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Confusion over “essential workplaces” for FMs

Confusion over essential workplaces for FMs
24 March 2020 | Updated 02 April 2020

Last night (23 March), Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a series of new restrictions to fight the Coronavirus outbreak. But this has left the facilities management sector in some confusion, particularly regarding services such as cleaning, security and those working in the building trade.

Johnson revealed in his address that travelling to and from work is only permitted when "absolutely necessary", and this terminology is what is causing debate.

Such employees, at the time of reporting, do not have key worker status. This begs the question as to whether these essential workforces can continue to work amid the current lockdown. 

Read more about the cleaning sector’s calls to be given critical key worker status


CCTV operators and security guards


Under the current rules, those working in public safety and national security are considered keyworkers. This includes police, armed forces personnel, fire and rescue staff, and those working in border security, prisons and probation. But in terms of general security services, there has been no such provision made.

Workers such as CCTV operators and security guards  are therefore occupying a “grey area” at present

Travelling to and from work is permitted currently, but “only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.” As it stands, without being mandated to shut, many industries feel that their work is essential and that it falls under this category.


Construction sites shutting down


Others are acting ahead of government advice and choosing to shut down all but essential works. London developer Galliard Homes is closing all its building/construction sites across London with immediate effect, with the exception of important safety works.

The Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove, this morning (24 March) attempted to clarify the rules. He stated that: ‘There are some construction workers who should continue to work, it should be the case that when it comes to appropriate construction work, we need people to exercise common sense.’

In a televised address from 10 Downing Street, Johnson confirmed that police in Britain will enforce the new lockdown restrictions. You can view a full transcript of the address to the nation here 


FM Resource Bank


During these challenging times, please consider contributing to our FM Resource Bank.

As a leading voice in the facilities management, workplace and built environment industry, we have started this resource to facilitate an area for service providers to exchange details and ask for support.

The aim of this is to help reuse or repurpose resources or labour, that would otherwise go to waste for the common good of the FM community and the country at large. Through this, we hope to create a flexible pool of additional resources.

Join the conversation today

PicturePrime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a series of new restrictions to fight the Coronavirus outbreak. But this has left the facilities management sector in some confusion, particularly regarding services such as cleaning, security and those working in the building trade.

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 24 March 2020


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