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: 10 August

Local Council: Update

  • Leicester & Leicestershire Lockdown: Postcode Checker

    Use our Lockdown Postcode Checker Opens another website in new window  to see if you’re in an affected area.


    Increased restrictions for Leicester and parts of Leicestershire

    Residents in Leicester and its outlying areas are to be asked to continue to follow stricter lockdown restrictions for at least two weeks, and non-essential shops will be closed.

    People are being urged to make essential journeys only and stay at home as much as they can.

    The city’s bars, restaurants and hairdressers will not open on 4 July as planned, and shops that were allowed to open on 15 June will have to close again from 30 June.

    Schools will close from 2 July but will stay open for children of key workers and vulnerable children.

    The relaxation of shielding planned for 6 July will not happen.

  • Leicester City Council: Covid Outbreak Management Plan:

    Each local authority has been given funding by central government to develop tailored outbreak control plans, working with local NHS and other stakeholders.

    The Leicester City Council  plan sets out the roles, responsibilities, structures, governance and implementation of a local outbreak management plan for Covid-19 in Leicester City.
    Read more

  • Leicestershire County Council: Covid-19 Outbreak Control and Prevention Plan

    The purpose of the outbreak control and prevention plan is to enable agencies in Leicestershire to prevent, manage, reduce and suppress outbreaks of COVID-19 infection across the County. 

    This plan sets out the arrangements for surveillance of and response to local outbreaks and infection rates. On 22nd May 2020 the Government announced that as part of its national strategy to reduce infection from COVID-19 it would expect every area in England to create a local Outbreak Plan.
    Read more

  • 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.

  • Government grant will help provide food, toiletries and essential supplies

    Over half-a-million-pounds is being given to food banks and community groups to support Leicestershire residents most in need.

    Leicestershire County Council is using a £540,000 Government grant to help vulnerable people and those shielding access food, toiletries, and other essential supplies through local foodbanks and community hubs across the county.
    Read more.

  • 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

NHS & Public Health England

  • The NHS Advice for everyone on Coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Public Health England: Covid-19 review of disparities in risks and outcomes

    On 2 June Public Health England published their research and analysis of disparities in the risk and outcomes of Covid-19.  

    The research showed that the largest disparity found was by age.
    Among people already diagnosed with COVID-19, people who were 80 or older were seventy times more likely to die than those under 40.

    Risk of dying among those diagnosed with COVID-19 was also higher in males than females; higher in those living in the more deprived areas than those living in the least deprived; and higher in those in Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups than in White ethnic groups.

    These inequalities largely replicate existing inequalities in mortality rates in previous years, except for BAME groups, as mortality was previously higher in White ethnic groups.

    These analyses take into account age, sex, deprivation, region and ethnicity.

    Details of the report can be found here.

  • Public Health England: Beat the Heat

    The Heatwave and Summer preparedness programme became operational on Monday 1 June to raise both public and professional awareness of the health impacts of hot weather, including severe heat.

    An episode of hot weather represents a concurrent risk to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  Details of public health’s beat the heat: Coping with heat and covid-19 can be found here. Read more

  • NHS: Get a coronavirus test:

    The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP delivered an oral statement to parliament yesterday about the local measures to deal with the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

    He stated that Leicester will have further testing capability, including opening a walk-in centre. Anyone in Leicester with symptoms must come forward for a test. There are two ways to get a coronavirus test, Getting a test kit delivered to your home or Going to a test site. You will need to book a test. The process to do this can be found here.

  • NHS: Check if you or your child has coronavirus symptoms

    In light of the local lockdown, you may want to remind the communities you support of what to look out regarding symptoms of coronavirus and how to check. If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), you must stay at home (self-isolate) and get a test.

    The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
    A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
    A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
    A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

    Most people with coronavirus have at least 1 of these symptoms. If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus.

    The NHS guidance can be found here.

  • The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Leicester) Regulations 2020:

    On 3 July the Secretary of State made the following regulations in exercise of the powers conferred by sections 45C(1), (3)(c), (4)(d), 45F(2) and 45P of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984(1).

    They were laid before parliament on that date and came into force on 4 July. We recommend all VCSE organisations have an awareness of these regulations to understand how it might affect your service delivery, staff, volunteers and beneficiaries. These Regulations are made in response to the serious and imminent threat to public health which is posed by the incidence and spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in England.
    Read more

  • Department of Health and Social Care: Local lockdown measures to continue in Leicester with modifications

    On 16 July The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP delivered an oral statement to parliament.  He wanted to update the House on the situation in Leicester.
    He explained that at the end of June the government made the decision to close schools and non-essential retail in the city, and not to introduce the relaxations that applied elsewhere in England  from 4 July, like the reopening of pubs.  This was not an easy decision, but it was one that they chose to take.
    Read more

  • Dept. of Health & Social Care: UK Chief Medical Officers statement on extension of self-isolation period

    Statement from the UK Chief Medical Officers was published on 30 July.
    The self-isolation period has been extended to 10 days for those in the community who have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or a positive test result. It is very important people with symptoms self-isolate and get a test, which will allow contact tracing. 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: Upload a document to companies house

    As part of companies house response to the pandemic, on 6 July they introduced  a temporary service to enable companies to upload a document to Companies House.
    Their latest release of the service allows users to upload:

    • Resolutions (in relation to a change of constitution)
    • Articles of association (in relation a to change of constitution)

    The upload form can be found here.
    Details of the service can be found here.

  • Companies House: Companies House to restart the voluntary strike off process

    On 10 July companies house published a news story explaining that from 10 September 2020, they will restart the process for companies that have applied for voluntary strike off.

    You may have received a letter from Companies House stating that your company will be struck off within 2 months if no objections are received, but your company is still listed on the Companies House register. They may have suspended strike off action because companies house have received an objection to your application for strike off. Or this could be due to their temporary measures to suspend voluntary strike off action during the coronavirus outbreak. When voluntary strike off action restarts from 10 September – if there are no objections to dissolution and the 2 month period from the publication of the Gazette notice has expired, your company will be struck off shortly afterwards. Read more

  • 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: Sending your forms to Companies House during the coronavirus outbreak

    As an emergency response to coronavirus (COVID-19), Companies House have developed a service to upload a number of completed forms and send digitally.

    As part of their response to coronavirus, they are currently working in new ways to allow users to file documents with them. The telephone contact lines reopened on Friday 24 July. They have introduced an Upload a document to Companies House service. Read the guidance to find out which documents you can upload to Companies House here.

Charity Commission

  • Filing charity annual returns during the Coronavirus pandemic

    Any charity that needs an extension to their annual return deadline can contact the Charity Commission to ask for one.

    Visit the gov.uk website

  • Reporting serious incident guidance

    Charities are urged to check the most up to date advice on Coronavirus, COVID-19.

    Visit the gov.uk website

  • Can our charity assist with COVID-19?

    The charity commission has issued guidance as charities consider whether they can help the effort to tackle COVID-19 and its severe impact on people right across the country.

    Learn more

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19): Increased risk of fraud and cybercrime against charities

    On 17 April the charity commission published a news story about increased risk of fraud and cybercrime against charities. They feel all charities, especially those providing services and supporting local communities during the coronavirus crisis, could be targeted by fraudsters.

    Visit the gov.uk website

  • Charity Commission: Manage financial difficulties in your charity caused by coronavirus

    On 23 April the charity commission guidance published the manage financial difficulties in your charity caused by coronavirus guidance.

    Visit the Charity Commission website

  • Charity Commission: How to donate safely during Ramadan

    On 23 April the charity commission published guidance on how to donate safely during Ramadan. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection and community.

    Visit the Charity Commission website

  • Charity commission: Regulatory and Risk Framework policy paper

    In February 2016 the charity commission published its Charity Commission Regulatory and Risk Framework policy paper.  On 29 April this year they updated the paper. The document outlines how the Charity Commission operates as a risk-led regulator, and in particular:  how they identify and assess risks, how they respond to risks, and how they review and adapt our approach. As mitigating risk is key to charities during covid-19 from both a financial perspective and potential scams, we recommend that trustees and key staff read this.

    Visit the gov.uk website

  • Charity commission: Independent examination of charity accounts: examiners (CC32) guidance

    On 7 May the charity commission updated their CC32 guidance to provide additional guidance for independent examiners of charity accounts during the COVID-19 outbreak.

    Charity law requires all charity trustees to prepare accounts for their charity. The trustees of registered charities must also prepare a trustees’ annual report(the report). The report and accounts tell donors and others interested in the work of the charity what the charity is set up to do, what it has done in the year and how it raised and spent its money. The role of the independent examiner is to provide an independent scrutiny of the accounts. The examiner plays a part in maintaining public trust and confidence in charities. The guidance for Independent Examiners during Covid-19 can be found here

    The CC32 guidance can be found here

  • Charity Commission: Coronavirus (COVID-19) - increased risk of fraud and cybercrime against charities

    On 12 May the charity commission updated their alert providing information and advice for charities about coronavirus (COVID-19) related fraud and cybercrime. The revised news story.

    It provides an update to their scam email and protect your devices sections. Including a free webinar that can be accessed at your leisure. It highlights some of the common ways that charities may be affected by fraud during the Covid-19 pandemic  and provide some simple prevention tips. Read more

  • Charity Commission : Reporting serious incidents to the charity commission during the coronavirus pandemic

    On 3 June the charity commission published supplementary guidance for trustees on what matters may need to be reported as a serious incident during the coronavirus pandemic. We recommend that all charities read this.

    Their guidance on serious incident reporting continues to be the main resource for helping trustees to decide whether to report. However, they appreciate that the pandemic is giving rise to some unprecedented challenges and scenarios that were not envisaged when this guidance was published. Therefore they have produced  a supplementary examples table to help trustees to decide if they need to report an incident that is related to the pandemic.

    Some key things for trustees to consider are:

    • Having to take action to meet government rules, such as closing premises, should not be considered to be a significant incident in itself. It is the impact of this action on the charity that is key to determining if this should be reported
    • They usually expect charities to report any financial losses that don’t involve a crime where they exceed either £25,000 or 20% of the charity’s income. However, these thresholds do not apply when considering financial losses that are related to the pandemic. Trustees should focus on the significance of the impact of any losses rather than the amount.
    • Trustees may still delegate to others, such as staff members, the responsibility for deciding which incidents should be reported to us. However, such decisions should be reported back to the trustees, who remain ultimately responsible for them
    • Use their online form to submit reports, which should be submitted as soon as is reasonably possible after the incident or when the charity becomes aware that a significant harm or loss is highly likely. Remember to use the form to tell them about what the charity is doing about the incident
    • Where trustees consider reporting an incident but decide not to report it, they should keep a brief record of their decision and the reasons for it

    The supplementary table can be found here.

  • Charity commission: Regulating in the public interest:

    On 15 June the charity commission published their research exploring the relationship between the public’s view of Charity and charities and the role of regulation; and trustees’ views of public expectations and of the Commission.

    It is published in the belief that a better understanding of the public will lead to a more informed discussion about how best to regulate their interest in future. We recommend all charities read the report, both registered and unregistered charities and consider how it might relevant to their own charity’s future delivery and planning.

    As the regulator of the charitable sector, part of the Charity Commission’s job is to help make Charity more resilient; to ensure that it can thrive and inspire trust in tough times as well as good, and to do so in a world where the demands for greater scrutiny and accountability sit side-by-side with calls for charities to do more and be more. Building resilience means upholding the special status of Charity and recognising that the regulator and the regulated both have a responsibility to justify the privileges enjoyed in its name.

    For the Charity Commission increasing resilience also means bringing the public interest to the fore. People’s circumstances and outlook on life often vary greatly and these variations have a large influence over their views about Charity and charities.
    Read more

  • Charity commission: Alert for charities - the importance of transparent and accountable governance:

    On 25 June the charity commission published an alert for leaders of large or complex, service-providing charities.
    Whilst it is aimed at these specific charities we recommend that all VCSE organisations use the alert guidance to manage the dangers of a charity growing too quickly, or pursuing funding to take on complex projects, maybe as a response to the covid-19 pandemic,  without putting in place effective governance and oversight to manage risks.
    Read more

  • Charity commission: Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for the charity sector - update

    On 26 June the charity commission updated their Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for the charity sector. The update relates to information for charitable companies and CIOs on new laws affecting members’ meetings and insolvency. 
    These provisions are set out in the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 and came into effect on 26 June. The provisions introduced by the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 aim to help businesses continue operating and avoid insolvency during this period of economic uncertainty due to COVID-19. These provisions apply to charitable companies, and the majority of the provisions also apply to Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs).
    Read the updated guidance here.

  • The Charity Commission and Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport: Charities receive over £32 million from dormant trusts

    On 3 July there was a press release  about a programme that takes funds lying dormant in the accounts of inactive or ineffective charities and puts them to good use.
    The programme is managed by the Charity Commission and the charity UKCF, with funding from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Since its launch in 2018 the programme has ‘revitalised’ £32 million to help good causes – including charities that are responding to the coronavirus and supporting their communities.
    Read more

  • Cabinet Office: Face coverings: when to wear one and how to make your own

    On 14 July the government published guidance on face coverings.

    We recommend all VCSE organisations read the guidance so that they can understand what is relevant in terms of service delivery, volunteers and staff. If you are thinking of making face masks or purchasing branded ones as part of your mix of VCSE income generation approaches, then this guidance is of particular importance. The guidance explains what face coverings are, their role in reducing the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19), the settings in which they are recommended, and how they should be safely used and stored.
    The guidance can be found here.

  • Cabinet Office: Model services contract

    On 14 July the government updated their model service contract guidance with an updated version of the Model Services Contract.

    This version reflects developments in government policy, regulation and the market. If your VCSE organisation tenders for contracts then you may find this guidance of interest. The Model Services Contract forms a set of model terms and conditions for major services contracts that are published for use by government departments and many other public sector organisations.

    In VAL’s recent blog flexible furlough during local lockdown, we refer to the recent procurement policy notes, which may also of interest to VCSE organisations that tender for services.

  • Cabinet Office: UK Transition communications resources

    On 15 July the cabinet office published UK Transition campaign tools and resources to support engagement with local communities and businesses across all four nations.

    In the UK Transition Partnership Toolkit it  explains that the government has launched a new public information campaign, ‘The UK’s new start: let’s get going’, which will run across the UK and internationally. This will give all of us the facts we need to be ready for the end of the Transition Period on 31 December 2020. The toolkit can be found here.

NCVO

Government

  • Department of Health and Social Care: Leicestershire Coronavirus lockdown: areas and changes

    On 30 June the government published this news story explaining the areas of Leicestershire that are included in the localised coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown and what this means.

    The article explains that the local councils have set out the areas of Leicestershire that are included in the localised lockdown, what they are, and the map relevant to it.  We have heard that some non-government / non-local authority fake maps have been circulated and therefore we recommend that you share this article with staff, volunteers and beneficiaries. Within this boundary, restrictions will be put in place pending a review from 18 July. It also reminds you what you can and can’t do during this local lockdown.

  • 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

  • COVID-19: Changes to DBS ID checking guidelines

    Temporary changes to ID checking guidelines are being made as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak

    Visit the gov.uk website

  • Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

    The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is a UK government agency responsible for the encouragement, regulation and enforcement of workplace health, safety and welfare, and for research into occupational risks in Great Britain. With the latest advice for hands to be washed regularly, failure to allow access to welfare facilities may increase the risk of the COVID-19 infection spreading. Therefore, they are reminding organisations that drivers must have access to welfare facilities in the premises they visit as part of their work.

    Visit the HSE website

  • HM Revenue and Customs: The Coronavirus Self Employment Income Support Scheme

    The Coronavirus Self Employment Income Support Scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months.

    Visit the gov.uk website

    You will access this scheme only through GOV.UK. If someone texts, calls or emails claiming to be from HMRC, saying that you can claim financial help or are owed a tax refund, and asks you to click on a link or to give information such as your name, credit card or bank details, it is a scam.

  • Refunding tickets for cancelled charity events during coronavirus (COVID-19)

    On 16 April HM Revenue & Customs published their “refunding tickets for cancelled charity events during coronavirus (COVID-19)” guidance.

    The guidance confirms that charities can apply Gift Aid where money, due to be refunded for an event cancelled due to COVID-19, is donated. As long as a valid Gift Aid Declaration is held. This includes challenge events for which there will be registration fees (instead of tickets) that would be refundable, if the event is cancelled.

    Visit the gov.uk website

  • Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government

    Government support available for landlords and renters reflecting the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

    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

  • Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy

    On 12 May the cabinet office released the guidance Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy.
    From an employer perspective, the key message is for employees to work from home, if they can. If working from home is not possible and the workplace is reopening, then the employer must introduce safe distancing and other health and safety measures. We will be providing a blog about this in the coming week. Read more

  • Cabinet Office: Staying alert and safe (social distancing)

    On 31 May the government updated it staying alert and safe guidance to reflect the new changes that come in place from today Monday 1 June.
    We recommend that all VCSE organisations read it, to understand how it affects, staff, volunteers, trustees and your beneficiaries.

    From 1 June :

    • You can spend time outdoors, including private gardens and other outdoor spaces, in groups of up to six people from different households, following social distancing guidelines
    • You should go to work if you cannot work from home and your business has not been required to close by law
    • More shops are beginning to reopen, with a plan for more to do so later in the month
    • Children in early years (age 0-5), reception, year 1 and year 6 can return to childcare or school in line with the arrangements made by their school
    • You can be tested as part of the test and trace programme, which will enable the  country to return to normal life as soon as possible, by helping to control transmission risks

    From 15 June:

    • Secondary schools and further education colleges will also prepare to begin some face to face support with Year 10 and 12 pupils.

    VAL has written a blog about the government’s road map to recover. Whilst it was written prior to this guidance being updated, it might still be relevant to help you plan re-opening /continuing your service delivery. Such as Covid-19 secure processes. The revised guidance can be found here.

  • Cabinet office: Staying alert and safe (social distancing) update

    On 10 June the government announced some changes to ease the lockdown rules. We recommend that all VCSE organisations read about the changes in order that you can alter your plans accordingly.

    VAL wrote a blog recently on the practical approach to the cautious road map which the PM refers to in these changes. The blog may still be relevant to assist you in your lockdown planning for staff, volunteers and service delivery.

    The specific measures that the government announced yesterday apply to England only:

    • All shops are now allowed to reopen from Monday 15 June. It is vital that establishments should ensure they are meeting Covid Secure guidelines before they reopen.
    • Social contact – From this weekend 13-14 June  they will allow single adult households –  adults living alone or single parents with children under 18 – to form a “support bubble” with one other household.Support bubbles must be exclusive – meaning you cannot switch the household you are in a bubble with or connect with multiple households. And if any member of the support bubble develops symptoms, all members of the bubble will need to follow the normal advice on household isolation.
    • Outdoor attractions. The risk of transmission is lower outdoors, therefore from Monday 15 June they will allow outdoor attractions where people can stay in their cars, such as safari parks and drive-in cinemas to open.
    • They  will allow places of worship to open for individual prayer this weekend 13-14 June.

    The next set of changes – Step 3 – will not begin until 4 July at the earliest.
    Details of the government’s stay alert and safe revised guidance can be found here.   The PM’s speech about this can be found here.

  • Home Office guidance: Safeguarding during Covid-19

    The Home Office has published a guide, Safeguarding is Everyone’s Business, which sets out how to keep people safe from harm and abuse during the Covid-19 pandemic. The guide is available in English and Welsh.

    The guidance sets out:

    • How to support others who are at risk of harm and abuse during the Covid-19 pandemic
    • What steps to take if you are worried that someone may be at risk of harm or abuse
    • Details of who to contact to report safeguarding concerns

    The home office’s leaflet and posters can be found here.
    The office of civil society’s guidance on handling safeguarding allegations in a charity can be found here.

  • Home Office: Vulnerable Children’s Charity Funding for Violence Prevention Work

    On 22 June the Home Office announced that they had secured funding for small/ micro charities that are working with vulnerable young people and are contributing to preventing their involvement in violence. The deadline to apply has now been extended from Monday 29 June to Friday 3 July.  
    Further clarification has been provided from the Office of  the Police & Crime Commissioner for Leicestershire on the criteria ‘only those organisations with an income less than £100,000 per annum may apply’

    They  have confirmed that, if the average annual income over the last three years is less than £100,000, organisations are eligible to apply. For further details see the article VAL previously published on the fund.

  • Cabinet Office : Procurement Policy Note (PPN) 04/20 - Recovery and Transition from COVID-19

    This procurement policy note was published on 9 June and updated on 25 June. It sets out information and guidance for public bodies on payment of their suppliers to ensure service continuity during the current coronavirus, COVID-19, outbreak. It updates and builds on the provisions contained in PPN 02/20.

    We recommend that all VCSE organisations commissioned to deliver services is aware of this update.
    Read more

  • Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport - Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)

    On 24 June the government updated their working safely during coronavirus guidance to reflect the changes to the 2m rule and guidance on support bubbles.

    The guidance includes 12 guides covering a range of different types of work. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office,and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe. The guidance still recommends workers maintain social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, is acceptable). However please note if you VCSE organisation operates within the local lockdown parameters then you will need to comply with the local rules that are in place until at least 18 July.
    Find out more here.

  • Cabinet Office and Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government: Closing certain businesses and venues in England

    On 3 July the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England was updated updated following the announcement of further easing of COVID-19 restrictions from 4 July 2020 to certain areas of England. (There is separate guidance for businesses and venues in the local lockdown area.) On 23 June 2020, the Prime Minister announced further easements of the coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions as part of step 3 of the government’s plan to return life to as near normal as we can.
    Read more

  • Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government: Closing certain businesses and venues in Leicester

    On 3 July the government published the closing certain businesses and venues in Leicester guidance.  
    This document supports the government’s guidance on COVID-19. It provides the list of businesses and premises expected to close in Leicester from 4 July 2020. We recommend all VCSE organisations read this. Where increased local transmission of COVID-19 is identified, areas may be required to take additional measures to reduce the spread of the virus.
    Read more

  • Cabinet Office : Staying alert and safe (social distancing)

    The government updated the staying alert and safe guidance on 3 July to reflect the changes that came in force on 4 July in England. (Within the guidance it reminds the public to consult the local lockdown restrictions guidance to see if any restrictions are in place in your area.)

    On 19 June, the UK Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) changed the COVID-19 alert level from level four to level three following a recommendation by the Joint Biosecurity Centre. This means that the virus is considered to be in general circulation but transmission is no longer high or rising exponentially. As a result, the UK Government is continuing to ease restrictions in a manner that is safe, cautious and consistent with our plan.
    Read more

  • Cabinet Office: Staying alert and safe (social distancing)

    On 17 July the government updated their staying alert and safe guidance to reflect the announcements that day, which relate to the next stages of their roadmap.
    We recommend all VCSE organisations keep up to date with the proposed changes to help plan. Read more

  • Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government: Closing certain businesses and venues in Leicester

    On 18 July the government updated this guidance to reflect changes in the regulations regarding the closure of certain businesses and venues in Leicester which come into effect on 18 July 2020.
    We recommend that all VCSE organisations in Leicester and Leicestershire read the guidance. Read more

  • Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government: Closing certain businesses and venues in Leicester

    On 18 July the government updated this guidance to reflect changes in the regulations regarding the closure of certain businesses and venues in Leicester which come into effect on 18 July 2020.
    We recommend that all VCSE organisations in Leicester and Leicestershire read the guidance. Read more

  • Cabinet Office: New production lines will make millions of face coverings each week

    On 20 July the government published a news story outlining a government drive to increase UK production of face coverings has started at two sites in England and Wales.
    Ten production lines have been procured and a further ten British production lines are being made with government support. The production sites will ensure that public demand for face coverings does not impact on the supply of higher-grade face masks for NHS front line staff. Find out more.

  • Cabinet Office: Reopen your business safely during coronavirus (COVID 19)

    Employers that want to reopen their business have a legal responsibility to protect their employees and other people on site.

    Use this guidance to help you carry out a risk assessment and make sensible adjustments to the site and workforce. If you do not carry out a risk assessment, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or your local council can issue an enforcement notice. Read guidance here

  • Cabinet Office: Face coverings - when to wear one and how to make your own

    The guidance was updated on 23 July, it explains when to wear a face covering and how to make one.

    From 24 July you MUST wear a face covering when you go to the shops. This information relates to the use of face coverings in public spaces where social distancing is not always possible. It is important to follow all the other government advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) including staying safe outside your home. View guidance here.

  • Cabinet Office: Disabled people exempt from wearing face coverings under new government guidance

    Government has set out a list of face covering exemptions, as they are mandatory in additional enclosed spaces from Friday 24 July.

    The exemptions include anyone under the age of 11, or those with disabilities, or hidden health conditions such as breathing difficulties, mental health conditions or autism. Under the regulations, members of the public will need to wear face coverings that cover the nose and mouth in shops, supermarkets, shopping centres and transport hubs, to help curb the spread of the virus. Find out more

  • Cabinet Office: Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can't do

    This guidance was updated on 31 July. This is national guidance that applies to England only.

    If you live in an area that is experiencing a local COVID-19 outbreak and where local restrictions have been imposed, different guidance and legislation will apply. Please consult the local restrictions page to see if any restrictions are in place in your area. Read more

  • Cabinet Office and Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government:

    Closing certain businesses and venues in England update:

    On 3 August the government updated its guidance on the closure of certain businesses and venues as part of further social distancing measures, and on the further easing of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions in July and August 2020.
    The guidance was updated to reflect additional requirements on face coverings and amendments to 1 August 2020 easings. Read more

  • Cabinet Office: Staying alert and safe (social distancing)

    On 31 July the government updated this guidance to reflect changes in place announced on 31 July and what is required from 8 August.

    In terms of updates it refers to the requirement to wear face coverings in a greater number of public indoor settings from 8 August such as museums, galleries, cinemas and public libraries. As well as a link to the changes to the roadmap to recovery announced on 31 July. It is national guidance relevant to England. We recommend you read this alongside the local restrictions: areas with an outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) collection document.

    The revised guidance can be found here.

  • Cabinet Office: Face coverings: when to wear one and how to make your own

    On 31 July the government updated its guidance. The guidance includes the option of using an exemption card where appropriate.

    The guidance explains what face coverings are, their role in reducing the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19), the settings in which they are recommended, and how they should be safely used and stored. This information is based on current scientific evidence and is subject to change.
    The revised guidance can be found here.

  • HM Treasury: Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

    On 3 August the government published a news story explaining that diners across the UK will see their restaurant bills slashed by as much as 50% as the government’s landmark Eat Out to Help Out scheme officially opens for business.

    Previously we published how your organisation could sign up for the scheme. From 3 August 2020 customers will get up to 50% off on bills when visiting participating restaurants, pubs and cafes. Half price discount will run through August and applies to all food and non-alcoholic drinks consumed on the premises. Read more

  • 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.

Other

  • Social Mobility Commission: Monitoring social mobility 2013 to 2020 corporate report

    On 10 June the commission published the report. The report audits government action on the commission’s key social mobility recommendations from 2013 to 2020.

    You may find it useful for any secondary research that you might complete for a funding bid or updating the priorities  of your organisation’s strategic plan. The report covers several policy areas including:

    • early years
    • education
    • employment
    • housing
    • health
    • transport

    It highlights areas of concern and sets out an action plan for the government to achieve greater social mobility in the UK.  In addition the world economic forum have produced a new index to measure social mobility, providing a much-needed assessment of the current state of social mobility worldwide. They published their report in January 2020.

  • 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

  • Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS): Impact of Covid-19 survey

    DCMS have released a survey to understand the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on organisations in the digital, culture, media, sport, gambling, telecoms and tourism sectors and their engagement with the available government interventions. The survey should take around 10-20 minutes and the deadline for responses is 15 May 2020.

    Visit the survey

  • Groop: Secure online video calling

    Groop are a social business committed to supporting community groups in a sustainable way to collaborate and communicate. They provide facilities to enable you to schedule multi-user meetings and deliver group sessions with your participants via GroopEvents. They are offering to support voluntary, charity or small businesses during COVID-19 with a free 7 day trial to Groop, including GroopLive and a 60% discount for the next three months – £7.99 per month

    Visi the Groop website

  • Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy : Upcoming Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill

    On 14 May the government introduced temporary measures to give companies and other bodies flexibility around Annual General Meetings (AGMs) and other meetings.

    This will be made retrospective to 26 March and the successful passage of the upcoming Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill. Companies required by law to hold Annual General Meetings (AGMs) will be extended greater flexibilities, including holding Annual General Meetings (AGMs) online or postponing the meetings.

    Details of this announcement can be found here, which we recommend social enterprises keep a track of. 

  • The Insolvency Service: Amendment to insolvency law – relevance to charities and social enterprises

    On 14 May, the government amend insolvency law to give companies breathing space and keep trading while they explore options for rescue.

    This was initially announced on 28 March, but has now been extended in light of the government’s update to lockdown rules earlier this week.  This will enable companies to continue buying much-needed supplies, such as energy, raw materials or broadband, while attempting a rescue.

    The temporary suspension of wrongful trading provisions,  retrospectively from 1 March 2020 for three months, will enable company directors to keep their businesses going without the threat of personal liability.  The press release on this can be found here.

    To understand how this is relevant to a charity,  Bates Wells  have produced a guide called “Charity Governance and Solvency: A Coronavirus Guide” view here
    Aspects of the guide might also be useful for social enterprises.

  • 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

  • Leicestershire Police: Social distancing rules during coronavirus in England

    VAL hopes that you enjoy the bank holiday whilst staying alert and safe.  Whilst some of the lockdown rules have changed as the UK moves to the next phase in our fight against coronavirus, we wanted to remind you about what the new social distancing rules are, so that you can inform your staff, volunteers, and the communities you work with.

    Leicestershire Police has wrote a useful article about when we can legally have an excuse to go outside our homes. It explains that public gatherings of more than two people who don’t live together are banned. This includes all the leisure activities like exercise and picnics.
    We can exercise or relax outdoors with one other person from another household. However, we must keep 2m apart from anyone you meet from outside your household. Read more

    You may want to read this in conjunction with the Cabinet Office’s Staying alert and safe (social distancing) guidance which was published on 11 May.

  • Save Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR)

    SITR is a vital tax relief which supports the VCSE sector through private investment.  It has enabled many outstanding and crucial social enterprises to access the investment they need to grow on an unsecured and affordable basis. 

    SITR will be retired by April 2021 unless action is taken now to extend it. There is an opportunity to extend the tax relief through an amendment in the Finance Bill currently passing through Parliament. Resonance who are leading on this campaign to save the tax relief would appreciate if you can  write to your MP,  to ask them to support such an amendment. This  would extend Social Investment Tax Relief’s end date from April 2021 to April 2023.

    Resonance believe SITR could be a significant force for good as the UK emerges from this current crisis especially if it was allowed to include investing in community renewables, care homes and community facilities (as it was when first launched).

    For now they want to make sure the relief doesn’t disappear.  Therefore if the sunset clause amendment isn’t passed the result will be that very soon, millions of pounds of investment capital that can be raised for social enterprises supporting the most vulnerable in society will not be able to be used.

    For more details on the campaign see the link here.
    Here it explains how to write to your MP. 

  • 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:

    Neighbourhood Link , the community messaging system for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
    The aim of the service is to keep residents of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland informed and up to date with news on appeals, events and crime prevention advice as well as information on policing matters that affect you.

    Scams being highlighted at the moment include: Paying for items such as face masks which don’t exist or are faulty. – They recommend not responding to unsolicited emails or texts offering items for sale. You have no way of verifying if the seller (or goods) are legitimate or not.
    Read more

  • BCG Digital Ventures and partners: Digital Boost

    On 9 June a new free-of-charge online platform that brings together leaders of small businesses and charities with a community of digital expert volunteers was launched in the UK.
    The Covid-19 crisis has presented many challenges for small businesses and charities, particularly in building digital capability. In response, Digital Boost has been created to provide much-needed digital support for small organisations. The platform is founded by Founders4Schools and BCG Digital Ventures, with support from DCMS.
    The press release can be found here.

  • Department of health and social care: Stay alert, control the virus, save lives:

    On 19 June the department of health and social care published their news story that there has been a steady decrease in cases they have seen in all four nations, and this continues.
    However, they went on to say this does not mean that the pandemic is over. The virus is still in general circulation, and localised outbreaks are likely to occur.
    The latest government advice on whether you can leave home now includes symptoms relating to loss of smell or taste.
    Read more

    The 19 June government update from the UK Chief Medical Officers on the UK alert level stated that the Joint Biosecurity Centre had recommended that the COVID-19 alert level should move from Level 4 (A COVID-19 epidemic is in general circulation; transmission is high or rising exponentially) to Level 3 (A COVID-19 epidemic is in general circulation.

    Details of this update where the potential of localised outbreaks occurring was mentioned can be found here.

  • 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

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