This guidance is for businesses/organisations that operate in a call centre or customer contact centre environment. It comes into effect immediately - 3 August 2020 - and extends until further notice. Guidance will be reviewed on a regular basis in line with the regular three weekly review of lockdown requirements.
We have worked with employers and trade unions from the contact centre sector to ensure that this guidance is evidence-based, fair and ethical, clear and realistic. As each workplace is different it is for individual businesses/organisations to work with trade union or workforce representatives to determine how best to apply this guidance in their circumstances.
This guide is underpinned by a spirit of collaborative working between companies and their workforce. Throughout the term companies, organisations and trade union or workforce representatives is used in that context, recognising that companies have a legal responsibility to maintain workplace health and safety and must consult with the health and safety representative selected by a recognised trade union or, if there is not one, a representative chosen by workers. Companies cannot decide who the workforce representative will be.
This document is one of a set of documents about how to work safely in different types of workplace. It is designed to be relevant for people who work in or run call centres, customer contact centres or similar environments in Scotland. It should be applied at the local level. Each business will need to translate this into the specific actions it needs to take depending on the nature of their business (i.e. the size and type of business, how it is organised, operated, managed and regulated) using this document as a guide. The guidance emphasises in particular the importance of undertaking a robust and ongoing risk based assessment with full input from trade union or workforce representatives, and to keep all risk mitigation measures under regular review so that workplaces continue to feel, and be, safe.
Publication of this guidance does not signal an immediate change in Scotland’s lockdown policy. At the current time call/contact centres should be closed unless exempted through the Government’s business and physical distancing guidance. Businesses/organisations should be closed down on a precautionary basis unless involved in essential activity against the virus or to support the wellbeing of society and able to provide confidence in maintaining a safe workplace. A second surge in infection would cause further harm to our health, society and economy. To judge whether and when restrictions can be changed we will consider a range of evidence on the progress of the pandemic in Scotland using the principles set out in Coronavirus (COVID-19): framework for decision making and our long-established commitment to fair work. As Scotland continues to ease lockdown restrictions, organisations including the Institute of Directors, SCDI, STUC, COSLA and SCVO have signed a fair work statement underlining the collaborative approach needed between employers, unions and workers to ensure workplaces can operate safely.
Ongoing contact centre operation to support essential activities provides an invaluable source of good practice on adaptations made to working arrangements due to COVID-19 to ensure a safe place of work. This experience is taken into account in the remainder of this guidance which sets out our minimum expectations across five key areas companies will need to consider as part of their planning for return to workplaces and ongoing service delivery while minimising the transmission of the virus:
- assessing risk - involving the workforce in a risk based approach to a safer workplace
- workforce planning - supporting those who should come to work, and those who should not
- operational guide and checklist - changing the workplace environment to protect your workforce
- deliveries, distribution and visitors - protecting your workforce and those who come on-site
- training and compliance
If you can suggest ways we can improve the guidance please email firstname.lastname@example.org.