ALARM's response to COVID-19

Monday 23 March 2020

We would like to reassure our members, sponsors and partners that ALARM remains open and working on your behalf through this difficult time. At ALARM, our main objective is to ensure our members receive support and guidance in the management of risk. We are responding to the COVID-19 outbreak by offering our services in different ways. Please bear with us while we adapt to new ways of working.

We have made the difficult decision to postpone all seminars planned for March and April. We are looking at the options of rescheduling them for later in the year, or offering the sessions as webinars which can be accessed on the website. The 2020 ALARM Conference is under review in response to Government advice. We will be issuing regular updates through the usual communication channels.

In partnership with our sponsors, we have created a list of issues to be considered by public service organisations managing their response to the pandemic, as well as some useful resources below.

Engineering inspections and other statutory works carried out by third parties

  • What is your organisation’s position on continuing these works?
  • Have you completed a risk assessment bearing in mind vulnerable people could be endangered?
  • Consider the balance between meeting statutory requirements and keeping vulnerable people and suppliers safe.
  • Record all reasons for decision-making to ensure your organisation is protected in the future.

Unoccupied properties

  • Review and refresh your unoccupied properties protocol.
  • Consider what problems you might encounter.
  • Check your insurer will cover the increased unoccupied properties.
  • School buildings are more vulnerable – consider additional measures you might need to put in place.

Front line services
Many office staff will be working from home, however frontline services (waste collection, food delivery, social services) will need to be maintained.

  • Consider the needs and safety of the employees who will be delivering these services.
  • These employees may become the focus of the community if there is unrest. Consider what you need to do to protect them both mentally and physically.

Home working

  • Test the viability of IT systems to ensure they can cope with the increase in home working.
  • Consider issues of data security – will alternative filing systems develop and how will you control that?
  • Mental health and well-being of employees is more important than ever with more working in isolation for an extended period. What support can you offer them?

Internal and external communications

  • Ensure that all staff are regularly communicated with and updated on the organisation’s response to the outbreak.
  • Make use of teleconferencing and web-chat facilities to regularly keep contact with team members.
  • Now more than ever, consistent messaging is important to prevent confusion among staff and service users.
  • Review your communications strategy daily to ensure messaging reflects advice given by the UK Government, Public Health England, Scotland and Wales and the World Health Organisation.
  • Remain active on social media channels. There is likely to be an influx of comments and queries through social media channels from confused service users. Timely responses will help to reassure service users and strengthen your organisation’s reputation during times of uncertainty.

These are just a few things you need to consider. We will continue to provide regular advice and guidance on the ALARM website and social media channels. Make sure to follow us on Twitter @ALARMrisk, on Instagram @alarmrisk and on LinkedIn (ALARM, embrace risk) to stay up-to-date.

We are experiencing a period of uncertainty, and at ALARM we want to ensure our members that we will continue to support you and provide an excellent network of sharing best practice. If you have any queries or concerns, please contact the ALARM Office.


Inspections in vulnerable people's properties and care homes
Zurich Municipal has issued some guidance for councils who employ engineers to service equipment such as stair lifts in the homes of vulnerable people. 

What the Coronavirus Bill may mean for public services
The upcoming Coronavirus Bill which will be fast tracked through Government, taking effect by the end of March, contains changes to the way public services are delivered across the UK, in response to the epidemic emergency.

Government financial support for business in response to COVID-19
The Chancellor has set out a package of measures to support public services, people and businesses through the period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

The insurance impacts of the Coronavirus
The outbreak of the Coronavirus has prompted questions of how insurance policies might respond to claims stemming from business losses.

Coronavirus urgent procurement of goods and services
Given the pressures public bodies are facing as a result of COVID-19, it is envisaged that urgent procurement of goods and services may be necessary

Litigation in the time of a pandemic
The procedures of the Courts across different jurisdictions in the UK are changing every day. 

COVID-19 insurance response

There are many ways that businesses might be effected by the escalating virus outbreak, for example, absent employees, enforced closures, increased global disruption and reduced customer footfall. Aon have produced this technical bulletin to examine the probable response of those policies most likely to be affected and some of the potential issues that may arise in pursuing a claim.

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If you have a specific query, why not contact a member of our office team directly? We will be pleased to assist you - whatever your question.


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