College receives highest award for COVID-19 safety measures

North Highland College UHI have been awarded the highest level of assurance after undergoing an audit of their COVID-19 safety arrangements.

North Highland College UHI have been awarded the highest level of assurance after undergoing an audit of their COVID-19 safety arrangements.

The audit, which took place towards the end of 2020 by Auditors Wylie & Bissett, mainly focused on; reviewing the steps taken by the College to assess their compliance with Covid-19 Scottish Government guidance; reviewing the College’s working documents, risk assessments and procedures that the College has put in place to allow the return of students and staff; and reviewing the communications methods between the College and its staff and students in respect of Covid-19.

On completion of the audit, several areas of good practice were highlighted including; Communicating important preventative measures through risk assessments, posters, and planning documents that reflect the Scottish Government lockdown route map; Involving staff in the process at business continuity management meetings; and sharing best practice with Health & Safety practitioners across the other colleges in the UHI partnership.

Director of the colleges Engineering, Technology and Energy Centre, Giles Huby, who is responsible for leading health and safety matters at the college said “This has been an extremely challenging period for all of our staff and students across all North Highland College UHI sites in Thurso, Alness and Dornoch, so we are extremely pleased to receive such a positive endorsement of our COVID-19 safety management approach.  It is very satisfying to see that our team’s hard work in developing and applying all the safety measures needed to successfully reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission has been recognised by the result of this audit”.

The audit concluded  “We are able to provide a Strong* level of assurance over the College's health and safety arrangements initiated by the College to ensure the safety of returning staff and students following the outbreak of Covid-19. We are also able to provide assurance that the College has taken all possible steps and are compliant with guidelines set out by the Scottish Government”. There were no recommendations for improvement made.

Debbie Murray, interim North Highland College UHI Principal, stated “COVID measures are well under control with high quality learning continuing.  I am delighted with the good safety practices recognised in our response to COVID-19 for a number of our processes that we can now share with the rest of the sector. The safety of our students and staff is paramount and we will continue to ensure their safety is always put first. Everyone involved has gone the extra mile and should be congratulated. It should give confidence for prospective students who are unsure of applying to college, that they will receive a high quality of learning regardless of any continuing restrictions.”