RNIB is committed to continue providing our support services throughout the COVID 19 pandemic to support blind and partially sighted people during this crisis. We know from the increased calls to our helpline and advice services that access to advice, support and information is very much in demand. With this in mind, we have made the decision to adapt our ECLO services and to continue this provision remotely. Our ECLO business continuity plan has involved the very rapid redeployment of our entire ECLO resource as home workers using laptops with secure email addresses and telephony. We have developed several channels to continue to receive customer referrals and will continue to seek innovative solutions to this end.
RNIB has outlined these initiatives in very clear communications to NHS and other partners. These communication templates have been shared with local society partners who are delivering ECLO services with a RNIB grant. RNIB would encourage local society partners to continue to provide services remotely if possible. This will demonstrate to the NHS and other partners that the sector was able to mobilise and adapt to changing circumstances. In short this is a moment to show the worth or our services, and our sector.
RNIB will consider grant agreement commitments with local society partners on a flexible case by case basis should local society partners choose to withdraw ECLO services and furlough staff. Local societies can contact their local RNIB Partnership Development Manager (PDM) to discuss such arrangements in the first instance. A general rule of thumb would be that RNIB would continue to pay grant contributions at the agreed ratio minus the Government furlough contribution. However, this can be flexibly applied, and we welcome open dialogue and seek to support and work with partners to ensure the best possible outcomes for blind and partially sighted people.