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.

Latest Staff Briefing 41 - staff update 9 October 2020

We continue to thank you for all your hard work and commitment throughout this period, keeping services running for communities and businesses. Your contribution and flexibility is vital in continuing to provide essential services and this is greatly appreciated.

  • please ensure you keep up to date with the latest developments on the staff section of the website. This is accessible to anyone with internet access
  • to keep up to date with the latest national information and guidance, visit the Scottish Government webiste and NHS Inform website
  • all staff, especially those not able to work from home, must be aware of local restrictions, particularly if you live in the Central Belt and Northumberland where enhanced restrictions are in place. Living in one of these areas does not prevent you from attending your workplace
  • if you have any concerns or queries please contact your line manager

Remain vigilant - COVID-19 is still a threat

  • you will be aware of reports on the recent increase in new cases across parts of the country, including here in the Scottish Borders. This is a worrying time and shows the continued need for staff to be vigilant in keeping themselves and others safe and well
  • it is vital that staff ensure they follow PPE and Scottish Government guidelines with colleagues, clients, pupils and service users. Please speak to your line manager if you have any questions or concerns
  • the October school break is upon us but there has been an increase in the number of countries that are on the quarantine list, as well as further restrictions within Scotland. Staff should familiarise themselves with these updates ahead of any staycations or holidays. See the Travel and Quarantine section of the Scottish Government website for more information

Follow guidance if you need to self isolate

Anyone who shows symptoms of COVID-19 needs to self isolate and arrange to be tested:

  • staff who have symptoms should inform their line manager in line with the normal absence reporting process
  • this should include a discussion about what work can be carried out at home during self isolation
  • Test, Trace, Isolate Form must also be submitted to [email protected]
  • staff should agree with their line manager who should submit the form
  • if symptoms develop at work, make arrangements to go home safely and immediately
  • staff should then arrange a test either online or by phoning 119
  • if the test is negative, you can return to work, as long as you have not had a fever for 48 hours
  • if the test is positive, self isolate for 10 days or until the symptoms have cleared
  • the initial self isolation period of 10 days will be treated as special leave and will be paid
  • please remember to update your line manager, and the Test, Trace, Isolate Form at each stage

Scottish Government - FACTS guidance

Following the Scottish Government announcement on Wednesday, all staff are reminded of the importance of following the FACTS guidance to help minimise the risk of COVID-19:

  • Face coverings in enclosed spaces
  • Avoid crowded places
  • Clean hands and surfaces regularly
  • Two metre distancing
  • Self-isolate and book a test if you have symptoms

It is now compulsory for face coverings to be worn by all staff (with the exception of particular and certificated medical conditions) when moving around all indoor communal and social settings including corridors, workplace canteens and break rooms. This applies even when staff are not in contact with the general public, clients, service users or pupils. Employees are required to adhere to this guidance but should speak to their line manager about any queries or concerns. Face coverings are not compulsory for staff operating in outdoor spaces such as community recycling centres.

More information about the latest national information and guidance is available from the Scottish Government webiste and NHS Inform website

Home working

  • home working remains the default position for majority of our office-based staff in line with Scottish Government guidance. However, we are now working towards establishing flexible COVID-Safe office space which can be booked by all staff going forward
  • as detailed in our communications last month, we are starting this process at headquarters using a phased approach. The first teams to be asked to assist with this process will be contacted later this month
  • staff who currently are using council offices, who should only be doing so if deemed essential and with prior permission from their Service Director, should now sign in and out using our online form, which can be accessed via a QR code at operational entrances to offices, or via the staff intranet (in the applications list). This system aims to minimise the risk of COVID-19 and support NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect service

Staff with more than one post

  • due to the risk and rate of the spread of infection, staff have been advised not to work in more than one care establishment or educational setting per day
  • we recognise that a number of staff have more than one post, many working across different schools or in different care settings as well as those that have roles out with the council
  • the current restrictions mean that staff may not be able to carry out all of their roles at the moment
  • if this applies to you where you have a role out with the council that may constitute associated risk and exposure to COVID-19 measures to staff, clients and service users, you should speak to your line manager in the first instance
  • work is ongoing to look at alternative arrangements for staff in this position

If you have any queries about this, please email the HR Case Management Team [email protected]

Flu vaccination 2020-21

Plans are at an advanced stage with the provision of a free vaccine for SBC and SB Cares staff who have been identified as essential in ensuring critical services continue to be delivered.

NHS Borders social care workers and children’s residential care flu vaccination programme

  • all frontline social care workers who provide direct personal care are eligible for a free seasonal flu vaccination being provided by NHS Borders. This includes SBC/SB Cares staff working in adult residential care, care at home, learning disability day support and children’s residential or secure care and in particular anyone who has face to face contact within two metres of a client in their home or other setting, regardless of whether they are wearing PPE or not. Eligible staff working in external and private providers are also covered
  • vaccines are available by appointment at participating community pharmacies. Managers who have eligible staff have received a communication this week that confirms the process to be followed. Information for staff will be provided next week

SBC essential staff flu vaccination programme

  • a free flu vaccination programme for SBC essential workers is also being progressed. Priority will be given to frontline staff who are not homeworking delivering critical services and those working in schools, early years and other settings
  • vaccines will be available at participating Boots or Lloyd’s pharmacies. Eligible staff will be asked to complete an online form available through the staff section of the SBC website. They will then receive an e-voucher to their mobile phone or email address and asked to make an appointment. Support will be provided for staff without internet or mobile phone access
  • details of the programme will be provided to relevant managers over the next few weeks

All staff who are entitled to receive a free vaccine through the national NHS programme are urged to do so. More information is available on the Scottish Government webiste and NHS Inform website


  • in the past month, Payroll has had a high volume of issues of underpayment outwith the normal payroll run. Staff are reminded to refer to requirements published in the last update to ensure authorised information is submitted promptly for processing
  • while we provide regular updates by emails and guidelines, please ensure you keep up to date with the latest developments on the staff section of the website. This is accessible to anyone with internet access
  • as a reminder on the code of conduct, the Council provides uniforms for some services and where these are issued, they should only be worn when the employee is representing SBC with clients or service users
  • please remember to update your line manager and use the Test, Trace, Isolate Form where required. Anyone who has been in contact with someone with COVID-19 symptoms does not need to self isolate unless they are contacted by NHS contact tracers and told to do so

Looking after your health and wellbeing

  • as the pandemic continues many people may find themselves feeling more tired, irritable, low or frustrated. All of these reactions are normal responses to the current situation
  • you might have already taken steps to look after your wellbeing, but now might be a good time to take another look to see what changes you can make
  • improving your mental health and wellbeing can help you to deal with pressure, reduce the impact that stress has on your life and enhance your capacity to adapt in the face of challenging circumstances
  • the Six Ways to Be Well guide offers ideas for how you can improve your wellbeing in six areas:
    • nurture
    • be active
    • belong
    • be kind
    • enjoy and learn
    • be aware

You should think about how you are doing in each of the six areas and can use this tool to measure your wellbeing. You can then decide where you might want to focus your attention using the NHS wellbeing planner.

Share what you’re doing to improve your wellbeing using #SixWaysToBeWell or email [email protected] with your ideas.

Further support is available on the National Wellbeing Hub, or you can find local support on the NHS Borders Wellbeing Point. You can also contact the helplines below for support with managing your wellbeing:

  • Breathing Space (0800 83 85 87, Open Monday-Thursday 6pm-2am, Friday 6pm to Monday 6am)
  • Samaritans (116 123, open 24/7)
  • Borderline (0800 0274466, open 7pm-10pm every evening)