Online Mental Health First Aid Course

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an internationally recognised training course developed by Mental Health First Aid England. It is the mental health equivalent of physical first aid and is designed to raise the awareness of mental health in the workplace and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

Having a qualified Mental Health First Aider in the workplace provides a point of contact for an employee who is experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress. This interaction could range from having an initial conversation through to supporting the individual to get appropriate help. In a crisis, Mental Health First Aiders can spot the signs of mental ill health and are valuable in providing early support for someone who may be developing a mental health issue.


The Mental Health First Aid training course teaches practical skills that can be used every day, including being able to recognise the signs and symptoms of mental health issues and feel confident guiding people towards the right professional support.

Course Benefits:

• Gives a deeper understanding of the issues that impact on and relate to people’s mental health
• Raises awareness and mental health literacy
• Reduces stigma around mental ill health
• Boosts knowledge and confidence in dealing with mental health issues
• Promotes early intervention which enables recovery
• Creates a more positive and supportive workplace culture


Two day course – Monday 22nd and Wednesday 24th February

8:45 registration and 5:00 close

Location: Online via Enabley

£250 + VAT per person

To book on this course, RSVP to Kris Kerins on 01302 341344 or

Health & Safety in 2021

As we start the journey into 2021, hopefully we can all start to plan for what the post pandemic will look like. With the national vaccination programme for COVID-19 now underway, now is the time for businesses to shift their mindset from crisis response to active recovery. With that being said, you need to ensure that you don’t let your defences down and continue to operate a COVID-19 secure business in 2021.

I suppose the biggest question we all have is will the COVID-19 vaccine allow us to return to what we all consider normal working conditions? Only time will tell but until we are informed otherwise, we need to ensure that we are carrying on with the measures we have had in place such as social distancing, face coverings, sanitising and when required isolating to ensure the safety of you and your colleagues.

The approach of many businesses throughout 2020 will have been fully focused on COVID-19. The reality is that to enable us to enter this process of recovery, you’ll need to ensure that all the other potential risks to the business are reviewed which may have fallen by the wayside over the last 12 months.

Health and Safety policy

The first thing you need to ensure is that the health and safety policy is reviewed on an annual basis. This is a legal requirement under the health and safety work act etc 1974 for businesses with more than 5 employees.

Risk assessments

The most popular words of 2020 could be possibly be “COVID-19 risk assessment” or the “new normal”, but all joking aside, we need to ensure that all your other risk assessments are reviewed which is an annual requirement. The way you do activities may have changed so we need to ensure these are up to date and reflect the way you now carry out our day-to-day roles ensuring you are as safe as possible.


Many businesses have struggled to get employees onto training courses, both online and indeed face-to-face. Planning the training requirements for the year ahead and booking employees onto relevant courses can start to mend the training gaps that may have appeared throughout 2020.

Workplace inspections

“Work from home “is the current guidance where possible, so you may not be spending time in the office or your normal workplace. It needs to be ensured that workplace inspections are carried out when safe to do so to ensure the safety of your workplace when employees start to return.

Fire safety

Businesses need to ensure that all fire alarms, emergency lighting and fire extinguishers have been checked, tested and serviced to ensure they are in good working condition. With offices being left empty, the weekly and monthly testing schedules may again have fallen by the wayside so this needs to be carried out to ensure the safety of your employees.

If you would like some further advice, please contact our health and safety team on 01302 341 344.

By Aaron MoxamRisk Consultant





An update with advice for pregnant employees

Following an update over night the advice for pregnant women who are 28 weeks pregnant and beyond or with underlying health conditions that place them at a greater risk of severe illness from coronavirus has changed.

The advice states that if employees are 28 weeks pregnant and beyond, or if they are pregnant and have an underlying health condition that puts them at a greater risk of severe illness from COVID-19 at any gestation, they should take a more precautionary approach to carrying out/attending work. This is because although they are at no more risk of contracting the virus than any other non-pregnant person who is in similar health, they have an increased risk of becoming severely ill and of pre-term birth if they contract COVID-19.

Considering the new guidance, the following hierarchy of control should be implemented from today for all employees who are 28 weeks pregnant and beyond, or if they are pregnant and have an underlying health condition:

  1. Redeploy the worker so that they can work flexibly from home including in a different capacity.
  2. If working from home cannot be achieved, then employers should implement strict social distancing measures (2m) at all times for these workers.
  3. If you cannot redeploy the worker and social distancing cannot be achieved, then you should suspend the pregnant worker on paid leave. This is in line with normal requirements under regulation 16(3) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. Advice on suspension and pay can be found here: HSE guidance.

You should take this opportunity to review and update your pregnancy risk assessment for the worker at this time. Both you, as the employer, and the worker should sign the risk assessment to confirm understanding and agreement of the control measures that you intend to implement.

The change in guidance will naturally have an effect on your business and so if you require any advice or assistance, please contact our H&S and HR consultants.

Another week, another lockdown!

We really would like to send you an update about another subject but this seems to be all that’s happening in the world! As you will be aware, the UK Government instituted Lockdown 3 on the 5th January 2021. This has no doubt caused considerable anxiety and turmoil for both your business and personal lives.

In terms of the health and safety implications, thankfully there should be little in the way of extra work to be undertaken. The controls that you’ve implemented over the past 9 months still apply and you should continue with these measures. This will mean that risk assessments should be reviewed to make sure that they are still valid, but should not require a full re-write.

So what are the main changes then?


  • Work from homepreviously the guidance had been work from home if possible. This has now subtly changed to you must work from home unless it is impossible to do so. Industries such as construction and manufacturing, public sector work (such as teaching) are good examples of where work cannot be undertaken from home. It should be noted that travel for work, where it cannot be done from home, is still permitted.
  • Some businesses must close hospitality, personal care, leisure facilities and schools must close until further notice. A full list of these businesses is available at
  • Clinically Extremely Vulnerable anyone categorised as clinically extremely vulnerable must now remain at home. Should work be unable to be provided for working at home, then the government’s advice is to make use of the furlough scheme if appropriate.


We’ve also been asked a number of questions about pregnancy and COVID-19. The Royal College of Gynaecologists (RCOG) advice previously was that anyone in the third trimester would be at increased risk and would need to shield. This guidance has now been rescinded and new advice has been given by RCOG that applies to all stages of the pregnancy. The new guidance is that pregnancy should not put anyone at any greater risk from COVID, but that it would be appropriate to ensure social distancing measures for anyone pregnant at all stages of pregnancy.


Again, we appreciate that you may find these changes difficult, and if you are in need of help, please contact our H&S and HR consultants who are ready to assist.

Doncaster: 01302 341 344

Sheffield: 0114 243 9914



What does business travel look like in 2021?

As we enter the bright new world of 2021, I have found myself fantasising about when I may be able to take my next holiday to warmer climes. It seems inconceivable that almost a year on from initial ‘lockdown’ we are all starting the New Year without the prospect of a holiday, weekend getaway or even a business trip to a humble conference centre! There is, as always, light at the end of the tunnel.

The final Brexit deadline, not to be outdone by Covid, came and passed at 23:00 on 31st December 2020 – sending UK ports and international travel arrangements into something of a miasma. And whilst travel for most of us will continue to be limited, you are still allowed to travel for essential business purposes. I daresay many individuals and businesses will be planning trips for when the safe movement of people is available.

So, what does a post Brexit world look like for business travellers?

I am planning to book a trip – what should I do?

  • Things you may need to do before you go include
    • Check your passport
    • Get travel insurance that covers your healthcare
    • Check you have the right driving documents
  • There are more things to do if you’re travelling for business. For example, going to meetings and conferences which can be found at the usual .gov website.


What about the European Health Insurance Card – EHIC?

  • EU states will continue to recognise valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) until their expiry.
  • A Global Health Insurance Cards (GHIC) will be brought in to replace the EHIC however this will not be valid for travel to Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, which were covered under the EHIC.
  • Like an EHIC, a GHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance


Will I need a visa to travel to the EU after Brexit?

  • If you’re a tourist, you will not need a visa for short trips to most EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. You’ll be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. (Different rules will apply to Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania. If you visit these countries, visits to other EU countries will not count towards the 90-day total)
  • You may need a visa or permit to stay for longer, to work or study, or for business travel. Information on travelling for business can be found at the usual .gov website


Passport requirements

  • You may need to renew your British passport earlier if you’re travelling from 1 January 2021. On the day you travel, you’ll need your passport to both:
    • Have at least 6 months left
    • Be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left)
  • If you do not renew your passport, you may not be able to travel to most EU countries and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
  • You should check whether your passport is valid for the country you’re visiting here at the relevant government website.


What about insurance implications?

  • The scope of insurance cover under most business travel policies will not change as a result of Brexit. However, please note that claims due to travel disruption, such as cancellation costs, re-arrangement costs, or travel delay benefits, which are specifically as a result of Brexit may not be covered as these benefits become applicable only in specific circumstances. This ship has most likely sailed (and will diminish more the year ploughs on) however, if you do have business travellers posted overseas now you should be cognisant of these facts.
  • We strongly recommend that anyone travel to the EU post Brexit makes sure they have comprehensive travel insurance that will cover the cost of medical treatment if they fall ill or have an accident while abroad. Neither EHICs nor GHICs will allow for all medical treatments to be given free of charge and will not provide for emergency medical repatriation to the UK, which can run to many thousands of pounds.


Travel insurance is a humble, yet complicated product, and the cover provided is extensive. Generally policy coverage is far greater than just cancellation and will include emergency medical and dental treatment, medical repatriation, compensation for any missed portion of a trip and the costs travelling home. Costs are usually very competitive, starting at just a few hundred pounds and afford a modicum of flexibility to cover Directors, Staff and some Family Members.


If you have any queries or would like to speak to a member of our team about business travel insurance please call us on:

Doncaster 01302 341 344

Sheffield 0114 243 9914


By Dane Turner Dip CII – Broking Manager


Self-isolation periods: Update

Last week the Government confirmed the self-isolation periods in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland were to be shortened to 10 days from Monday 14 December.

This came following an earlier decision to reduce the Coronavirus self-isolation periods in Wales from Thursday 10 December.



This change means that those who have come into ‘close contact’ with someone who has tested positive for Coronavirus will now need to self-isolate for a period of 10 days instead of 14.

It also includes those who are quarantining after returning from a high-risk country. The current self-isolation period for those who test positive is 10 days, and this is to remain the same.

Anyone who is currently self-isolating will be able to end their quarantine if they hit this 10-day mark from Monday 14th December and will therefore not need to complete the full 14 days. However, if they do start to show symptoms in this time, or test positive for coronavirus, they will need to isolate for a further 10 days from this date as usual.

In a joint statement, the four UK chief medical officers have outlined that this decision came following a review of the evidence, saying that they are ‘confident’ self-isolation periods can be reduced in these circumstances.

Organisations will now be able to ask staff to return to work after 10 days instead of 14, which will certainly help to reduce the impact of them not being able to come into the workplace for this period of self-isolation. Employees who are unable to work from home will continue to be eligible to receive statutory sick pay (SSP) for periods of self-isolation.

It should be noted that this will now apply across the UK, regardless of local restrictions.

By Louise Turner Dip Mgmt (Open) Assoc CIPDHR Business Partner 

What to Expect from a HSE Covid-Secure Spot Check

The Covid-19 pandemic has been disruptive to many organisations and an outbreak of Coronavirus within your company can add further disruption and strain on your business. To combat this most businesses will already have put measures in place for minimising the likelihood that Covid-19 can spread within the business.


What are the HSE Doing?

As an incentive, the HSE are currently carrying out spot checks and inspecting businesses across the country to ensure that they are Covid-Secure. The HSE have a range of options for enforcing the law. These include:

  • Providing advice.
  • Stopping some working practices until they are made safe.
  • Issuing an enforcement notice
  • Or prosecuting businesses who fail to comply.

How are the HSE doing it?


Currently the HSE are adopting differing methods to carry out their Covid-Secure checks:

  • You may get a telephone call requesting information about what arrangements you have put in place to ensure your workplace is Covid-Secure.
  • You may get a visit from a Covid-Secure officer. These are contractors who have been appointed and trained by the HSE. They will ask you questions about your Covid-Secure control measures.
  • You may get a visit from a HSE Inspector or Environmental Health Officer from your Local Authority. They may ask questions, speak with employees, and want to inspect the workplace.

Whichever method the Covid-Secure spot check uses it is important to cooperate and provide the information requested. Failure to comply may result in escalation of enforcement action.

It is also important to check that any caller is who they say they are. Any official visitor carrying out a Covid-Secure check will carry identification and an official letter of authorisation from the HSE. Telephone calls may come up as an unknown number, but you can verify the caller is genuine by calling the HSE 0300 790 6896.


What are the HSE looking for?

The HSE will want to confirm that you have taken action to ensure that your workplace is Covid-Secure. The steps you should have carried out include:

  • Carrying out a risk assessment on your workplace.
  • Ensuring that social distancing can be maintained. This should be 2 metres were possible. This can be reduced to 1 metre if necessary but other risk mitigating measures should be in place. Such as screens or face covering for instance.
  • Working from home where possible. The HSE will want to see that you have provided any necessary equipment to facilitate safe homeworking and that you keep in touch regularly.
  • Keeping the workplace clean, especially high touch areas such as door handles for instance.
  • Ensuring there are facilities for hand washing with soap and water. Hand sanitiser which as at least 60% alcohol is also advisable.
  • Maintaining good ventilation. Taking into consideration the weather conditions.
  • Speaking to employees and providing information. A range of posters are available to remind employees about hand washing and social distancing etc.
  • Finally, it is important to look after particularly vulnerable workers and make sure you have taken appropriate action to protect them.

If you have any concerns or would like help with your Covid-Secure control measures please get in touch on 01302 341 344.

By Ainslie Johnson CMIOSHRisk Consultant

Green Cards – The What, Why, When, Who and How Guide

What is a Green Card and why do I need one?

A motor insurance Green Card is a legal document produced by motor insurers to prove that a driver has adequate insurance cover for driving in the EU or specified EEA country.

The Green Card is required in addition to your certificate of motor insurance and confirms that your insurance complies with local insurance requirements. Pleasingly, the Green Card is usually available without any additional charge.

Even if your current motor certificate states European cover on the back page, Government guidance is that you do still should take a Green Card with you on European trips.


When is one needed?

The Brexit transition period ends on 30th December 2020, Green Cards are required with effect from 1st January 2021 when driving in EU/EEA.

Who needs a Green Card?

Anyone driving abroad under a UK insurance policy must carry a physical Green Card.


Also, if towing a trailer or caravan a separate Green Card is required for any towed vehicle.


How do I get a Green Card?

Ask us! Ideally 15-30 days prior to travel date and providing the following information;

  • dates of travel
  • name/s of the driver/s
  • name/s of the countries visited
  • vehicle registration number, make and model
  • trailer or caravan make and model

We will then request the Green Card from your insurer, once received this will be sent to you. Historically this had to be printed on green paper however this is no longer the case but it does still need to be printed and taken with you along with a copy of your motor certificate. You must have physical copies of both documents with you when travelling.

If you should have any queries, please contact us on 01302 341 344 or 0114 243 9914.

By Sandy Lockwood Cert CII Commercial Account Handler 


For Government Guidelines

Holidays in the Year of Covid

As we approach the end of the year, it’s usually about this time we consider communicating with employees about what will happen to any outstanding annual leave they have. Do we have a ‘use it or lose it policy’ and have we reminded employees, do we allow it to be carried across to the new holiday year, how should holiday pay be calculated? This year has certainly been like no other so our blog this month aims to support you in managing annual leave and pay.


What to do with outstanding holidays?

In a year which has been blighted with a pandemic we are seeing more than ever that employees have been unable to take their accrued holidays for various reasons. This could be due to the financial circumstances whilst utilising the furlough scheme, because demand is high and employees haven’t been able to ‘find time’ to take them or maybe it’s because people were hoping to save their holidays until they could book that flight to Gran Canaria which hasn’t been possible.

Regardless of the reasons why, the Working Time Regulations have been updated to allow for workers to carry over up to 4 weeks of annual leave where it was not “reasonably practicable” to take this leave as a result of the effects of coronavirus. The unused leave can now be taken in the 2 leave years immediately following the year in respect of which it was due to be taken i.e. in 2021 and 2022. This has been a useful development but may not be practicable to allow for large numbers of holidays to be carried forward.

Therefore, another option could be to request employees to take all or some of their annual leave. It’s important to note that if you want to do this you should check that you have the contractual right to do so and make sure that you give employees enough notice. In order to enforce the use of annual leave you must give the employee two times the notice of the time period you want them to take. For example, if you want them to take 5 days annual leave, you must give them 10 days’ notice.

Holidays whilst on Furlough

Employers should remember that employees can take holiday whilst on furlough. They should make sure that employees are paid 100% of their pay whilst on holiday, but since it doesn’t count as a break in furlough, employers can still continue to claim for 80% of that back from the CJRS Scheme.

Calculating Holiday Pay

We also think it is worth the reminder that the rules changed this year on calculating holiday pay. Specifically, the reference period for calculating variable hours holiday pay has changed from the previous 12 weeks to the previous 52 weeks.

New Bank Holidays – NEW ANNOUNCEMENT

Whilst this won’t be applicable until 2022 it’s good news for some, nonetheless. With the Queen’s platinum jubilee occurring there will be an additional Bank Holiday on Friday 3rd June 2022. May day is also moving to Thursday 2nd June which will create a 4 day weekend for the event.

It’s important to check the wording in your employee’s contract to determine whether or not they will be entitled to this extra day of holiday on a contractual basis. If your wording only entitles them to 8 public holidays then you don’t have to provide them with an extra day. Of course, you can still decide to allow the extra Bank Holiday if you choose to do so.


For further advice on any HR matter, you can contact our HR Consultancy Team on 01302 341 344.

By Kris Kerins BSc (Hons) PGC (Tech Mgmt)HR Business Partner


The end of lockdown: its all ended in tiers!

As of 2nd December, Lockdown 2.0 ceased and we now have entered what feels like another lockdown period! The good news for organisations is that a lot of the hard work required to prepare for the tiered approach should already have been completed. We haven’t seen any significant changes in the guidance to prepare your workplace to be COVID-Secure.

Just to clarify, the changes on the 2nd have meant that the countrywide lockdown has ceased, and geographical areas have now moved back to the 3-tier system. Your area will be designated as one of the three tiers and you can check which one here: These haven’t really changed since their last implementation, but for clarity we’ll set out the general requirements of each below (please note that we are highlighting the business guidance that we feel is applicable to the majority of our clients. The full guidance is available at



All Tiers

  1. Persons who were previously classified as being ‘Clinically Extremely Vulnerable’ should work from home wherever possible. If this is not possible then this group may now return to work provided that the workplace is COVID-Secure. We would strongly advise any organisation where such persons are going to return to the workplace make additional arrangements to ensure social distancing, enhanced housekeeping, and hygiene are in place.
  2. For educational organisations, pupils who had previously been classified as ‘Clinically Extremely Vulnerable’ should now return to school with additional measures in place. Only pupils who have specifically been advised by a doctor or specialist not to attend an education setting should remain at home. We expect this to be a small cohort of persons, and they will have been specifically advised. The blanket letter that was issued to all potentially affected persons will not apply for this period.
  3. Persons who live with someone previously classified as being ‘Clinically Extremely Vulnerable’, but are not classified as such, should continue to attend work if they are unable to work from home. For educational organisations, pupils who are in the household but are not clinically extremely vulnerable themselves should continue to attend school.
  4. Essential and non-essential retail can re-open.
  5. Certain leisure and sporting facilities (such as gyms, sports courts and facilities, leisure centres, fitness and dance studios, golf courses, swimming pools, riding centres, outdoor playgrounds) can re-open subject to the social contact rules in each tier.
  6. Personal care and close contact services (such as hairdressers and barbers, beauty salons, tattoo parlours, nail salons, spas and beauty services, massage parlours and tanning salons) can re-open.
  7. Places of worship can resume.
  8. Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events
  9. Travel for work purposes is permitted across all tiers.

Please remember that the guidance remains that everyone who can work from home should do so, however those that cannot should continue to travel to their workplace. This includes essential services, such as education settings, where employees should continue to go into work where necessary.


Tier 1 – Medium Alert

  1. Nightclubs must remain closed.
  2. Hospitality businesses that serve alcohol must provide:
    1. Table service only.
    2. Close between 11pm and 5am.
    3. Stop taking orders after 10pm.

Please note that there is now a 1 hour ‘drinking up’ period from 10pm to 11pm to facilitate an orderly emptying of the premises.

  1. Organised outdoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes can continue
  2. Organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes can continue to take place, if the rule of 6 is followed.
  3. Public attendance at outdoor and indoor events (performances and shows) is permitted, limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 4,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
  4. Public attendance at spectator sport and business events can resume inside and outside, subject to social contact rules and limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 4,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors


Tier 2 – High Alert

As per Tier 1, except:

  1. Pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals
  2. Hospitality businesses that serve food or drink must provide:
    1. Table service only.
    2. Close between 11pm and 5am.
    3. Stop taking orders after 10pm.
  3. Hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through.
  4. Public attendance at outdoor and indoor events (performances and shows) is permitted, limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
  5. Public attendance at spectator sport and business events can resume inside and outside, subject to social contact rules and limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors


Tier 3 – Very High Alert

As per Tier 1 and 2, except:

  1. Hospitality settings, such as bars (including shisha venues), pubs, cafes and restaurants are closed – they are permitted to continue sales by takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery services.
  2. Accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs, campsites, and guest houses must close. There are several exemptions, such as for those who use these venues as their main residence, and those requiring the venues where it is reasonably necessary for work or education and training
  3. Indoor entertainment and tourist venues must close. This includes: indoor play centres and areas, including trampolining parks and soft play; casinos; bingo halls; bowling alleys; skating rinks; amusement arcades and adult gaming centres; laser quests and escape rooms; cinemas, theatres and concert halls ; snooker halls.
  4. Indoor attractions at mostly outdoor entertainment venues must also close (indoor shops, through-ways and public toilets at such attractions can remain open). This includes indoor attractions within: zoos, safari parks, and wildlife reserves; aquariums, visitor attractions at farms, and other animal attractions; model villages; museums, galleries and sculpture parks; botanical gardens, biomes or greenhouses; theme parks, circuses, fairgrounds and funfairs; visitor attractions at film studios; heritage sites such as castles and stately homes; landmarks including observation decks and viewing platforms.
  5. Leisure and sports facilities may continue to stay open, but group exercise classes (including fitness and dance) should not go ahead. Saunas and steam rooms should close
  6. There should be no public attendance at spectator sport or indoor performances and large business events should not be taking place. Elite sport events may continue to take place without spectators
  7. Large outdoor events (performances and shows) should not take place, with the exception of drive-in events
  8. Organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue, however higher-risk contact activity should not take place
  9. Organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes cannot take place indoors. There are exceptions for indoor disabled sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for the under-18s.


We appreciate that these continue to be exceptional times for businesses, particularly those that are not able to function as normal. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact our consultants on 01302 341 344.