Latest government guidance and talking to volunteers about the covid vaccine and community testing
The Government have updated their volunteering guidance in line with step 4 in the roadmap: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/enabling-safe-and-effective-volunteering-during-coronavirus-covid-19
Here is a summary from DCMS:
Step 4 guidance changes
CAVEAT: while the below is true for England, separate restrictions apply in the devolved administrations. Some local authorities and businesses may also choose to implement tighter controls.
- Most legal restrictions to control COVID-19 will be lifted at step 4. This means that when step 4 takes place:
- People will not need to stay 2 metres apart from people they do not live with. There will also be no limits on the number of people that can meet in groups.
- However, in order to minimise risk at a time of high prevalence, people should limit the close contact they have with those they do not usually live with, and increase close contact gradually. This includes minimising the number, proximity and duration of social contacts.
- People should meet outdoors where possible and let fresh air into homes or other enclosed spaces.
- The Government is no longer instructing people to work from home if they can. However, the Government expects and recommends a gradual return over the summer.
- The requirement to wear face coverings in law will be lifted. However, the Government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces where you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet. For example, on public transport. You should use your judgement in deciding where you should wear one. Businesses, including transport operators, can also ask their employees and customers to wear face coverings. You should check with operators of services, venues, and settings that you use.
- COVID-19 has not gone away, so it’s important to remember the actions people can take to keep themselves and others safe. Everybody needs to continue to act carefully and remain cautious.
- All businesses can re-open but should continue to follow the principles set out in the working safely guidance to exercise their legal duties to manage risk.
- Clinically extremely vulnerable people are advised, as a minimum, to follow the same guidance as everyone else. Organisations can read further guidance on protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable.
Vaccinations for volunteers in care homes
- A 16 June Department for Health and Social Care press release has made clear that volunteers, as well as paid employees, working in care homes will need to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
- Government encourages organisations in higher risk settings to use the NHS COVID Pass as a condition of entry, in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19. This will especially be the case in large crowded settings where people are likely to be in close proximity to others outside their household. The Government reserves the right to mandate certification in certain venues at a later date if necessary.
- To support organisations and individuals in these settings, the NHS COVID Pass will be made available through the NHS App, NHS.UK, or as a letter that can be requested by ringing NHS 119. Visitors will also be able to show text or email confirmation of test results. Organisations should ensure they are in compliance with all relevant legal obligations, including on equalities.
- There are some settings where the NHS COVID Pass should not be used as a condition of entry, in order to ensure access for all. This includes essential services and essential retailers which have been able to stay open throughout the pandemic.
NCVO are in the process of updating their guidance for Volunteers and Volunteer Management. They are running a very short survey (5 questions only) regarding Step 4 for you to tell them how they can help you Survey link here. Closes 30 July.
Talking to staff / Volunteers about getting the COVID Vaccination
ACAS have some guidance aimed at paid staff but some of the principles are useful for Volunteers as well: https://www.acas.org.uk/working-safely-coronavirus/getting-the-coronavirus-vaccine-for-work
Remember that Vaccine status is special category health data. Another regional colleague has advised to seek legal advice if considering making vaccinations a requirement for certain activities and have shared that Bates Wells provides 30 minute long free legal advice sessions to voluntary organisations: https://bateswells.co.uk/charityhelpline/
GDPR advice from ICO on collecting COVID Vaccine and COVID Status checks
Kirklees Community Champion Programme
Kirklees Community Champions aim to build confidence in community testing and the vaccination programme and offer practical support to help people access vaccinations such as arranging transport. You can find a list of participating organisations here: https://communityresponsekirklees.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Kirklees-Community-Champions-including-Contact-details.pdf
There are also a range of resources you can access including information in community languages: https://communityresponsekirklees.com/communitychampions/
If you would like further information on the Community Champion programme please get in touch.
If you have any questions or concerns please contact Becky Bracey, Volunteer Service Lead firstname.lastname@example.org .