podcast Iain and June chat about useful tips when talking to an adult with
sight loss. There’s even a mythbuster in there! Please could you share
with any colleagues you think might be interested in listening.
always, we welcome any/all feedback you can give us – just reply to this email,
and tell us what you liked, what you didn’t like, and anything else you’d like
We are aware that the current conditions may
be causing additional stress and risk for survivors of gender based violence and
their families and we want to reassure you that you are not alone and you can
This is information on our local services
and national helplines until further notice. Most of our specialist services
are still taking referrals and maintaining support for public health and safety.
Women’s Aid East and Midlothian (WAEML)
WAEML remains open
for support for domestic abuse for women and children and young people. Although
all sites are closed to the public the staff team are largely working from
home. Service hours: Monday –
Friday 9am–4pm (closed Easter weekend Friday 10th & Monday 13th
Domestic Abuse Service (DAS) / Domestic Abuse Referral Pathway / MARAC, East Lothian and Midlothian Public Protection Office
Both DAS and the Pathway are open from 9.00-4.00pm. Staff are working
from home providing support by phone and email with no face to face contact for
the moment. All service users have their case-worker’s number. Referrers can submit referrals or ask for advice
as normal and we will continue to respond to child/adult protection concerns and
contribute to critical meetings. For information email: DAS@eastlothian.gov.uk
East Lothian and Midlothian MARACs continue every 4 weeks to protect survivors
of domestic abuse at risk of serious harm with new arrangements from April till
further notice. We have circulated alternative
arrangements for the MARAC process to MARAC representatives; the referral
process remains the same, including the timelines for referrals and circulation
of MARAC Agenda. For information contact: MARAC@eastlothian.gov.uk]
Shakti Women’s Aid
We provide support to BME women, children, and young people experiencing, or who have experienced, domestic abuse from a partner, ex-partner, and/ or other members of the household. Currently support is by phone on 0131 475 2399 http://shaktiedinburgh.co.uk
FearFree domestic abuse service for men and any LGBT+ person
Midlothian and East Lothian Sexual Abuse Services for women
These services are currently closed to
new referrals. Survivors already
receiving support will continue to be supported by phone/email/text and by
their ERCC support worker about support sessions. If you have experienced rape or sexual
assault in the last 7 days, please contact email@example.com . You can also get support from the National Rape
Crisis Helpline, open every night from 6pm to midnight: 08088 01 03 02, or the
textline: 07537 410 027. We appreciate
that waiting for our referral list to reopen can be difficult. Please see this
link for alternative
Managers should ensure that this
briefing is shared as widely as possible with all your direct reports particularly
those based within the community and those working from home. Please note for
employees who have access to myHR, all employee briefings can be viewed by
clicking the link to Inform.
If an employee doesn’t currently have access to myHR but would like to be added to receive their payslip electronically, plus be able to access key communication documents, then employees should send their e-mail address to the HR Payroll System Team mailbox firstname.lastname@example.org giving a personal email address then they will be added to the system and will be sent details explaining how to access myHR.
Home visits/Travel to Work
All employees should ensure that they carry their Council ID with them at all times when at work. If you are stopped by the Police while acting on Council business, the ID card can identify you as a critical worker and having a legitimate business need to travel as well as reassuring Council service users that you are a legitimate Council employee.
they’re self-isolating or are too sick to take holiday before the end of their leave year
they’ve had to continue working and could not take paid holiday
The measure is to protect workers from
losing their holiday entitlement and to provide employers with flexibility and
staff to deal with the consequences of the coronavirus outbreak.
changes mean employees can carry up to four weeks of unused leave into the next
two leave years “where it is not reasonably practicable for a worker to
take some, or all, of the holiday to which they are entitled due to the
detailed management guidance will follow in due course.
If an employee
no longer wishes to take annual leave off which they’d previously booked, for
example because their holiday has been cancelled, any such change to pre-booked
leave must be agreed in advance.
The Council may still require an employee to take the time off or indeed may decide that it requires to have key workers available and cancel pre-booked leave. The latter would be done in extenuating circumstances and the employee would be given twice as much notice as the pre-booked leave.
Support available, for you, from our Occupational Health Providers
Our Occupational Health and
Employee Assistance provider, PAM, are committed to providing ongoing support
during this COVID 19 outbreak and have introduced a new service for OH Employee
It’s a self-referral service for
employees. You can call the Glasgow Office on 0141 428 3900 and provide your
details – name, date of birth, telephone number and employer. You will be asked
brief details of the nature of the reason for your call and an appointment time
will be offered for an OH Adviser to call you back.
The adviser will discuss your health related queries and provide support and signposting. PAM can provide you with advice on issues such as working from home, work station set up, physical issues, emotional support and COVID 19 health advice. Your manager will be provided with very brief information that you have made contact for support and will be told whether there is any further input recommended from your manager.
Any managers who want advice or recommendations to support their employees with work related concerns or fitness for work queries are encouraged to make a management referral. OH are still operating via a telephone model and are still there to support you and your teams. Please remember to ensure that employee’s telephone numbers are up to date on OHIO should a referral be required.
You can find more advice on PAM assessment on East Lothian Council’s intranet.
Physiotherapy for staff – provision update
Our OH Physiotherapy service has suspended all face-to-face consultations until further notice.
They are however offering remote
consultations either by telephone or preferably using video calling platforms
such as Skype.
Your Manager can arrange a
consultation on your behalf by contacting email@example.com
. You will need to provide a telephone number for your manager to pass on
and the team at Midlothian Physiotherapy will call you back to arrange a
suitable means of contact and a time.
We know that stopping these activities will be difficult. You should try
to identify ways of staying in touch with others and participating in your
normal activities from your home. However, you must not participate in
alternative activities if they involve any contact with other people.
This advice will be
in place for at least 12 weeks from when you received the letter.
This is to protect
those who are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19)
from coming into contact with the virus.
Shielding is for an individual’s personal protection, it’s their choice
to decide whether to follow these measures.
The Council would advise however that any employee who is covered by
these arrangements should not come to work under any circumstances, if they can
work from home they should continue to do so. If you live in the house with
someone that is covered by the shielding arrangements, you should speak to your
line manager and follow the advice on the NHS Inform link above.
Be fraud aware in challenging times
Across the UK we are beginning to
see evidence that fraudsters are increasingly targeting the public and
organisations with emails, texts, telephone calls and WhatsApp messages
offering advice and treatment for the coronavirus.
Criminals are targeting people looking to buy medical supplies online, sending emails offering fake medical support and scamming people who may be vulnerable or increasingly isolated at home. These frauds try to lure you in with offers that look too good to be true, such as high return investments and ‘healthcare opportunities’, or make appeals for you to support bogus charities or those who are ill. Further information on COVID19 scams can be found here
Reports from the public have
already included online shopping scams where people have ordered protective
face masks, hand sanitiser, and other products, which have never arrived and a
number of cases have been identified where fake testing kits have been offered
for sale. If you see anything fraudulent in your local community please contact
firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are offered work products for sale and
are concerned that they may be fraudulent contact the procurement team at email@example.com.
Criminals are also using
Government branding to try to trick people, including reports of using HMRC
branding to make spurious offers of financial support through unsolicited
emails, phone calls and text messages.
Huge increases in the number of
people working remotely mean that significantly more people will be vulnerable
to computer service fraud where criminals will try and convince you to provide
access to your computer or divulge your logon details and passwords. It is also
anticipated that there will be a surge in phishing scams or calls claiming to
be from government departments offering grants, tax rebates, or compensation.
Do not divulge your log in details or passwords to anyone and report any
potential phishing on your East Lothian Council equipment to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All staff are urged to stay safe, and follow this approach:
Stop: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with money or information could keep you safe.
Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
Protect: For Personal fraud contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Police Scotland through 101. For fraud against the council contact your line manager or email email@example.com
Fire safety advice for those working in Council Buildings
A number of the council’s building are either closed or operating with a much reduced number of employees in the building. Employees operating in Council premises over this time should be extra vigilant with regard to fire safety and arrangement in operation in the workplace.
Updated information will be available on the Intranet shortly, which you should familiarise yourself with if you are working in a Council building or are the nominated key holder.
Tips and support for staying positive
It can be challenging to stay positive with so much
uncertainty and change going on. Below are some ideas and tips.
Being at home (either if you are
well and in isolation, or working), is a good opportunity to do online
learning. You may want to refresh or update your knowledge and skills,
for example, in the Personal Development or Essentials section. Or perhaps you
never quite got round to finishing the mandatory modules.
There are many modules available. Have
a look, and we will be adding to these over the coming weeks. Next week
we will have a new module available on Personal Resilience During Uncertainty.
Log in with email address you have used on your LearnPro
account (usually this is your council email address).
If you request a password reset on-line, the new password
will be sent to that email account – however if you cannot access your work
email and need a password reset then email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you prefer to use a personal or Edubuzz email address on
you LearnPro account you can make the change under your “Profile” after logging
There are seven mandatory modules that we should all
complete. They can be found in the “Mandatory for All” Category. If you have a
current pass there will be a green circle alongside the module. If you do not,
there will be a red circle. The modules are:-
Public Protection – Everyone’s Responsibility
Equality and Diversity Awareness
Freedom of Information
General Data Protection Regulation
Health and Safety
PREVENT (Counter Terrorism)
Some tips for homeworkers to improve the performance of your connection
Home Wi-Fi connections
When using laptops from home, you might find that sometimes
things are running more slowly than normal. We have found improvements can be
made by looking at what devices are connected to your home Wi-Fi, and what
services they are using. By limiting streaming media (Netflix, iPlayer,
YouTube, Spotify etc.) on your home devices this
will allow for a better connection back to the ELC network.
Use of streaming media when
A large number of ELC staff are now working remotely on
Council laptops, mostly from their own homes. While working from home, we would
ask that staff minimise the use they make of video content such as YouTube,
online radio stations or similar services on
their council device, unless these are business critical. These types of
services put a higher strain on the ELC internet connection than just normal
email, internet and shared folder access. To ensure we have the best quality
connection and access speeds for all staff minimising streaming media content
use is very important.
Changes to PVG
Scotland is suspending all fees for key workers and volunteers who are being
drafted to help Scotland fight against coronavirus. This is a temporary measure
which will be in place for an initial period of six weeks, before being
reviewed and extended further, if needed.
addition, Disclosure Scotland has already put a number of temporary measures in
place to ensure the country can be properly resourced to tackle COVID-19,
including only processing applications for workers deemed critical to the
fight. As it stands the list of prioritised roles remains:
Prisons and Justice
situation develops and evolves, the list of prioritised sectors may change as
Disclosure Scotland identifies other sectors with roles critical to supporting
the Scottish Government at this time.
The Disclosure Scotland Team have
recently published information for managers on other changes to the PVG process
including a new electronic processes
for the checks and faster turnaround time. If you require a PVG form or
have any PVG queries please email the Disclosure Team at
General Employment Advice
For further advice employees can contact email@example.com or on 01620 827868, option 5 and
option1, leave a message and we will get back to you.
Health and safety advice can be
obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
or by calling 01620 827812
IT receive a lot of enquiries about the potential use of
apps and similar software targeted at the consumer market. This has increased
significantly over recent weeks as services come to terms with new ways of working
during the present emergency. We take a cautious approach to our practice and
advice around the use of this type of software as it is predominantly
unregulated, generally insecure and does not comply with data protection
legislation that the Council has to abide by. This has served us well in
ensuring we maintain our accreditations and avoiding enforcement action from
our regulators. Our most recent advice issued around the use of the Zoom video
conferencing application has today been backed up the Digital Office for
Scottish Local Government.
The Digital Office for Scottish Local Government has today (8th April 2020) issued the following recommendation:
RECOMMENDATION ON BANNING THE USE OF ZOOM ACROSS SCOTTISH LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Two weeks ago, the Digital Office released a brochure describing tools that could be used to assist remote working. One of these recommendations was the video conferencing application Zoom. Since then a number of news stories have circulated describing the privacy and security flaws in Zoom, and now a detailed technical analysis of the tool has shown serious vulnerabilities and poor programming practices (that will enable future vulnerabilities) in the Zoom installation. These include, but are not limited to:
remote camera hijacking
local web server installation that persists after uninstalling
the redirection of calls via servers located in China for no identifiable reason.
Many NHS Scotland Boards and the Scottish Government have taken the decision to block Zoom at their firewalls and to ban the use of Zoom across their organisations. We recommend that Councils take the same action. Understanding that Zoom may already form a substantial part of your remote working practices, the following guidelines may be useful until another solution is able to take its place:
Do not use the standalone Zoom client on corporate devices;
Where possible, use the Zoom web application rather than installed service;
Do not use zoom for Commercially Sensitive, Official Sensitive or discussions involving personal data;
If you are not confident that colleagues can self-regulate the above point then ban completely.
At East Lothian Council, the IT Service issued formal advice on 1st of April and this still stands, the key points being:
The Council will continue to restrict access to
We cannot vouch for the security of anything
that is discussed in a Zoom session.
Staff who need to participate in an
externally-hosted Zoom meeting that is business-critical should discuss with their line manager and get them to
raise a request for this via the IT Service
Desk (by email if possible email@example.com).
Staff who need to participate in a Zoom meeting
should ask the host to make the meeting available for web browser access as ELC
computers do not have the Zoom client installed.
The Council are not currently investigating
procuring Zoom as a platform for staff to host meetings on. We advise that
staff wishing to host online conference should do so using Skype for Business.
Skype for Business can be ordered through the IT
Service Desk, there is a cost of £80 per user per annum. We require a valid
finance code to charge this to, plus a list of the staff you want set up.
COEL has issued the latest version of the Carers of East Lothian resilience resources list. They asked us to highlight a few changes:
North Berwick Resilience Contacts
Musselburgh, Wallyford and Whitecraig Resilience
Contacts (share a single point of contact)
Audiology services/ library services to source
hearing aid batteries
Pennypit Development Trust Emergency Food
Provision in Prestonpans and Tranent
Our Community Kitchen Food Provision in
Updated list of food suppliers currently doing
deliveries – information about who is open/ shut/ has capacity changes quite
regularly but https://www.weelocals.com/
is a good list of local suppliers that is being updated regularly
Kirsteen at COEL will send out an updated list on a weekly basis.
The Scottish Government Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill has received Royal Assent and came into effect on 7 April 2020. We’ve produced a short briefing [for providers] highlighting the main points relevant to care services.
We are pleased to inform you that our framework to support Gypsy/Travellers in relation to COVID-19 has been published online. I have attached the link to the published framework below and would be grateful if you would pass it on to your stakeholder lists.
Have you seen our new-look HILDA web site? This now has a Covid-19 update on keeping healthy and safe when self isolating.
More about HILDA
HILDA (Health and Independent Living Daily Activities) provides its users with information they can trust on equipment that they can buy or borrow to help them maintain and improve mobility.
It offers an easy-to-follow online self-assessment to help pinpoint what kind of support would be useful and puts people in touch with activities, exercise and advice that will help keep them moving and enjoying life.
Registering enables its users to get the most out of HILDA. Then they can plan and set goals that will help improve their mobility.
They can change their goals as their needs change and they can also create a plan for friends or relatives. Assessments, advice and details of equipment can be pinned to their plan.