COVID-19 Business Continuity Administration and Operations
The University has a full page of advice and updates. Due to the volume of information, Q&As, support and advice, we have included some of the direct links in the sections below as well as some NDM specific information.
Across NDM, the Business Managers, HR Centre and the NDM Finance Team have been activating their business continuity plans in order to provide ongoing administrative support to researchers and facility managers, as the University moves to restricting building access and research to those working on COVID-19 and essential research only. This page will be reviewed and updated regularly with information, links and support as we adjust to a new way of working over the coming weeks.
Last updated 6th May 2020 - note ref VAT relief
The University’s Finance Division has introduced the remote working process for payments. For requisitions/purchase orders the process will continue as normal with the same financial controls in place as before. The only exception is extremely urgent new supplier set up for coronavirus-related research where the competitive processes can be dispensed with by either providing a JEF for purchases under £25k or a TEF. For all other new supplier set ups the University will prioritise this activity so that the normal process can be used. Please email the NDM Finance Team of any urgent new suppliers and requisitions as soon as possible so that they can help to expedite them for you. In the subject header please include "urgent (insert supplier name) with the reason and the oracle reference if applicable".
Please contact the NDM Finance Team if you are experiencing delays/ difficulties with your suppliers regarding deliveries during this time. The NDM Finance Team are liaising with suppliers daily to ensure orders are fulfilled as timely as possible.
The Government announced VAT changes on PPE when used in relation to Covid-19. This is not normal practice and is only temporarily in place up to 31st July 2020.
The Revenue and Customs Brief provides further details about the products covered by the zero rate but includes:
- Disposable gloves
- Disposable plastic aprons
- Disposable fluid-resistant coveralls or gowns
- Surgical masks – including fluid-resistant type IIR surgical masks
- Filtering face piece respirators
- Eye and face protection – including single or reusable full face visors or goggles
As the Oracle R12 catalogue cannot be changed during this time, you will need to place a non-catalogue request, even for catalogue items, to ensure your requisition is given the correct VAT relief. For more details, please see the NDMFT web site section on processes
NDM Finance Managers
Financial systems and processes information from the Finance Division
Absence notification process
We are no longer required to report information on those who are self-isolating, or who have returned from travelling overseas, therefore you should revert to reporting sickness, leave for other reasons, and annual leave in the usual way. Sickness, special paid leave and family leave need to be recorded as normal and should be communicated to:
NDM Experimental Medicine, please notify the EXPMED HR team.
All other parts of NDM, please notify NDM HR
Unwell with Coronavirus during self-isolation
If you become unwell with Coronavirus during a period of self-isolation, you should notify your manager and follow standard reporting requirements; you will be paid sick pay but this will not be counted towards your sickness absence record.
Please refer to the latest guidance from Public Health England for households with a possible coronavirus infection. We would ask that you take the precautions set out on the PHE’s advice page, but you should continue to work from home if you can.
Unwell (not Coronavirus) while working, including home working
If you are unwell for any reason, you are required to follow the standard reporting procedure below:
- Inform your manager that you are unwell at the earliest opportunity - ordinarily no later than one hour after your normal start time.
- Keep your manager updated.
- Complete the sickness absence reporting form (as this allows you to self-certificate for the first seven days) and have it signed by your manager once you have returned to work (even if home working). If an electronic signature is not possible, an email from your manager with the completed form attached is sufficient.
- Send the completed and signed form to NDM HR or the Experimental Medicine HR team.
Self-certification and GP fit notes
You can self-certify for up to seven consecutive calendar days. Where you are absent for more than seven days but advise us that you have Coronavirus symptoms, the University can make an exception to its normal requirement for medical evidence, but you should be able to obtain certification from the NHS website and NHS 111 online.
If you are sick for any other reason and for more than seven consecutive calendar days, the expectation is, if possible, your GP will provide a fit note. We appreciate this may take longer than normal. Some GPs may allow you to contact them by phone and email you a note.
We expect everyone to take their leave as planned unless there are very strong operational reasons why not. It is important for your health that you take your full amount of leave, and it may not be possible for you to reschedule leave to later in the year. Please request in the usual way via your line manager. The expectation is that you will take your full leave entitlement.
Please read the government advice - Stay at home guidance
Please read the NHS Information
Looking after your mental health
This is a difficult period for all of us: the following sources of support may help protect your mental health
- NDM Wellbeing
- Covid-19 Our Mental Health (Department of Experimental Psychology)
- How to protect your mental health (BBC)
- Coronavirus and your wellbeing (Mind)
- Hear how others are coping with self-isolation (BBC)
- COVID-19 and Anxiety
- COVID-19 and OCD
- Surviving 100 days of solitude (Guardian)
- Silver linings: how to stay positive during the coronavirus crisis (Guardian)
- Oxford Mindfulness podcasts
- The Mindfulness Association
Grant applications and post-award management
Whilst many COVID research applications have already been supported it is clear that over the coming weeks and months NDM's pre- and post-award functions are likely to experience increased requests for applications relating to further COVID research. We need to consider this against potential disruptions relating to illness, school closures and other caring responsibilities, and remote working.
We have decided to take some steps to support grant teams' workloads and increase our resilience across the department.
In the first instance we will attempt to reduce the non-essential workload as follows:
- New grants applications will be prioritised to COVID and career critical awards. Applications to calls outside of these will not be progressed unless deemed essential
- Please be aware that post-award internal reporting may be reduced for all but high risk grants (e.g. ending within the next few months, large activity due to COVID).
- The general rule for prioritising incoming work will be per the table below
COVID Grants - applications, setups and post award management
Career critical applications such as fellowships
Sponsor reporting where no extension can be given
Anything else (can't guarantee applications will go in)
It is, though, our intention to continue to support ALL applications as far as possible.
It is hoped that this will ease the burden from a potential influx of COVID research and trials in a period where remote working and individual caring responsibilities may reduce normal productivity.
If you have any questions regarding this, please discuss with your Business Manager, Unit Administrator, or COO in the first instance.
The COVID-19 funding and project management guidance page is being updated regularly – please refer to this is if you have specific sponsor questions, and continue to liaise with your Grant Team and Business Manager.
Working from Home
Working from home and other HR guidance for staff and managers from Personnel Services
Shared working tools
Advice about technology to working remotely from IT Services
There has been a high volume of queries around the usage of Zoom. Whilst Microsoft Teams remains the approved service for video conferencing by the University, guidance is now available for all staff on the use of the video conferencing service Zoom, which can be used so as data privacy risks are effectively managed as per the guidance. We recommend that when setting up a meeting you enable the ‘require participants to provide a password’ feature as this adds an extra layer of security.
NDM Governance and communications
Managers overseeing business continuity plans can also access detailed planning information through the Coronavirus Continuity Planning SharePoint site.
Parking and Travel
New temporary parking arrangements
All monthly peak permit parking charge deductions via payroll will be suspended for existing permit holders. This will initially apply to the months of April and May but may continue for longer if necessary, subject to review. If you have been identified as a key worker, and require a temporary parking permit please contact your Business Manager.
Bus pass season ticket arrangements
Guidance for University staff and students currently in possession of a valid bus pass season ticket issued by Oxford Bus Company, Thames Travel or Stagecoach is available at https://estates.admin.ox.ac.uk/coronavirus#collapse1925286
Train pass season ticket arrangements
Guidance for University staff currently unable to use their rail pass season ticket issued by Great Western Railway or Chiltern Railways is available at https://estates.admin.ox.ac.uk/coronavirus#collapse1925386
Bike repair and servicing
A mobile cycle repair service (with the labour charges funded by the University) continues to operate for key workers. Sessions are not being held in the usual locations, instead bikes will need to be taken to Walton Street Cycles shop in Jericho or staff can utilise a new service being offered whereby bicycles can be arranged for collection/delivery (with or without face-to-face interaction). When arranging for repairs staff will need to provide University ID card details as normal. For further details please contact Walton Street Cycles directly on either 01865 311610 or firstname.lastname@example.org.