Houses of Parliament, UK

Council workers must have key worker status

Vital services will suffer if local authority employees are told to stay at home.
19 March 2020 , Katie Coyne

Concern is mounting that EHPs, housing officers and other council workers will not be given key worker status, which will make it more difficult to carry out their jobs.

In the event more draconian measures are introduced, such as restricting movement, without key workers status council workers could struggle to carry out their jobs and council services may suffer.

The Government’s message to ‘work from home’ has also put councils on the back-foot with some employees almost demanding to work from home when it’s not always appropriate.

“It all very well for the Government to say ‘work from home’ but there are a lot of jobs where you can’t do that,” said one council worker who wished to remain anonymous.

“It’s put local authorities in a difficult position. The government isn’t suggesting that health workers work from home. They should be more sensible about what other people need to be available to provide the services and support they are talking about.

“Health workers can’t look after everyone over 70s, and people with compromised immune systems and underlying health conditions, plus those who are self isolating – the support is going to have to come from the local authority.”

They added that as this crisis is likely to continue for several months: “We are trying to maintain a semblance of business as usual. Once you drop the service at this stage it would be really difficult to re-instate it back to higher levels of service or intervention.”



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