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Covid-19 update: Government guidance changed on 19 July 2021 - we're currently updating our information in response to this. In the meantime, visit the government's guidance on lifting restrictions.

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Managing covid risk

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This page explains how voluntary organisations can work in a way that reduces the risk of people transmitting Covid. It includes links to relevant Government guidance, practical ideas of how to undertake a risk assessment and change the way you work. This page is for anyone who works in voluntary organisations, including trustees, leaders, staff and volunteers.

The roadmap out of national lockdown

  • Under the government's roadmap out of national lockdown, the stay at home message has ended. England is now expected to remain in step 3 of the roadmap until the 19th July. Under step 3 of the government’s roadmap out of national lockdown, you should:
    • Keep yourself and others safe - stay 2m apart from anyone who is not in your household or support bubble where possible or 1m with extra precautions in place.
    • Work - continue to work from home if you can.
    • Volunteering - continue to volunteer from home where possible. To learn more about volunteering during this time, see our involving volunteering section
    • Education and childcare - attend early years settings, schools and colleges - these are now open. Other higher education students should continue to learn remotely. See government guidance on education and childcare for further information.
    • Meeting others - you can mix indoors with a limit of six people or two households. Each household can include a support bubble if eligible. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 30 people. When meeting family and friends, you are no longer instructed to keep a 2m distance but you should exercise caution with those that you don’t live with. You are encouraged to take actions to reduce the risk of covid-19 transmission. This advice also applies to those who are clinically vulnerable. Read more in the meeting friends and family guidance on GOV.UK.
    • Travel - if travelling within the UK, you should plan your journey and travel safely. Avoid the busiest times and routes where possible. Read the safer travel guidance on GOV.UK.
    • Holiday - there is no longer a legal restriction or permitted reason required to travel internationally. A traffic light system for international travel has been introduced
  • There are still circumstances where you can meet in larger groups outside your household. These include:
    • Where you are providing voluntary or charitable services, where you cannot do this from home. This includes provision in other people’s homes. See guidance on working safely in other people’s homes on GOV.UK.
    • Where you are providing care or assistance for disabled or vulnerable people
  • For formal support groups that have to be delivered in person. These can be delivered in person at premises other than a private home with up to 30 participants aged five years and older.
  • A new covid-19 variant, known as Delta, is spreading in some parts of England. If you live in one of these areas you should take particular care to: 
    • Meet outside rather than inside 
    • Keep 2m apart from those you don’t live with, including family and friends
    • Get tested twice a week for free and self isolate if you test positive
    • Continue to work from home if you can
    • Minimise travel
    • Get vaccinated, when offered it
  • As of the 17th May, the visitor economy in England has continued to re-open. This includes: 
    • Outdoor recreation and visitor attractions.  
    • Indoor entertainment and attractions with covid-19 secure measures in place
    • Indoor and outdoor events including live performances, sporting and business events.  Numbers are capped depending on the venue. Covid-secure measures must be in place. 
    • Indoor and outdoor hospitality venues  
    • Non-essential retail including charity shops. Read the latest covid-19 guidance from the Charity Retail Association 
    • Indoor sports facilities and organised indoor sport 
    • All holiday accommodation 
    • Business meeting/event show rounds, viewing and site visits 
    • For further information on the re-opening of the visitor economy, read working safely during coronavirus: the visitor economy on GOV.UK.
  • For further information on what you can and can’t do under the government’s roadmap see guidance on coronavirus restrictions: what you can and cannot do on GOV.UK.
  • National restrictions are still set out in law with penalties for non-compliance. Police will have powers to take action, issue fines and break up gatherings.

Essential guidance for everyone

  • The government asks everyone to consider:
    • Hands - wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds. 
    • Face - wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet. 
    • Space - stay two metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or at least one metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing a face covering or increasing ventilation indoors).
    • Fresh air - stay outdoors when meeting people not in your household or support bubble.

Covid-19 testing

Covid-19 vaccination programme

Covid-19 vaccines are being delivered by: 

    • hospital hubs 
    • local vaccination service sites run by a mixture of primary care networks and community pharmacies 
    • vaccination centres located in large-scale venues. 
  • Some charities will have staff and volunteers who are defined as ‘frontline health and social care workers.’ The JCVI define this group as:
        • where they work (for example in people’s own homes, day centres, care homes for working age adults or supported housing)
        • whether they care for clinically vulnerable adults or children
        • who they are employed by (for example local government, NHS, private sector or the voluntary sector).

Running workplaces, activities and organised events safely

    • Under the government's roadmap out of national lockdown, the provision of charitable or voluntary services remains exempt from requirements where these services cannot reasonably be delivered from home.    
    • Voluntary organisations continuing to provide services or which are planning to deliver services should make sure that they take steps to minimise risks of covid transmission.

      Follow appropriate government guidance: Workplace 

      • The government has published a suite of guidance on working safely during coronavirus. Each guide explains ways to reduce risk of covid transmission in a different type of space or activity.
      • If your organisation runs a range of different activities or in different spaces you may need to consider multiple guidance documents. 
      • You can access all guides on working safely during coronavirus at GOV.UK. 
      • Common guides which may be used by voluntary organisations include:

      Follow appropriate government guidance: Organised events

      Working safely

      Where your team can not work from home, your organisation must take steps to comply with the government’s guidance on managing the risk of covid-19. 

      The five key steps are as follows.

      1. Carry out a covid-19 risk assessment
      2. Develop cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures
      3. Help people to work from home where possible
      4. Maintain 2m social distancing wherever possible
      5. Where people cannot be 2m apart, manage transmission risk

      Risk assessment

      • Before restarting work, organisations must ensure the safety of their workplace by carrying out a risk assessment. 
      • This risk assessment should be in line with Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance. This includes guidance on what to consider in your covid-19 risk assessment
      • There are legal obligations if you have five employees. If you have fewer than five employees you don’t have to write anything down, but it might help if you do.
      • You must consult with the health and safety representative selected by a recognised trade union or, if there isn’t one, a representative chosen by workers. 
      • Once you have completed your risk assessment you should share the results with your workforce and consider publishing the results on your website. 
      • To help you manage and assess risks, watch our webinar on ‘assessing health and safety risks in uncertain times’ (broadcast on 20 May 2020).  
      • Use our risk register template to help you identify and manage key risks.
      • Zurich, an NCVO trusted supplier, has produced a risk insight to help you consider how to manage risks associated with covid-19. 

      Reducing risks with your team

      • Staff and volunteers should continue to work from home where possible. See our guidance on supporting staff to work from home
      • Where you have your team working or volunteering, you should consider ways to reduce significant mixing of different people. For example, you could consider alternating who is on your premises in fixed teams even with social distancing measures in place. 
      • You could change working hours to reduce the amount of time people are on premises & to aid the staggering of arrival or departure times.

      Cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures

      Manage risks in your space

      • If your workplace is open, you should aim to ensure a 2m distance between people in your space and through your activities. This may include the following.
        • Limiting the number of people allowed in a space/a room.
        • Ensuring one-way traffic through the space.
        • Putting up signs or using floor tape to remind employees about the social distancing measures.
        • Using back-to-back or side-to-side working whenever possible.
        • Increasing the ventilation of space. This can be as simple as opening doors, windows and vents. 
        • Avoiding personal deliveries to the workplace. 
        • Using screens or barriers where 2m can not be maintained.
        • Using screens or barriers to separate people from each other.
      • The government guidance on working safely during coronavirus has further ideas for ways to manage your space.

      Use of personal protective equipment (PPE)

      • The use of PPE is not required outside of clinical settings except for a small handful of roles such as first responders. 
      • If your risk assessment does show that PPE is required, then you must provide this PPE free of charge to staff and volunteers who need it. Any PPE provided must fit properly. HSE has developed guidance on using PPE at work.  

      Face coverings

      • In England, face coverings must be worn in a number of indoor public settings.
      • People aged over 11 are required by law to wear a face covering on public transport and in some indoor settings. This includes community centres, youth centres and social clubs. Read the government guidance on face coverings.
      • The government has advised that you should also wear a face covering in indoor spaces where social distancing will be difficult, and you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
      • Face coverings must be worn by retail, leisure and hospitality staff working in areas that are open to the public and where they’re likely to come into contact with a member of the public.
      • Failure to follow any of these rules will result in a fixed penalty fine.  
      • Face covering needs to cover your mouth and nose. The government has developed guidance on how to wear a face covering
      • Some people are exempt from the legal obligation to wear a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability or if doing so would cause distress. The reasons for this may not be visible and people should be encouraged rather than enforced to wear masks.

      Informing people about staying safe

      • The government has issued a notice for you to display in your workplace to confirm that you have complied with guidance on managing the risk of covid-19.
      • If it is a legal obligation on people to wear a face covering, you should have signage on all entry points. 

      Supporting NHS Test and Trace

      • NHS Test and Trace helps reduce the spread of covid-19 by finding people who have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.  
      • Hospitality, tourism and leisure venues, close contact services and local authority facilities (including community centres, libraries and village halls) must keep records of their staff, customers and visitors for NHS Test and Trace. A full list of organisations who must do this can be found in the government’s guidance.
      • These venues must:
        • Ask every member of every group of customers or visitors aged over 16 for their contact details, including: 
          • name  
          • phone number, or if this is not available an email or postal address  
          • date of visit  
          • arrival time and, if possible, departure time 
          • the name of their assigned staff member, if they have one.   
      • In England, people can also give these details by checking in using an official NHS QR poster. However, you must have a way for people without a smartphone to give their contact details too. 
      • Each person is responsible for making sure their contact details are correct. 
      • If someone doesn’t want to give their details or gives incorrect information, you don’t need to refuse them entry unless you are a hospitality venue (for example a cafe with seating on site). However, you should encourage them to give their details and advise them that their information will only be used to stop the spread of covid-19. 
      • Read the government’s guidance on which visits are exempt from these rules.
      • Keep a record of all staff working on the premises each day, their shift times and their contact details. 
      • Keep the records of customers, visitors and staff for 21 days, share them with NHS Test and Trace if asked, and securely dispose of or delete them after 21 days. 
      • Display an official NHS QR code poster so that customers and visitors can ‘check in’ using this instead of giving their contact details if they choose to. Find out more about NHS QR codes and how to make them on the NHS covid-19 app website.   
      • Follow General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) 
      • These rules apply to any business or organisation that provides an on-site service and to any events that take place on its premises. 
      • Failure to follow any of these rules will result in a fixed penalty fine.  
      Page last edited Jun 21, 2021

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