11 July 2021
• Use all means to reduce self-isolation impact on staff shortages, including test and release
• Outline the future of workplace testing beyond July
• Keep mask wearing on public transport under review
• Give firms – especially SMEs – guidance on what they must do
• Health and Safety Executive to provide assistance with risk assessments
• Businesses to share examples of good practice
CBI Director-General Tony Danker today (Sunday) outlines a six-point plan aimed at instilling confidence among businesses, their employees and customers in order to reopen successfully and learn to live with the virus.
Maintaining momentum as stage four approaches is critical to building on recent economic data, which shows growth of 0.8% GDP in May, with hospitality accounting for the majority.
Danker outlines clear roles for both business and government in creating confidence by providing clarity which can help people and businesses live with the virus, and calls for guidance to be set out early next week.
The CBI believes guidance falls under three categories: setting out what business are required to do, for example consulting with staff when making health and safety changes, providing evidence on the effectiveness of interventions to help firms reach their own decisions, and sharing good practice.
Outlining the CBI’s six-point plan for cementing confidence and reinforcing the recovery, Director-General Tony Danker said:
“Learning to live and work with the virus is the right strategy. But we need to ensure this is a confident not an anxious transition, otherwise it won’t work. Businesses have had a real boost this week with the Prime Minister’s plans for the final stage of the reopening. What’s needed now is a concerted effort between business and government to create widespread confidence from the get go.”
The Government can support business to make a success of the move to step 4 by using next week to deliver a six-point plan:
Build key enablers of confidence in the economy by:
• Boosting confidence in the isolation system by exploring all available tools for how to increase its agility and responsiveness. Some options include:
o Bringing forward the date from August 16th to align with move to step 4 on July 19th.
o Working at pace to see how a test & release scheme could operate safely and effectively using a combination of lateral flow tests – and where symptomatic PCR tests to confirm a positive result.
o Look at the efficacy of existing daily workplace testing regimes that are already well established in many close contact workplaces for essential workers.
• Building employee confidence by giving firms clarity on the future for workplace testing.
o Continued government funding of workplace testing beyond the end of July.
o Continue with the pilot of DCT (daily contact testing) beyond the end of July.
• Supporting employees and customers to feel confident in using public transport by keeping mask wearing compliance under review.
The government can support responsible business, so they adjust to living with the virus with confidence and clarity by providing guidance on:
What they are required to do - examples could include:
o Adhering to the government’s self-isolation policy.
o Conduct a risk assessment following any changes impacting on health and safety.
o Consulting with employees, or their representatives, on matters of health and safety.
o Adhering to the protections against discrimination outlined in the Equalities Act.
How they should assess the risk of their working environment and interventions proportionate to that risk:
o The HSE can also help translate what the scientific evidence means in relation to the effectiveness of key interventions in mitigating risk to help firms make decisions that are proportionate. Examples could include:
o The impact that improved ventilation can have to reduce the risk of aerosol transmission in the workplace.
o The impact that cleaning workspaces and encouraging handwashing can have on reduce the risk posed by heavily utilised communal spaces.
o The impact that interventions such as perspex screens or face coverings can have on reducing the risk of transmission via droplets in poorly ventilated workspaces.
Examples of good practice they could follow – including:
o Businesses where staff operate within a customer’s home could give the customer the opportunity to decide whether they would prefer the employee to continue to apply covid secure work practices whilst in their home. For example, wearing a facemask.
o Continuing with workplace testing, particularly for businesses operating in crowded spaces, could help support employee confidence.
o Publishing an updated risk assessment outlining a firms revised operating environment could provide a further boost to employee and consumer confidence.