Coronavirus

We want to support Visionary members at a time when information can be confusing, and for some there is a heightened sense of concern and worry.

This web-page will be kept up-dated with any information which we feel anyone connected with Visionary may find useful.

Visionary response

The Visionary Chair and CEO have reviewed the Visionary Coronavirus Action Plan and have moved to Stage 3. These are now our current working practices and activity:

  • All Visionary staff will work from home and not meet with others and will not attend any other work-related events.
  • All Visionary meetings will be conducted via conference call facilities.
    • Visionary can make complementary conference/video calling facilities available to members who would ordinarily be meeting for Visionary meetings i.e. regional meetings. Please contact us should you wish to make use of this facility.
  • Visionary activity may be cancelled.
    • We have suspended our current recruitment activity.
    • We are not currently planning any further changes to Visionary activity – however we have already begun exploring how we can modify plans to address the fast-changing current climate. We will update you accordingly via special or regular briefings. Also follow us on Twitter @visionary_uk

Also check out the latest Visionary Covid-19 Briefing – Special Edition – 20 March 2020 containing information on the latest support from Visionary, news/developments from across the sector and links to sources of useful information.

Useful resources and information

Official information

The official source of information is the governments Coronavirus web-site. This information is updated by Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England. Visionary has subscribed to receive immediate e-mail updates and we would encourage that Visionary members also do so.

COVID-19: Official Government Guidance on

Face-to-face health assessments for benefits suspended – Claimants on disability benefits will, for the time being, no longer be required to attend face-to-face assessments.It affects claimants of Personal Independence Payment (PIP), often very relevant to those with a visual impairment. Full details here

Filing charity annual returns during the coronavirus pandemic The Charity Commission have announced that their approach to regulation during this period will be as flexible and supportive as possible. Any charity that needs an extension to their annual return deadline can contact the Charity Commission to ask for one. More details here.

What should local sight loss organisations do?

CamSight have developed a Coronavirus Policy and have made it available for review/use by Visionary members. It is simple and straight forward dealing with 3 key issues – 1, Prevention of spread. 2, Protection of Vulnerable Groups. 3, Protection of all staff and general public. You can access the policy here.

Beacon have shared a number of coronavirus documents which members may find helpful. As a sight loss charity they also operate sheltered housing facilities. The below documents can be accessed here:

  • Beacon Internal Communication regarding Covid-19.
  • Beacon Coronavirus Business Continuity Plan.
  • Beacon Risk Assesment Exposure to Suspect Diagnosed Coronaviris.

Devon in Sight have developed a Coronavirus Policy Document. It’s one of the best examples of such documents we’ve seen to date and has some excellent examples of how they are approaching a whole range of service issues impacted by the current situation e.g. meetings, working from home, priority client work, sight loss advisers, home visiting etc. access it here.

As with all policies it is your responsibility to decide whether to implement them and to ensure you are compliant with your country’s rules and regulations.

Home or remote working – Visionary has extensive experience of operating with a team based remotely. If your organisation in the current climate is considering such steps then please feel free to contact us and we can share our experiences with you.

Conference and video call facilities –  Many organisations are increasing their use of such facilities. Visionary has recently invested in this option, after assessing a number of different providers. If this is something you are considering doing and would like us to share our experiences with you then please do contact us.

Your organisation and Coronavirus

This NCVO page has useful information and lots of links to extra details, in particular links to other health issue related charities and their advice on how to respond.

The Fundraising Regulator has issued information – COVID-19: Fundraising events advice.

Fundraising during the Covid-19 pandemic – As the pandemic continues, this medium read looks at how fundraisers can secure funding and what actions they can take to be proactive during this time.

The Charity Commission did recently produce some information regarding Coronavirus and potentially having to report any incidents as a “Reportable Serious Incident”- but this came in for substantial criticism and was subsequently withdrawn. Their current position is that charities need to make their own assessments as to if they need to report anything. If you need more information about issues that need reporting to the Charity Commission then see their guidance here. (This guidance is long standing and hasn’t been changed due to the recent conorvirus issues)

The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) has recently issued some excellent specific advice for charities regarding potential coronavirus impacts. Read full details here. Whilst OSCR deal specifically with Scottish organisations they provide some excellent advice which is relevant to all charities, regardless of where they are based – subjects covered include:

  • What if I have to cancel my AGM or other key events/meetings?
  • What if my charity could do something to help people directly in our community, but our governing document would prevent us from doing so?
  • What if the current situation has a negative impact on my charity?  Should I be reporting it as a notifiable event?
  • I have heard that people are using the crisis as a way of trying to defraud people. is that true? What can I do to prevent it?

The Scottish Government has announced an additional £350 million will go to those most affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Funding is available to councils, charities, businesses and community groups and designed to be flexible, cutting down on red tape to enable them to respond swiftly and according to local need for people impacted economically or through reduced contact with society, including anyone struggling to access food.

Regardless of which country you operate in this is a very useful resource – FAQ’s are very good – SCVO – Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations has developed a COVID-19 Third Sector Information Hub . Take a look at their COVID-19 FAQs for answers to some of the common question being asked.

So, what should employers do?

Thanks to our HR partners Roots HR CIC for this information:

Update by Roots HR of Furlough Leave as of 26/03/20 – A summary of the rules around implementing Furlough Leave as per the Government’s Guidance on Claiming for Wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) have produced a very useful Coronavirus FAQs  to offer guidance in responding to the coronavirus situation. Information also on Furlough and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Keep abreast of the latest information and advice from the Government which can be accessed here

Read this guidance for employers produced by ACAS, along with helpful practical steps you can take provides advice should employees raise concerns about attending work and sickness absence and sick pay should employees have to self-isolate.

Also see this Briefing Note for businesses which outlines how to deal with a suspected case in your organisation and how to handle employee fears of infection and employee entitlements.

Providing proof of coronavirus absence from work – People unable to work for more than seven days because of coronavirus (COVID-19) can obtain an isolation note through a new online service. The isolation note service can be accessed via the 111 online coronavirus service or NHS.UK/coronavirus as well as via the NHS app.

If you have any HR related concerns upon the Coronavirus situation, or require advice upon any other HR issues or HR legal matters then please do contact our HR partners Roots HR CIC

To sign up for further updates on this issue and other news/updates from Visionary HR partner Roots HR CIC then do so here

Coronavirus briefing details for businesses, because of course we as charities are also businesses

Some are getting concerned about insurance implications.

Should we make staff/volunteers work? What happens if a service user contracts covid-19 – can we be held liable? Can we cancel events?

Need to know more then see here for details from a reputable law firm.

Still worried and want further advice?

At this stage there are no new rules and regulations specific to the Coronavirus situation – your usual responsibilities to service users, volunteers and staff remain unchanged under your country’s Health and Safety and Employment Law obligations.

If you have any legal queries upon the Coronavirus situation, or require advice upon any legal matters then do access the Visionary Legal Help Line operated by our partners Russell-Cooke.

We trust that you will find this information useful and please do contact us with any feedback or other queries you may have.

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