A COUNCIL'S boss is actively looking at whether more office staff could work from home after the coronavirus pandemic is over.

But Pendle Borough's chief executive Dean Langton is concerned at the effect fewer staff at Nelson Town Hall could have on nearby shops and cafes.

He revealed his new 'agile working policy' to the council's Policy and Resources Committee.

Mr Langton has already delayed the return to the office of most staff from September 1 to October 1 as Covid-19 levels in the borough remain high.

He was asked by Boulsworth ward Tory Cllr Sarah Cockburn-Price: "I'd like to know a little bit more about how home working has gone and if it has gone well, might there be changes to council working practices?

"Might there be so many days working in an office, so many days from home? I just wondered to what extent that has been thought about."

Mr Langton said: "The majority of office-based staff were asked to work from home and have continued to do so.

"That did require us to make sure those people had the capability of working from home.

"For example that they had the right IT equipment.

"We did risk assessments to make sure people were safe working from home.

"The discussion I will be having with our leadership quite imminently is that we have been working on an agile working policy: one that says there are actually certain functions of the council where people could actually do their work from home.

"But equally there are some jobs where it's just not appropriate."

"So that has been thought about and we are working on that actively at the moment to ensure we exploit the new ways of working.

"It's probably led to us speeding things up we were probably working towards anyway.

"Agile working is one thing but of course there are some other issues that go with this.

"For example with Nelson. The council is a big employer in Nelson town centre and, of course,if you take the people out of the workplace then that has a bearing on the local economy.

"In terms of staff coming back safely into the town hall building, our view is that it is safe to come back.

"Originally I had intended that staff would start to make their way back to work on September 1. I've now pushed that back to October 1.

"That's not a firm date. I won't be saying everybody has to come back."