COVID-19 update – 16 March 2020

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With the COVID-19 outbreak and advice changing daily, we want to ensure you are informed of how the outbreak will affect you and your organisation, and where to go for accurate information.

What your business continuity plan should look like:

By now, many organisations are already putting actions in place to ensure minimal impacts to continuity of service delivery. Your business continuity plan should contain all the information you need to prepare your organisation to manage disruptions and get your organisation running again after an incident or crisis.

It should include a business impact analysis and an incident response plan, with plan activation, incident response team, roles and responsibilities, communications and contact list.

If you don’t already have a formal business continuity plan in place, or you need to update it, visit Community Door for more information on what to include. You can download a business continuity plan template here or a template for a disaster plan for community organisations here.

QCOSS will shortly share our own Pandemic Emergency Management Response plan along with information about our progress in implementing our plan.

Where you should be up to by now:

Review your organisation’s business continuity plan and ensure that all your staff, volunteers and key external stakeholders know what your emergency and business continuity actions are.

Having clearly defined roles and responsibilities is essential for timely decision making. It’s useful to define roles that can be filled by a range of people, in case some staff or volunteers are unavailable.

At this stage, ensure you have up-to-date contact details for all your staff and volunteers, as well as their emergency contacts. It’s also helpful to have a list of key external contacts so your organisation knows who to contact and how.

Identify vulnerable clients and list the actions to be taken in relation to each group.

If your employees may be required to work from home, review your working-from-home policy and ensure that all staff are aware of the requirements. If you don’t have an existing policy in place develop a ‘self-check’ policy for employees to verify that they are working in a safe environment.

What is QCOSS doing?

QCOSS CEO Aimee McVeigh has been attending Queensland Government briefings and has been actively working with the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors’ Human and Social Recovery Committee, offering support and assistance in developing an action plan for the community services sector in Queensland.

If you have any questions or concerns, or any issues you would like us to raise, please contact us on [email protected].

What to do if you can’t deliver on services?

Contracted service providers should review funding agreements in the first instance and look at other ways of delivering on contracts, such as telephone or video calls if face-to-face services cannot be provided.

In the event that you are unable to deliver on your contract/s, contact your government contract manager as soon as possible, to see if additional resources can be provided, or to renegotiate contract deliverables.

What is the Queensland Government’s plan to support vulnerable people?

The Queensland Chief Health Officer and the Director General – Health are working with lead agencies for response and recovery, including Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors, which chairs the Human and Social Recovery Committee.

More information on the outcomes from the committee meetings will be provided as they come to hand.

Where to go for more information:

Anyone with concerns can call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84). For the most up-to-date information, please visit the Queensland Health website at www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19.

We advise you visit the Queensland Health website for all your queries in regards to the COVID-19. The website is regularly updated with the most reliable information for Queenslanders.

If you have been overseas in the past 14 days and feel unwell, please see a doctor immediately. Ensure you call ahead to your GP to let them know you’re coming, so they can prepare and provide you with instructions.

For emotional support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, please contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.

In an emergency, ring 000. 

Your obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act:

During this crisis, it is important to remember your workplace obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld).

The Act is in place to ensure the health and safety of workers and others. Under the Act, employers need to ensure that the work health and safety of each of their workers and others is not affected by the conduct of the business.

As an organisation, your obligations include:

  • Ensuring your employees are not exposed to risks to their health and safety
  • Providing and maintaining a safe and healthy work environment
  • Ensuring safe systems of work
  • Providing and maintaining safe equipment
  • Providing information, instruction, training and supervision to ensure health and safety
  • Putting in place effective health and safety management practices which protect visitors to the workplace
  • Ensuring that all others who enter into your workplace, including volunteers, contractors and members of the public are not exposed to risks to their health and safety.

This is only an overview of the Act. For more detailed information, please visit the Community Door website.

For more information, visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website.

The safety of every person in Queensland is of upmost importance to us. Every Queenslander can play their part by practicing good hygiene and staying home if you’re sick.

Remember the Queensland Health website is regularly updated and will provide the most reliable health information for Queenslanders.

As the peak body for social services in Queensland, we will continue to keep you informed with any updates moving forward.

17 March 2020 |Location: