COVID-19 Policy Statement
DFE is closely monitoring the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and taking prudent measures regarding the safety and well-being of our partners, employees and clients to restrict the risk posed by COVID-19. Our response is being managed by our business leadership team, which is attending regular virtual meetings. We will be updating our policies in line with government advice and taking additional precautions where appropriate. Communications have been prioritised, and all of our stakeholders are receiving updated guidance as new information arises.
We are following the procedures set out in DFE’s business continuity plan (BCP). We also have a series of contingency measures that will be applied to minimise the business impact and risk to individuals’ well-being during this pandemic.
This policy applies to the entire DFE group and its operations, but it is specifically associated with managing the response to COVID-19. DFE has operations in 26 countries, and measures are being taken in each country to follow official guidelines.
Business Continuity Plan (BCP)
DFE’s BCP outlines its effective response to actual or anticipated incidents affecting its business continuity. Specifically, the plan focuses on DFE’s ability to continue functioning as normal.
Full details of our BCP are confidential. However, the objectives of the plan are to:
- provide a framework through which the key tasks for business continuity management and recovery can be achieved
- identify reasonable steps to protect and preserve the health, safety and welfare of employees and others involved throughout activities
- maintain an acceptable level of service and operational capability from the perspective of our customers or other interested parties
- assign responsibilities for actions in the event of a major incident affecting operations
- provide a structure for communication with employees and others regarding operational capability and recovery efforts.
The BCP sets out the roles and responsibilities of DFE staff relating to the plan.
We have enhanced hygiene requirements at all DFE facilities, including fieldwork locations, and are providing information and advice to employees.
All offices have been provided with hand sanitiser to keep at main entrances and other welfare areas, such as canteens. Specific guidance regarding hand hygiene has been communicated to all employees and includes thoroughly washing hands with soap and water for at least 30 seconds, including when you start and finish work, after working with dirt, dust or chemical substances.
Employees and visitors to DFE facilities, including fieldwork locations, are also reminded to avoid physical contact when greeting each other. This includes handshaking, hugging and kissing.
All DFE activities, including fieldwork operations, follow the relevant country specific government advice on social distancing. This includes, but may not be limited to:
- Keeping a minimum distance of 2 metres from other people;
- Avoiding contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or coughing;
- Avoiding non-essential use of public transport where possible;
- Avoiding gatherings of more than two people by staggering rest and meal breaks; and
- Prevention of employees travelling together in the same vehicle unless social distancing can be maintained.
Working from home
Where practical, employees who can work from home, should do. Measures have been taken to ensure that this is safe and practical for as many employees as possible, including adapting roles and providing technical support. DFE’s IT team has produced guidance for homeworking, which has been distributed to all employees.
We have well-established means of electronic communication to keep our workforce connected and working as normal, e.g., Microsoft Teams, Skype, email and conference calls.
Travel and meetings
DFE is keeping all of our stakeholders up to date with relevant travel restrictions issued by the relevant authorities.
All non-essential business travel is halted for the time being. Employees are advised to restrict face-to-face meetings and use video and teleconference options whenever feasible. If meetings are essential, take the necessary precautions and follow company and government advice.
Enhanced cleaning protocols and decontamination of premises
DFE’s offices, and other working areas, will be consistently cleaned. Newly formed deep cleaning teams have been provided with protocols, effective cleaning supplies and suitable PPE.
We have also assembled regional COVID-19 response teams who can provide a decontamination service when a deep clean is insufficient. All decontamination work will follow the agreed protocols.
Following government guidance, any employee exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus, however mild, will self-isolate for 7 days. If the employee lives with someone showing symptoms, they must stay at remain at home for 14 days from the day the person displayed symptoms. Coronavirus symptoms include a high temperature or a continuous dry cough.
Because testing is not available for all suspected cases, we will treat every in self-isolation as an assumed COVID-19 incident until we know otherwise. The following protocol will be applied to anyone self-isolating:
- The employee will notify their line manager and provide details about their recent (last 72 hours) business-related movements, including who they have been in contact with and which surfaces (e.g., workstations, shared office space, vehicles, equipment, etc.) they contacted.
- The line manager will immediately notify their normal HR contact as well as the relevant project and site personnel.
Mental health support
DFE acknowledges that this may be a challenging time for many of its employees; we have measures in place to support each individual through the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak. DFE has a network of mental health providers who are available to support the workforce. This support network is available to employees who are self-isolating or working from home.
Last Update: 25-Dec-2020