Information for Businesses

In addition to the following notes and articles which are of relevance to most businesses, at the bottom of this page, there are links to additional pages where we have collated further information specifically relating to a number of industry sectors. 

 Covid-secure telephone checks by the HSE

North Devon Council is working with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to make sure businesses in North Devon are COVID-secure to help prevent and tackle coronavirus (COVID-19) in the district.

From Monday (12th October) officers from the HSE will be contacting local businesses by telephone to find out what measures they have in place to make sure they are COVID-secure. During the checks, advice and guidance will be provided to manage risk and protect workers, customers and visitors. Where some businesses are found not managing this, immediate action will be taken. Action can range from the providing specific advice, issuing enforcement notices, stopping certain work practices until they are made safe and, where businesses fail to comply, this could lead to prosecution.

Being COVID-secure means that businesses need to put adjustments in place to manage the risk and protect workers and others from coronavirus. More information about how to manage the risk of coronavirus in different business sectors can be found in the working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) section of the government website.

Article updated 21st October 2020

Coronavirus support from Business Representative Organisations and Trade Associations

The government is working closely with Business Representative Organisations and Trade Associations to support the national response to Coronavirus. Visit the website for a list of organisations you can speak with to get advice. These organisations represent a wide range of industries and sectors and many are also happy to respond to non-member queries related to coronavirus.

Article added 11th June 2020

Online Business Support Finder

The government has launched an interactive “Support Finder” to help businesses identify which financial support schemes are most suitable for their needs. There are 7 simple questions to help filter the results (e.g. do you employ less than 250 people? are you self-employed? do you pay business rates? etc.):

Article added 21st April 2020

Re-opening of businesses and venues

Following the easing of restrictions over the course of the Summer, the majority of businesses and venues can now reopen with a few exceptions which are detailed on the Government Website

Many businesses that re-open must, however, adhere to strict rules and guidelines about social distancing and the use of face masks etc.

For further information, including guidance about steps to take prior to reopening, visit the Government Website

Article updated 8th September 2020

The UK Government, in consultation with industry, has produced guidance, for businesses in England, to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible.

Downloadable Guides

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has also produced a series of guides covering a range of different types of work. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles, so you may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe. The guides currently published are:

5 Steps to Working Safely
Close Contact Services (i.e. Hairdressers, Tattooists, Massage Therapists etc.)
Construction and other Outdoor Work
Factories, Plants and Warehouses
Heritage Locations
Hotels and other guest accommodation
Labs and Research Facilities
Offices and Contact Centres
Other people’s Homes
Performing Arts
Providers of grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities
Restaurants, Pubs, Bars and Takeaway Services
Shops and Branches
The Visitor economy

Further guidance will be published as more businesses are able to reopen.

These can be found at Working Safely Guides

Article updated 8th September 2020

Better Business For All Covid-19 Toolkit

The Better Business For All (BBFA) Covid-19 Toolkit has been launched to help businesses to restart safely. This is a useful resource for businesses as it contains links, action plans, template risk assessment, checklists etc.

A pdf version is available here


Venues required by law to record contact details

Premises and venues across England where people meet socially including hospitality, close contact and leisure venues must record contact details of customers, visitors and staff on their premises to tackle the spread of Coronavirus.

This includes businesses like pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and cinemas which must must have a system in place by law to record contact details of their customers, visitors and staff in the latest move to break the chains of transmission of Coronavirus.

These details must be stored for 21 days and shared with NHS Test and Trace, if requested, and there are fixed penalties for organisations that do not comply.

For further details of the information that must be collected, and how it should be stored, visit the Government's Contact Details website

Article added 11th September 2020


MOT Tests for business vehicles

MOTs due from 30 March 2020

Your car, van or motorcycle’s MOT expiry date will be extended by 6 months if it’s due on or after 30 March 2020 - but you must keep your vehicle safe to drive. For further information, visit the Government's MOT website

MOTs for lorries, buses and trailers

Lorries, buses or trailers will be exempt from needing an MOT for a minimum of 3 months from 21 March 2020, with longer periods for some vehicle types. It may, however, be necessary to apply for an extension, depending on your vehicle. Visit the Government's commercial vehicle MOT website for further information.

Article updated 8th September 2020

Dealings with Companies House

The government has announced that if the impact of COVID-19 will cause delays in filing company accounts with Companies House, you can apply for an automatic and immediate 3 month extension. You must apply before your normal filing deadline.

There is an on-line application process (which should take about 15 minutes to complete).To apply, you will need the company number, an email address, information about your extension reasons and any documents that support your application (optional). Follow this link to the online application 

Submitting forms to Companies House

As an emergency response to Coronavirus (COVID-19), a temporary online service has been developed to upload a number of completed forms and send them to Companies House digitally. Further details can be found on the Companies House website

Article updated 8th September 2020

RIDDOR Reporting

The Health & Safety Executive has issued details of when and how you should report Coronavirus incidents under RIDDOR (the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013).

You must only make a report under RIDDOR, relating to Coronavirus, when:
• an unintended incident at work has led to someone’s possible or actual exposure to Coronavirus. This must be reported as a dangerous occurrence
• a worker has been diagnosed as having COVID-19 and there is reasonable evidence that it was caused by exposure at work. This must be reported as a case of disease.
• a worker dies as a result of occupational exposure to Coronavirus.

For more information (and examples), visit the Health & Safety Executive website

Article added 9th April 2020

Assessing the prospects for your business

ICAEW and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) have published guidance for owners and directors of small and medium-sized businesses to assess the prospects of their business. The guidance outlines the importance of cash flow forecasting and how to accurately reflect the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Access a pdf version of the guidance here

Article added 11th June 2020