SBScene - call for articles

We are looking produce an edition the staff eMagazine, SBScene and are keen to highlight the extraordinary contribution that services continue to make to the COVID-19 response and recovery operation. Also welcome is any of the normal content included in SBScene such as:

  • good news from your team or service
  • details of new starts, leavers, births, weddings etc.
  • fundraising achievements
  • updates on current projects

Please send any stories or experiences to comms&[email protected] by the end of the day on Monday 21 September. Submissions should ideally be no longer than 250 words and accompanied by a photo wherever possible. Videos can also be included.

Suicide prevention

As part of this year’s Suicide Prevention Week, Public Health Scotland has launched the United to Prevent Suicide in Scotland campaign which is being supported by ourselves and NHS Borders. The campaign comes at a time when the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health remains high on the national agenda and your support in visiting the website and making a pledge would be greatly appreciated.

Many people in Scotland have been affected by suicide in some way, whether it’s themselves, a loved one, or someone they know. At any one time around one in 20 people are contemplating suicide. It’s also a leading cause of death among young people with men three times more likely to take their own lives compared to women. In 2018, there were 784 suicides in Scotland, this figure is sobering.

Everyone has a role to play in suicide prevention. As well as signing up to the new campaign, please play #yourpart by being suicide ALERT:

  • Ask if they are thinking about suicide
  • Listen and show you care
  • Encourage them to get help
  • Right now
  • Tell someone

You can learn more about the signs that someone might be thinking about suicide and what you can do to help by watching the NHS video or reading the NHS leaflet.

There’s also a Be Suicide ALERT briefing which is of relevance to many staff, particularly those working in health and social care. This is available on the intranet or from [email protected]

You can also contact the Health Improvement team to find out about suicide prevention training that is available in the Scottish Borders.

Look after yourself

Before you can help others you need to maintain your own mental health and wellbeing. The Six Ways to Be Well guide or resources on National Wellbeing Hub can help you find ways to improve your mental health and wellbeing. If suicide is on your mind this coping with suicidal thoughts leaflet may help you. You are not alone, and talking about how you feel may help you. You can seek support from:

  • your GP
  • Samaritans on 116 123 (24 hours)
  • Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87 (lines open 24 hours at weekends and 6pm-2am on weekdays)
  • Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBs) national helpline is available to support anyone over 18 who has been bereaved by suicide. Their helpline is open every day 9am-9pm on 0300 111 5065

What support is available?

Pam Assist

Our Occupational Health provider, People Asset Management (PAM Assist) provide an Employee Assistance Programme for all employees. The helpline is open 24 hours, 365 days a year and is a free confidential service. If you feel that you would benefit from this you can refer yourself by contacting Freephone 0800 882 4102. You can also visit the Pam Assist website where a section has been added on How to cope with COVID-19 stress and anxiety that we would recommend all staff visit.

Mental Health First aiders

We also have a team of Mental Health First Aiders. This is a service available to anyone with concerns about the physical or mental wellbeing of themselves or a fellow employee. You can contact a Mental Health First Aider by: