EHPs at Dacorum Borough Council in Hertfordshire were joined this week by a six-strong team of COVID advisors.
The new team has at least six months of funding from the Local Outbreak Plan, and is being overseen by the council’s EH lead enforcement officer. The advisors’ aim is to gather intelligence and support people to follow the COVID rules, working closely with EH.
The team will visit premises and advise business owners on COVID rules, for example, record findings and escalate concerns to the EH team or local police. Focused in high footfall areas, they will also help businesses manage queues, support physical distancing, and remind people to wear face coverings.
Emma Walker, group manager for environmental and community protection, said: “During these difficult times EHPs have been stretched and this team will take some of the burden off our EHPs to allow them to focus on the more complex issues where advice is not appropriate.”
Walker said the advisors “are from a variety of backgrounds including enforcement and customer services. They are not required to be an EHP although one is. It’s excellent having a range of skills within the team as they all have something to bring to the table.”
She said: “We can demonstrate through our experiences with other EH areas of enforcement that people want to comply. From time to time they need some help explaining, reminding or pointing in the right direction and with the ever changing rules, it can be very difficult for people to keep up.
“As a profession we have long been learning about the benefits of behavioural change and ‘nudges’.”