Can you join Cityclean or Cityparks to help our Covid-19 response?

Cityclean and Cityparks need your help to keep essential services running during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Using our deployment procedure, you can volunteer to be deployed from your usual service to join Cityclean or Cityparks temporarily in one of several roles:

  • Street Cleansing Operatives to help staff litter pick, sweep and empty bins around the city.
  • Graffiti removal to help improve the look of the city and tackle some of the graffiti while the streets are quieter.
  • Collections Operatives to collect refuse, recycling and garden waste from wheelie bins. This role involves early starts from either 6am or 7am.

Days, hours and shift patterns vary between positions, but we'll work to accommodate your needs as much as possible.

Full training and PPE will be provided and physical distancing will be maintained at all times (including in vehicles for relevant roles).

As with all positions available through deployment, you won't be expected to already be a professional in the area you're choosing to work with, and you won't see a reduction in your usual pay. If you're deployed to a role with a salary higher than your current pay, you'll receive the higher salary.

Taster sessions

If you're interested but unsure if the work will suit you, you can arrange for a trial shift with the opportunity to meet staff and managers.
To arrange a taster session, please contact Madeleine.Treweek@brighton-hove.gov.uk

Benefits

You'll get to work outdoors and get some exercise (while staying a safe distance from others) as you perform vital work to keep the city running during the pandemic. All staff deployed to Cityclean and Cityparks also get access to the staff canteen at the Hollingdean Depot.

How to sign up

Please read our deployment guidance for managers and staff which should answer many of the initial questions you might have. This includes HR contacts for each directorate.

If you want the opportunity to volunteer and support Cityclean, Cityparks or another service which needs help, please complete the expression of interest form for staff.

Managers who need to open up their teams to deployment should complete the job detail form.

Thank you to any staff considering deployment elsewhere in the council to support our vital response against COVID-19.

Reporting diagnosed Covid-19 cases

If you've been diagnosed with Covid-19 (ie if you have been tested with a positive result), you must inform your manager in the first instance.

Managers must then follow the guidance on reporting confirmed cases to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

If you have coronavirus-like symptoms and are absent from work but have not tested positive for Covid-19, you should report your absence to FirstCare as a suspected case of Covid-19. Read full guidance on FirstCare reporting (see the 'FirstCare reporting' section on the left).

Checklist for managers

A checklist is now available to support managers who have staff in their team diagnosed with Covid-19.

The checklist helps you consider:

  • the ongoing safety of the team/service and the welfare of staff
  • procedures that need to be followed in terms of informing other team members
  • reporting the case as an incident to the Corporate H&S Team.

Reporting exploitation of vulnerable residents by criminals

Sussex Police are asking council staff to be especially vigilant and report any concerns about vulnerable residents being exploited by organised criminal groups (OCGs) during the Covid-19 pandemic.

There is information to suggest that due to COVID-19 and the resulting lockdown, OCGs have had difficulty transporting drugs into Brighton & Hove to deal freely out on the streets. This is supported by the fact that that the Airbnb lets and budget hotels not an available option for the dealers.

OCGs are therefore looking at every opportunity to set up local residence and this may lead to an increase in 'cuckooing', a process whereby county lines/criminal gangs target vulnerable people in order to use their homes to deal drugs from.

Spotting the signs

Recognising the signs of exploitation at an early stage is key to stopping it happening, especially when those involved are not always aware they are being badly used.

Some of the signs of exploitation include:

  • Unexplained money, clothes or mobile phones
  • Significant changes in emotional wellbeing
  • Relationships with older or controlling people
  • Suspicion of self-harm, physical assault or unexplained injuries

If you suspect that someone you know is at risk of exploitation, report your concerns to Front Door for Families (for children and young people) or Sussex Police (for adults).

Where could deployment take you?

Our new deployment procedure is pairing up willing colleagues with services who need their help to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Deployment can give you valuable experience working with a new team and offers you a chance to make a real difference to our city during the current crisis.

Staff experience

Several colleagues who signed up to help distribute PPE to frontline workers have shared stories of their deployment experience:

"I usually work in Regulatory Services but was pleased to be given the opportunity to help out in the PPE Distribution Hub.

"The staff were so friendly and welcoming. They provided me with great training, were very supportive and didnít mind at all when I kept asking them questions! Itís so rewarding when the volunteers come to collect the orders and we see all the boxes of supplies going out to the care homes, carers, Occupational Therapists, special schools etc.

"To know Iíve played a small part in this important service really puts a smile on my face and itís great to know that the carers are getting the essential supplies that they need to keep them safe."

"I feel thankful to have been given an opportunity that allows me to get out of my apartment, to work in a cohesive team and to contribute to the Covid-19 relief effort in a small but meaningful way."

"I volunteered for redeployment because I really wanted to be doing something useful and constructive during this crisis. It has given structure to my week which has been really helpful. I work with the PPE distribution team at Hove Town Hall. We are the very essence of ëworking together as a teamí - we all just get on with it, no egos and lots of smiling (which no one can see as we all wear masks!)"

"I've found being deployed at the PPE Distribution Cell incredibly rewarding, working with a great team. Such humbling feedback from Clientís when calling them about their orders today: 'Wonderful', 'Made my day', 'Lifesaver', 'Youíre such a star', 'Oh My God, wonderful' 'Thank you so much... have been really struggling'.

"I'm glad to be part of a team helping out the city and itís made my experience of Covid-19 much easier to deal with as I'm not isolated at home."

Rima Desai, Head of Performance, Improvment & Programmes, commented:

"Six weeks ago, ensuring that the right PPE reaches the right staff at the right time was a huge challenge for our organisation."

"Six weeks later, we're pleased to confirm we have successfully managed to face this challenge so far. The entire credit of this goes to the virtual PPE team we created, consisting of staff redeployed from various services across the organisation effectively supported by the key corporate services such as procurement, health & safety, Public Health, Property & Design, HR, IT&D, Communications, emergency planning and Corporate Programme Management Office in a true ëOne Councilí way.

"The team is also very fortunate to have access to expertise and support from external partner organisations. The enthusiasm, positivity and flexibility that staff have shown under extremely pressurised situations has been truly inspiring. No words can describe the gratitude I feel for everyone involved!î

How to sign up

Please read our deployment guidance for managers and staff which should answer many of the initial questions you might have. This includes HR contacts for each directorate.

If you want the opportunity to volunteer and support another service, please complete the expression of interest form for staff.
Managers who need to open up their teams to deployment should complete the job detail form.

Thank you to any staff considering deployment elsewhere in the council to support our vital response against COVID-19.

Kindness matters for your mental health - Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 (18-24 May)

Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from 18-24 May 2020.

2020 theme - Kindness

This year's theme is kindness.

As time moves on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is changing all our lives and bringing many challenges. For some it's bringing anxiety, fear or isolation, for others it is causing financial hardship or health worries.

We can all make the choice to be kind. If you can, why not ask your neighbour if they need anything from the shop, call someone you know may feel alone, say hello to people you see in the street (from a safe distance), give colleagues a thank you when theyíve helped you out, or perhaps offer your time to volunteer.

More than 1100 people have already volunteered with Community Works since the start of 2020. That's more than four times what we usually see at this time of year and shows how much people want to help others right now.

We must also remember to be kind to ourselves and to make sure that we take the time to listen to our own needs as well as those around us.

Coronavirus and your mental health

Each week Mind in Brighton & Hove share weekly wellbeing tips that include local and national initiatives, activities and simple ideas to maintain and improve your wellbeing during this challenging time.

The Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is working hard to help and support those in our community who may be struggling. They have also shared some top tips and useful resources to help you look after your health and wellbeing.

You can find further guidance on looking after your mental wellbeing during Covid-19 on the 'looking after your mental health' section of the staff pages on the council website.

Share your own acts of kindness

During Mental Health Awareness Week you can share any acts of kindness that you have given or received using the hashtags #kindnessmattersbrightonhove and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.

Support for your mental health at work

Help you can access as a member of council staff includes:

Further support

If you or other household members feel low, anxious or stressed, there is information that can help on the NHS Every Mind Matters website. This also includes specific advice on the impact of coronavirus.
While it is normal to feel afraid and lonely at a time like this, worsening mental health could indicate the need for outside help.

  • Sussex Mental Healthline and freephone 0300 5000 101 ñ provides 24/7 support from registered clinicians. As well as crisis support it provides psychological support to anyone with general concerns about their mental health, and if needed they can refer you for local assessment and treatment
  • Community Roots and online or freephone 0808 196 1768 ñ a network of local services committed to supporting good mental health and wellbeing in Brighton & Hove
  • Samaritans and call 116 123 and 24hrs a day, 365 days a year.

End of year PDPs

End of Year PDPs

Our end of year performance reviews (PDPs) are due in June/July.

Although we are in unusual circumstances at the moment, we still believe there is value for us all in having them.

Setting short term objectives will help to provide clarity about what our priorities should be, as well as allow for flexibility in expectations due to our own personal circumstances at home or in work.

We are currently updating the forms and guidance to fit this ‘new normal’ of virtual or physically distanced interactions, and they will be shared soon. In the meantime, book in the dates and start to talk about what would work for you in these circumstances.

Where possible, we suggest you choose dates in July to give you time to prepare so that you can get the most out of this important meeting.

If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact Tracey Gibson Tracey.Gibson@brighton-hove.gov.uk or Mary Evans Mary.Evans@brighton-hove.gov.uk.

DSE and taking equipment home from the office

If you need a DSE assessment to ensure safe home working, please follow the DSE procedure. Assessments can be carried out safely over the phone.

If you need office equipment from your usual council workplace, you must contact yourline manager in the first instance to arrange for safe collection or home delivery. You should not attempt to attend council buildings unless this is pre-arranged with management. This is for health and safety reasons.

No member of staff should attempt to remove any monitors fixed to desks as this will damage the equipment.

Managers should note that office furniture and equipment belongs to their service. Teams must manage and budget for any changes to or additional furniture/equipment needed by their service following reasonable adjustments or DSE assessments.

Eid al-Fitr 23-25 May 2020

In 2020 Eid al-Fitr begins in the evening of Saturday 23 May and ends in the evening of Monday 25 May.

Eid Mubarak or Blessed Eid is a traditional Muslim greeting on this day and we wish all council staff and all residents of the city who are celebrating this festival ëEid Mubarakí.

This year Eid will be a very different experience for Muslims, who cannot get together with family and friends to end the Ramadan fast because of COVID-19. Muslims will celebrate in their own households, but not being able to share the festivities together will be a great loss.

Eid al-Fitr sometimes shortened to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. "Eid" is an Arabic word meaning festivity, while "Fitr" means to "break the fast" so describes the breaking of the Ramadan fasting period.

On Eid day Muslims traditionally wake up early and perform their first prayers before they attend the main congregational prayers at their mosque.

The congregational prayer is generally short and is followed by a sermon. On this day Muslims would often visit relatives and friends as well and donate food or money for others.

Generally Eid al-Fitr is a day of forgiveness, moral victory, peace, fellowship and unity. It is a time for making amends and share with those in need but most importantly thanking Allah for giving Muslims the health and the strength to fast in the holy month of Ramadan.

Islam at a glance

  • The word Islam means 'submission to the will of God'. Followers of Islam are called Muslims ('one who submits').
  • Islam is the second largest religion in the world with over 1.8 billion followers. It is estimated that there are 3.3 million Muslims in the UK.
  • Muslims believe that there is only One God, called in Arabic, Allah. According to Muslims, God sent prophets to teach people how to live according to His law. Jesus, Moses and Abraham are respected as prophets of God. The final Prophet was Muhammad.
  • Muslims base their laws on their holy book the Qur'an, and the Sunnah (the practical example of Prophet Muhammad).
  • There are five basic Pillars of Islam. These pillars are the declaration of faith, praying five times a day, giving money to charity, fasting and a once in a lifetime pilgrimage to Mecca.

Find out more about Eid-al-Fitr