Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy: Staff

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 3rd September 2020.

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Photo of Jon Trickett Jon Trickett Labour, Hemsworth

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when a covid-19 risk assessment was undertaken for his Department's office in Victoria Street; who carried out those risk assessments; what proportion of staff will be able to return to work in that office; what reduction in workplace capacity that risk assessment identified; how decisions on which staff will be required to return to his Department's offices are made; and if he will place a copy of the risk assessment in the Library.

Photo of Nadhim Zahawi Nadhim Zahawi Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

The COVID-19 Risk Assessment for 1 Victoria Street was undertaken on 12 May 2020. The risk assessment was subsequently reviewed and updated on 2, 3, 4 and 11 June 2020. Prior to this, individual risk assessments were carried out for departmental staff needing to work in the building since the advent of COVID-19.

The risk assessment was undertaken by the Department’s Health, Safety & Wellbeing team in consultation with the Departmental Trade Union Side, with engagement from the Government Property Agency and ISS (our facilities contractor).

Based on current social distancing measures and maintaining a COVID-19 Secure building, 84% reduction in workplace capacity was identified resulting in 13% of the Department’s staff being able to work in the 1 Victoria Street office at any one time, when compared to pre-COVID-19 levels.

In line with the “Working Safely during Coronavirus guidance on office working”, the majority of staff are working from home. When deciding on whether staff can return to the workplace, the Department considers whether staff perform a critical role which cannot be performed remotely, or if there are personal circumstances which mean an individual is unable to work from home. This may include a lack of a safe, suitable working environment or a wellbeing concern.

The risk assessment results for 1 Victoria Street follow the Results summary of COVID-19 Risk Assessment for Civil Service Departments, which was published on GOV.UK by the Cabinet Office on 3 August 2020. A copy of the Results summary of COVID-19 Risk Assessment for Civil Service Departments has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

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