Making the Parliamentary estate a COVID-19 secure workplace

Standard

The House of Commons has produced a briefing for Members about the changes made to ensure that the parliamentary estate is a COVID-19 secure workplace.

Any staff who can work remotely should continue to do so, rather than returning to the estate,
or their constituency offices.

You can view the briefing here: https://intranet.parliament.uk/Documents/Members%20Pack_June%202020_V2.pdf

For more information, contact covid19secure@parliament.uk

Banner – Equipment for returning to the workplace

Standard

Our office supplier, Banner, has published a catalogue of equipment to allow MPs and staff to return to the workplace safely, including:

  • preparing the building
  • equipping the workforce
  • controlling access to sites
  • implementing a social distancing plan
  • reducing virus transfer

You can view the catalogue here: https://www.easyflip.co.uk/BannerReturntotheWorkplace/

POST – Rapid response content on COVID-19

Standard

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) has recent published several new reports relating to COVID-19.  If you’d like to sign up to the POST email newsletter, please go here: https://mailchi.mp/email.parliament.uk/post

COVID-19, children and schools
Children who have COVID-19 are much less likely to develop severe symptoms and much less likely to die from the disease than peple in older age groups. In this article we look at the latest evidence on transmission in children and what that may mean for the re-opening of schools in autumn. We have also produced a timeline of the scientific advice that was provided since February 2020 and the subsequent policy announcements on schools.

Read more on COVID-19 and schools


Child and adolescent mental health during COVID-19
Strained family relationships, reduced social contact and academic stress have mental health impacts on children and adolescents. In 2018/19 over 350,000 young people accessed NHS mental health services just in England. Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) have been reduced during the pandemic. They are likely to be under strain to meet increased demand.

Read more on children’s mental health


COVID-19 in children: July update
In our July update we look at the latest data on COVID-19 prevalence in the UK by age and sex. We explain the possible clinical outcomes for children and review evidence exploring confounding risk factors, such as underlying medical conditions and demographics. We also look at the latest data on how COVID-19 affects pregnancy.

Read more on COVID-19 and children


Effects of COVID-19 on the food supply system
COVID-19 has exposed vulnerabilities in the UK food system. Panic buying and the slow reaction of retailers exposed how cost-efficient and streamlined supply chains struggled to adapt to unforeseen shocks. Problems also arose from the closure of parts of the catering sector and the lack of agility in redistributing supplies from this sector to retail outlets or the food donation/charity sector.

Read more on COVID-19 and food supply chains


COVID-19 vaccines: July update on research
As of 6 July 2020, WHO figures showed almost 150 vaccine candidates in development across the world, 19 of which were being tested in humans. In the past few weeks, vaccine candidates have been rapidly progressing through the first two phases of clinical trials (Phase 1 and Phase 2). These trials test safety and if they stimulate an immune response in people.

Read more on COVID-19 vaccines


COVID-19 therapies
This article was updated on 1 May and again on 6 July. Since its original publication on 17 April, the number of COVID-19 clinical trials has increased from 524 to 2,378. There is currently no cure for COVID-19. Researchers are testing existing drugs to see if they act against SARS-CoV-2 or alleviate the symptoms of the disease. Initial positive findings show promise of Dexamethasone and Remdesivir. But negative findings are valuable because they allow researchers to focus on other drugs; there is good evidence that hydroxychloroquine does not offer any benefits to treat COVID-19 patients.

Read more on COVID-19 therapies


COVID-19: July update on face masks and face coverings for the general public
There is some weak evidence that face masks and coverings can reduce transmission of the virus in some specific circumstances, particularly poorly ventilated and crowded indoor spaces. Policy on using face coverings differs across the UK. This article includes a timeline of face mask policies in the UK and the available scientific advice from 6 April up to 3 July.

Read more on face covering guidance for the general public


Contact tracing apps for COVID-19
This article was updated on 14 May with information on the UK’s contact tracing app. It was updated again on 3 July after the UK Government announced that it would be trialling an app released by Apple and Google instead of the NHSX app which was trialled on the Isle of Wight.The release of this UK app is now not expected until the autumn at the earliest.

Read more on contact tracing apps

Constituency office risk assessments

Standard

The House has produced a risk assessment and guidance to support Members in safely re-opening constituency offices.

The guidance advises Members to consider whether it is necessary to open constituency offices and if so provides practical guidance on the steps to take to ensure the safety of Members, their staff and others.

For any questions regarding this guidance, please contact the Parliamentary Safety Team on
safety@parliament.uk.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): right to work checks

Standard

Advice for employers carrying out ‘right to work’ checks during the coronavirus pandemic.

It is still necessary for employers to check that their employees have the right to work in the UK and it remains an offence to knowingly employ anyone who does not have the right to work in the UK.

Right to work checks have been temporarily adjusted due to coronavirus (COVID-19). This is to make it easier for employers to carry them out.

Please see here for full details: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-right-to-work-checks

Covid-19 and Casework: Ask the Library 25-26 June 2020

Standard

On 25 and 26 June 2020 the House of Commons Library is offering a series of sessions which are aimed at helping Members’ staff deal with casework arising from the coronavirus pandemic. The sessions will also be of wider interest to Members’ staff interested in policy development.

The sessions will be provided online via MS Teams and will be recorded, so if you miss one you can listen later.

The cut-off date for signing up is Midnight on 22 June 2020.

You must have a Parliamentary network account to access this.  See here for more details: https://parliament.learningpool.com/course/view.php?id=1735

An Update from The Speaker

Standard

On 15 May, The Speaker of the House, The Leader of the House and the Shadow Leader of the House issued a further update for Members of Parliament and their staff.

The update contains guidance for Members’ staff and constituency offices, information on the measures in place in Parliament and information from Public Health England.

To view the update, please see this page on the intranet: https://intranet.parliament.uk/business-news/news-current-issues/news/2020/may/an-update-from-the-speaker-leader-and-shadow-leader-of-the-house-of-commons/

COVID-19 – a lecture by Professor Chris Whitty

Standard

Time: 18:00

Date: Thursday 30 April 2020

Where: https://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/covid-19

At the time of writing, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has killed many thousands worldwide, infected many more – and changed lives around the world in ways that were unimaginable just weeks ago.

What is COVID-19, how has it been managed and what role will science play in combating it? Gresham Professor of Physic (and Chief Medical Officer for England) Chris Whitty, one of the key figures in the UK’s fight against the disease, will explain what we know – and what we don’t.