As we have now entered a third national lockdown, I would like to provide you with an update on our Group’s ongoing response to the coronavirus pandemic and to keep you informed on some of our latest news.

The overriding message remains the same within most of our services, this is ‘business as usual’ for us – or at least business as it has become over the past 10 months – and I ask that you all continue to keep up the good work.

Within our Incident Management Team (IMT), we are well-prepared to support you safely through this third lockdown, with lessons learned from the pandemic enabling us to quickly respond to the continued changes in guidance and safety measures, and to increasing Covid-19 rates across the UK.

We remain informed on the latest developments and do our very best to inform you and your line managers of the actions to take.

That responsiveness, and your constant willingness to adapt and help us ‘get on with the job in hand’, is what has stood our business in good stead through two previous lockdowns, and it will keep our services running throughout the next few challenging weeks.

As you know, community infection rates have been increasing and, as expected, more colleagues are now testing positive for Covid-19 and are appropriately self-isolating. Local business contingency plans set up to manage this eventuality are working well, and all essential services remain up and running while staff who need to self-isolate do so before safely returning to work.

It is worth sharing with you that out of more than 10,000 staff, we have still only had a reported infection rate of 172 people since the beginning of the pandemic. We know this rate will increase, but such a low overall figure so far shows just how efficiently your teams are working to follow the best practice advice, keeping your workplaces as safe and secure as possible.

Another hugely positive piece of news is that within NorseCare we are delighted to see that the vaccine being rolled out to our residents, tenants and our care staff. In what could very reasonably be called the frontline of the pandemic alongside NHS services, I’m sure you will all be as upbeat as we are that our clients and care staff are now being offered this extra defence against the virus.

We fully appreciate that for many people this continues to be a worrying time, and you will have lots of questions, including will Norse continue to support staff in furlough and how is Norse keeping us safe at work?

Protecting jobs and supporting our staff remains a priority and Norse Group has committed to ensuring that those on furlough receive 100% of their contractual pay, by topping up the Government payments.

IMT continues to ensure that the safety and health of all our staff remains paramount, and that all decisions we take are being made in line with Government guidance so that frontline services can carry on safely, with the correct control measures in place, protecting our staff, clients and communities.

There are updated Covid-19 FAQs on our Group intranet and employee self-service platform, iTrent, which covers many other specific areas to help you navigate the national and company policies. So please make yourself aware of these and share them with your colleagues where possible.

The next few weeks will present more challenges and I’m sure we would all agree that now more than ever, we must remain extremely vigilant. As we are all being urged to do by the Government and the NHS, we should not take any unnecessary risks within the workplace or at home.

For our part, Norse Group will continue to do all we can to protect jobs and to offer the safest possible workplace. From our teams, we expect your continued commitment to follow the guidance, protect yourself, your colleagues and protect our business.

Thank you for everything you have done so far, best wishes to you and your family during these challenging times and please, stay safe.

Dean Wetteland
CEO Norse Group