Coronavirus – what communicators need to know

This post provides a list of links and resources relating to coronavirus. The information from the official sources can assist communications practitioners working in the local public sector and other fields.
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Last updated 2 April 2020 12:00pm. Refresh your browser to view updates.

Table of Contents

Share your resources to help and encourage other communicators

How this guide can support you as a practitioner in your work:

  1. Share this resource using this short link

    https://tinyurl.com/LPS-coronavirus.

  2. Share your resources

    If you have examples of public information approaches which could be adapted or used by other authorities and trusts, you can share them with the CIPR LPS Group.

  3. Use the headings list (above)

    Use this of sections to navigate the information in this resource.

  4. The easy access content list (below)

    Includes topics linked by theme and links to popular search terms within this resource. The last date the section was updated follows each item.

  5. Refresh your browser to view the latest information.

    A time stamp appears at the top of the resource to indicate the last update. Please note links to detailed public guidance and text of statements are not available at the time of press briefings, but published as soon as is possible. They will be added here when they are available. This resource is provided by Communications and IT practitioners to support colleagues primarily in or supporting the work of public services.

  6. LPS to focus on coronavirus support

    CIPR LPS statement on supporting communicators (released 16/3/20)

To further support practitioners in your work, please find below accessible, quick links based on themes and frequently searched terms. We continue to update and restructure this resource to respond to communicators’ current needs and to incorporate materials which have been requested. The list below includes dates sections were last updated.

The information on this page was current at time of publication. It only links or provides information to key official sources on public health, which have the responsibility for the content.

Key official channels (current)

– how you can help signpost the major sources

Status (updated daily)

– links to UK Government and WHO latest figures

UK Government relating to public services

– updated daily. After approximately 10 days, these are moved to the relevant section in the resource

Data and tools (current tools, daily updated)

– Department of Health’s data, WHO situation reports and more

FAQs on coronavirus

– including what pandemic means

Address public health misinformation

Pointing communities to facts on SMS, social platforms and search engines (updated 31/3/20)
Communications tips to address social stigma associated with COVID-19

Official public health campaigns

– latest links on the awareness campaign
– video messaging
– handwashing advice
– facts from WHO on use of face masks
– TV campaign (launched 15 March 2020)

Easy read and accessible versions of public health information (updated 2/4/2020)

– includes sign language versions of the guidance
– Mencap’s guide

NHS 111 online

– the digital service and community hub examples

Information for workplaces (updated 2/4/20)

– links to information for employers from WHO, ACAS, CIPD, CIPR Inside
– tech and data privacy
CIPR support for members (updated 1/4/20)
Independent Practitioners (updated 29/3/20)
Information for health staff (updated 1/4/20)

UK Government guidance to sectors (updated 2/4/20)

– useful to public service communicators – includes business, care and education

Wellbeing (updated 01/4/20)

– links to useful information

Communications teams

use official sources
update your info regularly – remember telephone, posters, web and social

Links to public health web and social media channels

– new links on public health resources for communicators and communities 29/3/20.
Do we have yours?

Signpost from your channels

The official health information providers encourage the public sector to prominently feature their regularly updated key pages.

Sign-up your emergency teams to receive email updates from Gov.uk on the coronavirus. This gives all updates relating to the virus.


What is the current status?

The NHS’s public information description for COVID-19: “A new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.”

Number of coronavirus cases in the UK (Gov.uk and PHE – updated regularly). This is regularly being updated and includes a breakdown of regions.

Now updated daily: Situation Reports, World Health Organization

12 March 2020: UK moves from ‘contain’ to ‘delay’ phase in its response to the coronavirus outbreak (Gov.uk, 12 March 2020). The UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the UK from moderate to high. The statement includes information on next steps in the coming few weeks.

11 March 2020: WHO declares coronavirus a pandemic.


UK Government and Department of Health announcements

The latest official links likely to be of relevance to communicators are shared in this section. After a week they will be moved into the relevant area in this resource to maintain their usefulness and ease of access for practitioners. Please refresh your browser for the latest information.

1 April 2020:
Statement by the Business Secretary in the daily coronavirus press conference
Slides and datasets referred to in the coronavirus press conference by the Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP

Business Support grant funding – this guidance sets out the details of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF). Gov.uk from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

Notification to data controllers in healthcare organisations, GPs, local authorities and arms length bodies on sharing information to support the response efforts.

31 March 2020:

30 March 2020:
Guidance on business suppport grant funding, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. This guidance is for local authorities setting out details of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF). This is version 3 and has updates on State Aid, monitoring and reporting requirements, new annexes on state aid, Spotlight, and post payment checks, clarification on the eligibility of charities.
[Related materials in our sections on: business, independent practitioners, local government]
Slides to accompany Chief Science Officer, Sir Patrick Vallance’s presentation from the press conference
Foreign Secretary’s statement on coronavirus with latest data
Approval of home use for both stages of early medical abortion (Department of Health and Social Care
Ministerial direction on spend: letters authorising spend on urgent coronavirus (COVID-19) issues by the Department of Health and Social Care and its Arms Length Bodies (ALBs)
Update on the Grenfell Tower site following the coronavirus outbreak, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

29 March 2020:
PM’s letter to the Nation. This includes information on vaccine development, production of tests and treatments, and UK aid.
First food parcels delivered to those highest at risk from coronavirus, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Additional guidance on mental health and wellbeing. This is aimed at health professionals and organisations. First issued 3 March 2020, Public Health England
[Related materials in our sections on: information for health-related professionals, wellbeing, care sector]

28 March 2020:
Letter of thanks to social care staff and managers from the UK Health Secretary
[Related materials in our sections on: information for health-related professionals, wellbeing, care sector]
Information on renting and COVID-19: guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities relating to private and social rented housing sectors – Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
[Related materials in our section on: local government]
UK Government response to the Financial Times article on ventilators

27 March 2020:
Transcript of the UK PM video message on coronavirus
Statement about the UK PM’s test for coronavirus

26 March 2020:
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak’s updated statement on coronavirus (26 March 2020)
Advice on helping others during the coronavirus emergency
Published: 26 March 2020, Gov.uk
Claim a grant via the coronavirus self-employment income support scheme, HM Revenue and Customs
Job Retention Scheme, HMRC
COVID-19 guide: Fraud control in emergency management
Updated document ‘Coronavirus Bill: what it me will do.’
Source: Gov.uk
First publication: 17 March 2020 and relates to the Coronavirus Act 2020.
Gov.uk descriptor: “Measures contained in the fast-tracked coronavirus legislation and why they are needed to effectively manage the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the UK.”

Guidance on further businesses and premises to close
Source: Gov.uk.
First publication: 23 March 2020. Gov.uk descriptor: “This document provides guidance on the closure of all retailers that sell non-essential goods and other non-essential premises, as part of further social distancing measures.”

25 March 2020:
PM’s statement, Gov.uk
Foreign Secretary on international co-operation on the coronavirus. Statement followed a meeting of the G7 Foreign on using their collective powers to tackle the virus and help stranded nationals get home to the COVID-19 pandemic (25 March 2020)
Business rates retail discount guidance expanded, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Free car parking for NHS and social care staff
Hotels, hostels and B&B accommodation to support key workers
Travel advice for educational settings updated. First published: 17 March 2020. Gov.uk: PHE and Department of Education

24 March 2020:
– Blood donations centres remind public they’re ‘open’. Department of Health confirmed this would be termed as ‘essential travel’. Read our post on ‘Keep donating blood for the NHS’ and find out how you can promote the message.
Coronavirus advice via SMS messages – the UK Government is working with mobile phone providers to issue the latest stay at home guidance direct by SMS to individuals.
£500 million hardship fund for Council Tax relief for vulnerable households affected by coronavirus (Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government).
Updated guidance to employers and business. Includes guidance for local authorities on administering the Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund. This contains details of the expanded retail discount guidance.
Updated education guidance

23 March 2020:
Updated guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK, Gov.uk. New guidance on staying at home and away from others to help reduce the spread of coronavirus in the UK.
Information on business and premises to close as part of social distancing (Gov.uk). This provides guidance on the closure of all non-essential businesses and premises as part of the UK Government’s further social distancing measures.
Full guidance on staying at home (Gov.uk – following PM’s address)
PM’s address (Gov.uk – following evening statement)
Increase to working tax credits
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme, now open
Business information campaign during coronavirus emergency on UK Government Business Support service – launched 23 March 2020
Statement on the additional support, Gov.uk – 23 March 2020
COVID Corporate Financial Facility, Bank of England (23 March 2020) – for companies, and banks acting on behalf of companies wanting to participate in HM Treasury and Bank of England’s CCFF.

22 March 2020:
PM’s statement on coronavirus
Guidance for businesses, employees and employers has been updated. More information about business support and assistance for independent practitioners in other sections of this resource. Visit the quick links at the top of the page to help you find information useful to you.
– Advice for those with serious underlying health conditions promoted in televised briefings, online video, social media and via WhatsApp distribution. More on WhatsApp use in our section on Pointing communities to facts on social platforms.

21 March 2020:
Coronavirus shielding advice from the PHE England and the UK Government
Statement to assist for people with serious underlying health conditions (Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Guidance document on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from COVID-19. This document is also for family, friends and carers to help give support. PHE states it: “is intended for use in situations where the extremely vulnerable person is living in their own home, with or without additional support. This includes the extremely clinically vulnerable people living in long-term care facilities, either for the elderly or persons with special needs.”
– Link for the list of conditions identified by the NHS as most at risk from hospitalisation from coronavirus
Link to social media image on the list which can be shared in communications. PHE campaign site has more images for reuse

20 March 2020:
Online isolation certification system – reduces pressure on GP surgeries (20 March 2020). Isolation notes will provide employees with evidence for their employers that they have been advised to self-isolate due to coronavirus, either because they have symptoms or they live with someone who has symptoms, and so cannot work.
Guidance on social distancing and vulnerable people
Closure of educational settings – updated information for parents and carers from Gov.uk. First published 19/3/20.

19 March 2020:
Update on the risk and number of coronavirus cases in the UK (at 19 March 2020)
Changes to hospital discharge arrangements and community support provision during the coronavirus situation
Guidance on home care provision (PHE)
The Defence Secretary announces ‘new measures to put service personnel and Reservists on standby to support public services in response to the COVID-19 outbreak’.

18 March 2020:
PM’s statement on the coronavirus including an update on schools and the public health awareness campaign.

17 March 2020 evening:
UK Government permission to clubs and restaurants to act as takeaways. Rules will be introduced for a limited period. Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
UK Government statement on Emergency Bill in response to coronavirus
Chancellor’s statement on additional measures to support business (Gov.uk)
Coronavirus a Bill: what it will do (Gov.uk)

17 March 2020:
COVID-19 guidance for mass gatherings
New UK government structures to co-ordinate response to coronavirus outbreak
Travel advice statement by the Foreign Secretary
“Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised against all non-essential international travel, initially for a period of 30 days.”
Travel advice guidance from FCO (updated)

16 & 17 March 2020:
Guidance on social distancing and for vulnerable people (Gov.uk, 16/3/2020)
Statement on the update to the guidance for households with potential coronavirus infection (17/3/2020)
– Updated Guidance for households with potential coronavirus infection – ‘Stay at home’ guidance first published 12/3/2020.

16 March 2020:
PM’s speech on updated coronavirus measures
Health Secretary’s address to Parliament on controlling the spread of the virus

15 March 2020: UK Government to hold daily press conference. This will be hosted by the Prime Minister and senior Ministers on the coronavirus pandemic, supported by scientific and medical experts including the Chief Medical Office and Chief Scientific Adviser. The Downing Street’s statement said: “The press conferences form part of the government’s commitment to clarity and transparency in order to ensure British people are fully informed about the steps they can take to protect themselves and others.”

12 March 2020: Stay at home guidance for people with confirmed or potential coronavirus (Gov.uk, issued 12 March 2020 with updates)


Data tools and links

UK

Tool to visualise data on the coronavirus in the UK (launched 10 March 2020). It is updated daily by the Department of Health and Social Care with figures and geographic splits by local authority. Mobile version

Tweet from Dept of Health on tool to visualise coronavirus data. Has picture of the UK showing cases in green.

Number of coronavirus cases in the UK (Gov.uk and PHE – updated regularly). This is regularly being updated and includes a breakdown of regions.

Slides and datasets referred to in the coronavirus press conference by the Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP (Gov.uk, 1 April 2020)

Slides and datasets to accompany coronavirus press conference used by the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP (Gov.uk, 31 March 2020)

Slides to accompany Chief Science Officer, Sir Patrick Vallance’s presentation from the press conference (Gov.uk, 30 March 2020)

Update on the risk and number of coronavirus cases in the UK (19 March 2020)

ONS

Office for National Statistics (ONS) latest data and analysis on coronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK and its effect on the economy and society.

WHO data

World Health Organization – Health Emergency Dashboard

Situation Reports, World Health Organization
– these are now updated daily by WHO. The report show data reported by different nations and the epidemic curve of cases by date of report and WHO region.

Communicating with communities

The UK Government’s Coronavirus Action Plan (published 3 March 2020)

Community Engagement (RCCE) Action Plan Guidance for COVID-19 (launched 16 March 2020).
This was released by WHO, the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) and UNICEF. This tool is designed to ‘support risk communication, community engagement staff and responders working with national health authorities, and other partners to develop, implement and monitor an effective action plan for communicating effectively with the public, engaging with communities, local partners and other stakeholders to help prepare and protect individuals, families and the public’s health during early response to COVID-19.’

More from WHO

SARI treatment and screening
28 March 2020: WHO published the first edition of the practical manual to set up and manage a severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) treatment centre and a SARI screening facility in health-care facilities.

Return to quick links

What does ‘pandemic’ mean?

The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed why the coronavirus was now a pandemic in its press conference. This explanation is useful to communicators and the media. (11 May 2020)

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the WHO, said: “Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death.

”Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by this #coronavirus. It doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do.”

World Health Organization

The WHO’s press conference summary is segmented into Tweets in a thread. Each has a social media graphic to help with messaging and reuse by other communications teams. View the @WHO Twitter thread.

Tweet from WHO describing COVID-19 as an epidemic

7 March 2020: WHO statement on cases of coronavirus surpassing 100,000

January 2020: The spread of the new coronavirus disease was declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization. The NHS moved to its highest level for emergencies, national incident response level 4. This move was to increase preparation for a potential outbreak.

Return to quick links

Focus on and share offical sources

gov.uk/coronavirus for key information

Social media assets, web graphics and videos are available from the NHS and the World Health Organization’s public health campaigns for communicators to use and share in their channels and communications networks.

Using the information and graphics from the official sources can support practitioners in communicating the accurate picture to your organisations and stakeholders.

CIPR Local Public Services Committee

Check official sources regularly through the day. The key sources of public health information are: Gov.UK, NHS.UK, World Health Organization.

Kerry Sheehan, Chair of the CIPR Local Public Services group, said: “There’s lots of confusion circulating about the virus on the internet and media. Our committee is working to support you as practitioners in this uncertain time in your front line work keeping people informed and safe.

She added: “It is vital to check key official information regularly throughout the day to avoid missing important information or updates you may need to communicate further to your stakeholders. New official public information may be available for authorities to help share locally and regionally.” (4 March 2020)

Kerry highlighted: “In addition to keeping up-to-date on the official current status, it is vital to keep up with the latest officially-sanctioned terms used to communicate.” (11 March 2020)

Return to quick links

Regularly update your information

Keep key public-facing and staff information points updated. It helps avoid misinformation filling the gaps.

Telephone lines

Many public sector switchboards have been updating their phone lines with recorded information to help keep residents and visitors informed. Messages can include information reassuring the public that everything is open as normal, who to contact if you have cold or flu symptoms, and reminders to wash hands thoroughly. These can also contain signposts to official information sources.

Consider adding information messages to key internal phone numbers, such as the HR switchboard, to help keep staff informed. #InternalComms

Kerry Sheehan, Chair of the LPS Group, added: “These kind of messages can help reduce a lot of phone traffic. Remember to update these messages regularly and consider including a date of the recording to show people it is up to date. This can help the public feel they are being kept informed.”

Publish and update FAQs

Links to public health information, FAQs from WHO and the NHS can be found further down in this resource guide. A quick link list can be found at the top of this page.

FAQs can be useful for both internal and external audiences. Many organisations are using Intranets to link to both external questions and answers from the key public health providers, arrangements for their organisation, and local response. These combined with staff specific FAQs on organisation’s intranets and internal communications systems, can help keep employees informed and reduce calls and emails. #InternalComms

CIPR LPS Chair Kerry Sheehan said: “With an increase in reported cases, your organisations may see an escalation in calls and emails in relation to it and what precautions you are taking. A way to continue to reassure people you serve is to include FAQs easily visible and accessible from your website homepages.” Kerry shared an example of the type of question and answer which public sector organisations could consider and adapt to help respond to queries.

Q. How are you preparing for an outbreak?
A. We are following all UK Government and Public Health guidance.
We have robust processes in place, and an experienced team capable of dealing with the outbreak of an infectious disease.
We are communicating regularly with our staff and residents/ stakeholders.
Across our sites / services, we are displaying Public Health coronavirus information… Read more…

Example only

Digital channels

The CIPR LPS team suggests:

  • clear signposting on websites and social channels
  • adding top stories, announcements, home page and key webpage promotions
  • link these major promotional spaces to key public health information and to the relevant public sector pages on the coronavirus and to official local response sources
  • remembering your internal stakeholders and suppliers #InternalComms

Kerry added that HR and internal communications teams need to be clear on staff policies as well as other information provision. She said: “We also need to look after our comms teams and make sure they are supported.”

Many public services are part of a wider emergency networks. Check your response teams, comms leads or duty comms officer have access to up to date contacts and are well-briefed on the process for mobilisation.

More on resources for digital channels in the Tackling Misinformation section below.

Media interviews

World Health Organization Press Statements and Media Resources on COVID-19. You can find videos, transcripts of briefings and releases on this page.

Kerry said: “In the CIPR Public Services, we are already aware that some local authorities in the UK are deciding not to do any media interviews at this current time. They are signposting the official sources and the relevant media support that has been set up. This situation is subject to change.”

Return to quick links

Tackling misinformation

Preventing and addressing social stigma

The World Health Organization with UNICEF and CIFRC have produced a document to help communicators, media and governments to be aware of and take action to reduce any social stigma which becomes associated with COVID-19. Document from WHO (PDF opens in a new window).

This vital document explains the use of words, the effect of stigma, how to address the issues and myths.

Reducing fear and tackling myths

Myth busters on the coronavirus from the World Health Organization (WHO).

These include myths relating to:

  • hand dryers
  • ultraviolet lamps
  • thermal scanners
  • use of alcohol and chlorine
  • transmission on letters and packages
  • safety for pets
  • other vaccines
  • antibiotics and existing medicines
  • age groups
  • eating garlic and applying sesame oil

The WHO has provided downloadable graphics you can use in your digital and print communications correcting misinformation which is currently circulating on these topics.

WHO video on TikTok 2020-02

One of its key messages is to encourage: “People of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, for example by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene.”

Pointing communities to correct information

SMS

Coronavirus advice via SMS messages – the UK Government is working with mobile phone providers to issue the latest stay at home guidance direct by SMS to individuals (24 March 2020).

Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter

The World Health Organization is bringing COVID-19 factors to billions via the WhatsApp, an online, instant messaging tool. (19 March 2020).

WhatsApp image ‘Click this link and text hi to the WhatsApp number. World Health Organization

The WHO release states: “The service can be accessed through a link that opens a conversation on WhatsApp. Users can simply type “hi” to activate the conversation, prompting a menu of options that can help answer their questions about COVID-19.” The application uses machine learning technology.

The UK Department of Health and Social Care is also using WhatsApp to help spread the stay at home and isolation messages (22 March 2020).

Department of Health tweet asking recipients to share public health message for anyone with serious underlying health condition.

To help deal with the level of misinformation, Twitter and Facebook are directing users searching for the coronavirus to official public health social channels, such as, the Department of Health and Social Care, and the NHS.

Facebook has linked in with the NHS, WHO and other public bodies to promote ‘accurate health information’ about the virus. The guide also gives examples of the existing Facebook tools community administrators can use to help tackle comments giving misinformation. It includes a section from the WHO on managing anxiety and stigma.

Facebook is also giving advice on setting up social learning units to help community pages direct their followers to information from WHO and other official sources.

Text on a green background: Connecting communities with accurate health information about coronavirus
Belfast Health & Social Care NHS Trust produced a great example of how you can use Twitter to make powerful and visual campaign messages during the outbreak. Using key messages from its respiratory team, it created a video under 3 minutes of how staying at home will save lives.

Instagram

The WHO and NHS are also making wide use of Instagram as part of the public awareness campaign.

The platform has also made changes to counter the level of misinformation circulating (24 March 2020). Users searching for coronavirus or COVID-19 will be directed to an educational message and links to WHO and local health departments.

It is also removing COVID-19 accounts from the recommendations list unless they are posted by a ‘credible’ health organization.

Users and communicators will be able to create a shared story to encourage others to social distance and to share a ‘Stay Home’ sticker.

There will be a new way to browse Instagram with friends using video chat.

TikTok

The WHO communicators and design team created video materials specifically designed for the TikTok, a social platform for short form video. WHO’s TikTok channel includes videos discussing measures people can take to protect their own health and steps to take before putting on a mask. This communications approach aims to tackle fake stories.

TikTok has created a ‘stay at home’ message to help official public health agencies (29 March 2020). It says it is prioritising videos from official sources.

The Department of Health and Social Care has partnered with TikTok and Dr Alex George to share handwashing tips. (30/3/2020). Dr George works for A&E in the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, in London.

Canva

The online graphics creation platform has produced resources which can be shared and adapted by communicators and community groups for print, web or social. It has worked with the WHO to produce the templates. Many organisations are finding templates like this useful for their internal communications too.

Coronavirus template promotion box

It is encouraging existing and new users to “share accurate information from the World Health Organization and spread messages of support to your community, here are some resources that can help during this tough time.’

Google

Google is providing users with official key links to help them navigate through the amount of information being published.

Google Help and Information section in search results for coronavirus
Google’s Help and Information section appears in its search results for the coronavirus (COVID-19)

Evaluate information before you share it

You can report misinformation on the UK Government site, run by the Cabinet Office https://sharechecklist.gov.uk/

The Government reminds the public: “Just because a story appears online, doesn’t make it true. The internet is great, but it can also be used to spread disinformation in the form of misleading news and content.” The site features a SHARE checklist which can be used to evaluate information before individuals share, like or comment on it.

  • Source
  • Headline
  • Analyse
  • Retouched
  • Error

The site also has includes tools, games and websites to help the public better understand and spot disinformation.

Submit fake news to Parliamentary inquiry

Communicators can play a role in encouraging their communities and the public to send fake news to the Online Harms and Disinformation Inquiry. The Inquiry’s call for evidence opened on 25 March and will close for submissions on 20 April 2020. It will look at disinformation and misinformation on the coronavirus and COVID-19.

Tweet from Dept of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee for evidence of false info on COVID-19, particularly on private channels.

CIPR Public Services Committee supports Governments increasing efforts to counter misinformation on coronavirus (COVID-19). Read more about how the institute’s sectoral and regional groups are working together to share official information. In addition, the LPS and the Independent Practitioners Network are calling on communicators to use the SHARE approach to evaluate information before they share it wider.

Sharechecklist.gov.uk

The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Sub-Committee on Online Harms and Disinformation will ask Government and social media how they’re tackling deliberate attempts to present false narratives on COVID-19 when the House of Commons returns.

Call to practitioners to consider the following questions.

  • Do we know where the information has come from? Have we checked the source?
  • Are we sure it’s true?
  • Have we fact checked the information?

Dominic Ridley-Moy, of the CIPR LPS committee and the Independent Practitioners Network, said: “These are all things we do but it’s hugely important, now more than ever, that we remain extra vigilant and take extra care when sharing information.”

The call for evidence is open until Monday 20 April 2020.

https://committees.parliament.uk/work/232/online-harms-and-disinformation

New UK unit to reduce effect of misinformation

The UK Government has advised it will set up a ‘counter disinformation unit’. It will have representation from different departments across Whitehall to identify and respond to disinformation about COVID-19. It will work with social media organisations to try and tackle the spread of disinformation.

Responding to the creation of a counter disinformation unit, CIPR stressed the vital role of communicators.

CIPR President, Jenni Field Chart.PR, said: “We remind members of their commitment to the CIPR code of conduct – you must check the reliability and accuracy of information before sharing with the public.

“The national significance of this issue highlights the importance of the role of communicators.”

Communicating key tasks

Previous CIPR President, Stephen Waddington has written an analysis on communications regarding the coronavirus. He includes commentary on the use of the online WHO dashboard which records confirmed outbreaks.

A step approach is recommended by CIPR LPS committee member, Dan Slee.

“There are two tasks public sector communicators need to do. Firstly have a clear line. Secondly, and this is really important, take that line to where people are and in a format that works. Not everyone will come to you. In fact, most people will not. You will need to go to them. If that means presenting that line in slightly different ways for different platforms, then do it. Text, an image or video? That’s fine. This is where your expertise as a communicator comes in. But date stamp your content too. So people can see the call to do X was on 5 March 2020, so they’re less likely to start to follow it at the end of April.”

Dan Slee

The basics of communicating the coronavirus – post by Dan Slee.

Return to quick links


Official information on coronavirus

The key places to signpost information

Can your organisation help distribute up-to-date, useful information from official sources? Please consider adding links prominently to your external and internal communications channels.

Public health advice

Announced on 15 March 2020, for the first time, the UK public members will be able to watch advice in TV adverts featuring Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty and voiced by actor Mark Strong. They are part of the Government’s drive to “ensure everyone knows the best way to limit and delay the spread of the COVID-19”.

More resources will be available for council and trust websites and intranets from your local public health. The public will be able to see and hear the campaign advice in newspapers and magazines, on drive-time radio, online and through social media. The advice will also feature on billboards and large digital displays, including at bus stops.

Public Health England’s resource centre for coronavirus can help communications and leadership teams in the public sector with posters and a quick reference guide.

NHS - catch it, bin it poster for infection control from colds and coughs

The materials have been created to support communications with the general public. The PHE resources align with the national public information campaign that is running across the United Kingdom.

The quick start guide includes suggested copy from PHE to accompany the social media assets.

Communications teams should share links to the material in the resource centre rather than individual downloads. This will help find the most up to date versions of information on public sector websites.

Coronavirus public health poster – you can download this for offices or link shared (the PDF file of the poster issued on 3/2/20 will open in a new window)

Public health information video on the Coronavirus from the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care.
The direct link to this video hosted on YouTube.

Handwashing campaigns

The NHS is running a social media and radio campaign to promote handwashing.

Washing our hands more often and for 20 seconds (the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice) – can help prevent the spread of #coronavirus. But we’re over-singing Happy Birthday – so the wonderful Twitter-hive has helped us find other #HandwashAnthems with 20 second choruses.”

A UK-wide public information campaign launched on 4 March 2020 focusing on handwashing for 20 seconds to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

UK Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We all have a role to play in stopping this disease and that’s what this expanded campaign is all about – making sure the public knows exactly what they should be doing to keep themselves and others safe. Washing hands regularly is the single most important thing that an individual can do.”

Video on how to wash your hands properly issued by the Department of Health and Social Care, 9 March 2020

Viruses and surfaces

The Department of Health is reminding the public that viruses can live on surfaces for several hours (13 March 2020). It reminds the public to protect themselves and others by:

▶️ Wash your hands more often
▶️ Use soap and water for 20 seconds
▶️ Or use hand sanitiser

Advice on face masks

The WHO information on the correct use of face masks during the current outbreak of coronavirus.

FAQs on Coronavirus

NHS advice on COVID-19 includes common questions from families, prevention, how it is caught, self-isolation, testing and treating

World Health Organization FAQs on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Download graphics from WHO on the coronavirus to use on Instagram

Video FAQ below from the WHO (subtitles available, transcript of the audio is in the comments area)

Easy to read guidance and useful videos

Easy Read guide to looking after your feelings and body during the coronavirus outbreak, PHE,31 March 2020 (PDF, opens in new window)

Easy Read version on coronavirus, PHE (PDF, opens in new window) – updated March 2020

Easy Read advice on coronavirus, NHS Inform, Scotland – regularly updated versions are added to its page.

Easy Read information on coronavirus in Welsh, PH Wales (PDF, opens in a new window)

Easy Read and more translated versions of the public health guidance published, 20 March 2020

Stay at home guidance in graph table form, 20 March 2020 (PDF, opens in new window)

Mencap’s website has an Easy Read document on coronavirus (PDF, opens in a new window)

Sign language versions of information

British Sign Language (BSL) versions of Gov.uk announcements (Signhealth charity). Coronavirus Daily updates delivered by the Prime Minister will include the provision of a sign language interpreter on channel BBC 107 or 231.

NHS 111 BSL Service is open 24/7 to enable individuals who need to use British Sign Language to communicate with the online assistance.

Subtitled versions

How to protect yourself against COVID-19 (March 2020, WHO) – subtitled video

Coronavirus guides for parents, guardians and carers

WHO: multi-colour posters to help parents talk with younger family members about COVID-19

Information for parents during the Coronavirus emergency, advice (WHO). The World Health Organization communications team has created six one-page tips for parents to help them plan “one-on-one time, staying positive, creating a daily routine, avoiding bad behaviour, managing stress, and talking about COVID-19.”

Leaflet on talking to children about coronavirus (Young Minds charity)

Return to quick links

Section linksAlso view related material
Easy read Picture-based and easy read editions, British Sign Language versions of guidance
TranslationsAs guidance is translated into another language, it is posted by Gov.uk on the original web page. To help communicators, you can find links to the UK guidance in our latest announcements and public sector specific sections.
FAQsQuestions and answers on coronavirus (COVID-19)
MisinformationResources to help tackle public health myths
Social channelsHelp public health organisations share resources on social channels

Public Health England (PHE) leads the response to new and emerging threats to health for all four nations of the UK and the Crown Dependencies – including the Isle of Man.

Awareness and communication campaign resources for public health from PHE

England

Follow Public Health England on Twitter @PHE_uk

Public Health England (PHE) is a Category 1 Responder. It provides specialist advice and support to the emergency services and NHS.

NHS England

Community-based information microsite on coronavirus relating to health, social care and ambulance services, NHS England (added to resource 31/3/20 – thanks for submitting this as a useful information hub)

Northern Ireland

Follow @PublicHealthNI on Twitter

Public Health Agency Northern Ireland on COVID-19

Scotland

Follow @ScotGovHealth on Twitter

Health Protection Scotland on COVID-19 including guidance specific to Scotland

NHS Inform Scotland – section on coronavirus (COVID-19)

NHS Inform Scotland self help guide: coronavirus (COVID-19)

Easy Read advice on coronavirus, NHS Inform Scotland – regularly updated versions are added to its page.

Coronavirus advice in BSL, NHS Inform Scotland

Scottish Government page on the coronavirus

Wales

Latest updates on Novel Coronavirus in Wales, visit Phw.nhs.wales/coronavirus

Follow on Public Health Wales on Twitter

Public Health Wales information on COVID-19

Public Health Wales statement on COVID-19 cases – updated daily

NHS Wales Coronavirus Symptom Checker

Public information posters, social media assets and videos on coronavirus, Public Health Wales

Welsh Government page on COVID-19

Channel Islands

States of Guernsey information on Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2

States of Guernsey coronavirus latest section – includes helpine, latest status media briefings

Island of Jersey information on coronavirus

Coronavirus health information for Jersey including helpline

Isle of Man

Isle of Man information on the virus and useful links

Worldwide

Public Health, European Commission on COVID-19

Coronavirus website section, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)

More local government and public sector information

This section includes information on retail trading restrictions.

UK Government Coronavirus Action Plan (Published 3 March 2020)

Information for council, Local Government Association (LGA)

Health pro

Notification to data controllers in healthcare organisations, GPs, local authorities and arms length bodies on sharing information to support the response efforts (Gov.uk, 1 April 2020)

£500 million hardship fund for Council Tax relief for vulnerable households affected by coronavirus, Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government

Emergency support for rough sleepers to help them self-isolate, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (Gov.uk, 17 March 2020)

UK Government permission to clubs and restaurants to act as takeaways. Rules will be introduced for a limited period. Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (Gov.uk, 17 March evening)

Local Government Secretary’s press release on support to local councils in their work on coronavirus (16 March 2020). This includes supporting councils’ focus on social care and providing support for vulnerable people and local economies, additional military personnel to work with Local Resilience Forums (LRFs) on their coronavirus response plans. The release has a summary of the Budget measures announced relating to local authorities during the coronavirus outbreak.

Advice to parish and town councils, National Association of Local Councils (NALC, 13 March 2020)

UK Government guidance for ambulance trusts (13 March 2020)

Stay at home guidance for people with confirmed or potential coronavirus – Gov.uk (issued 12 March 2020). This document has Q&A sections for ease of reference.

Public advice for travellers (UK Government)

Return to quick links

Online and community information

New NHS 111 online service

An online service, NHS 111, gives further advice on coronavirus. It provides a checklist to help identify whether someone needs medical help and what to do next.

As part of the next phase of the public health awareness campaign (15 March 2020), handwashing and related messages continue to be a focus. Continued emphasis on using online help from NHS.uk/coronavirus “to check your symptoms and follow the medical advice, rather than visiting your GP.”

“It also urges people with any symptoms to avoid contact with older and more vulnerable people. Where possible, we are urging people to visit the 111 website rather than calling, too, to ensure the phone service is readily available to those who need it.”

The key message from the NHS 111 service is for residents to use this service rather than go to a hospital or GP surgery, if:

  • you think you might have coronavirus
  • in the last 14 days, you’ve been to a country or area with a high risk of coronavirus –  coronavirus advice for travellers
  • you’ve been in close contact with someone with coronavirus
NHS111 online

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said: “The new NHS 111 online service is helping increase capacity and free up clinicians’ time by offering specific help and advice on coronavirus at the touch of a button…

“I would like to say a personal thank all those NHS staff who are doing an incredible job caring for patients, testing thousands of worried people and taking calls from thousands more.”

He said: “The public can play their part in slowing the spread of the virus by following public health advice.

“People should wash their hands, cover their mouth and nose when they cough or sneeze and put used tissues in the bin immediately.”

COVID-19 vs flu

Lots of questions on social media and media interviews about the similarities between COVID-19 and flu (usually seasonal influenza).
Q&A on COVID-19 versus flu – video from the WHO
First published: 4 March 2020

Advice on helping others during the coronavirus emergency
Published: 26 March 2020, Gov.uk

Community hubs

Parsons Green - swabbing hub for Covid-19

A home diagnostic testing programme is being rolled out in every part of the UK. New testing locations, such as, the ‘drive-through’ swabbing centre in west London can be accessed through NHS 111. This particular hub is provided by Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust in Parsons Green working with North West London Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP). It is a referral only service providing a community-based testing facility. Its nursing and therapy workforce come from Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust. It is medically supported by the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust medical team.

More about the NHS 111 online emergency service, which was launched on 26 February 2020.

Return to quick links

Information for employees and employers

UK Government advice for employers and businesses on coronavirus (this resource is updated regularly)

Information on business and premises to close (Gov.uk, 23 March 2020 evening)
Full guidance on staying at home (Gov.uk – following PM’s evening statement, 23 March 2020)

UK Government response on the apprenticeship programme during the coronavirus outbreak (Gov.uk, 23 March 2020)

Advice for employees and employers (ACAS). This includes health and safety steps and reminder not to single out an employee due to race or ethnicity.

Public health and the workplace

The World Health Organization (WHO) has produced a document to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces. It focuses on three areas:

  1. How to manage COVID-19 risks when organizing meetings and events
  2. Things to consider when you and your employees travel
  3. Getting your workplace ready in case COVID-19 arrives in your community

WHO’s advice on getting workplaces ready for COVID-19 (published 3 March 2020) [PDF opens in new window]

Q&A on COVID-19 in the workplace – subtitled video from WHO (3 March 2020).

How to keep workplaces clean (Gov.uk, 19 March 2020) – aimed at non-healthcare settings

Employers and business public health guidance poster, Gov.uk (PDF opens in a new window)

Benefits and online isolation certification

Universal Credit, SSP and claiming benefits during a Coronavirus period

Online isolation certification system – reduces pressure on GP surgeries (20 March 2020). Isolation notes will provide employees with evidence for their employers that they have been advised to self-isolate due to coronavirus, either because they have symptoms or they live with someone who has symptoms, and so cannot work.

Statutory Sick Pay – guide for employers with updated information during the coronavirus outbreak, Gov.uk

Increase to working tax credits (Gov.uk, 23 March 2020)

Chancellor’s statement on additional measures to support business

Support from the CIPR and its groups

CIPR support to members (published 16 March 2020, updated regularly)

Promotion box saying CIPR free legal and business advice from the Croner Business Support helpline

CIPR members have free access to the Croner-i Business Support Helpline. You can get advice on legal, compliance and tax issues. Find out more and login to this CIPR business service.

CIPR’s Inside group has produced a guide for communicating with employees at times of crisis, particularly during the coronavirus outbreak. #InternalComms
Tips for communicating with employees at times of crisis specifically COVID-19 (PDF download is about half way down the page). Other skills guides and resources from the CIPR Inside group.

How is coronavirus influencing the PR industry – article in Influence magazine by Eva Maclaine, a previous Chair of CIPR International group. Posted 13 March 2020. Her post includes: “The Institute’s specialist group, Local Public Services, has published an excellent coronavirus guide for communicators.”

‘How viral can combat virus – what we need is a coronavirus meme strategy’ – article in Influence magazine by Andrew Green (13 March 2020)

CIPR webinars

CIPR has made the following resources available to the wider public relations profession at this time:

CIPR calls and responses to the Government

CIPR and PRCA write to Chancellor of the Exchequer calling for further support for small businesses (27 March 2020)

It follows the announcement by the UK Government of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme on 26 March 2020. The industry bodies said it would welcomed by the freelance community, but many self-employed professionals will not be eligible to apply. This group include those:

  • who operate as limited companies
  • who became self-employed since April 2019
  • with a trading profit of more than £50,000
  • who move between short-term PAYE contracts

CIPR has welcomed the UK Government’s decision to extend provisions of income assurance to cover freelancers and the self-employed during the coronavirus outbreak. (26 March 2020). More on our response on the CIPR page.

Joint statement between CIPR and PRCA (23 March 2020)

Independent practitioners

SectionCross-links to other relevant sections
Quick linksThe main content list for this resource.
BusinessUK and devolved governments advice and support.
Links to major business organisations.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, taxation changes and more.
Information for other sectors can be found below this section.
Public Health Find the public health body in your area and its key links.
CIPR supportWhat the Chartered Institute of Public Relations is doing to support practitioners.
InfoHow you can help tackle misinformation.
FAQs about Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Links to find your local business support can also be found in the Business section below.

For this period CIPR will allow independent practitioners to request a three-month membership payment break (announced 16 March 2020).

IR35

The Government’s decision to delay IR35 due to uncertainty surrounding coronavirus was welcomed by the CIPR

CIPR’s IR35 resource for members (March 2020)

Dominic Ridley-May, Co-Chair of CIPR’s Independent Practitioners Network and LPS Committee member, said: “As a freelancer, and a member of several freelance Facebook groups, I know how challenging the next few weeks and months will be for independents. Events are already having a massive impact on people’s income, and the prospect of self-isolation will compound this.

CIPR Independent Practitioners

Further details about what the UK Government is offering independents can be found on the website of the IPSE, a body representing the self-employed.

IPSE petition

Fifteen per cent of all those in employment in developed nations‘ OECD group were listed as self-employed in 2019 (World Bank statistics). This reflected the position in the UK too.

Dominic Ridley-Moy said: “Whilst we welcome measures like delaying IR35 and postponing VAT payments, the Government has not gone far enough to support the self-employed. Many freelancers have seen their work disappear in a matter of days, with no way of being able to pay the bills during the coming weeks and months. 

“We urgently call on the Government to address this. In Norway, for example, the Government has committed to pay the self-employed 80 per cent of their average income based on the previous three years.

“To support all our many freelance professionals now is the time to make your voice heard – don’t leave the self-employed behind in the Coronavirus Crisis.”

Dominic is asking communicators to sign the petition started by IPSE and the Creative Industries Federation calling on the UK Government to create a Temporary Income Protection Fund to support freelancers. He added: “The idea is for a time-limited, targeted injection of funds to keep businesses afloat during the coming months and cover basic income costs like food and rent.”

The petition to the UK Parliament (Change.org website)

Creative Industries Federation open letter regarding the fund (19 March 2020)

Return to quick links

UK Government guidance to sectors

This is not an exhaustive list. It focuses on the documents likely to be most useful for public sector communicators and PR/ Communications agencies and businesses.
Also visit the Independent Practitioners section.

Business sector

Also view Local Government section for announcements on retail trading restrictions.

The temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is covered in the sub-sections below.

Benefits and tax

Check if you are eligible for Universal Credit under the new arrangements, Gov.uk

Increase to working tax credits (Gov.uk, 23 March 2020) – “Working Tax Credits payments will be increased by £1,045 to £3,040 per year from 6 April 2020 until 5 April 2021. The amount a claimant or household will benefit from will depend on their circumstances, including their level of household income.”

HMRC – coronavirus tax helpline 

UK Government advice on what to do if you can not pay your tax bill online during the coronavirus outbreak – includes a HMRC coronavirus helpline

Companies House – Coronavirus: if your company is unable to file accounts with Companies House on time due to the restrictions associated with tackling coronavirus 

16 March 2020: International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and World Health Organization (WHO) call for action by the private sector to help tackle COVID-19

Coronavirus specific information for businesses and support schemes

Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme was announced in the UK Budget in March 2020. It is being delivered by the British Business Bank. The scheme will support businesses in accessing bank lending and overdrafts. The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme opened on 23 March 2020. (Gov.uk, 23 March 2020).

Business Support grant funding

  • Documentation for Business Support grant funding – this guidance sets out the eligibility criteria, and the operation and delivery of the two funding schemes: the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF).
    • First published 1/4/2020.
    • Source: Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
  • Guidance on business suppport grant funding
    • Source: Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
    • This guidance is for local authorities setting out details of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF). Version 3 published on 30/3/2020 from 24/3/2020. Version 3 has updates on State Aid, monitoring and reporting requirements, new annexes on state aid, Spotlight, and post payment checks, clarification on the eligibility of charities.

Coronavirus self-employment income support scheme

  • Claim a grant via the coronavirus self-employment income support scheme
    • Source: HM Revenue and Customs
    • First publication: 26 March 2020. Details who can apply.
    • “This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed.”
    • How to apply: wait to be contacted by HMRC

Job Retention Scheme

  • Job Retention Scheme eligibility
    • Source: HM Revenue and Customs
    • First publication: 26 March 2020. Details of who is eligible, how much employers can claim if they put staff on temporary leave (“furlough”) because of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Business and premises closures and business rates

Business advice specific to devolved government and Channel Islands

Advice for businesses and employers in Northern Ireland

Advice for businesses in Scotland, Scot.gov

Support for businesses in Wales, Wales.gov

Advice for businesses in Jersey, gov.je

Business associations

Return to quick links

Care sector

NHS guidance for people working in healthcare

31 March 2020: Temporary changes to the Care Act 2014 during the coronavirus outbreak, Department of Health and Social Care.

19 March 2020: How to manage adult social care, Gov.uk

13 March 2020: Guidance for residential care, supported living and home care from Gov.uk. Updated 19/3/2020.

Education sector

Guidance relating to education – collection of all Gov.uk documents (regularly updated)

1 April 2020:
Induction for newly qualified teachers

31 March 2020:
What schools will need to do during the coronavirus outbreak
Voucher scheme launch for schools providing free school meals,
Coronavirus (COVID-19) free school guidance, Department for Education
Closure of educational settings: advice to parents and carers – update on parental support on online safety

25 March 2020:Travel advice for educational settings updated. First published: 17 March 2020. Gov.uk: PHE and Department of Education

24 March 2020: Updated education guidance

22 March 2020: Guidance to educational establishments during the closure

20 March 2020: Closure of educational settings – updated information for parents and carers from Gov.uk. First published 19/3/20.

19 March 2020Guidance for education providers

12 March 2020: Guidance for educational settings from Gov.uk

Energy-related

Housing-related

28 March 2020: Information on renting and COVID-19: guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities relating to private and social rented housing sectors – Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Planning-related

31 March 2020: Letter to the UK construction sector, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

19 March 2020: Planning Inspectorate guidance, Gov.uk. This relates to hearings, inquiries and events.

Legal system

Courts & tribunal planning (Published 13/3/20, updates 20/3/2020)

Transport

Guidance on recreational aviaton during the coronavirus, Civil Aviation Authority on Gov.uk, 31/3/2020

Driving tests and theory tests. Updated 20/3/2020 ”Theory tests are suspended for one month, and driving tests are suspended for up to 3 months due to coronavirus – but tests are available for critical workers.”

MOT extension for cars, vans and motorcycles due from 30 March 2020 – six month extension, DVLA 25 March 2020

Other sectors

Return to quick links

Think about data and alternative working arrangements

Information in this section is also relevant to those working in #InternalComms.

Here are some of the tips to consider if your organisation needs to set up contingency arrangements.

  • If your contingency planning includes homeworking for staff not set up for this in their normal work, support them with specific, easy to follow information about managing data, device security and any GDPR compliance requirements
  • Use staff intranets to increase employees’ confidence in working in different environments. This will also help to reduce additional queries to IT teams which will be under greater pressure with an increase in remote working and supporting high demand to digital channels
  • Provide staff with HR and other contacts to answer queries on health and safety and staff wellbeing for alternative working arrangements
  • Set expectations clearly on working hours, response arrangements and communications lines
  • Provide arrangements for breaks, rotas for monitoring and updating communications channels
  • Include communications teams in debrief arrangements with other emergency response staff
  • Make available the organisation’s lone or remote working policies with easy tips for shorter term arrangements

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) website has an online self assessment to help assess your organisation’s compliance with data protection, particularly in relation to mobile and home working, removable media, access controls and malware protection. It can be found half way down its page under the heading ‘information security’.

Guide to GDPR (ICO)

Security online and warnings on cyber exploitation

Home and mobile working cyber security tips, National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)

Cybersecurity checks post, National Association of Local Councils (NALC) (11 March 2020)

Resources to support organisations in creating user-friendly information for staff

Managing remote working, IOSH (PDF, opens in a new window)

Homeworkers toolbox, Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

Lone workers guidance, Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

Guidance on working environments to support people with disabilities, Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

Blog from Nic Wray, CIPR East Anglia on making the best of working remotely (published 11 March 2020)

CIPR’s new IR35 resources in response to UK Budget (March 2020)

Business contingency

Review and update your organisation’s business contingency tools.

Kerry Sheehan, from the CIPR LPS said: “Check your business contingency plans are being communicated to staff. Communicating clearly on what is expected and having a mechanism for questions helps reduce extra pressure on staff.”

Coronavirus support for employees, benefit claimants and businesses (DWP 13 March 2020)

Communicate with your people

#InternalComms

CIPR’s Inside group has produced a tip sheet for communicating with employees at times of crisis and particularly during the coronavirus outbreak.
Tips for communicating with employees at times of crisis specifically COVID-19 (PDF download is about half way down the page).

Chartered Institute for Personnel Development (CIPD) highlights the need for organisations to communicate with their people, in its statement on the coronavirus. Its top two recommendations focus on communications. It recommends in contingency planning and response, organisations should:

1. Regularly communicate with their people on the steps they are taking to protect staff, as well as on their sick pay and leave policies

2. Do the basics to protect staff such as ensuring they are aware of the latest public health advice, providing hand sanitisers and increasing the frequency and intensity of workplace cleaning

Its factsheet gives advice on “how employers should respond to the threat and support employees” through:

  • being prepared
  • looking after employees’ health and safety
  • precautions for employees returning from travel
  • and developing flexible resourcing plans

The CIPD’s factsheet on coronavirus. This was first published on 3 March 2020. It updates this document as UK government guidance evolves.

Return to quick links

Information for health-related staff

Also view the section for the care sector.

Free, online training from World Health Organization to help with tackling the coronavirus (Feb 2020)

List of guidance from HM Government for health professionals and non-clinical settings on Coronavirus – including for first responders and Ambulance Trusts from the National Ambulance Service Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Group.

Community-based information microsite on coronavirus relating to health, social care and ambulance services, NHS England. (Submitted by practitioners as a useful resource)

Infection control information on COVID-19

PHE advice to clinicians

Guidance for health professionals

Information and toolkit resources for health professionals in Scotland

Notification to data controllers in healthcare organisations, GPs, local authorities and arms length bodies on sharing information to support the response efforts (Gov.uk, 1 April 2020)

MRHA Guidance on coronavirus, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. First published 19 March, last updated 31 March 2020. The MHRA works with DHSC and other healthcare partners on COVID-19.
The British Pharmacopoeia and coronavirus page

31 March 2020: Temporary changes to the Care Act 2014 during the coronavirus outbreak, Department of Health and Social Care.

Wellbeing

NHS advice on dealing with a mental health crisis or emergency

Every Mind Matters NHS website – promoting mental health and wellbeing

PHE advice for health practitioners and organisations on mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak (regularly updated)

Advice on helping others during the coronavirus emergency
Published: 26 March 2020, Gov.uk

CIPR-related resources and support

iProvision

iProvision charity supporting PR practitioners in need. The CIPR’s benevolent fund is an independent charity that provides assistance in cash or in kind or in any other appropriate manner for the prevention or relief of poverty, of any member or former member, employee and former employee of CIPR, together with any close dependants and the close dependants of any deceased member in need for such assistance.

Donate to the charity to help other practitioners.

CIPR and wellbeing support

CIPR regions and sectoral groups are working to assist members and non members during the current emergency. The support includes this resource for communicators led by the CIPR Local Public Services group.

CIPR page linking to resources on mental health

Summary from CIPR Inside wellbeing webinar “You can’t pour from an empty jug” (March 2020)

Northumberland County Council website has a good section on mental health during the crisis (starts half way down the page)

Mental health and wellbeing charities

View the Easy Read section for additional resources.

Looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak (Mental Health Foundation)

Coronavirus and your wellbeing (MIND charity)

If you’re worried about your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak (Samaritans charity)

Health charities information on coronavirus

This is not a complete list – it focuses on areas raised by communicators.

Arthritis

Asthma

Psoriasis Assocition section (first published 5 March 2020, updated at intervals). Includes a FAQs video on psoriasis and COVID-19 with Professor Griffiths.

Contributors to this post

Thanks to Abha Thakor, Founding Chartered PR Practitioner, for the research and the digital comms work on this resource and associated materials, and to CIPR LPS committee members and other practitioners who have been providing input (below).

Thanks to Kerry Sheehan and Dan Slee who are quoted on this page, Dominic Ridley-Moy, from the CIPR Independent Practitioners Group, the CIPR and CIPR Inside Group. Thank you to CIPD, ICO and ACAS and others for sharing their relevant information.

Working with others, we will be incorporate the learning from this work into our resources on emergency communications. Thank you for the ongoing contributions.



Categories: Emergency Response, Local Public Services news, Resilience

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