Opal readiness for Coronavirus - 17/03/2020

Date posted: 17/03/2020

The aim is to create awareness within OPAL, document protocols and continue to assess and monitor risks. OPAL has convened a crisis management committee with key stakeholders across the business.

Risk Management and planning

This group is chaired by the CEO and co-ordinated by Head of Operations. This CMC meets every other day and as necessary.

OPAL has completed a risk assessment in relation to the Coronavirus outbreak covering all areas of our business. This has been reviewed and is being updated as actions are completed:

  • Key Task List – This includes details of the key tasks for all the areas including the frequency, who can perform them, systems required and dependencies.
  • Project Plan – details a list of tasks to work alongside the risk assessment, this is a working document
  • Home working document – which details a phased approach if we were to introduce this to a) reduce the risk of staff contracting the Coronavirus and b) maintaining operations over an extended period of time

Throughout the coming weeks and months OPAL will take all actions necessary to maintain core operational activity. The focus is on managing customers’ money and data as before, as well as taking a pragmatic approach to prioritising customer service.


We have communicated with all staff relaying the latest information from the UK Health Secretary and UK Chief Medical Officers and will continue to update them as required. We have existing protocols around handwashing / sanitising and the staff encouraged to use hand sanitisers daily very frequently. Additional office cleaning in particular work stations and door handles are cleaned using alcohol wipes twice daily. We have ceased all business travel and cancelled all client and auditor visits until further notice, where possible meetings and reviews will be via calls or WebEx.

We have reviewed all upcoming staff travel and will continue to do so. Protocols around individual staff are under review in advance of these trips being made and should other areas become impacted and staff plan to visit we will have made a plan for actions required on their return. We are promoting social distancing within the office.

We have split key departments and the management group into “red, green and yellow” teams to manage risk and improve operational resilience. Red & green are St Albans based and yellow in Channel Islands. For now these teams work apart and in future they could work in separate offices or indeed alternating at home as required.

We plan to commence monitoring staff temperature via infrared non touch digital thermometer later this week. Any member of staff with a temperature will be sent home to self-isolate according to a documented procedure.

Contingency plans for later stages.

OPAL already has a 2nd site in Hemel Hempstead which is being prepared for BAU. This could be utilised to split key St Albans teams (red / green) up for operational resilience. OPAL already has the capacity for key staff to work from home now with work being done this week to significantly increase our ability to work remotely for an extended period. This includes ensuring laptops will be configured in line with OPAL’s Security and IT Policies by IT Operations before they are allowed offsite.

We will send further updates at least weekly to keep you informed of our activity. In the meantime all remains business as usual.

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