The Westminster Government launched a two week consultation commencing yesterday 16 May 21. Its a very short, very opened ended consultation document with the stated aims:
“The government will assess to what extent certification would be effective in reducing risk, and its potential uses in enabling access to settings or relaxing COVID-secure mitigations”
“The government is looking to consider the ethical, equalities, privacy, legal and operational aspects of a potential certification scheme, and what limits, if any, should be placed on organisations using certification”.
Certification could be apply to either and/or both inoculation or negative testing. There is no detailed context given as to what for, example, testing means, (type of test), when and where or how long before the activity being undertaken a test might be needed, or indeed what activities from air travel, to larger events certification might be applied to, other than these measures must obviously have to relate to an activity that may remain restricted by covid secure guidelines going forward, or there would be no point in certification. Nor are the restriction that might be relaxed discussed or the degree to which they might be adjusted by certification specified. Neither are there presumption made about the obvious practicalities, from the costs carried by whom? to how or by whom certification could or would be run, either nationally or at the point of use. I.e. national public or commercial programme or local public or more likely commercial solutions?
It is a Westminster consultation but some of the direct or indirect implications may effect other Home Nations policies, either direct or indirectly, so it may still be of importance to colleges operating outside England.
From a destination prospective the most immediate issues will be around the potential benefits for major conference, events, exhibitions and cultural activities but there also some potential implications for other activities sector and sub sectors within the visitor economy.
Conceivably, certification could(may well?) form the basis for management of covid-19 post removal of all restrictions, acting as an alternative to future lockdowns and the reintroduction of mitigation like social distancing at seat service etc. so there may be good reason for us all to engage in the consultation regardless of whether you are involved locally in seemingly more relevant areas like major event planning and delivery: COVID-Status Certification Review – Call for evidence – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) the terms of reference for certification review which don’t add much more than the consultation itself are at: TORs – Certification Review (publishing.service.gov.uk)