COVID-19 contingency planner

words: Terry Tennens, SAIF Chief Executive
Contingency planner

View this month’s print issue for your pull-out contingency planner.

In early March 2020, as the pandemic began, representatives from SAIF joined a number of national, regional and local authority planning committees to ensure that the independent funeral sector was properly informed and represented in COVID-19 contingency planning activities.

We are now in the second wave of COVID-19, with scenarios indicating that February will be a tough month and the impact of the vaccine will not be seen until April 2021 onwards.

Last October, the SAIF Scotland Executive was tasked by the COVID-19 Contingency Committee to develop a plan to assist SAIF’s independent funeral directors who may experience a critical shortfall in HR or physical resources during the winter period. This plan can roll out when members have exhausted all existing supply lines and local reciprocal agreements.

Subsequently, in early December the SAIF National Executive agreed that this be rolled out across the rest of the UK for SAIF member firms.

The plan focuses on utilising the funeral director, supplier and human resource networks across the UK to provide what help is available to ensure the continuity of funeral operations.

It is important to note that this plan relies on third parties having resources available to assist. Extensive work has been done to extend the resource network as far as possible, but there is always the possibility that, with time constraints and the challenges of Test and Trace isolation requirements, there may not be the resources you require at the time of need.

The first step – PLAN

The first step of the plan is to assist with preparing for the months ahead. Mitigating the risks of COVID-19 in your own business is paramount.

Stay Informed – use Slack

SAIF Scotland has successfully enrolled members on to a digital application called Slack, and it has proved very successful in keeping all of our Scottish members informed and up to date with guidelines on COVID-19. We have now opened a Slack platform for England, Wales and Northern Ireland and will use this to keep all SAIF members updated. Access to the platform is available to any member of SAIF, or designated staff within a member firm.

As the demand on your own time increases, we would encourage business owners to nominate at least one other member of their company to add to the app to ensure that updates are monitored regularly. To add another staff member to the Slack app, email, message Dec Maguire or Joe Murren on Slack, or call 0141 628 9996.

Staff planning

Planning measures should include an increase in standby casual or temporary staff to allow for an unusual increase in demand due to COVID-19 deaths, and the isolation of key staff due to Test and Protect requirements.

Backup for key roles

Wherever possible, you should have a backup for each key role within your business in the event that anyone has to isolate. This would include:

  • Authorisation or ability to make financial transactions
  • Sharing access to any password-protected online booking or submission portals
  • Mortuary care and embalming
  • Funeral directors and arrangers

Going forward

This pull-out can be used to ensure you have everything in place for the coming months.

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