Have your say in shaping the fire industry after Covid-19.
The FIA has been asked directly by the Government to consult with our member as they are keen to hear how you have been affected and how they can work with our industry to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19.
Thursday 29th May 14:45
UK Government launches NHS Test and Trace service
From today, anyone who tests positive for coronavirus in England will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share information about their recent interactions. This could include household members, people with whom they have been in direct contact, or within 2 metres for more than 15 minutes.
People identified as having been in close contact with someone who has a positive test must stay at home for 14 days, even if they do not have symptoms, to stop unknowingly spreading the virus.
If those in isolation develop symptoms, they can book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. If they test positive, they must continue to stay at home for 7 days or until their symptoms have passed. If they test negative, they must complete the 14-day isolation period. You can find further guidance here.
There is specific guidance on the NHS test and trace service for employers, business, workers and the self-employed which can be found here.
Wednesday 28th May 08:30
Business Support - Back to Business
In recent discussions with AXA Insurance, Ian Moore CEO of the FIA, has agreement for the FIA to share a range of guidance documents for businesses which are re-opening.
With positive signs that the current lockdown will gradually be relaxed, enclosed is a series of guides (specific to our industry) to help businesses returning to work and we hope that they will be of use to our members.
Wednesday 27nd May 14:30
Government introduces Coronvirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme
The UK Government’s Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme is now live on GOV.UK. If you’re an employer with fewer than 250 employees, you can now claim for Coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).
You can also speak to your tax agent about making claims on your behalf.
The repayment will cover up to two weeks of the applicable rate of SSP. For more information on eligibility and how to make a claim please visit GOV.UK
For more information about this Coronavirus support measure, you can also sign-up to HMRC’s Statutory Sick Pay Scheme Webinar.
Friday 22nd May 13:00
Everyone in the United Kingdom with symptoms now eligible for coronavirus tests
The government has today announced that anyone with symptoms of coronavirus is now eligible to book a test, ahead of the rollout of the test and trace service.
The expansion in testing eligibility comes after all 4 UK Chief Medical Officers confirmed that anosmia has been added as a symptom of COVID-19. Anosmia is the loss of or a change in your normal sense of smell, and it can also affect your sense of taste.
This means people should self-isolate immediately if they have:
- a new, continuous cough
- a high temperature, or
- a loss of or change in their normal sense of smell or taste
All members of their household must also self-isolate according to current guidelines, unless the symptomatic individual receives a negative test result.
For more click here
Friday 15th May 07:33
COVID-19 Government support for UK businesses
Ian Moore, CEO of the FIA, has been working closely with the Government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on behalf of the FIA members on a number of issues, more recently the work has focused mainly on the business issues created by COVID-19; such as working safely during COVID-19 in offices, construction industry recovery plans, key worker status, training while on furlough etc
He states “BEIS have posted a lot of valuable guidance for businesses affected by Coronavirus but it is often lost amongst the barrage of information being issued. The FIA are trying to filter what is relevant to its members, so please keep looking in this area of our website as the information will undoubtedly be of interest to you. The latest updates from BEIS are as below”
- Now Open: Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
- Roadmap taskforces to plan how closed sectors can reopen safely
- Government to support businesses through Trade Credit Insurance guarantee
Thursday 14th May 12:00pm
SME COVID-19 Webinar Series for UK businesses
Ian Moore, CEO of the FIA, has been working closely with the Government’s Department of International Trade (DIT) on behalf of the FIA members for some time now; and given BREXIT and now COVID-19, this is more important than ever.
He states “DIT are doing their best to inform SME’s of their options in the current climate and they have just released a series of webinars that would be really useful to listen into – try to find the time as there is some really useful information on offer”
Free SME COVID-19 Webinars:
Tax Relief & Support for Small Businesses
Date: 19 May 2020
Time: 10:00 - 11:30
Enhance your Sales Tools
Date: 20 May 2020
Time: 14:00 - 15:30
Managing Supply Chain Disruptions
Date: 21 May 2020
Time: 10:00 - 11:30
Navigating HR & Employee Roadblocks
Date: 22 May 2020
Time: 10:00 - 11:30
Tuesday 12th May 12:30
UK furlough scheme extended by four months to October
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that the UK scheme to pay wages of workers on leave because of coronavirus will be extended to October. Mr Sunak confirmed that employees will continue to receive 80% of their monthly wages up to £2,500. But he said the government will ask companies to "start sharing" the cost of the scheme from August.
Tuesday 12th May 12:15
Working safely during COVID-19 in offices and contact centres
The Government have published a document to help employers, employees and the self-employed in the UK understand how to work safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping as many people as possible 2 metres apart from those they do not live with. We hope it gives you the freedom within a practical framework to think about what you need to do to continue, or restart, operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand how important it is that you can work safely and support your workers’ health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that most office workers are not currently in the workplace, we hope this document will help those who are already working because they cannot work from home, as well as help other people, think about how to prepare for when office working returns. The government is clear that workers should not be forced into an unsafe workplace.
Wednesday 6th May 12:15
Rishi Sunak is getting ready to wind down COVID-19 job retention scheme by July
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has announced that the Government is preparing to wind down the coronavirus wage-subsidy scheme for workers from July as part of government plans to gradually remove lockdown measures.
The Covid-19 job retention scheme will be steadily scaled back as restrictions on business activity are lifted. Sunak told ITV News: “We are potentially spending as much on the furlough scheme as we do on the NHS for example. Now clearly that is not a sustainable situation." He promised there would be no cliff-edge when the scheme is wound down.
Tuesday 5th May 13:30
The majority of furloughed workers can take part in training with no hassle for employers
Furloughed employees are able to engage in training, as long as doing so does not provide services to, or generate revenue for, or on behalf of their company or a linked or associated company.
Where training is undertaken at the request of their employer, furloughed employees are entitled to be paid at least their appropriate national minimum wage.
In most cases, the furlough payment of 80% of an employee’s regular wage, up to the value of £2,500, will be sufficient to cover these training hours. However, if the time spent training exceeds the furlough payment, employers will need to pay the additional wages. Meaning that many employees can be trained with no hassle or paperwork.
Saturday 2 May 09:00
Can you offer coronavirus (COVID-19) support from your business?
The Government is looking for support from companies in a number of areas. Can you help?
Please use the link https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-support-from-business to tell the Government how your business might be able to help with the response to coronavirus.
The support needed includes things like:
- medical testing equipment
- medical equipment design
- protective equipment for healthcare workers, such as masks, gowns and sanitiser
- hotel rooms
- transport and logistics, for moving goods or people
- manufacturing equipment
- warehouse or office space, for medical use or storage
- expertise or support on IT, manufacturing, construction, project management, procurement or engineering
- social care or childcare
Wednesday 27th April 09:30
Small firms are to get access to 100% taxpayer-backed loans after they raised concerns about slow access to existing coronavirus rescue schemes.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak told the House of Commons the scheme would start next week, offering firms loans up to £50,000 within days of applying.
It aims to unlock a backlog of credit checks by banks amid fears many small firms could fold before getting loans.
The scheme requires filling in a two-page self-certification form online.
Announcing the scheme in parliament, Sunak said small firms could apply for the new loans from high-street banks from as early as next Monday.
Thursday 23rd April 13:00
Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, announces free testing service for essential workers and people living with them.
'We can make it easier, faster and simpler for any essential worker in England who needs a test to get a test. From today employers of essential workers will be able to go gov.uk to get a test for any of their staff who need a test. From tomorrow any essential workers who need a test will be able to book an appointment on gov.uk themselves directly. This all applies to people living in essential workers households too who need a test. Those included as essential workers will be based on the list for schools and education set out on gov. uk the whole process will be free.'
Friday 17th April 08:00am
Housing Secretary and Mayors pledge to ensure necessary building safety improvements can continue
The FIA has been informed that The Housing Secretary, mayors and local leaders pledge, with a list of signatories, to ensure necessary building safety improvements can continue during the coronavirus pandemic. This will ensure the safety of those living in high-rise buildings with unsafe cladding or insufficient fire safety measures is prioritised.
The Government states:
Saving lives is our number one priority, which is why we have told people they must stay at home and help protect the NHS.
We know that for some residents, ongoing work to your buildings may feel like an unwelcome imposition at this difficult time.
But with more people staying at home than before, efforts to improve residents’ safety are as important as they have ever been.
That is why it is vital that buildings are made safe as quickly as possible. All residents deserve to be, and feel, safe in their own homes.
Making buildings safe, including remediating high-rise buildings with unsafe cladding, is a priority for all of us.
We are clear that building safety work should continue where it is safe to do so, in accordance with public health guidance and procedures put in place by the construction industry to protect the workforce and minimise the risk of spreading infection.
Workers safety and wellbeing must be taken seriously. They deserve our appreciation for continuing to support this essential work at this difficult time. Employers should ensure their workers on-site are able to follow this advice, and they should consider responsible arrangements for ensuring their workers can travel safely, such as through staggering site hours to reduce public transport use during peak periods.
Recent weeks have seen some employers leading the way in adapting their procedures to ensure this important work continues, such as by allocating decontamination areas on-site and by providing additional washing facilities to reduce the number of workers gathering together.
We hope those leading the remediation work can continue where it is safe to do so and that residents feel able to co-operate with any reasonable conditions that may be required for them to be safe.
We will continue to do all we can to support this important work and to support affected residents.
This pledge has been agreed by The Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP (Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government) and the following local leaders:
- Andy Burnham (Mayor of Greater Manchester)
- Dan Jarvis (Mayor of the Sheffield City Region)
- Peter John (Chair of London Councils)
- Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London)
- Steve Rotheram (Mayor of the Liverpool City Region)
- Andy Street (Mayor of the West Midlands)
Wednesday 15th April 11:30
The Minister for State for Security, the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP has written to the Chairman and CEO of the FIA detailing his support for the fire safety industry through the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic; and repeats his message that “The Government is grateful for the sector’s continuing efforts at this challenging time.”
Please read the letter below as it contains important information (and can be printed off and used as necessary) for those providing vital and essential support (products and services) to the fire and security industry and those helping to relieve pressure on the emergency services; the basis of which is to provide essential safety to people as they go about their daily lives.
Ian Moore, CEO of the FIA and Derek Gotts Chair of the FIA would like to thank our colleagues at the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) and the Home Office for their support in getting this important and clear message from the Minister.
Monday 6th April 13:00
COVID-19 A message from the Department of International Trade to support UK Exporters
Like all Government departments, the Department for International Trade (DIT) is committed to standing behind businesses and is asking businesses to do their best to stand behind their workers.
Apart from the Government’s well-publicised package of measures to help manage the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19) by offering financial support packages for businesses and support for employees' wages; the DIT, through UK Export Finance (UKEF), has expanded the scope of its Export Insurance Policy (EXIP) meaning UK businesses will now be eligible to secure export insurance cover to all major markets.
DIT ask you to visit the Business Support website for more information about these and additional measures, and for support available to your business. We are told their website will continue to be updated with the latest information.
Wednesday 1st April 10:00am
"I appreciate that when people are considering decisions about going to work one thing they want to know is am I doing the right thing.
Well, we've stressed that wherever possible people should work at home, now that's easier in some jobs, careers and professions than others but there are people who are going to work in construction, manufacturing and in food production and supply who are contributing to making sure that the broader health of the nation is maintained.
There’s clear guidance on the importance of social distancing if it is the case that any employee feels that for example their work in a call centre , which can often be vital to making sure that services are provided, is not consistent with the Public Health England or other social distancing guidelines I hope they get in touch with me and newspapers you're so that we can point to their employers the vital importance of making sure that people are kept safe at work. There are some roles which require people to work in the workplace in manufacturing and elsewhere, but social distancing rules should be followed wherever possible and no one should feel that they are unsafe at work. I would also say that trade unions have an important role to play here in making sure that employees are aware of their responsibilities and obligations as well."
Tuesday 31st March 16:30pm
Business Continuity Support from BSI
FIA CEO Ian Moore has just discussed the release of the below with Susan Revell, Standards Development Manager at BSI and would like to share the information, help and guidance offered by BSI:
“Following the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), BSI has examined how we can support the collective efforts to mitigate the risks to organizations, caused by this global health issue.
After careful consideration, we have made available 11 standards to help guide businesses during these uncertain times. These standards offer information and practical advice for businesses and individuals, to help organizations navigate the challenges and potential risks associated with the current global crisis.
In addition, BSI is partnering with the Emergency Planning College (EPC), part of the Cabinet Office Civil Contingencies Secretariat, to deliver a series of best practice webinars around business continuity and crisis management."
Webinars will be recorded and available to watch at a later date. To download the standards and sign up to webinars, Click Here >>>
Monday 30th March 14:30pm
This letter is confirmation of the status of a key worker as defined under HM Government guidelines and the confirmation of the right to travel to and deliver and/or work upon products and systems to support UK Fire & Rescue Service resilience. This confirmation from the Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council states:
"Thank you for your email, as discussed last week, the NFCC certainly sees colleagues in the private sector helping to keep FRSs going during this time as key workers, taking into account government guidance that says those who can work from home should and as far as possible others should be applying social distancing and other protective measures. NFCC also believes that people working on vital fire safety measures such as the installation and maintenance of sprinklers, fire alarms, waking watch and other measures also constitute key workers with the provisions mentioned above. We have already discussed many of these matters with Home Office and MHCLG." Home Office colleagues are aware of this letter.
Roy Wilsher, Chair National Fire Chiefs Council
Saturday 28th March 13:30pm
Alok Sharma, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, states in the Government's daily coronavirus update on 28th March 2020 that:
“We have set out a detailed list of non-essential businesses that are required to close and I would like to thank those businesses for acting responsibly. We have also said that wherever possible people should work from home and very many people across the country have responded to that.
It is, however, the case that there are certain workplaces that you are not able to to work from home such as the manufacturing sector where you will be required to go into work. we have said that people should on those occasions look to go into work. However, it is also incumbent on employers to make sure that they follow the Public Health England guidelines and they keep their employees safe; and that certainly is what very many employers are doing. I have conversations every day with businesses and business representative groups and I understand from those conversations that they are indeed adapting and also making sure that works required there issuing their staff with PPE. But if there are instances that people feel that organisations and businesses are not behaving appropriately in terms of their duty of care and of course there are organisations like HSE (Heath, Safety and Environment) who should be informed.”
Available here (Quote starts 22:00-23:10)
Friday 27th March 14:00pm
In case you thought we had stopped updating you, we are still waiting for the Government to clarify the position on key workers. We continue to push for more information and will not get drawn into interpreting the guidelines as we only want to issue facts (not what we believe they mean) and we wish it was more useful to you.
You may have seen the news stories on construction sites which clearly is a very complex issue, which accounts for the mixed messages coming from Government in recent days (on one hand we have Nicola Sturgeon calling for sites to close and then Michael Gove arguing that they should remain open).
As there is no firm clear guidance and advice, some construction companies have decided they cannot wait any longer and made the decision to close for the foreseeable future (examples being Taylor Wimpey, Galliard, Travis Perkins); the frustration is clearly there in a number of sectors. As one source elegantly puts it “It would be incredibly dangerous for all construction sites to close, but it is also incredibly dangerous for all construction sites to remain open. It is not an issue with a binary solution.” And this is the same for all fire safety works.
The construction industry believes the list of critical activity that ought to continue for issues of public safety in the fire sector are:-
- Fire safety inspections
- The requirement for maintenance of fire protection systems and equipment to meet Fire Safety legislation – even if buildings are not occupied.
- The ongoing need for Fire risk assessments, both to meet legislation and new circumstances in buildings.
- Remedial work required to remove unsafe ACM cladding etc.
Friday 27th March 13:00pm
In other news, workers who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement due to COVID-19 will now be able to carry it over into the next 2 leave years, under measures introduced by Business Secretary Alok Sharma today (Friday 27 March).
Currently, almost all workers are entitled to 28 days holiday including bank holidays each year. However, most of this entitlement cannot be carried between leave years, meaning workers lose their holiday if they do not take it.
There is also an obligation on employers to ensure their workers take their statutory entitlement in any one year – failure to do so could result in a financial penalty.
The regulations will allow up to 4 weeks of unused leave to be carried into the next 2 leave years, easing the requirements on business to ensure that workers take the statutory amount of annual leave in any one year.
This will mean staff can continue working in the national effort against the coronavirus without losing out on annual leave entitlement.
Tuesday 24th March 13:30pm
FIA CEO Ian Moore adds “we have received hundreds of calls requesting clarification on what is meant by the Home Office statements. My first response is to be pragmatic about what you deem to be important under the title of Key Worker. Your health and the health of others is Key and the Government’s advice to cease travel as far as possible is the priority - this is why it is being discussed. Just because you work in the fire safety industry does not mean you are designated a Key Worker. It is also important to state that the FIA are not making any statements here and it is for you to interpret what the Government statement means when applied to you.
I do however, fully understand the need for clarity given the Prime Minister’s latest address on Monday 23rd at 20:30 and the restrictions it implies. I have sought further clarification and asked the question “Can we get the Home Office to confirm that fire risk assessment, fire alarm testing, maintenance and repair is classed as “essential” work and that the requirements of the Fire Safety Order still apply?” and expressed the importance so employers can make informed decisions on manpower allocation. Michael Gove MP has just stated that "construction in the open air” is to continue, as long as the 2-metre rule is observed, which undoubtedly needs to have fire safety input at all stages. We will update this website and soon as we receive a response from the Home Office”
Monday 23rd March. 12:00pm
“Security & fire safety personnel can play a vital role at this time of national challenge. People working in these sectors who are essential to national infrastructure are “Key Workers” for the purposes of the Government’s guidance on COVID-19”
James Brokenshire, Minister of State for Security at the Home Office
FIA CEO, Ian Moore has just been informed that James Brokenshire (Minister of State for Security at the Home Office) has extended the Key Worker status to all fire safety personnel actively working to improve public fire safety. Ian states “I hope this clarifies the position for our members which I know has been a major concern not only for the current position to do with the Coronavirus situation but also what could come next in the clampdown on unessential travel. A common-sense approach should be used on when to use the Key Worker status as there are many roles and situations that do not warrant its use.
Should you need any further clarification then please ring the FIA offices (all lines are manned) and we will attempt to answer your questions. Once again thanks to the Home Office for listening to my concerns (on behalf of the fire safety industry) and reacting to it.”
Monday 23rd March. 11:00am
“I have been inundated with calls and emails looking for clarity on this vital subject for our industry. Fire Engineers carry out a mission-critical job to not only fix but maintain fire systems and products such as extinguishers, fire alarms systems etc. We have real first-hand knowledge and evidence of the dangerous and potentially deadly effects that a lack of maintenance on fire systems can lead to; I don’t have to mention the implications if we were to have a major fire incident as a result of the fire safety equipment not working correctly.
In addition, many of our members are the only suppliers to the fire and rescue services who need their equipment to do their job efficiently and safely. Maybe they are covered under the fire and rescue service “support staff” section of the Public Safety section - maybe clarification is required here? Nonetheless, the above statement is a good start, for which I thank the Home Office for clarification; however, the FIA will continue to push for recognition of fire safety-related workers as Key Workers in a number of other key areas to ensure we maintain public fire safety”.
More details of Key Worker status.
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24 October 2019
24 October 2019
16 September 2019