This communication is to update our customers on the actions we have continued to initiate following the government’s decision to move to the Delay Phase of their Coronavirus Action Plan. This also followed the UK’s risk level now being categorised as HIGH and the World Health Organisation (WHO) classification of the outbreak as a pandemic. Many of these actions were presented in our last update and all have been extensively reviewed, refined and exercised in advance of implementation.
The Senior Management Team (SMT) continues to review the preparedness of the business for managing the developing outbreak, including holding daily SMT meetings solely on this subject. So we are currently realigning our responses to the detail now provided around the UK government’s Delay Phase structures.
We continue to review our position against the experience of this current outbreak but are reassured by the fact that it remains a solid operating position for the benefit of both ourselves and our customers. The plan accepts that some operational changes may become necessary but holds us all to the principal goal of maintaining our contracted services to our customers.
We are now exercising our working from home capabilities by following full consideration of the risks, asking those showing symptoms, those identified as being “at risk” and all colleagues with the ability to do so to work from home, therefore limiting the number of office-based staff.
In the situation where all staff may need to work from home we have completed successful tests/exercises of our enhanced internal VPN capabilities in terms of their usability, scale and resilience. This has included a particular focus on our range of alternative access options that we have deployed to bolster our resilience and service continuity.
In addition, the exercises serve to involve our colleagues in the practical experience of working in a different environment. Particular attention is being paid to ensuring that our colleagues’ needs and expectations are met in any work environment we ask them, or they need, to work in. Work is ongoing on dealing with any communications and colleague isolation issues that might potentially arise if not effectively managed from the outset.
Our colleagues are now actively discouraged from inviting visitors to our sites for anything but essential business purposes; we are sure our customers understand our precaution. This is similar for travel to our customer locations. We would anticipate that all necessary business communications can, for the interim, be achieved electronically utilising alternatives such as Skype for Business or Zoom.
Training, events and meetings are also being moved to electronic alternatives or cancelled.
We reiterate that we would only consider closing our office fully on the advice of Public Health England (PHE) or other recognised UK health bodies, and we further reiterate that we have full BCP plans in place for this eventuality.
As the situation in the UK develops, we intend to continue to periodically inform our customers of our current operating status and the actions we are taking to maintain all contracted services.
As such, we will be referring our customers to these updates rather than answering customer questionnaires or similar queries. Clarification can be sought from account managers if customers believe there is any material omission.
We would ask for your forbearance if our measured responses to this outbreak present you with a slightly different interface with our business. Any changes you experience would be as a consequence of us working hard to ensure our business impacts do not become your problem.
If you have any questions please contact your account manager in the first instance.