1. Charitable services exempt from all local restriction tiers
On Monday 23 November the Prime Minister announced the new tiering system to come into force in England from Wednesday 2 December. The announcement confirmed that in all tiers there is an exemption ‘for work or providing voluntary or charitable services, including in other people’s homes’. These must still be done so responsibly, and in line with current UK Government advice on Coronavirus and social distancing.
The Prime Minister also announced that ‘essential and non-essential retail’ will be allowed to open from this date in all tiers – this includes charity shops.
There are three tiers in the new system – Tier one (medium alert); Tier Two (high alert); Tier Three (very high alert). Full details on each tier are available at Local Restriction Tiers: What you need to know. Posters setting out the rules in each tier are available here.
Across all tiers, you:
- must wear a face covering in most indoor public settings, unless they have an exemption
- should follow the rules on meeting others safely
- should attend school or college as normal, unless they are self-isolating. Schools, universities, colleges and early years settings remain open in all tiers
- should walk or cycle where possible, plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes when travelling
- must follow the gathering limits at their tier except for in specific settings and circumstances. These exemptions are detailed in the guidance
There will be a temporary change in the rules over the Christmas period. On Tuesday the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations agreed an aligned approach allowing up to three households to form a ‘Christmas bubble’ from December 23 to 27. The advice on creating a Christmas bubble is available here.
2. Thousands of women and girls to benefit from £15m Tampon Tax Fund
Charities supporting disadvantaged women and girls through the coronavirus pandemic and recovery are to receive £15 million from the latest round of the Tampon Tax Fund.
Projects that help victims of domestic abuse, work with eating disorder sufferers, and provide mentoring for disadvantaged young women, are among those to receive grants of more than £1 million each over the next two years. The money will also be used to make grants to smaller organisations so they can deploy services that support vulnerable women and girls.
Minister for Civil Society, Baroness Barran, said:
“Vulnerable women and girls need our support more than ever in this difficult year, and these grants will help keep vital services going.
From supporting victims of domestic abuse, to those suffering from mental health problems, this funding will help to directly tackle some of the most serious issues facing women and girls today.”
The Tampon Tax Fund uses the funds generated from the VAT on women’s sanitary products. While the UK was a member of the European Union, VAT on these products could not fall below 5 per cent. The Chancellor announced in March this year that the tax will end in January 2021, at the end of the transition period following the UK’s exit from the EU.
Find out more about the 12 projects receiving funding from this round here.
3. Spending Review 2020 announcements
The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak presented the Spending Review 2020 to Parliament on Wednesday 25 November.
Since the start of the crisis the government has invested over £280 billion to mitigate against the impacts of Covid-19 and protect jobs and livelihoods across all areas of the UK.
The Spending Review builds on this action, confirming an additional £38 billion for public services to continue to fight the pandemic this year, bringing total support to over £113 billion in 2020-21 It also provides a further £55 billion of support for the response to Covid-19 next year, targeted to control and suppress the virus, increase support to public services and support jobs and businesses.
Included in the Chancellor’s announcements were:
- A new Levelling Up Fund worth £4 billion for England, plus £0.8 billion for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales through Barnett consequentials. The Fund will be open to all local areas in England and prioritise bids to drive growth and regeneration in places in need, those facing particular challenges, and areas that have received less government investment in recent years. The government will set out further details on how to support levelling up across the UK in the New Year.
- An additional £1 million for the Charity Commission, bringing their total budget to £28.3 million.
- Almost £100 million to deliver the National Citizen Service (NCS) and invest in youth facilities. The government will review its programmes to support youth services including the NCS in the spring.
To read the Spending Review 2020 update in full and for supporting and related documents click here.
4. Survey: impact of Covid-19 on VCSE organisations
The latest round of the Barometer survey, which examines the impact of Covid-19 on voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations, is now open. The research is led by Nottingham Trent University.
The project aims to:
- Provide real-time data and learning on how Covid-19 is impacting the whole sector and how this varies across different organisations by size, structure and services offered.
- Present lessons-learned reports on the impacts and responses to Covid-19 from organisations..
- Put forward insights to assist the long-term resilience of the VCSE sector.
Expected outputs from this project include a VCSE vulnerability barometer, providing real-time data of the impact Covid-19 on the sector, lessons-learned reports, enabling innovations to be scaled, a final project report and toolkit for resilience.
For more information and to take part in this round of the survey click here. To read some recent insights from the study, via their ‘Respond, recover, reset: the voluntary sector and COVID-19 – November 2020’ report click here.
5. Updated volunteering guidance
New GOV.UK guidance aimed at organisations and groups helping them to understand how to involve volunteers safely and effectively in their work during COVID-19 has now been published. You can access it here.
This new guidance complements other GOV.UK guidance on volunteering and helping others safely during the pandemic, which are aimed at potential and existing volunteers.
6. ‘Something’s Not Right’ campaign
The Home Office has launched a new campaign, ‘Something’s Not Right‘, to help secondary school children in England who suffered a range of harms, such as sexual and physical abuse, during lockdown. We would greatly appreciate your support in amplifying it to as many children, and those working with children, as possible.
The campaign focuses on the following:
- Social Media Advertising: Social media campaign adverts will be served to children aged 13 and over on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook, and will direct them to the campaign web page.
- Campaign web page: this has been developed with Childline and is hosted on their website. The page helps children identify different forms of abuse, signposts a variety of online resources and provides guidance on how to seek support, either from a trusted adult or Childline’s services.
- Lesson Plans: The Home Office has worked with the PSHE Association, Barnardo’s and the NSPCC to create lesson plans for Key Stage 3, 4 and 5 students. The plans, resources and accompanying teacher guidance are all available to download on the PSHE Association website.
All of the campaign materials are available to download and share from the campaign portal.
7. #YouAreNotAlone domestic abuse campaign
In April, the Home Office worked with a number of key partners and charities to launch a new national campaign to raise awareness that if you are experiencing domestic abuse you can leave your home, if this is possible, and police and support services remain available. To continue to support victims of domestic abuse, the government has relaunched the #YouAreNotAlone campaign.
People that are affected by domestic abuse will be harder to reach at this time and we really need your help to promote the campaign and raise awareness of the advice and support available. The campaign assets were developed with key partners and charities. These are available for you to share with your staff and raise awareness of where people can get further advice and support.
You can download the campaign assets, including the Employer pack, posters, leaflets, animations, email signatures and social media assets, here and translated campaign assets, here.
8. Community safeguarding leaflet
The current national restrictions mean that right now, vulnerable children and adults may be particularly isolated. This means that the family, community and professional networks they usually rely on may be unavailable or hard to access. However, safeguarding is everyone’s business.
The Home Office has produced information and guidance for those who are operating in communities and may not be trained to recognise the signs of abuse or neglect earlier this year, and we would like to re circulate this guidance. The guidance covers signs to spot and what to do if there is a concern. The guidance can be found on the Home Office Brandworkz portal. It includes references to the DCMS online safeguarding tool, which helps VCSE organisations in England to handle the reporting of safeguarding allegations about the behaviour or actions of a person in their charity. It also provides links to further safeguarding guidance and support for VCSE organisations.
9. EU Exit: Preparing for the end of the transition period
The UK has left the EU, and the transition period comes to an end this year. Please check the new rules from January 2021 to ensure that you and your organisation are ready.
Use our 4-point checklist to understand what you need to do before 1 January 2021 if you work in the civil society sectors (including charities, social enterprises and voluntary organisations). Read the guidance here.
Actions you can take now
i) If your organisation employs EU staff
Ask your employees to check if they need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. EU, EEA or Swiss citizens can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021. The deadline for applying is 30 June 2021.
Read the guidance: Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (settled and pre-settled status)
ii)If your organisation receives EU funding
Under the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK will continue to participate in programmes funded under the current 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework until their closure.
Read the guidance: Getting EU funding.
iii) If your organisation receives any personal data from the EU
If the UK does not receive data adequacy decisions and your organisation receives personal data from the EU/EEA, you should review your contracts to ensure you can continue to do so legally after the transition period ends. You may not know if your data is hosted outside of the UK so it is worth checking.
Read the guidance: Using personal data in your business or other organisation during and after the transition period.
iv) If your organisation imports or exports goods with the EU
From 1 January 2021 the process for importing and exporting goods will change. Find out what you need to do to continue to:
For a more comprehensive overview visit the UK Transition page for guidance and updates.