NGP Named as COVID-19 Champion by Gateshead Council
Northern Gas and Power (NGP) has worked with Gateshead Council over the past 18 months to achieve the title of Covid Community Champions.
Supporting and Protecting Our People
NGP’s view on how to protect and support its people and clients has rested on three main pillars:
- Importance of keeping colleagues safe at work during a difficult time
- On-going commitment to health, safety and wellbeing – not just during Covid
- Continuing services through a pandemic to support our vulnerable customers.
As part of a reflective event with Gateshead Council, NGP had the opportunity to discuss what it meant to the business to become Covid Champions and how we plan to ensure ongoing support for the three pillars mentioned.
Led by Director of Customer Service and Compliance, Paul Barrett, the business took a collective approach to ensuring its people were safe and supported.
The HR team were fundamental in managing all support function Covid measures. HR Administrator, Carly Lowther was the Covid Champion in the HR team. She led all wellbeing initiatives, including making welfare calls to colleagues and introducing a number of Covid welfare steps.
Dale Smith, one of the key Covid Community Champions, said “As a newly-installed Health and Safety Manager, part of the remit was Covid control, so it made perfect sense to become Covid Champions.”
In addition, the business also has the involvement of its Mental Health and Wellbeing Lead, Sam Cooper, who also supported as a Covid Champion.
Maintaining a safe work environment
A vital part of the role Dale explains was to “maintain a safe working environment for our people which impacts on the community and their families. As a business we have taken this seriously from the very start.”
The whole process involved a range of businesses and stakeholders in the community and brought teams together to discuss issues and priorities. Weekly meetings and direct liaison meant NGP collaborated and embraced the challenge together.
Dale continues, “Setting reassurances for people was vital especially those who returned to work after a prolonged period of working from home.
We ensured there was a HR weekly communications to all colleagues which reinforced the need to follow guidance and to make them aware of all the procedures in place. This was key for people coming back into the business.
“There were 7 models to be engaged with as part of the Champion programme and protocols were shared with us. It was a big learning exercise. The council supported all the way with information and knowledge.”
As we return to work and some normality presides, we must still as a business have focus on the virus as the situation evolves.
Dale continues “Moving forward, developing an emergency responsiveness plan for similar incidents could be considered with other stakeholders. Maintaining a steering group within the wider business community to deal with this sort of crisis will help us keep on top of issues.”
Gateshead Covid Champions Programme
Louise Harlanderson, Gateshead Covid Champions Programme Lead, said “Northern Gas and Power were one of the first businesses to join our Gateshead Covid Community Champions programme.
“Sam and Dale participated in the training programme and attended the weekly meetings to find out the latest guidance and access the adaptable resources, but also gave perspective to the issues that local businesses were enduring trying to operate during the pandemic.
“The peer support NGP received and gave, contributed to the success of the Gateshead Covid Community Champions programme.
“It has been a pleasure to work alongside NGP who gave us insights into the needs of the business sector and cascaded key Covid information and messaging to keep their employees and their families, along with the safety of their customers.
“We are extremely happy that NGP will be joining us in our Covid recovery journey and will remain part of the Champions partnership.”