Coronovirus Update 1
With the ongoing increase in cases of Corvid-19/Coronavirus within the UK we are entering what is likely to be a challenging and unsettling time for the sector.
As a firm we want to stand with you and support you during this time, and as such wanted to provide you with an update on how we will be tackling the challenges as a firm as well as provide some practical advice.
Impact on our services
Currently our offices in Cardiff are open and we intend to keep them open unless government advice changes. This means you can contact us on our landline (02920 351475) and we will be working our normal hours. Even if we were forced to work from home following a change in government advice we have just completed a full upgrade of our IT systems which means all staff can do this and access all our files securely using our business machines. This will esnure full continuity of our services whilst not compromising the handling of your data. All our staff also now have work mobiles so can contact you/you can talk to them should this happen – numbers are available on request.
The only change to our services is that we will be minimising the amount of time our staff spend travelling, in particular in London, and so will only be attending meetings and site visits in London if essential. This is to protect both yourselves and our staff. If you have concerns about this please contact me directly.
However, the bottom line is we are confident we will be able to continue operating at full capacity at the current time, and also that, even if we have to change practicalities about the way we work, these changes should have little or no impact on the end product.
Impact on your funding
The biggest concern for most of our clients is the impact this may have on funding. Unfortunately we don’t have all the answers on what this impact will be, or how long funding will be impacted for, but here are a few hopefully helpful pointers from us.
From an events perspective, we would recommend all clients continue to follow government advice – if you do end up cancelling or postponing an event do speak to your insurance providers before you make a decision to see if you are covered for an insurance claim.
From a grant funding perspective the general narrative we are hearing is that grant funders are aware this is a unique event and they are taking that into account. They recognise that there will be an impact on your programme delivery and outputs, and that staff may end up being off sick. They recognise that there may be a need to divert funding to cover sickness, purchase equipment to facilitate home-working or change the way you deliver your programmes. They also recognise that you may struggle to deliver reports within agreed timeframes. Our recommendation is speak to your funders about your concerns – they want you to succeed!
A consortium of funders including BBC Children in Need, Comic Relief, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and City Bridge Trust amongst many others, have issued a joint statement through the London Funders website here.
Impact on your staff
Other than the obvious uncertainty facing staff, and their concerns, there is a possibility your staff may end up having to self-isolate or even contract the virus.
The government have extended the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) regime so it now kicks in on day 1, as opposed to day 4, to ensure that staff who do end up self-isolating have some financial support.
A lot of clients have raised concerns about this as historically SSP has not been reclaimable in the same way that statutory maternity pay is. In the budget on Wednesday the government announced that as a temporary measure all employers with fewer than 250 employees will be able to reclaim SSP paid for coronavirus-related absences only. This will cover up to two weeks of absence per eligible employee. Its not been announced how this will work yet, but we will support all our payroll clients with this process if necessary.
As always, we are here to help and support, so please do feel free to call us with any questions.
Wishing you, your teams and your families the very best during this uncertain time.