Circle’s Current Working Guidelines

These guidelines have been updated following The Scottish Government introduction of new rules for social gatherings both indoors and outdoors taking effect on 14th September 2020.

We will continue to have the safety of our staff and the families that we support as our main priority. These guidelines seek to balance the need for safety of staff and service users with the need to continue to support vulnerable families and individuals in the best way possible.

These guidelines are based on Scottish Government Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for the following sectors:  Social Work/Care, Community Learning and Development. They refer to family support work only.  The government guidance can be found using the links below:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-social-worker-guidance-on-safe-contact/

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-community-learning-and-development-sector/pages/cld-response-during-covid-19/

We want to stress that the below is guidance only and we are not insisting that Family Outreach Workers meet with families nor are we specifying how many meetings should be engaged in. We leave it to the discretion of each worker, in consultation with their line manager, to risk assess each situation and decide whether they want to proceed with a meeting.

Meeting families and individuals

Contact with families and individuals should continue, for the most part, to be carried out by phone or video conferencing.  Where a Family Outreach Worker feels it is necessary or beneficial to meet a family then outdoor meetings, in a garden or public space, can take place with the following precautions in place:

  • Meetings must be outdoors in open spaces (no indoor or covered venues) and guidelines around social distancing (two metres) must be observed at all times.
  • Each Family Outreach Worker must meet with no more than four other households in any one day. This will include personal contacts outside of work.
  • There should not be any more than six people at any one meeting, excluding under 12s.
  • Families should be informed where a worker has had a previous meeting on the same day and offered the opportunity to decline the visit where they see this as a risk.
  • Prior to any meeting, the family should be contacted by phone to ascertain if there are any people in the household who have symptoms of Coronavirus: a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, and/or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste
  • Where there are symptoms in the household, visits should be avoided and advice should be given to family about contacting NHS, if they have not already done this.
  • The family should be re-assured that we will continue to offer support and advocacy remotely until symptoms clear or they have tested negative for Coronavirus.
  • Staff should take all the usual precautions around hand sanitising/washing, distancing etc. (Sanitiser, wipes, gloves and face masks can be expensed where available or obtained by contacting Head Office).
  • Staff should not share their car with clients under any circumstances.

Meetings indoors, in homes or offices, should continue to be only carried out in exceptional circumstances.  Where a worker feels that attendance at a meeting indoors is absolutely necessary, for example to support a medical appointment or statutory process, this will need to be thoroughly risk assessed with a line manager prior to the meeting.  Where an indoor meeting is authorised all the usual precautions (2 metre distance, hand washing, gloves, mask) should be observed.

Group Work/Children’s activities

Group work or children’s/young people’s activities should follow the above guidelines for outdoor activity.  Indoor activities can be carried out, in a limited way, and are dependent on a range of precautions being in place. These include: checking for symptoms in the household or school, hygiene precautions, physical distancing, risk assessments of buildings and test and trace information being gathered.

These activities are covered in Scottish Government guidance for Youth Work and Early learning and Childcare sectors.  More information on this guidance can be found using the links below:

https://www.youthlinkscotland.org/news/september-2020/updated-guidance-for-the-renewal-of-indoor-youth-work-services/

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-reopening-early-learning-and-childcare-services/

Shielding Group

The Scottish Government have paused shielding from 1st of August.  For us this means that the same (above) guidelines apply to all staff.  Where you have reservations or concerns please discuss with your line manager.

Remote working and use of offices

The Scottish Government guidelines state that working from home, where possible, should be the default practice, so we are asking staff to continue to work remotely and not to use the offices.

We accept that there are instances where staff may need to use their office base and there is a policy in place that allows this to happen. All office spaces are being risk assessed to ascertain how many staff can use them safely.  Our Head Office at West Pilton Park (WPP) is being used for logistical purposes, such as the storing and distribution of packs to families.  Our admin team has returned to the Head Office and are available during normal office hours. Where project staff wish to come in to WPP they must check with Admin whether or not it is safe to do so.  When in the office all procedures around physical distancing, hand sanitising, mask wearing, wiping surfaces etc. must be followed.

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Please understand that this is a fast moving situation and that some of the above information may change in the future but for now, if you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch by calling 0131 552 0305 or by email info@circle.scot

We would like to thank all of our staff, partners and beneficiaries for their support and patience and we wish everyone good health at this time