National lockdown January 2021: what charities need to know

Author's position
RVA Advice Service Manager
Article date
6 January 2021
Primary interest
Voluntary sector

This article was updated on 14 January to include: NCVO updated Coronavirus Guidance which gives specific guidance and resources on involving volunteers and supporting beneficiaries in the lockdown (see section on risk assessments below)

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 4 January 2021 of the third national lockdown, we have gathered some guidance and resources for charities below. Please also continue to visit our Coronavirus Community Action page for further updates as these become available or contact if you have any questions on the impact of the restrictions on your charity, its services and staff.

Government guidance

The government has published its latest guidance here National Lockdown: Stay at Home January 2021. This outlines that everyone should stay at home except for specific exemptions, which includes the provision of voluntary or charitable services that cannot reasonably be done from home.

When deciding whether or not a voluntary or charitable service can or cannot reasonably be done from home, please review your risk assessments. You may also wish to review the decision-making tree diagram kindly prepared by NAVCA below.

The government has also updated its guidance on Enabling Safe Volunteering during Coronavirus (for those running voluntary groups or charities)

Risk assessments

Please remember that some individuals (staff, volunteers, services users) may be more at risk of Covid-19 than others and may be asked to shield. You will need to factor this into your risk assessments so that these individuals are protected from undue risk of covid-19 transmission. Take a look at this guidance on risk assessments from NCVO and the Health and Safety Executive. The legal duty to self-isolate remains, you can read more here from the NHS on when and how to self-isolate here.

NCVO have now updated their Coronavirus Guidance here. This includes sections on the following areas that have been updated for the January 2021 lockdown. The following sections may be particularly useful for charities delivering services during the lockdown:

Online or remote services

Many organisations are providing online or remote services. If you need assistance with this, take a look at this helpful guidance from NCVO on moving your services online.

Speak to your existing funders

If you now need to deliver your services differently, do get in touch with your funder and re-negotiate the changes, many are favourable to this in light of the current pandemic. You may wish to adapt the method of delivery, timeline or resources. Take a look at further guidance here from NCVO on renegotiating with existing funders.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough)

The government has extended the scheme until 30 April 2021, read the updated guidance from HMRC here on who can claim and how.

NAVCA decision-making tree

This decision-making tree is courtesy of NAVCA to help you decide how best to deliver your services safely in the current lockdown. You can also access a PDF version here for larger print.