General COVID-19 guidance for charities

This page covers general advice for charities and community groups for the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic from national bodies, the public sector and the government.

This page will be updated on a regular basis. Last updated: 1 April 2021

Local Council: Update

  • Leicester City Council: Common questions on Leicester lockdown:

    You may have questions on what the new restrictions mean for Leicester and how they will affect you. Leicester City Council have put together a frequently asked questions section to try to answer your queries and provide further information.

    Please note that in these questions and answers, they use ‘Leicester’ to mean everywhere within the affected area. This includes some parts of Leicestershire.
    Some of the answers may not take you to the national government’s local guidance webpage at this stage, therefore we recommend that you refer to the other articles in our sector support newsletter as well. View the FAQs here.

  • Leicester lockdown: what you can and cannot do

    Find out what restrictions are in place if you live, work or travel in the Leicester area during the local outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). This guidance was updated on 1 August 2020.

    Restrictions will be lifted for the Borough of Oadby and Wigston from 1 August. These areas will return to national social distancing guidelines, other than for clinically extremely vulnerable people who should continue shielding. Additional businesses and venues will be able to re-open in Leicester City from 3 August. The next review will take place by 13 August. Find out more

  • Leicestershire County Council: Unemployment dashboard:

    The Strategic Business Intelligence team at the council have recently released the statistics of unemployment Job Seeker allowance (JSA) claimants.

    The dashboard provides statistics for the previous quarter both from a local district/ board perspective and as a county, region. The August 2020 Unemployment dashboard is now available at the link. Archived versions of previous bulletins can be found here. This may be useful for VCSE organisations that need this type of data for funding bids. Especially as the data is further analysed from an age, sex, occupation, and ethnicity perspective.

  • Leicester City Council: £40million cost of council’s Covid-19 response

    On 16 September the council published an article explaining that the Overview Select Committee will be advised in a report that the pandemic cost the authority over £40m. The report is the first one to review all the council’s spending this year, which has been dominated by the effects of the pandemic and lockdown.
    The city council is expecting around £34m of Government funding, but there is concern that its total costs could rise if case numbers keep growing. Read more. Papers from the meeting should come available on this part of the council’s website in due course.

  • Leicester City Members of Parliament (MPs): Letter demanding more financial support for Leicester

    On 23 October The Rt Hon Liz Kendall MP and the Rt Hon Jon Ashworth MP have written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer calling further financial support for Leicester’s businesses, following his statement to the House of Commons on Thursday. The Leicester MPs are urging the Chancellor to backdate full support for the city’s businesses to July, to account for the additional impact the local lockdown had on the economy. They have also called for further support for the City Council to fund test and trace, as well as making sure that no school loses out on funding due to paying to cover staff shortages. Read the full letter here.

  • Leicestershire County Council: A guide to reducing loneliness in Leicestershire

    Many people across all sections of society experience loneliness or isolation at various times in their lives. Loneliness can affect anyone, regardless of the area you live in, your age, your background or your personal circumstances. The government has recognised that loneliness is a challenge experienced all over the country, which is why a national Loneliness Strategy was published in 2018. Read more

  • Blaby District Council: Telephone Befriending Service

    The council is currently offering a free telephone friendship befriending service, which offers an opportunity for people to enjoy talking to someone over the phone. Anyone interested in using the service  needs to have a landline or mobile phone. They also need to be able to hear and be understood over the phone. You can contact the service to obtain a referral form: vcshub@blaby.gov.uk Find out more here

  • Leicestershire Police, Cybercrime team - Raising awareness & Staying safe online

    At this time of year and in the current climate, we may all be doing more shopping or other transactions/interactions online so it’s particularly important to know how to spot when something may be fraudulent. If this is something of interest now or in the future and you’d like more information, please do contact, PCSO Tiffany Row on: tiffany.row@leicestershire.pnn.police.uk or call07966222895. Details of what Cyber Crime is and how to address it can be found here.

  • Leicester City Council Draft Budget

    Leicester City Council have published their draft budget and capital programme for 2021-2022 further details are on the City Council website.

    These reports will be discussed by councillors in January and February, and the final budget and capital programme will be approved by the Council on 17 February.

    The City Mayor is keen to hear from key communities of interest in Leicester regarding the draft Budget.

    This includes those groups and organisations that make up the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector. VAL will be responding with comments and if you would like to be part of that response you should contact our helpline on: 0116 255 5050 or email: helpline@valonline.org.uk

  • Pending local elections 6 May 2021

    On Friday 5 February 2021 the government confirmed that the range of polls scheduled for 6 May 2021, including council and mayoral elections in England, and the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in England and Wales, will go ahead as planned. Read more

  • Leicester City Council’s - Social Care & Education Provider Hub

    Leicester City Council has created a new Social Care & Education Provider Hub for existing and potential providers of adult social care and children and young people’s services in Leicester. Read more

  • Proxy voting to be allowed in local elections

    On 23 February 2021 the Cabinet Office and Chloe Smith MP released a press release explaining that individuals who need to self-isolate because of coronavirus will still be able to vote in the local elections, following a planned amendment to emergency proxy voting rules published in Parliament. Read more

  • Local elections postal voting

    If you are registered to vote in England/Wales and want to vote by post in the local elections on 6 May 2021, you must submit a postal vote application form that is received by your local Electoral Office before 5pm on Tues 20 April. Read more

Out of the EU

  • EU Exit: Preparing for the end of the transition period

    The UK has left the EU, and the transition period comes to an end on 31 December 2020.

    The UK has left the EU, and the transition period comes to an end on 31 December 2020. Please check the new rules from January 2021 to ensure that your organisation is ready. The deadline for applying is 30 June 2021.

    • If your organisation employs EU staff

    Ask your employees to check if they need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. EU, EEA or Swiss citizens can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021.

    Read the guidance: Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (settled and pre-settled status)

    • If your organisation receives EU funding

    Under the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK will continue to participate in programmes funded under the current 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework until their closure.

    Read the guidance: Getting EU funding

    • If your organisation receives any personal data from the EU

    If your organisation receives personal data from the EU/EEA, you should review your contracts to ensure you can continue to do so legally during and after the transition period. You may not know if your data is hosted outside of the UK so it is worth checking.

    Read the guidance: Using personal data in your business or other organisation during and after the transition period.

    If your organisation imports or exports goods with the EU

    From 1 January 2021 the process for importing and exporting goods will change. Find out what you need to do to continue to:

    Import goods from the EU.

    Export goods to the EU.

  • Keep data flowing at the end of the UK's transition out of the EU

    On 3 December the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) delivered a webinar aimed at small and medium organisations. The webinar discussed the key data protection requirements to consider at the end of the transition period for leaving the EU. Read more

NHS & Public Health England

  • The NHS Advice for everyone on Coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • NHS: The Healthy Start Scheme:

    The Healthy Start scheme is a national incentive to encourage the best start in life. Beneficiaries who are eligible for the scheme will receive vouchers to spend with local retailers.

    There are have been some recent changes to the scheme. The vouchers can help encourage a healthy diet and access to wholesome foods for children and pregnant women. The changes to the ‘Healthy Start’ scheme include: A health professionals’ signature is no longer required on the application form, Beneficiaries will still need to provide their own signature before sending off the form and the expiry date of the Health Start vouchers have been increased by 4 weeks, so the vouchers will now be valid for 12 weeks. Find out more

  • Department of Health and Social Care and Cabinet Office - Face coverings when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own

    On 23 September the government updated the guidance. Changes have been made to the following sections: ‘When to wear a face covering’, ‘Enforcement measures for failing to comply with this law’, ‘When you do not need to wear a face covering’ and ‘Face coverings at work’. Read more

  • Department for Health and Social Care: PPE portal - how to order COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE)

    On 20 October the government updated this guidance in context to order limits. The PPE portal can be used by social care and primary care providers to get critical coronavirus (COVID-19) personal protective equipment (PPE). Providers who can use the service will receive an email invitation to register. The guidance can be found here.

  • Department of Health and Social Care: Designated premises scheme - letter to directors of adult social services

    On 21 October the government published correspondence about the letters sent setting  out arrangements for the Care Quality Commission designated premises scheme for people discharged to a care home with a positive COVID-19. The letter is titled Winter discharges: designated settings. Read more.

  • Department of Health and Social Care: Health Secretary warns of long-term effects of COVID-19 as new film released

    On 21 October the government published a press release about new data that suggests long COVID affects around 10% of 18 to 49 year olds who become unwell with COVID-19. The Health Secretary urges people to follow the guidelines to protect themselves and others from the potentially debilitating long-term impact of COVID-19. A new film has been released featuring the stories of 4 people, one aged just 22, who are living with the long-term effects of the virus. The press release and video can be found here:

  • Department of Health and Social Care: Independent review of NHS hospital food

    On 26 October the government published an independent report showing the findings and recommendations of the independent review of NHS hospital food. The report highlights the main challenges for NHS catering and makes recommendations covering: Workforce, Nutrition and hydration, Food safety, Facilities, Technology, Sustainability, Enforcing standards and The way forward to improving hospital food for patients, staff and visitors. Read more

  • Public Health England: Flu Vaccination Campaign

    New Public Health England (PHE) research suggests that people infected with both flu and COVID-19 between January and April were more at risk of severe illness and death. Three of the nation’s senior medics – Dr Yvonne Doyle, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, and Dr Nikita Kanani – are calling on all eligible people to get vaccinated against flu. The health system is working to provide the free flu vaccine to 30 million people. Read more

  • Department of Health and Social Care: Coronavirus (COVID-19) - getting tested

    On 6 November the government updated their guidance. Individuals who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 should not be included in testing until after 90 days of their initial onset of symptom or, if asymptomatic when tested, 90 days after their positive test result. The guidance also provides details on which workers are classed as essential workers in context to priority testing. These include: Charities and workers delivering critical frontline services. Employers can refer essential workers for testing if they are self-isolating because either they or member(s) of their household have coronavirus symptoms. Read more

  • Talk/together: Consultation

    Talk/together is the UK’s biggest-ever conversation about what divides and unites us, and what could bring our society together in these difficult times. Together is a campaign that starts with questions rather than answers. It’s run by a major new coalition of household names like the NHS and the Scouts, and local community organisations too. Details of the campaign can be found here. 
    They want you to have your say about what divides us, what unites us and what will bring us closer/together. They hope this will be the biggest public survey since the census, engaging people in conversations right across the UK. Details of the survey can be found here.

  • Public Health England: COVID-19 - deaths of people with learning disabilities

    On 12 November the government released a report about the deaths from COVID-19 of people identified as having learning disabilities. The review looked at:Deaths from COVID-19 of people with learning disabilities; Factors impacting the risk of death from COVID-19 of people with learning disabilities and Deaths in care settings of people with learning disabilities. The review will help inform policy and practice to reduce the future risk and impact of COVID-19 on people with learning disabilities. Read more

  • Department of Health and Social Care: Pilot for family members to get regular testing for safer care home visits

    On 14 November the government issued a press release. Named family and friends may soon be able to regularly visit loved ones in care homes as a new testing pilot is launched. Care homes across Hampshire, Cornwall and Devon will pioneer the new system which will see a designated visitor given access to tests. Around 20 care homes will be included in the trial before a wider roll-out in December. Visitors will be offered either PCR tests which they can do at home, or the new 30-minute rapid lateral flow tests (LFTs), which can be administered in person at care homes before a visit. The press release can be found here. Guidance on visiting arrangements in care homes for the period of national restrictions can be found here.

  • Department of Health and Social Care: PPE portal - how to order COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE)

    On 19 November the government updated the guidance. Eligible organisations that can use the PPE portal also include; Community drug and alcohol services and Residential drug and alcohol services. If you’re a provider in one of the eligible categories, your invitation to register will be sent to your email account registered with Care Quality Commission (CQC), NHS Business Services Authority (BSA), NHS England or the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The email will be from: ppe.dedicated.supply.channel@notifications.service.gov.uk. Read guidance here.

  • Department of Health and Social Care: Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for homecare workers

    On 20 November the government published this new guidance. The guidance sets out how homecare agencies in England can order regular tests for their homecare (domiciliary care) staff. NHS Test and Trace is making weekly COVID-19 testing available to all homecare workers in Care Quality Commission (CQC)-registered domiciliary care organisations. Homecare worker testing should only be conducted on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The government is also delivering webinars on this topic, subscribe via this link. Read the full guidance here.

  • Department for Health and Social Care: Additional COVID-19 local authority enforcement powers

    On 2 December, additional powers came into force to support local authorities’ efforts to maintain COVID-secure environments in their area. In the guidance, published on 4 December, it explains that following proposals from and consultation with local authorities in England, the government has provided local authorities in England with new powers to take decisive action against premises that do not comply with COVID-secure rules.

    The tools are intended to enable local authorities to take targeted action against unsafe premises and to avoid further sector-wide restrictions, thus keeping the majority of safe premises open. Read more.

  • Department for health and social care: COVID-19 vaccinations and care homes programme launch

    On 4 December the government published a letter from the Minister for Care to local authorities, directors of adult social services and managers of care homes for older adults. It outlines plans for getting the first COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech) to care home staff, from the first day vaccinations are available. Getting the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to care home residents is challenging because of the requirements for transporting it and the temperature at which it is stored. Initially the government’s focus, is on vaccinating care home workers and the over 80s. Read more.

  • Guidance for hostel services for people experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping update

    On 14 December the government guidance published by Public Health England and Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government titled COVID-19: guidance for hostel services for people experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping was updated. The guidance has been revised to reflect that the self-isolation period has been reduced to 10 days. Read more

  • Advice on groups that should be prioritised for vaccination.

    On 30 December the Department of Health and Social Care published an independent report titled Priority groups for coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises that the first priorities for the current COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of COVID-19 mortality and the protection of health and social care staff and systems. Read more

  • COVID-19 guidance for people living on a traveller site, in a vehicle or on a canal boat.

    On 6 January 2021 Public Health England and the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government updated the guidance titled COVID-19: guidance for those leading a nomadic way of life. Read more

  • COVID-19 Guidance for commissioners & providers of hostel services updated

    On 6 January 2021 Public Health England and the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government updated  the COVID-19: guidance for hostel services for people experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping. Read more

  • Vaccine Deployment Minister calling on people from ethnic minority backgrounds to get their COVID-19 vaccine

    On 30 January 2021, the Department of Health and Social Care and Nadhim Zahawi MP, published a press release titled “Vaccine Deployment Minister and Mayor of London collaborate to share benefits of vaccine uptake. Explaining that people of black African ethnicity in England are over twice as likely to die from this virus than white people, according to the ONS. The same is also true of South Asian people. Read more

  • Care home vaccination follow-ups

    On 1 February 2021 the Department of Health and Social Care published a news story describing that the COVID-19 vaccine has now been offered to residents at every eligible care home with older residents across England. They are advising any care home in England with older residents and staff who have not yet been visited to contact them to ensure vaccinations can be offered as soon as possible. Read more

  • Government’s white paper on the future of health and care

    On 11 February 2021 the Department of Health and Social Care and The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP published an oral statement to Parliament setting out the government’s white paper on the future of health and care. Read more

  • Guidance on shielding and protecting people guidance revised

    Previously we have reported on Public Health England’s and Department of Health and Social Care’s  COVID-19 guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable. On 16 February 2021 the definition of clinically extremely vulnerable groups was updated. Read more

  • PHE launches new Psychological First Aid training

    Public Health England (PHE) has launched a new psychological first aid (PFA) online training course to help support children and young people that have been affected by emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic. The course is free, takes up to three hours to complete and no previous qualifications are required. It is available for all frontline workers such as teachers, health & social workers, charity & community volunteers and anyone who cares for children and young people aged up to 25, including parents & caregivers. Find out more

  • JCVI advises inviting people on Learning Disability Register for vaccine

    Following a campaign by Jo Whiley, a BBC radio DJ, who appeared on the Andrew Marr show on 21 February 2021 and various other TV programmes about how Covid-19 was affecting her sister Francis who has learning disabilities, Public Health England published on 24 February 2021 a news story titled JCVI advises inviting people on Learning Disability Register for vaccine. Read more

Companies House

  • Accounts and Tax Returns

    You can apply to extend your accounts filing deadline with Companies House if you cannot send your accounts because of an event that’s outside of your control. Due to Covid-19, you can apply for an immediate 3 month extension if your company is affected by coronavirus.

    As a charitable company or a social enterprise such as a community interest company or a company limited by guarantee, you are legally required to complete a return to the regulator companies house. To qualify for this extension, you must apply before your filing deadline. You may not be eligible if you’ve already extended your filing deadline, or shortened your accounting period.

    To apply for an extension due to coronavirus you must apply online.
    Details of how to apply can be found here.

  • Companies House: Company authentication codes for online filing

    On 15 July Companies House updated their guidance on authentication codes for online filing.  The authentication code is a 6 digit alphanumeric code issued by us to each company.

    The code is used to authorise information filed online and is the equivalent of a company officer’s signature. As part of their response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, a  temporary service has been introduced. Users can now request to have the authentication code sent to a home address instead of the company’s registered office. For further details click here.

  • Companies House: Accessible documents policy

    This policy explains how accessible the documents Companies House publishes on GOV.UK are.

    A number of charities are registered with companies house and most social enterprises are. It covers PDFs, spreadsheets, presentations and other types of document. The policy can be found here.

  • Companies House: Companies House fees guidance

    On 24 August companies house updated their guidance to include fees for ordering certificates through Companies House Service (CHS).

    The guidance covers a list of all the fees companies House charges, and how they determine these fees. Registration fees do not apply to documents delivered under the Companies Act 1985 or the Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 1986. Any document delivered under these acts will be free of charge.
    The guidance can be found here.

  • Companies House: Applying to protect your personal information on the Companies House register

    On 16 September companies house published this guidance. It explains how to restrict disclosure of certain information if you’re at serious risk as a company director, limited liability partnership (LLP) member or person with significant control (PSC). Most information registered at Companies House is available to the public. Other personal details, such as your home address and full date of birth, are not published on the Companies House register. Read more

  • Companies House: File a second filing of a document previously delivered (RP04)

    On 17 September companies house updated their filing procedures to include online filing options for second filing and advice about correcting You can file your second filing online to correct an error made on: CS01 Confirmation statement (only for errors made on share capital or shareholders), SH01 Return of allotment of shares or AP01 Appointment of director.

    Further details can be found here

  • Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Companies House: Corporate transparency & register reform

    On 18 September the government published the consultation outcome. The government response sets out a range of proposals to improve the reliability and accuracy of information on the Companies Register.

    The proposals include: Identity verification, Reforms to Companies House powers, Protecting personal information and Company accounts.The full outcome can be found here.

  • Companies House: Business plan 2020-2021 and Strategy 2020-2025

    On 29 September companies house published a number of documents in context to their new strategy and business plan. They have a commitment to tackling economic crime and driving confidence in the UK economy. Read more

  • Companies House to pause voluntary and compulsory strike off processes for one month

    On 27 January 2021 Companies House published a news story explaining that they are closely following the government’s COVID-secure guidance and have reduced the number of colleagues in their offices. This has led to delays in processing correspondence, documents and forms. On that basis they have temporarily paused their strike off processes so that companies are not adversely affected by these delays. Read more

Charity Commission

NCVO

  • The Institute of Fundraising and others: Never more needed campaign:

    The never more needed campaign is asking the government to: recognise that existing government measures do not do enough to help charities, to ensure the distribution of funding available is speedy and efficient, and to make the necessary regulatory changes to existing schemes.

    The immediate response to coronavirus is only the start. People across the country know that charities are #NeverMoreNeeded now, and for the foreseeable future. The campaign is asking people to :

    • Show your support by adding the #NeverMoreNeeded logo to your social media profile pages – download images from resource link below.
    • Follow the campaign on social media @NeverMoreNeeded, like, retweet and reply to them, using #NeverMoreNeeded.
    • Tell your family and friends about the campaign – use the information sheet.
    • Write to your local MP about the campaign – template letter.
    • Share your story – how has a charity or voluntary organisation touched your life or your family? What’s the difference this has made to you? View examples on their resource page.

    The partners that brought the campaign together can be found here.
    Details of the campaign can be found here.

  • NCVO – Your Organisation and Coronavirus

    Guidance and resources to support charities, voluntary organisations and volunteers during the covid-19 pandemic.

    Visit the NCVO website

  • NCVO have written some new guidance on Involving and Managing Volunteers

    Advice on involving and managing volunteers during the coronavirus outbreak – It includes details such as, the possibility of a volunteer being stopped by the police and expected to explain why they are not at home. Telling volunteers to remind those they are helping not to give out credit or debit card details, personal identification numbers or passwords.

    Visit the NCVO website

  • Guidance to help with running your charity during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

    The guidance covers the following areas and we recommend all registered charities and unregistered charities such as charitable unincorporated associations read the guidance in full.

    Visit the gov.uk website

  • New procurement guidance in response to covid-19: Implications for charities

    Charities delivering public services are facing extremely serious challenges due to covid-19. From drastic changes in the volume and nature of demand, to having to adapt or even suspend their services. NCVO and others have urged the government to ensure charities delivering public services have the support and flexibility they need.

    Visit the NCVO website

  • National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO): IiV Essentials:

    NCVO’s vision is to champion for the voluntary sector and volunteering because they’re essential for a better society. IiV Essentials is a free online tool designed especially for volunteer-involving groups and organisations. This tool can help you do a basic health check on your volunteer practice, identifying strengths and areas for improvement. It covers the basic areas to model good practice for involving and managing volunteers. It will help you to think about volunteers’ experiences and how volunteers make the biggest difference to your cause.
    To find out about other NCVO quality standards click here.

  • Charity Tax Group and partners: Gift Aid Emergency Relief

    The Gift Aid Emergency Relief campaign is led by a coalition of Charities Aid Foundation, Chartered Institute of Fundraising, Charity Finance Group, Charity Tax Group, National Council for Voluntary Organisations, Institute of Fundraising Scotland and Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Small Charities Coalition, Charity Retail Association and Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations.  The campaign is about getting a temporary increase in the value of Gift Aid to assist charities during the COVID-19 pandemic and to incentivise donations for supporters. Read more

  • National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and partners: Respond, recover, reset: the voluntary sector and COVID-19 - October 2020

    The Centre of People, Work  and Organisational Practice  at Nottingham Trent University, The Voluntary Action  Research Group at  Sheffield Hallam University and NCVO are the project partners of this new research project. The project examines COVID-19 impact on voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations. In particular, it focuses on providing real-time data about how the pandemic is impacting voluntary organisations working-practices and operations, their responses, learning and resilience. Read more

  • NCVO: Updated Charity Governance Code

    The refresh of the Code follows a rigorous consultation & engagement exercise. Good governance in charities is fundamental to their success. The aim of this Code is to help charities and their trustees develop these high standards of governance. Read more

Government

  • The Coronavirus Act 2020

    Full version of the Coronavirus Act 2020.

    Read the full act

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance

    Find guidance about coronavirus (COVID-19) for health professionals and other organisations.

    Visit the gov.uk website

  • Guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities COVID-19 and renting

    Guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities

    Visit the gov.uk website

  • Cabinet Office: Please give me space’ social distancing cards or badges guidance

    On 4 August the cabinet office published the please give me space’ social distancing cards or badges guidance. Optional badges can be used to show the carrier may have difficulties or concerns in maintaining social distancing.

    They can be used to signal to others around them that they need to pay attention and be given space. There are formats to use on a mobile phone or to print. Details can be found here.

  • Cabinet Office: Government ministers and responsibilities guidance

    On 28 August the government updated its guidance. The guidance lists government ministers and their responsibilities in the following way;

    • Ministerial departments
    • The ministers within ministerial departments
    • Private offices of all the ministers

    The executive agencies within each department.Read full guidance here.

  • Cabinet Office: Coronavirus (COVID-19) statistics and analysis

    On 2 September the government updated its guidance to include the addition of link to Collection page, ‘PPE deliveries statistics (England): weekly reports’. The guidance covers, COVID-19 cases and deaths, Estimated infection rate, Deaths where COVID-19 is suspected, Testing and tracing, Hospital cases of COVID-19, Business and the economy, Education, Shielding, Social impacts and Transport.
    Some of the statistics may be useful for funding bids.
    The full guidance can be found here.

  • Cabinet Office: HMG Legal Position: UK Internal Market Bill (UKIM) and Northern Ireland Protocol
  • Home Office: Serious Violence Reduction Orders (SVROs)

    On 14 September the home office published an open consultation on a new court order to target known knife and offensive weapon carriers.
    The consultation closes at 11:45pm on 8 November 2020. SVROs would empower the police to stop and challenge those who are known to carry knives. The government feels it will help to keep communities safer by giving officers a tool to help tackle the most dangerous offenders. They are consulting on the design of SVROs and welcome views on how they can ensure these important tools are used appropriately. The document and way to respond can be found here.

  • Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government: Local COVID-19 outbreaks: lessons learnt and good practice

    On 14 September the government published the report of Dame Mary Ney’s rapid stocktake of lessons learnt from the Leicester City/Leicestershire experience of responding to a local surge in COVID-19 cases. The report sets out learning and best practice drawn from Dame Mary Ney’s work which included conversations with key players at all 5 local authorities in the Leicester City/Leicestershire area.
    The ministerial response welcomes the report and outlines how the learning and good practice that it highlights will be used in the future. There is mention of Voluntary Action LeicesterShire (VAL) in section 5.2 of the report titled Volunteering. Read more

  • Cabinet Office: Queen’s birthday honour list

    On 9 October the government published a press release about how frontline responders and community volunteers honoured in most diverse honours list ever. The list showcases 414 exceptional contributions of unsung heroes in all four nations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and is the most ethnically diverse list to date, with 13% of recipients from a minority ethnic background. 72% of the awards go to those who have worked tirelessly for their local community. This reflects the huge voluntary effort across the country in response to COVID-19. Read more

  • Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government: COVID-19 - provision of night shelters

    On 13 October the government published this guidance  explaining the operating principles for commissioners and providers of night shelters for people experiencing rough sleeping. The document sets out operating principles to support commissioners, staff and volunteers of rough sleeping accommodation (night shelters) as well as rough sleepers themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic, should the decision be taken to open a shelter. Read more.

  • Cabinet Office and Home Office: Common Travel Area - rights of UK and Irish citizens

    On 23 October the government updated its guidance relating to the eligibility of Irish citizens to apply for permission to come to the UK from 1 January 2021, including S2 healthcare visitors, service providers from Switzerland, and frontier workers.
    Read more

  • Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport: Coronavirus - How to help safely

    On 4 November the government updated this guidance. Where possible, people should volunteer from home. If they cannot do so, they can volunteer outside their home if they follow the social distancing guidance and no-one in their household has symptoms of coronavirus or has tested positive for coronavirus. Read more

  • Cabinet Office and National security and intelligence: National Cyber Security Strategy 2016 to 2021

    On 24 November the government updated the policy paper with the latest progress report.The National Cyber Security Strategy 2016 to 2021 set out the government’s plan to make Britain secure and resilient in cyberspace. Read more

  • HM Treasury: Spending Review 2020

    The Chancellor of the Exchequer delivered his Spending Review to Parliament on 25 November 2020. Spending Review 2020 (SR20) prioritises funding to support the government’s response to Covid-19, invest in the UK’s recovery, and deliver on promises to the British people. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused exceptional hardship for individuals, families and businesses across the UK. Read more

  • Annual Report on Special Advisers 2020

    On 15 December the cabinet office released an annual publication providing data on the UK Government’s special advisers and their pay bands as at 15 December 2020. The publication  enables you to understand what people are giving advice to various parts of the government. Read more

  • National lockdown - Stay at Home guidance issued

    On 4 January 2021 the cabinet published this new guidance for the 3rd national lockdown. The government is saying that the single most important action we can all take is to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. You must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary. Read more

  • Critical workers and vulnerable children who can access schools or educational settings updated

    On 8 January 2021 the Department for Education and Cabinet Office updated their guidance on the list of critical workers (key workers) and vulnerable children and young people who can access full-time education provision in the case of future restrictions on education during the coronavirus outbreak. Read more

  • Guidance on volunteering during the national lockdown

    On 8 January the  Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport updated the  guidance titled enabling safe and effective volunteering during coronavirus (COVID-19). The guidance aims to help organisations and groups understand how to safely and effectively involve volunteers during the pandemic. Read more

  • Emergency Funding for local government

    On 11 January 2021 the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government updated their Coronavirus (COVID-19): Emergency funding for local government in 2020 to 2021 and additional support in 2021 to 2022 guidance. This revised guidance includes details of the local council tax support grant. Read more

  • Expansion of dormant assets scheme

    On 9 January the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, HM Treasury, Office for Civil Society, The Rt Hon Oliver Dowden CBE MP, Baroness Barran MBE, and John Glen MP published a press release explaining that  the expansion of the dormant assets scheme will help unlock over £800 million for communities across the UK.

    Dormant assets across the insurance and pensions, investment, wealth management, and securities sectors are set to be unlocked. Originally the scheme covered only bank and building society accounts.

    The press release can be found here.

  • National strategy to protect children from all forms of child sexual abuse

    In September 2020 VAL published an article on the government’s response to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. The government, in its response, stated its commitment to tackling child sexual abuse and exploitation in all its forms.
    On 22 January 2021 the Home Office, The Rt Hon Priti Patel MP, and Victoria Atkins MP published a news story, in which, they describe the first-of-its-kind national strategy to protect children from all forms of child sexual abuse. Read more

  • Whether volunteers are eligible for vaccines

    Previously we reported on the government’s guidance on volunteering during the pandemic titled Enabling safe and effective volunteering during coronavirus (COVID-19). The article can be accessed here. The guidance was updated by Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport on 4 February 2021, to include a new section on volunteers eligible for vaccines. Read more

  • DWP Kickstart Scheme revised

    The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Kickstart Scheme provides fully-funded jobs for 16-24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long-term unemployment. The funding available pays 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours per week for 6 months. Read more

  • Reopening businesses and venues in England

    On 24 February 2021 the Cabinet Office published the new “re-opening businesses and venues in England” guidance. This is a step-by-step plan to ease restrictions in England cautiously. Read more

  • Budget announcement on Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

    In the news story about the budget published on 3 March 2021 the  HM Treasury announced an extension of the UK-wide Self Employment Income Support scheme to September 2021, with 600,000 more people who filed a tax return in 2019-20 now being able to claim for the first time. Read more

  • Extension of the 'Furlough' scheme announced in the budget

    In the budget announcement on 3 March 2021 delivered by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, the government explained that the Coronavirus Job Retention ‘Furlough’ scheme will be extended until the end of September 2021. Read more

  • Access to personal protective equipment (PPE) for unpaid carers

    In line with current government guidelines this offer is available until 30 June 2021. Free PPE for COVID-19 is presently available to unpaid carers who do not live with the person or people they care for. Read more

  • Shielding advice for the clinically extremely vulnerable to stop from April 2021

    On 18 March 2021 the Department of Health and Social Care published a press release explaining that, in line with the government’s COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021 roadmap, those on the shielded patient list can from 1 April 2021 begin to follow the national restrictions alongside the rest of the population. Read more

Other

  • Volunteering matters: National scheme to help keep transport users safe

    On 23 May the Secretary of State for Transport announced that national charity Volunteering Matters is coordinating a volunteer response programme – Journey Makers – to help keep people safe using transport networks as lockdown restrictions are eased.

    Volunteers, called Journey Makers, will be offering guidance, providing friendly advice, reminding passengers about social distancing measures, preventing overcrowding and helping vulnerable passengers on their journeys.  The main role of a Journey Maker will be to provide support for the public in preventing crowd congestion at major transport stations.

    Volunteer tasks will involve:

    • Supporting passenger flow in and out of stations
    • Guiding passengers through new designated social distancing safe pathways
    • Encouraging passengers to use face coverings (in line with government and station advice)
    • Providing clear and concise verbal instructions to people moving through the station
    • Reassuring passengers and answering questions

    Volunteers will be provided with appropriate PPE (in line with that worn by staff) and have an induction by station staff before they begin their role.
    Details of the scheme can be found here.

    If you are interested in knowing more about the volunteer roles locally, then please get in touch with VAL’s helpline If using the online form, please use the option volunteering in the reason for contact drop down box.

  • Financial management during COVID-19

    Gurbinder Singh, Director of Leicester-based accountants BGS Accounting, provides guidance for local charities and community groups on how to manage their finances during COVID-19.

    Read more

  • Financial management after COVID-19

    Gurbinder Singh, Director of Leicester-based accountants BGS Accounting, provides guidance for local charities and community groups on how to manage their finances once the COVID-19 lockdown passes.

    Read more

  • Small Charities Coalition - Small charities bulletin (2 March 2020)

    This special briefing has been written to help small charities think through some of the issues that Coronavirus may mean for their organisation.

    Visit the NHS website

  • Charity Bank - COVID-19 Resource Hub for Charities and Social Enterprises

    COVID-19 has created extra challenges for the social sector. Many of your staff may now be working from home. You may have had to cancel events and change how you support your service users.

    Visit Charity Bank

  • Pets and Coronavirus - Comfort in Crisis

    Members of the CFSG have come together to provide clear guidance to owners on how to look after their pets during the current COVID-19 crisis. Pets are valuable family members who can provide comfort and companionship to people during this period of time when many will be self-isolating or unwell. We want to ensure advice around their care is clear and people know where to go for further up to date information on controlling the spread of COVID-19 whilst meeting their pet’s welfare needs.

    Visit the CFSG website

  • Charity Retail Association:  Reopening pack

    The charity retail association describe themselves as the primary membership organisation for charity shops in the United Kingdom.

    The re-opening pack consists of helpful guidance for when charity shops  are given the green light to open up shops, and provides some suggestions of things to think about in the meantime.

    The pack  should be read in conjunction with UK Government guidance for shops on working safely during coronavirus.
    The pack is regularly revised to take account of government changes and feedback from members. The latest version published is version 3. Read more

  • Law works:

    Law Works is a charity connecting volunteer lawyers with people in need of legal advice. They have produced an article -payment of rent where access to premises is forbidden.

    The article covers :

    • What are our rights?
    • Can we withhold rent?
    • If we cannot occupy the premises, does the lease come to an end?
    • How to use  lease frustration and force majeure

    Read more

  • St John Ambulance: Working safely during COVID-19 - Free tool and advice

    St John Ambulance’s describe themselves  as a charity that steps forward in the moments that matter, to save lives and keep communities safe.

    They have produced a  free online tool to help organisations can work safely during this fast-moving situation: Click here to read more and view the online tool and advice

  • Befriending Network: Interim Volunteer Toolkit

    Befriending Networks is a national support organisation for befriending projects throughout the UK. 
    During the Covid-19 period they have produced a whole range of resources, templates and training videos for interim volunteers which are all available to download free on their website.

    This includes information about DBS, handling money, boundaries, safeguarding and confidentiality as well as template forms and policies for telephone and distance befriending. More information can be found here.

    The easy access Interim Volunteer Toolkit can be found here.

  • Food bank plus report:

    Food Bank Plus is one of several projects supported through the Feeding Leicester partnership which was established to address food poverty in Leicester City. 
    Liz Kendall MP, who chairs Feeding Leicester, and is also a trustee of national anti-hunger charity Feeding Britain, comments:
    “This first year’s record represents a milestone in Feeding Leicester’s fight against poverty and destitution in the city. By clearly identifying the underlying causes of hardship, it also shows the steps the Government needs to take to reduce the appalling levels of need for food banks in the first place.”. No family should have to go without basic essentials, yet all too many in our city are doing so. The findings from this project show what needs to be done to prevent this nightmare scenario afflicting yet more families in future.”

    Mary Collier, from Reaching People, who is the project manager and adviser, adds: “Addressing poverty is critical to people in so many ways. Food Bank Plus demonstrates how important this model of local advice provision is to maximise people’s incomes, increase their independence, improve their health and wellbeing and to enable them to move forward without such reliance on foodbanks.”

    The project has continued to offer specialist support for vulnerable households during the COVID-19 pandemic, with ongoing funding from The National Lottery Community Fund.  Details of the report can be found here.

  • Leicestershire Police Neighbourhood Link Service:
  • Cabinet Office: Staying Alert and safe (social distancing) until 4 July

    Whilst nationally the government updated its staying alert and safe guidance on 24 June regarding what the public can do during lockdown, it doesn’t have a section about local lockdown. Therefore this may mean that the public and organisations might get confused with what they can and can’t do.

    As part of the local lockdown process extra funding has been allocated to Leicester and Leicestershire councils to support them to enhance their communications and ensure those communications are translated into all locally relevant languages. At this stage the detail of what this will be is not yet available. In the circumstances we recommend that you make sure you cross reference what is in the cabinet office guidance and what has been released by the various councils.

    This is the Cabinet Office guidance which relates to England as a whole.
    This is Leicester City Council’s guidance.
    This is Leicestershire County Council’s guidance.
    This is Blaby district council’s guidance.
    This is Charnwood borough council’s guidance
    This is Oadby & Wigston Council’s guidance

  • Choose how you move: Pop-up Cycling and Walking Lanes

    In some of the national media coverage of the local lockdown announcements some residents said they weren’t aware of the walking lanes set up in the city. You may want to share details with your beneficiaries and inform you staff and volunteers.

    Pop-up cycling lanes and widened pavements are being installed across Leicester in response to the coronavirus restrictions. They will enable people to get around the city whilst protecting public transport for key workers. Whilst during local lockdown the government is recommending people in Leicester stay at home as much as you can and they recommend against all but essential travel to, from and within Leicester; if you do go out then knowledge of the current pop-up walking and cycling lanes might be useful.
    Find out more

  • Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority: Spot the signs

    The recent local lockdown national media coverage has highlighted some potential issues with working practices in a small number of local employers.

    The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, as part of their day to day work to protect vulnerable and exploited workers, have produced some workers’ rights leaflets, which can be downloaded in 19 different language formats.
    You may find these useful to share with your beneficiaries where appropriate. They have also produced some guidance on how to spot the signs of  labour exploitation which might prove useful to share with your staff and volunteers.

  • Working together to keep children safe

    The Leicester Safeguarding Children Partnership Board have launched a new short film ‘Was not heard’, which was created by young people and is about youth voice and the importance of listening and creating safe environments of communication.

    The film was was written by 17 year-old writer Yasmin Allen and the narration and performances were provided by twelve young actors aged between six and seventeen. It has been funded and supported by the Safeguarding Children Partnership (Board)s of Leicester and Leicestershire & Rutland (LLR), National Youth Agency, and also, secured through the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), NHS England. Read more

  • UK Parliament Committees: Food insecurity exposed by COVID-19

    The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee’s COVID-19 and Food Supply Report has found that the pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity for millions of people.

    The use of UK food banks almost doubled during lockdown, with a significant spike in demand from people with children. Recognising that the situation is likely to worsen, a cross-party group of MPs has called on Government to urgently appoint a ‘Minister for Food Security’. The new Minister would work across Government departments to collect robust data and deliver sustainable change. The report also urges the Government to consult on whether a ‘right to food’ should be put in legislation. Read the findings from the report here.

  • The University of Sheffield: The Mobilising Volunteers Effectively project report

    The Mobilising Volunteers Effectively (MoVE) project, run by a partnership between the Universities of Sheffield, Hull and Leeds included looking at how best volunteers can be deployed to help vulnerable people during the coronavirus pandemic. This is the first of three reports from phase one of the MoVE (mobilising volunteers effectively) project, exploring key lessons from the national lockdown. Read more

  • Evidence session on Windrush Compensation Scheme

    The session examined how well the Windrush Compensation Scheme has provided support for those caught up in the Windrush scandal. The Home Affairs Committee held its first session of its new inquiry into the Windrush Compensation Scheme on Wednesday 9 December. Read more

  • Department for Education announces ban on unregulated accommodation for certain children in care

    Last year, the Children’s Commissioner for England reported that 12,800 children in care had spent some time living in unregulated settings during 2018/19. The Children Commissioner’s Office published a number of reports in November 2020 based on research with children in care and care leavers about their experiences of the care they received from providers. Read more

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