BPO Task Force Approves New Protocols For Sector

Jamaica News: The business process outsourcing (BPO) task force has approved new protocols for the operations of the BPO sector.

The new protocols, which were developed by the Ministry of Health and Wellness officials, will ensure that all operators in the BPO sector implement preventative measures in their operations and give the regulatory bodies an opportunity to thoroughly inspect their operations as part of measures to minimise the possible transmission of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The task force, which is chaired by Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, includes officials from the BPO associations, Ministry of Health and Wellness, Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Jamaica Special Economic Zone, the National Environment and Planning Agency, Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Ministry of National Security, representatives from all the municipal corporations that have a BPO centre operating in their jurisdiction, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).

Providing an update at a digital press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister on May 18, Mr. Vaz said specific measures, such as sanitary and hygiene practices, must be implemented and adhered to at all facilities.

Other measures relate to furnishings and equipment, social distancing and COVID-19 risk reduction measures, transportation, ventilation considerations, environmental cleaning, handling of sick persons, measures to be taken where an employer has tested positive for COVID 19, public relations, communication and mask etiquettee among other things.

He said the inspection procedures will be undertaken by the public health inspectors using the BPO Inspection Tool and the Public Health Institutional Health Inspection Form.

Mr. Vaz explained that the BPO Inspection Tool has been specially prepared in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. It seeks to ensure that all the conditions are put in place to minimise the risk of transmission at these entities.

He added that the Public Health Institutional Inspection Form is the tool used to access the general public health conditions existing in the facility.

Mr. Vaz informed that upon completion of the inspection, a report is prepared and given to the proprietor within 36 hours, adding that where breaches are identified, a workplan is also prepared with specific timelines for abatement.

In the meantime, he said 89 of the country’s 91 BPOs have been inspected. “The number of satisfactory, so far, is 57,” he said, adding that the number should be increased.

Mr. Vaz disclosed that 13,000 workers in the BPO sector are working from home, while 9,000, who were “essential” are still working in the sector.

He said the reconfiguring of the facilities is expected to provide more job opportunities, adding that “there is also a lot of interest for new BPO space”.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, said the BPO sector is one that the Government intends to further promote, because it is the industry which is offering the greatest potential to replace employment that would be lost as a result of the fall-off in other industries.

“Jamaica is a natural fit for business process and knowledge process and global services operations, and we will intensify our efforts in this regard, which will include improvements to our legal and regulatory framework and expanding our investment portfolio in the infrastructure to support the BPO industry,” he pointed out.

The BPO Task Force was established to prevent another outbreak of COVID-19 in the BPO sector as occurred at the Alorica Call Centre in Portmore, St. Catherine.


Source: JIS News

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