Environmental Health Together - Candidate Information Pack

Environmental Health Together is about helping local government front line services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Introduction

What is Environmental Health Together?

Local government environmental health services, as well as public health teams, are now fully engaged on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic in a multitude of ways. 

Environmental health practitioners (EHPs) are directly assisting businesses with ensuring they are COVID-safe and following additional regulations, depending upon the tier they are operating within.    

Environmental health teams are also working closely with directors of public health on local outbreak control planning to establish contact tracing arrangements at a local level. 

There is now a real need for additional professional capacity to support the local authority sector as it responds to the current challenges and their staff are significantly stretched. This register aims to gather those with the skills and resources available to assist in this challenge and be utilised by local authorities as a resourcing tool.

Environmental Health Together is hosted by the Local Government Association (LGA), professionally quality-assured by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) and backed by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and NHS Test and Trace.

NHS, CIEH and MCHLG logos

What is Environmental Health?

Health and wellbeing are influenced by the wider physical environment. By addressing the wider determinants of health, including food safety, housing standards, health and safety, air quality, noise and environment issues generally, environmental health makes a fundamental contribution to the maintenance and improvement of public health.

Who can apply?

  • Anyone with suitable qualifications in environmental health. Within the UK this includes those from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) and Royal Environmental Institute of Scotland (REHIS). Qualifications from outside the UK may also be considered. If you are in the final year of an accredited environmental health  degree you can also apply.
  • Anyone who has additional capacity to work or volunteer due to retirement, furlough, studies or redundancy.  

Further support

If you have any technical queries related to the website, please contact the LGA
 
You can also read our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) below.

Why work for local government?

Working in local government provides you with an opportunity to make a difference to people’s lives. It is a public service for the public good. Environmental Health services within local government are a vital part of protecting public health.

Support for candidates moving into local government

Environmental Health Together will offer candidates access to supporting documentation and potentially webinars and other training resources to aid their professional development within a local government role.

Timeline

October 2020 – October 2021

Platform open for applications

To apply for our programme, please visit our website and select the ‘Apply Now’ button. You will then be taken to our job vacancies site, where you will be asked to register and complete an online application form.

You will be asked to include personal details, academic and professional credentials, skills and experience, and details regarding your availability as part of your application.

From 9 November 2020 – 15 October 2021

Connecting with employers

From 9 November councils will have access to review your submitted skills and experience. 

Your details will accessible to the councils that sign up and have relevant job vacancies. 

If a council is interested in recruiting you for a vacancy they have, you will then be contacted directly by the council(s) concerned.

FAQ's - Eligibility

1.1 Who is the Register aimed at?

The Register is for anyone who has environmental health qualifications or is a final year environmental health student working towards their qualification and is available to work. That can be full time, part time, remunerated or voluntary, on site or remotely.

1.2 I’m an environmental health student – can I register?

Undergraduate students in their final year of study can make an important contribution. Local authorities may be able to make use of your skills and this is a great opportunity for you to get valuable hands on work experience. 

1.3 I’ve recently retired – can I apply?

If you are retired you are likely to have a wealth of valuable experience to offer - absolutely, yes.

1.4 What opportunities could be available for those retired EHPs who may want to volunteer their services on an occasional basis?

This is a fully flexible register and allows you to state exactly how you would like to work including casual and voluntary work.

1.5 If I’m furloughed, can I apply? 

You can work somewhere else if your contract with your current employer lets you. It is up to you to check that the terms of your furlough allow you to apply to be recruited through this scheme. Getting a new job won’t affect your furlough pay. If you get a new job, you should make sure you can go back to work for the employer who furloughed you when they decide to take you back.

1.6 What about EHPs currently employed in the private sector, can we register?

Yes.

1.7 Does the register have an envisaged lifespan? 

The aim of the register is to support the local authority response to COVID-19. Its lifespan is 12 months.  

1.8 What professional criteria will be considered?

All of the below criteria will be considered:

  • Successful completion of an accredited (CIEH or REHIS) Environmental Health degree (at either degree or master’s level). 
  • Successful completion of a non-accredited EH Degree.
  • Successful completion of professional assessments and exams leading to the award of a Certificate of Registration from the Environmental Health Registration Board (EHRB) or its equivalent.
  • CIEH Chartered Status (CEnvH)
  • REHIS Chartered Status (Ch.EHO MREHIS)
  • Full Membership of professional body requiring CPD (e.g. CIEH or REHIS)
  • A Higher Certificate in Food Control awarded by EHRB

FAQ's - The application process

2.1 How do I apply?
 
You will be required to complete an on-line application form, providing details of your professional qualifications and experience, including any specialisms. You also have the option to upload a CV which, although not essential, is a useful way of providing additional details about your professional skills and experience. 

Please note that you can only submit one application onto the register. Therefore, please ensure you have completed your application fully, and are happy with the content, before completing the declaration page on which you submit your application. Once an application has been submitted it cannot be edited.

2.2 I’ve entered my details – what happens now?

In registering with Environmental Health Together, you are sharing information about your experience and skills with prospective employers. However, please note that we cannot guarantee employment.

Local authorities can use the online portal to search for environmental health professionals who match the skills and working patterns they require and contact them if a suitable opportunity becomes available. With the local response to coronavirus (COVID-19) constantly evolving, this may take some time and we thank you for your patience. In the meantime, you will receive information about how to access our online ‘green room’, where you will find links to useful reading material. 

2.3 The website says ‘vacancy’ - am I applying for a specific role or just expressing my interest in supporting the coronavirus (COVID-19) effort? 

You are expressing your interest in the COVID-19 effort, letting local authorities know about your skills and experience and your availability. You are not applying for a specific vacancy.

2.4 What sort of role will I be offered? 

This will vary depending upon your experience and the details you have entered around your availability and preferred working patterns.  

2.5 What if I am offered a role I don’t want?

If a local authority reviews your details and matches them to their needs, they will be in contact with you for a discussion about potential roles. Entering your details does not commit you to taking on a role - you do not have to accept a role that you don’t want. 

2.6 I have specialist skills and experience – will I be matched to a suitable role or specialism? 

There are likely to be a variety of different roles available. Make sure that you include as much detail and information about your skills and experience in your application. Employers will be using this information to match people to particular roles. Also, employers will discuss any role with you prior to commencement to ensure you are a good match to it.  

2.7 I am in process of applying to be a Track and Tracer. Should I sign up to the Register too or would this be duplication?

The roles within the Register are likely to be broader but could include contact tracing. This is therefore not duplication of any central track and trace work. They are two different things.

2.8 Will I have a choice about where I work and how far I want to travel? 

Yes, during the application process you will be asked to state in which part of the country you would prefer to work. Whilst only local authorities in England will be able to access the Register, it is anticipated some roles may be able to be delivered remotely, so registrations are invited from across the UK. You will also be asked, when making your application, whether you would prefer remote or onsite work as well as your preferred days and hours.

We expect local authorities and employers to work together through their local and regional structures, to ensure that those who are offered roles are placed in areas where there is the greatest need. You are not required to take a role that is offered, and employers will endeavour to provide a role which is right for you

2.9 What is to stop recruitment companies using the register and cold calling those on the register? 

Access to the Register is strictly limited to local authorities. This is vetted and controlled by the Local Government Association (LGA), no-one else can see who is on the register including fellow applicants. Recruitment agencies will not be able to access your details.

2.10 I signed up to the CIEH voluntary register - what is the difference?  

A direct response by CIEH to the COVID-19 pandemic was to set up a voluntary register of EHPs who are willing to volunteer their time to the cause. The Environmental Health Together Register is a logical next step, as it includes those who only wish to work voluntarily as well as those looking for paid employment. The CIEH Volunteer Register is now closed. If you still wish to volunteer or indeed take up a paid position, please register on Environmental Health Together. We have written to those on the volunteer register to notify them of the changes. 

2.11 As part of the registration process you require details of former employers. I’ve been a freelancer for some time; how could I address this? 

We recommend you provide a reference from a recent client. Ultimately, it is for employers to decide if they are happy with your references, you should discuss it with them during the recruitment process.  

FAQ's - Taking up employment

3.1 Will I get paid if I take on a role? 

You can join the register as either a volunteer or remunerated position or, if your prepared to do so, both. Government is working to provide as much support as possible to local government at this time and has made funding available to recruit additional capacity.  

3.2 If I am offered a role, how long will the employment last? 

This will be dependent on each local authority’s needs and we expect that individuals will work directly with the local authority to agree a suitable period which benefits both parties. 

3.3 What if I no longer want to take part?

Should you no longer be available for work you can withdraw your interest by logging back into your account, accessing your application and selecting the “withdraw” button, or you can let us know via email EHTogether@local.gov.uk

3.4 What if I become temporarily unavailable during this process? 

You can let us know via email EHTogether@local.gov.uk and we will make it clear to employers you are unavailable and if you wish us to re-instate your availability, please email us.

We would ask that you please do keep your availability up to date and use the portal to amend as appropriate if/when your availability changes.

3.5 I’m retired. If I am offered a role, what will be the impact on my pension? 

Although technically the rules for most pension funds indicate that pension payments would need to be reduced in the event of a return to work, local government pension scheme administrators have made it clear that they will not abate pensions in circumstances where you return to work to help deal with the pandemic emergency.  

3.6 As a consultant will I be able to use my own Ltd company or be expected to join the local authority payroll? In terms of remuneration and how candidates are employed (e.g. agency status) is this up to each local authority?

Discussions about remuneration and contracts of employment should take place directly with the local authority prior to taking up any offer of employment.  

3.7 If I am offered a role, what terms and conditions will I be employed under? 

This should form part of the discussion between you and the local authority employer about the role, the practicalities, days and hours to be worked and remuneration. 

3.8 Who will be expected to provide professional indemnity insurance?

We would envisage that this would be covered within your contract of employment with the local authority. However, it would be something to clarify if/when an offer of work is made.

3.9 Is the expectation that EHPs will have the necessary knowledge to hit the ground running with contact tracing specifically? 

The likelihood is that many environmental health professionals may require some 'refresher' type training and/or specific training in certain aspects. It is hope that this can at least in part be addressed through the green room and the induction period with employers.  

3.10 How will my data be used? 

The LGA act as the data controller in respect of all the data gathered. Your personal details will only be shared local authorities and the professional body CIEH who have a quality assurance role. Your data is held securely on our server and has restricted access.