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Coronavirus - Coronavirus
Last updated March 2020

Covid-19 Resources

The situation with COVID-19 and the Coronavirus is one of ongoing concern for our members, both when assisting beneficiaries and internally with the operation of their charities. We have consulted members on how they plan to tackle the situation, and have put together a list of useful resources.

General information about COVID-19, its symptoms, how it spreads and how spread can be prevented, is available from the government's website. 

Comprehensive advice for charities on how to operate during the outbreak is available from NCVO. 

Advice for Beneficiaries

COVID-19 may be a concern for your beneficiaries not just for health reasons, but due to time spent off work due to illness or having to self-isolate, and the financial impact this could have. The government has provided advice for employees and their rights in terms of sick pay, claiming benefits, working from home and new rules for the pay of employees that have been furloughed from their organisations. 

More information on furlough, the government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, can be found from ACEVO.

The government has confirmed that Statutory Sick Pay will be made available from day one for those affected by Coronavirus when self-isolating, instead of day four. Statutory Sick Pay will be paid to all those who choose to self-isolate, even if they don't have symptoms. However, those that do not qualify for Statutory Sick Pay, such as gig-economy workers, self-employed people and those on zero-hours contacts, may face concerns. 

Assurances have been made in the recent Budget that workers who fell ill would be able to get a sick note by ringing 111 rather than visiting a GP, and people who were self-employed who were off work because of the virus would be eligible for benefits from day one.  Individuals can also now get sick notes for their employers online, and be able to get an isolation note online if they are advised to self isolate so must work from home or be at home. 

For beneficiaries with concerns about paying their mortgage at this time, the Financial Conduct Authority has offered guidance on requesting a mortgage holiday. Renters should also be protected from evictions at this time. 

If your beneficiary owns a business or is self-employed, HMRC has set up a tax helpline for those with worries about paying tax due to coronavirus. 

Some charities may also be thinking if they need to adapt their grant application processes in light of Coronavirus, such as needing to provide evidence of illness or self-isolation if they currently require doctor's notes. Some charities have reported using discretion more, as allowed by their rules, when making grants, and to consider any applications arising directly from exceptional costs incurred by beneficiaries from the impact of COVID-19. 

Help for specific groups

Operations - Actions charities are taking 

Updated guidance on contingency planning and the financial implications of COVID-19, plus supporting staff and volunteers as charities look to return to the office are available on NCVO's website.

Other operational resources

For advice on investments during coronavirus, please visit our dedicated page

The government has provided various pieces of advice in relation to how businesses should continue to operate during the outbreak:

ACAS has also provided advice and best practice for employers and employees around COVID-19.  They also have a guide for homeworking and a homeworking policy template

In consulting with our member charities, several are taking the following actions to protect staff and ensure smooth running of their operations at this time:

  • Encouraging good personal hygiene and sharing NHS hand-washing advice (including printing posters to leave in public areas, toilets and office kitchens).
  • Provide hand sanitiser and tissues for staff, and encourage them to use them.
  • Encouraging staff to work from home where possible, and not to travel into work if sick. If they have a continuous cough or fever they should self-isolate for 7 days. Review your HR procedures, such as home working and absence. Here’s some advice from BWB.
  • Discouraging face-to-face meetings and attending large gatherings and events. Teleconferences can be used instead to minimise risk. 
  • Make sure you know how to spot symptoms of coronavirus and are clear on any relevant processes, for example sickness reporting and sick pay, and procedures. 
  • Casework may be impacted, due to the inability for staff or volunteers to visit beneficiaries. Most charities are trying to award grants within their usual lead times. Considerable care must be taken in making home visits to vulnerable people with appropriate safeguarding and risk assessments put in place. Charities could make use of video or teleconferencing or calls and transfer of secure documents via a portal such as OneDrive, and some charities have already suspended beneficiary visits and will automatically renew grant awards for the time being.  For more advice on how volunteers can operate at this time, visit NCVO. 
  • Health and social care volunteers will be given additional employment safeguards so they can temporarily volunteer in the event of a widespread pandemic.
  • Keeping staff and beneficiaries up-to-date with the latest government advice.   

It is also worth keeping in mind that scammers may be trying to take advantage of people's worries around Coronavirus. Action Fraud has written an article on scams to look out for. 

For those interested in how the foundation sector is responding to the crisis, ACF have provided some guidance. 

Support for your charity's finances

For advice on how your charity can mitigate some of the impacts of the coronavirus on your charity and your finances, the Charity Finance Group has provided a practical guide for charity finance professionals

For those with concerns on how your charity can fundraise during a period of social distancing (when fundraising events or bucket donations will not be possible) visit the Institute of Fundraising's advice page

Remote Working

Some of our charity members will be trying out remote working for the first time due to the Coronavirus. Advice on getting used to remote working has been provided by the Institute of Fundraising. 

CAST (The Centre for Accelerated Social Technology) has produced a Practical Guide to Remote Working and Zoe Amar at Digital Leaders has written a guide for how to help staff adjust to remote working. 

If you are working at home and need some extra support, training or resources, NCVO has taken down the paywall of their knowledge site Knowhow, so all their online content is now free to use.  

Charity Digital News also has various resources to help advise on the tools needed for remote working. 

Charity Comms also have a guide to the different digital working tools available. 


Other Charities' Resources

Several members got in touch saying they would be happy for us to share resources they have used within their own charities with other ACO members, which can be downloaded from the bottom of the page:

  • Racing Welfare - Guidance on Coronavirus for staff
  • PRS Members' Fund - Advice for beneficiaries on COVID-19
  • ABF The Soldiers' Charity - Guidance to staff on how to continue to operate effectively to serve beneficiaries
  • New Bridge Trust - Business continuity plan
  • New Bridge Trust - Plan for volunteers
  • Teaching Staff Trust - Plan for business continuity

If you are happy to share your charity's approach to the COVID-19 situation to this page, please get in touch with hannah@aco.uk.net


Protecting your mental health

Last but not least, the news of Coronavirus and having to self-isolate could have a considerable impact on individuals' mental health, and MIND has shared some useful advice about Coronavirus and your wellbeing.  The Mental Health Foundation has also provided advice for looking after your mental health during the outbreak. ACO member LionHeart has also written an article on the importance of staying connected with others for our mental health at this time.



Documents

Icon Racing Welfare - Guidance for staff

General Information

Racing Welfare - Guidance for staff

Icon New Bridge Trust - Coronavirus advice for volunteers

General Information

New Bridge Trust - Coronavirus advice for volunteers

Icon New Bridge Trust - Coronavirus guide for business continuity

General Information

New Bridge Trust - Coronavirus guide for business continuity

Icon Teaching Staff Trust plan for business continuity - Coronavirus

General Information

Teaching Staff Trust plan for business continuity

Icon Guidance to Staff - The Soldiers' Charity

Report

Guidance to staff to ensure the charity can continue to operate effectively in support of beneficiaries - The Soldiers' Charity

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