Coronavirus (COVID-19) – information for suppliers
As we enter a second national lockdown following the Prime Minister’s announcement of Saturday 31 October 2020, our approach to the coronavirus challenges remains focused on safely maintaining our critical services and minimising the impact on our supply chain, our customers and our staff.
We will continue to operate in the coronavirus-compliant way that we have collectively evolved since March when the Prime Minister specifically stated that the construction industry should continue to work. We’re following government advice and will continue to operate for the foreseeable future to ensure that we support and protect our supply chain. We ask that all suppliers support their own supply chains in the same way, making a combined effort to keep the strategic road network (SRN) operating to support the country, the economy and to maintain cash flow to all tiers of the supply chain.
Please ensure that your teams have the maximum possible protection aligned to both the latest government advice and the Construction Leadership Council’s advice regarding Site Operating Procedures and that you’re minimising the risk of spreading coronavirus so that we can continue to operate safely while fully supporting our employees and the country.
Key worker status
If required, Highways England will provide a letter confirming that your company has key workers that are supporting the strategic road network (SRN). This must be supplemented by a letter from your company, and the employee will need to have photographic proof of identity e.g. staff pass, driving licence, passport etc. The letter can be used to support attendance at school for your employee’s children as well as confirming the need to travel.
Examples of key workers are:
- site leadership teams and employees that are based full time on a construction site undertaking operational work
- any employee undertaking any on-site or off-site safety critical work including structural / bridge inspections
- any employee supporting maintenance and repair operations on the SRN
- employees installing / removing temporary traffic management, installing / maintaining vehicle restraint systems and those responsible for safe working practices / site leadership
- employees that provide vehicle recovery services
- employees that are supporting the delivery or construction / maintenance materials e.g. asphalt, concrete, roadside technology
- employees supporting critical IT infrastructure etc
This list is not exhaustive and we will consider other requests. Should you require key worker status please contact the email address below with the roles and justification for consideration.
Coronavirus testing for construction workers
Anyone with symptoms can get a coronavirus test, whatever their age. In addition, employers can refer essential workers for testing if they are self-isolating because either they or member(s) of their household have coronavirus symptoms. Guidance on coronavirus testing is available on the government’s website, including who is eligible for a test, how to get tested and the different types of test available.
We have adjusted some commercial terms to help with the coronavirus challenges. These include relaxing the place of work requirements allowing people to work from home, coronavirus cost treatment and safety obligations.
Improved payment speed
In order to help suppliers’ cash flow, we’ve improved the speed of supplier payments. Payments will only be made for work completed and correctly invoiced – fewer invoice queries will allow us to pay quickly. Please ensure that you continue to pay your own suppliers promptly and make every effort to improve the speed of payments to mirror the Highways England approach.
We’re continuing to expand our use of Project Bank Accounts that speed up the billing cycle and assist with cashflow for the extended supply chain. Should suppliers wish to adopt this approach please ask for more details via the email address below.
No planned coronavirus delays or cancellations
We have no plans to close any sites or delay operations due to coronavirus. If you have any concerns, please discuss them with your usual contact and only escalate via the email address below if required.
Further ideas to help our supply chain at all levels
We appreciate that these are challenging times but we must also use them as an opportunity to accelerate innovation that will help us to deal with the restrictions, e.g. accelerating the digital agenda. We’re also interested in any ideas that could help to overcome challenges that suppliers may start to see, for example, hotel accommodation, builders merchant availability, red diesel supply etc. Please use the email address below to highlight any opportunities that you think we should consider that could help us with operational issues, flow cash to all tiers for work completed and ensure that we're able to safely continue our work.
For any questions about these updates, business challenges or ideas that you’d like to share with us, get in touch at Corona.Information@highwaysengland.co.uk or through your normal point of contact within Highways England.