5. Advice for remote working and data protection
Please get in touch with Westbank if you need help and advice they can provide.
As part of business continuity plans and meeting the demand of this crisis, you should consider how to support staff and volunteers to remote working.
Some areas to consider for staff and volunteers:
Hardware: Staff will need access to computers and a good internet connection. Are you able to provide them with laptops to bring home? Where possible avoid having staff use personal devices, as this can cause issues in relation to cybersecurity and data protection.
Software: Do you have the right software for your team. Always consider what is the right tool for your team and your work. Charity Digital have a range of software available at a discount for charities if you do need to purchase anything. Charity digital webpages
Processes: Consider your team’s day-to-day processes and what’s essential to continue. What are the normal ways you share information, tasks and feedback? Can these be done when working remotely? When considering virtual meeting CAST have produced a useful guide.
Central government have advised if possible that staff should work from home. If you don't currently have a process in place there are a number of organisations that are providing free access to online services due to COVID-19 and the increased need.
Dropbox is offering free Dropbox Business subscriptions for a three-month period to nonprofits and NGOs that are focused on fighting COVID-19. Organisations working to stop the virus or providing relief to those impacted are encouraged to apply. - Dropbox offer
For virtual/video meetings there are a number of different types of software you can use.
It is important that you maintain good governance for the charity/community group over the coming months but may not want your trustees to meet. Guidance from the charity commission is that your trustees can meet virtually as long as they can see and hear each other. During this time they are aiming to support charities to continue to deliver services and maintain governance.
The Coronavirus is a new and huge challenge for Chairs and it can feel overwhelming. The Association for Chairs have put together some really useful information. Find out more on their website.
Reporting incidents to the Charity Commission
If you have a serious incident relating to COVID-19 then you do still need to report this to the Charity Commission in the same way they would for other serious incidents.
Any charity that needs an extension to their annual return deadline can contact the Charity Commission to ask for one.
Data Protection is not a barrier to enabling home working or changing the way you deliver service to meet individual’s needs at this unique time but you still need to consider the basic principle such as data security when making decision. The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has published a resource with some of the commonly asked queries at the moment. ICO coronavirus advice
The ICO have also published some advice on how to handle sensitive personal information and share it with others during COVID-19
The National Centre for Cyber Security have some top tips to help spot suspicious emails and never feel pressured into agreeing with anything.
Over 200 tech volunteers have come together to offer support to those fighting the COVID-19 emergency. Covid Tech Support is offering free assistance to doctors, community volunteers and others working in essential services, helping to set up WhatsApp groups, Facebook pages, websites, apps and lots more.
This information is a work in progress and is going to be updated as it changes or new information is received. If you’re aware of anything that needs updating, adding or changing please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: We have not been able to undertake safeguard checks on all community / voluntary groups.