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COVID-19 - An open letter from Phil Malem, Serco Middle East CEO

Published: 25 Mar 2020

As the CEO of a 4,500 strong public services company I thought it was important to talk about COVID-19.

We are seeing unprecedented disruption to our normal routines in the Middle East, and can see the detrimental impact this pandemic is having on the societies in which we live and work. The governments of the Middle East are implementing measures to keep its residents safe and reduce spreading and we at Serco are 100% in support of this. 

Our job is to deliver critical public services, and we will continue to do so with Pride, Care, Trust, and Innovation. With these values also comes a responsibility, both as a company and individuals to the people, countries and governments we serve.

Patients in hospitals rely on us now more than ever. We are preparing for peaks in demand and implementing infection screening and control measures across the healthcare facilities we work in.

Citizens still need to get from A to B and our frontline staff are committed to keeping vital infrastructure operating. Our business continuity planning and workforce management ensures that sickness leaves of absence do not affect the operational efficiency or experience of those using a service.

Residents should feel like everything possible is being done to protect them and where we operate in real estate or the higher education space, disinfection is a key priority.  Escalating cleaning and sanitisation programmes is increasing confidence within the communities across the facilities we support.

Across all sectors we operate in, it is our responsibility to ensure all staff are educated and trained on good hygiene practice and understand how they can do their bit to limit the spread of this disease, whilst still serving the government and the citizens in the societies in which we work. Frequently updated awareness information issued to all staff is vital to keeping everyone safe and to ensure changes in government mandates are being followed. Measures have been taken to protect all staff as they continue to deliver frontline services. Increased sanitisation programmes across company provided accommodation and transportation have been introduced. Staff health is being monitored daily with various programmes, including temperature checking, which provides an early warning of the onset of any fever related conditions.

Not all of our employees are on the front line, and so following a successful business continuity exercise we made the decision to implement remote working where possible to allow for physical distancing. The technology infrastructure we have in place allows us to keep communication lines open between colleagues and clients, no matter what location we are working from. There is no time like the present to focus on collaboration and doing things differently in order to support our clients.

Companies of the Middle East,  now is the time for us to be resilient; we must be prepared and we must be flexible with our workforce and supply chains to face up to and overcome the challenges of what will come our way in the weeks and months ahead. By doing so, and by working together, we will come out of this stronger than ever before.

Kind regards,

Phil Malem
Chief Executive Officer, Serco Middle East