How contracts with suppliers are to be managed during coronavirus. This guidance is for both council officers and suppliers to the council.
We need to reduce the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and ensure our service delivery continues to run as normally as possible.
In light of unfolding events around COVID-19 this guidance is about how contracts with suppliers are to be managed during this challenging period. The guidance is for both council officers and suppliers to the council.
This guidance should be read alongside the latest government advice which is frequently updated.
In delivery of contracts suitable due consideration should be taken for service users, those employed on the contract and other third parties. This would include ensuring all necessary personnel are aware of the symptoms associated with COVID-19, including high temperature, fever and persistent cough.
Accordingly, consideration must be taken as to whether the contract should for a period of time be adjusted in how it is delivered. This would include but not be limited to:
- being performed in a different way, for example, remote access as opposed to direct face to face delivery
- delayed delivery until any reduction on current risk levels associated with the current outbreak
- ceasing delivery, permanently or indefinitely
- reprioritising delivery to maintain performance, for example, service delivery to high risk basis vulnerable client groups
- changes in timing for example providing the service in a time which minimises contact with others
- performing or undertaking the delivery of the service at a different location, for example off site or working from home
- limiting delivery, for example, limiting to urgent or essential work or cases in order to maintain ongoing essential service delivery or maintenance of key infrastructure
In making such decisions on how to proceed wider implications must be taken into account.
Where service provision is required then the following should be observed:
- where possible care should be taken to avoid direct contact with end users or other third parties
- where likely close or direct contact with end users or others is inevitable, such as caring for vulnerable persons, then suitable protection with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be used
- maintaining good hygiene will be essential within the workforce, including necessary use of handwashing, disinfectants and sanitisation, as directed by NHS and government guidance
In addition to reduce any foreseeable risks in impact in service delivery suppliers are asked that should you think your organisation is exposed to risks arising from the outbreak of an infectious disease we require that you:
- provide notices "as soon as it becomes reasonably apparent" that the progress is being or is likely to be delayed and follow up with more information. This is in relation to any of the works in which you are carrying out. This could include any impact in your supply chains.
- provide us with what you are currently or what you will be doing in order to prevent delay and to ensure delivery of service. Ultimately we need to understand what your contingency plan is in the event of loss of staff through illness or self-isolation.
Delivery of the contract must be supported through consideration of a formal risk assessment signed up to both by the suppliers involved and the necessary senior officers with contract management responsibilities.
It is essential that in the event of a suspected incident related to COVID-19 relevant government advice must be followed, including reporting of the details to reduce further risks, self-isolation or seeking necessary medical advice.
Necessary post event remedies should also be put into place as soon as possible, which may well include deep clean and closure of sites.