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.
Share this resource available at: https://bit.ly/lps_coronavirus

Last update: 31 May 2020 7pm – we’re focusing on the items communicators have requested. Please refresh your browser to view updates.
Also check our Twitter feed @CIPRLPS and our news stories where we are also sharing examples and case studies you are sending in.

**Communications guides**

Emma Thwaites “The coronavirus crisis has affected all of us in ways we could never have imagined.”

#CrisisComms section
Guides on communications in a crisis and debriefs and review
1) Communicating in the coronavirus (COVID-19) – tips for professional communicators.
– Published 6 May 2020. We will continue to update this during the public health outbreak. More details on how you can share your learning will be available later this week.
2) Communications debrief and review during the coronavirus outbreak
– Published 7 May 2020.
3) You can find additional materials in the ‘Communicating with communities’ chapter, including Communities Engagement Plans.
These and other sections can be found in the detailed content list below.

A help guide to communicating death of a colleague has been added to the section on dealing with the loss of life.
– Published 29 April 2020.
– You can find additional help on IC information in the ‘Communicating with your people’ section in the contents list below or searching this post using #InternalComms

Media interviews and guidelines section
– This includes information from the NUJ, IFJ, the police and broadcasters.
– In addition, guidance documents with thanks to the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media & Culture. Published April 2020.

Most popular sections in the resource include:

  • Business section for UK Government guidance and links to advice from sector organisations.
  • UK data section
  • Easy read and alternative versions of guidance
  • Health sector guidance
  • Wellbeing

You can click on the section in the table of contents below or the themed list which follows it to help find information.

We continue to update sections to respond to the current requests of communicators. This resource is provided by practitioners giving their time and professional skills to help others during the emergency.

If you can’t locate something, please add a comment to this page and we will aim to help you as soon as we can.

Sections in this resource

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 resourceshe

    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)

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

FAQs on coronavirus (updated as released)

– including from WHO, NHS and other official organisations

Easy read and accessible versions of public health information

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

NHS 111 online

– the digital service and community hub examples

Information for workplaces

– links to information for employers from WHO, ACAS, CIPD, CIPR Inside
– tech and data privacy
CIPR support for members
Independent Practitioners
Information for health staff

UK Government guidance to sectors

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

Wellbeing

– 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 10/4/20. Do we have yours?


Supporting articles to this resource

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.”

National Health Service, UK

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

10 May 2020: PM’s address to the UK on the next phase. Gov.uk

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.

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UK Government and Department of Health announcements

The latest official links which are likely to be of relevance to communicators are being added into the topic based sections. This is to respond to the changing way and type of information communicators are needing as the emergency continues.

Check the content list at the top of the page for the area you want. The links here are moved to topic list during each week.

Data and statements are in the relevant sections. The below links are being moved to the relevant section.

** NEWS **

Save alert - control the virus - save lives. Black text on yellow and green background

Stay alert – Control the virus – Save lives

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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.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) data for Scotland – updated daily.

COVID-19 Wales surveillance, PHWales – daily updates. Mobile-friendly version available.

Please note we will continue to include links to daily slides and datasets published by the UK government in this section for a few more weeks as communicators have found this useful. As the UK Government has now created a collection of these on its website, we will signpost to these from 5 May 2020 rather than including each link here as it is published.

17 May 2020
Slides and datasets referenced by the Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP and Dr Jenny Harries OBE

15 May 2020
Slides and datasets referenced by The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP and the deputy chief medical officer for England, Dr Jenny Harries OBE

14 May 2020
Slides and datasets referenced by the Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP and Professor Jonathan Van-Tam

10 May 2020
PM’s address to the UK on the next phase. Gov.uk

8 May 2020
Slides and datasets referenced by Professor Stephen Powis

7 May 2020
Slides and datasets referenced by Dr Jenny Harries

5 May 2020
Slides and datasets referenced by Professor Angela McLean, Deputy Chief Scientific Adviser

4 May 2020
Slides and datasets referenced by Professor Jonathan Van-Tam

3 May 2020
Slides and datasets referenced by Professor Stephen Powis

2 May 2020
Slides and datasets referenced by Dr Jenny Harries

NHS figures published for 2 May 2020 9am

1 May 2020
Slides and datasets referenced by Professor Stephen Powis

30 April 2020
Slides and datasets referenced by Sir Patrick Vallance

29 April 2020
Slides and datasets referenced by Professor Yvonne Doyle

28 April 2020
Slides and datasets referenced by the Professor Angela McLean, Deputy Chief Scientific Adviser

27 April 2020
Slides and data sets referenced by Professor Chris Whitty

26 April 2020
Environment Secretary’s statement

25 April 2020

24 April 2020

23 April 2020
Slides and datasets referenced by Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor John Newton

22 April 2020
Slides and datasets referenced by Professor Chris Whitty
Foreign Secretary’s statement

21 April 2020
Slides and datasets referenced by Professor Jonathan Van-Tam

20 April 2020
Slides and datasets referenced by Professor Angela McLean, Deputy Chief Scientific Adviser

18 April 2020 Press conference:
Slides and datasets to accompany press conference used by Professor Stephen Powis, National Medical Director of NHS England
Communities Secretary, the Rt Hon Robert Jenrick’s statement

17 April 2020:
Slides and datasets used by Sir Patrick Vallance
Business Secretary’s statement

16 April 2020:
Slides and datasets to accompany coronavirus press conference used by Sir Patrick Vallance, Gov.uk
Foreign Secretary, the Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP’s statement for the UK Government on coronavirus (COVID-19)

15 April 2020:
Slides and datasets to accompany coronavirus press conference used by Professor Angela McLean, Deputy Chief Scientific Adviser, Gov.uk.

13 April 2020:
Foreign Secretary’s statement on coronavirus

12 April 2020:
Slides and datasets to accompany coronavirus press conference used by Dr Yvonne Doyle, Gov.uk

10 April 2020:
Slides and datasets to accompany coronavirus press conferences referenced by Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, Gov.uk

9 April 2020:
Slides and datasets to accompany coronavirus press conference (COVID-19) used by Sir Patrick Vallance, UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser and the Government Office for Science, 9/4/2020
Foreign Secretary, the Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP’s statement on coronavirus (COVID-19) at the press conference, 9/4/2020

8 April 2020:
Slides and datasets to accompany coronavirus press conference used by Professor Angela McLean, Deputy Chief Scientific Adviser, 8/4/2020

7 April 2020:
Slides and datasets to accompany coronavirus press conference used by Sir Patrick Vallance, UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser and the Government Office for Science
Foreign Secretary, the Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP’s statement on coronavirus at the daily press conference

6 April 2020:
Slides and datasets to accompany coronavirus press conference by Professor Angela McLean, Deputy Chief Scientific Advisor, 6/4/2020
Foreign Secretary, the Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP statement on coronavirus as part of daily press conference, 6/4/2020

5 April 2020:
Slides and datasets to accompany the press conference used by the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, Dr Jenny Harries, Gov.uk.

4 April 2020:
Slides and datasets to accompany the coronavirus press conference by Professor Stephen Powis, National Medical Director NHS England
NHS asks the public to share their coronavirus symptoms to help others by building up additional data on COVID-19, Department of Health and Social Care.
Coronavirus Status Checker www.nhs.uk/coronavirus-status-checker

3 April 2020:
Slides and datasets referenced by Matt Hancock

2 April 2020:
Slides and datasets referenced by Matt Hancock

1 April 2020:
Slides and datasets referenced by the Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP

March 2020
(links to the daily datasets are linked here for one month from publication to assist communicators, after which only a selection are kept to indicate change. All previous datasets can be found on gov.uk)
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
Foreign Secretary’s statement on coronavirus, Gov.uk, 30 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

Key to titles of Ministers and NHS spokespeople

Professor Chris Whitty is Chief Medical Officer (CMO) for England, the UK government’s Chief Medical Adviser and head of the public health profession

Sir Patrick Vallance is Chief Scientific Adviser. He is the Government Chief Scientific Adviser (GCSA) and Head of the Government Science and Engineering (GSE) profession.

Professor Stephen Powis, National Medical Director NHS England

Professor Angela McLean, Deputy Chief Scientific Advisor

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health and Social Care

Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) – list of participants and sub group, published 4 May 2020

Sharing data

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)

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.

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

16 April 2020: G7 leaders update on coronavirus pandemic – discussion included development and production of coronavirus treatments and a vaccine, risk posed to developing nations, working together, financial measures relating to the impact of coronavirus.

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.

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Statements from the UK Government Press conferences

Guidance documents which are likely to be useful for public sector and organisational communicators are also categorised for ease in the sector section of this resource. The below will be filed into categories as needed.

11 April 2020:
Home Secretary outlines support for domestic abuse victims, Home Office.
Statements from the 10 April are now in the relevant topic section.
Adoption support fund scheme to help vulnerable families arising from the coronavirus outbreak, Gov.uk, 10 Apri 2020.

Foreign Office update on its efforts to bring Britons home who are stranded overseas, 5 April 2020

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
[Related materials in our sections on: information for health-related professionals, wellbeing, care sector]

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
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.”

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)
Hotels, hostels and B&B accommodation to support key workers

22 March 2020:
PM’s statement on coronavirus
– 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.

19 March 2020:
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 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 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)

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Communicating with communities

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.

Community engagement plans

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.’

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Communicating in the COVID-19 crisis

#CrisisComms publications

Two crisis communications documents have been produced by the CIPR Local Public Services Committee and its Advisory Group.

We will continue to update this during the public health outbreak. More details on how you can share your learning will be available later this week.

Emma Thwaites, from the team, said: “This is a set of tips and lessons that have been learned from people who’ve worked in crisis communications. We hope that our collective experience might be of some help to those dealing with COVID-19. It has been written to support people working at all levels in communications in local public sector communications. We know that some of it will already be part of people’s daily professional practice.”

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)

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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.”

Signpost offical information and use Q&As

Links to public health information, FAQs from WHO and the NHS in this resource guide.

Posting questions and answers 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.

PR articles on communicating during the COVID-19 crisis

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.

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Media interviews and guidelines

WHO and local media resources

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

Each local authority and NHS organisation has its own media policy.

Examples of how local public services are dealing with media during the pandemic, Local Government Association.

Police and NUJ guidelines

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has produced a page for media guidelines including requirements for journalists covering the crisis to carry an official Press Card. This follows discussion between the NUJ and the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC). The statement from the NUJ, 31 March 2020. This page also includes the NPCC’s guidance on working with journalists during the coronavirus outbreak. These confirm journalists are classed as key workers. The guidelines have been circulated to, and adopted by police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Metropolitan Police’s photography guide (general)

Metropolitan Police’s filming guide (general)

International Federation of Journalists urge media to report responsibly on coronavirus crisis, 3 March 2020

IFJ safety advisory for journalists: COVID-19 – #ReportSafely

Press Gazette, 20 March 2020

Committee to Protect Journalists – health and safety advice when reporting on COVID-19

Broadcaster guidelines

BBC staff guidelines relating to coronavirus reporting and safety

OFCOM’s policies and guidelines on coronavirus information (24 March 2020). It states: “Accuracy in broadcasting is essential, and we will expedite any standards enforcement cases involving potentially harmful broadcast content relating to the coronavirus.”

More media relations and filming advice

The Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Culture has produced advice for and on dealing with the media during the COVID-19 outbreak. Thanks to the commissioners, the Welsh NHS Confederation, the guidance documents have been shared for inclusion in this CIPR LPS resource.

The report was led by Professor Karin Wahl-Jorgensen at the School and includes contributions from CIPR member Dr Susan Kinnear amongst others. The School advises that experts involved in preparing this document are independent from the NHS, and the document does not reflect official NHS policy.

The media handling document provides guidelines on how to work with news organisations to “shield health care organisations and staff from unnecessary additional pressures, and to ensure that information transmitted to the media and the public is considered and accurate.”

Support for journalists on coronavirus

The Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Culture has also made available advice for journalists which it produced for the Welsh NHS Confederation. This includes:

  • advice on filming
  • interviewing NHS frontline staff
  • interviews with experts
  • online resources for covering COVID-19.

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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.

CIPR Public Services Committee supports the increasing efforts by Parliament and Governments worldwide 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 CIPR, the Public Sector Group and the Independent Practitioners Network are jointly calling on communicators to use the SHARE approach to evaluate information before they share it wider.

Sharechecklist.gov.uk

Submit fake news to 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.

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.

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 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.

The CIPR Public Sector group called on practitioners to consider the following questions when evaluating materials:

  • 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.”

Responding to the creation of a counter disinformation unit in March 2020, CIPR stressed the vital role of communicators.

“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.”

CIPR President, Jenni Field

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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

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.

This UK Government’s awareness campaign includes direct briefings from NHS health leaders in addition to the PM and Secretaries of State providing regular updates. It is the first time, the UK public members can watch advice in TV adverts featuring Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty and initially voiced by actor Mark Strong (announced on 15 March 202). They were part of the Government’s drive to “ensure everyone knows the best way to limit and delay the spread of the COVID-19”.

As part of the campaign, more public health resources are available for council and trust internal and external websites. The campaign advice is featuring in newspapers and magazines, on drive-time radio, online and through social media. The advice also features on billboards and large digital displays, including at bus stops.

NHS 111 online service

The 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.

The public health awareness campaign (15 March 2020) focused on handwashing and related messages. It continued to emphasise the use of seeking 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

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

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. This page includes links to downloadable posters and videos for sharing from WHO. These resources cover the use of masks, safety advice when putting them on and removal, and information on where they may be helpful. It also has a video on when medical masks should be worn to protect from the coronavirus.

Social distancing and stay at home advice

Also refer to the following sections in this resource:

Public Health agencies sectionsLinks to the relevant agencies’ channels in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man
Easy read, subtitled and videoAccessible versions of official guidance
WellbeingLinks to wellbeing and mental health information
Business sectorGuidance for business
Care sectorGuidance on care provision, social care, and residential and nursing homes
Education sectorGuidance from Department for Education for schools, closures and related areas
Health sectorIncluding information for hospitals

UK Government information on social distancing and stay at home advice – multi-language versions of the guidance are published to this page. First published 16 March 2020. Regularly updated by Public Health England.

Three level graphic: stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives

English and additional translated versions of the ‘Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives’ graphics are available from the Public Health England Resource Centre (Cabinet Office message, 24 April 2020)

Coronavirus information leaflet – this gives information on what to do to help stop the spread of coronavirus, including information on symptoms and government support. In addition, large print and multi-language versions available on this page. 7 April 2020

Guidance on social distancing for everyone, Gov.uk, updated 30 March 2020

Social distancing, keeping businesses open, and in-work activities during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Health and Safety Executive
Also refer to the Business section in this resource for related materials

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.

9 April 2020:
Guidance for households with possible coronavirus. First published 12 March 2020. Update to the stay at home guidance.

Updated guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK, Gov.uk, 23 March 2020. New guidance on staying at home and away from others to help reduce the spread of coronavirus in the UK.

23 March 2020:
Full guidance on staying at home (Gov.uk – following PM’s address)
PM’s address (Gov.uk – following evening statement including on staying at home)

20 March 2020: Guidance on social distancing and vulnerable people, Gov.uk

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.

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)

FAQs on coronavirus (COVID-19)

PHE

Animals

FAQs on coronavirus for dog owners – Kennel Club question and answers to counteract misinformation

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Easy to read and accessible guidance

Coronavirus information leaflet (7April 2020) – this gives information on what to do to help stop the spread of coronavirus, including information on symptoms and government support. In addition, large print and multi-language versions available on this page.

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 clinical guide for staff supporting patients with a learning disability, autism, or both, NHS England (PDF, opens in a new window)

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.

Irish Sign Language version information about coronavirus (COVID-19), British Deaf Association (Link to Vimeo)

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)

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Community hubs

Parsons Green - swabbing hub for Covid-19

One of the first ‘drive through’ swabbing centres for COVID-19 was set up in west London can be accessed through NHS 111. This 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.

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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

Banner from Department of Health, Northern Ireland with text ‘We all must do it to get through: stay home, keep distance, wash hands’

Public Health Agency Northern Ireland
Public Health NI section on COVID-19
Website
Twitter @PublicHealthNI

Department of Health, Northern Ireland
section on coronavirus
website
Twitter @healthdpt

Health and Social Care Board, Northern Ireland on coronavirus
Website, Twitter @HSCBoard

@GiveBloodNI

31 March 2020: Joint statement following conference call discussing coronavirus on the island of Ireland. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis and the Tánaiste, Simon Coveney jointly chaired the meeting with the First Minister Arlene Foster, deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill, Health Minister Robin Swann and Minister for Health Simon Harris all participating. Link from the Northern Ireland Office.

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

Staying at home and away from others guidance, Welsh Government. First published 24 March 2020.

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)

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Local government

Also view the Advice to UK sectors section in this resource guide, which includes business, care, education, energy, health, housing, planning, transport and more.

This section includes information on retail trading restrictions.

UK Government Coronavirus Action Plan (Published 3 March 2020)

LGA

Information for councils, Local Government Association (LGA)

FAQs from the Local Government Association. It includes questions and answers for local councils on topics including: employment law, death arrangements, finance, procurement, supporting those shielding, local communities, and volunteering.

LGA response to park guidance, 6 April 2020

LGA response to new waste service guidance, 1 April 2020

Data sharing in local authorities

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)

Council tax

Council Tax information letter on Q&A on technical implementation of the £500 million hardship fund (16 April 2020).

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

Funding

UK Government provides extra £50million to support the Northern Ireland Executive tackle coronavirus, 18 April 2020, Northern Ireland Office. The release states: “People in Northern Ireland also benefit from a range of UK-wide measures including £330 billion worth of UK Government-backed loans, the Job Retention Scheme and the UK-wide PPE strategy… This takes the total funding the UK Government has made available to the Northern Ireland Executive to support its efforts to tackle coronavirus to almost £1.2 billion.”

Extra £16 billion for councils in England pledge to support them as they continue to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, 18 April 2020. Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. The statement also refers to: “This will mean an extra £300 million for the devolved administrations, £155 million for Scotland, £95 million for Wales and £50 million for Northern Ireland.”

Councils to have greater financial relief against cash flow pressures, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, 16 April 2020. The press release states: “Councils will be allowed to defer £2.6 billion in business rates payments to central government, and £850 million in social care grants will be paid up front this month.”

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.

Scottish Secretary welcomes additional £600 milion for Scotland to help public services in Scotland respond to the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, 13 April 2020. The statement refers to ‘This latest cash boost for Scotland is as a result of the Chancellor further increasing his Budget for the public services fund. Original Statement: Chancellor provides £14 billion for NHS and public services (13 April 2020).

Key workers

Letter of thanks relating to tests for council workers in England, 1 May 2020 Gov.uk. Communities Secretary, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP letter to councils in England thanking them for their support during the pandemic, and outlining how staff can get tested.
Coronavirus testing for key workers, 23 April 2020, Gov.uk

Highways

Reallocating road space in response to COVI-19 statutory guidance for local authorities, 9 May 2020. Department for Transport. Advice to local authorities on reallocating road space to: encourage cycling and walking, enable social distancing in response to COVID-19 issues. Statutory guidance is made under section 18 of the Traffic Management Act 2004.
Transport Secretary’s statement for the UK press conference on COVID-19, 10 May 2020. £2 billion to support active travel.

Licensing and food

Advice on food safety regulations during the coronavirus restrictions, Food Standard Agency. First published 17 April 2020, updated 25 April 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. Published by Gov.uk, 17 March evening

Rough sleepers

Dame Louise Casey is spearheading the Government’s response on rough sleeping. On 23 April 2020, she wrote to local authority homeless managers and rough sleeping co-ordinations for their work to support 5,400 rough sleepers off the streets in the previous month.

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

Volunteering

Coronavirus: How to help safely – guidance updated for volunteers helping to provide essential support to their friends and family during the restrictions (24 April 2020)

Other guidance to Local Government includes:

  • postponement of local, mayoral and Police and Crime Commissioner elections until May 2021
  • temporary suspension of routine Care Quality Commission inspections for the duration of the coronavirus outbreak
  • councils are able to use their discretion on deadlines for Freedom of Information requests
  • deadline for local government financial audits has been extended
  • legislation brought forward to remove the requirement for annual council meetings to take place in person, and to allow council committee meetings to be held virtually: Robert Jenrick reaffirms support for councils in their coronavirus response
  • UK Government has also brought forward the payment of social care grants, totalling £850 million, and will delay £2.6 billion in payments to central government: Councils given greater financial relief against cash flow pressures

Parish and town councils

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

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Information for employees and employers

Also view the Business Sector section of this resource for related materials including benefits and the online self certification system, taxation, UK Government announcements relating to business and organisations, and the various relief and loan schemes.

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

Your responsibility as an employer during the coronavirus outbreak – section on Welsh Government website

Taxable expenses for employees home working during the coronavirus restrictions, HMRC 26/3/2020

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)

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)

Working from home tips from the CIPD. This includes tips for working remotely, managing remote teams, healthy remote working, effective online meetings, homeworking legal and contractual considerations, further resources.

Remote working tips from the Local Government Association (LGA)

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

Guidance on communicating with furloughed employees, CIPR Inside (April 2020)

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

Homeworkers toolbox, Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

#InternalComms

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)

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).

CIPD logo - white text on a deep purple background

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.

The CIPD also runs a regular session on Twitter. You can catch up with its chat focusing on workforce health and wellbeing during the coronavirus crisis by using the hashtag #AskTheCIPD or @CIPD and searching for its chat on 22 April 2020, 11am-12pm.

Business contingency

Kerry Sheehan, from the CIPR LPS said: “Keep updating your business contingency plans during and after the crisis, and make sure they 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)

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Communications following the death of a colleague

Screenshot of the front of the guide

Guidance to help communicators

This CIPR Public Services Advisory Group has produced a guide to support public sector teams with communicating any death of a colleague, elected representative or volunteer from coronavirus (COVID-19).

The document aims to provide guidance to assist managers and others. It outlines steps an organisation, the communications service and its employees should take following the death of a colleague.

Support for dealing with bereavement at work

ACAS Guide on Time off for Bereavement
This includes sections on leave and pay when someone dies, parental bereavement leave, supporting an employee after a death, if someone dies during work, and bereavement policies.

Cruse’s guides on Bereavement at work
Advice for Employers
Employee support – helpline and links to local Cruse service

Cruse Bereavement guidance on ‘When a staff member dies’

Guidance for care of the deceased

Support the bereaved – Cabinet Office information to help bereaved families, friends or next of kin make important decisions, 23 April 2020

Guidance for care of the deceased with suspected or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19), Gov.uk 31/3/2020. Updated 20/4/2020.
– This detailed guidance document includes guidance for members of the public who identify a death outside a healthcare setting, advice for communities, care homes, healthcare providers and emergency services.
– Translations of the guidance are being added to this page. A Welsh translation is available.

The Health and Safety Executive’s ‘Managing infection risks when handling the deceased‘ guidance does not cover COVID-19. It covers standard infection control and transmission-based precautions that should be followed in the workplace. The HSE states its guide “should be read in conjunction with Public Health England’s guidance for care of the deceased with suspected or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) [Link above]

Guidance for First Responders and others in close contact with symptomatic people with potential COVID-19, Public Health England 21/3/2020. This includes information on hand hygiene, if someone has died at home

Guidance for Ambulance Trusts, Public Health England, updated 3/4/2020

COVID-19 excess death provisions information and guidance, NHS Improvement, 31 March 2020 https://improvement.nhs.uk/documents/6590/COVID-19-act-excess-death-provisions-info-and-guidance-31-march.pdf

Coronavirus COVID-19 local death management, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Gov.uk 17 April 2020. Statutory guidance for local authorities in England on Schedule 28 to the Coronavirus Act. It provides powers to support local and national death management.

Letter to local authorities in England to work with faith groups and funeral directors to develop safe, sensitive and alternative ways for funerals to take place. Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Gov.uk 17 April 2020

COVID-19 – Guidance surrounding death, Department of Health, Northern Ireland. First published 31 March 2020. Includes guidance for funeral directors.

Information from the Local Government Association on deaths during the coronavirus outbreak

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)

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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 Progress mentoring scheme banner

CIPR Mentoring Scheme, Progress, is free to members. It was launched on 16 April 2020. Progress is a CIPR member exclusive service which provides a safe space and sounding board for mentees to discuss challenges, explore opportunities and plan future career actions with mentors.

Communicating with employees

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 and mental health and wellbeing – details of iProvision and the new Mental Health hotline (launched 1 April 2020) can be found in the Wellbeing section of this resource.

CIPR calls and responses to the Government

CIPR calls on Government to support freelancers as latest research shows half have lose more than 60 per cent of their income (6 April 2020)

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)

FuturePRoof COVID-19 survey reports urgent Government intervention needed for freelancers. Its findings include: “The key challenges remain loss of income (35.9%) and access to customers (53.0%). 45.9% of employers are worried about their ability to trade through the crisis.” FuturePRoof is sharing the information to central UK Government, the CIPR and PRCA. The survey remains open (Google Form opens in a new window).

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

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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 are in the Business section below.

GCS support for jobs in the communications industry

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government Communication Service has established an advisory panel of leaders from across the communications industry to provide expert challenge, advice and support for the Government’s COVID-19 communication activities. The new facility by GCS states: We know there are communications specialists whose jobs will already have been affected by COVID-19. If you have communications skills and expertise to offer, please register your interest.”

https://join-us.gcs.civilservice.gov.uk/

Membership payment option

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

CIPR call for Government to support freelancers as researchers show half have lost more than 60 per cent of their income (6 April 2020).

IR35

The Government’s decision to delay IR35 due to uncertainty surrounding coronavirus was welcomed by the CIPRCIPR’s IR35 resource for members (March 2020)

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

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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.

Business sector

View the Independent Practitioner section for related materials affecting freelancers and sole-traders or micro-firms.

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

Financial support for businesses during coronavirus (COVID-19) – first published 3 April 2020. Produced from Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, and HM Revenue & Customs. It is broken up into sections:

  1. Paying your employees
  2. Paying sick pay
  3. Paying tax
  4. Business rates relief
  5. Business support grant funds
  6. Support for the self-employed
  7. Support for small and medium-sized businesses
  8. Support for large businesses

Benefits and tax

Universal Credit, SSP and claiming benefits during a Coronavirus period

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

Statutory Sick Pay and isolation documentation

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

Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme relating to coronavirus
UK Government guidance on claiming back statutory sick pay paid to employees due to coronavirus (COVID19), Gov.uk, 3 April 2020
The scheme will repay employers only the current rate of SSP that they pay to current or former employees for periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020.

The guidance states: “repayment will cover up to 2 weeks starting from the first day of sickness, if an employee is unable to work because they either: have coronavirus or cannot work because they are self-isolating at home.”

Working Tax Credits
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.”

Taxation

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 

Taxable expenses for employees home working during the coronavirus restrictions, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) 26/3/2020. This gives information on which expenses should be declared for tax if your employee works from home due to the pandemic.

Business Support Schemes

Financial support for businesses during coronavirus (COVID-19) – first published 3 April 2020. Updated 7 April 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
  • 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, 1 April 2020
  • Guidance on business suppport grant funding
    • Source: Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
    • Updated 1 May 2020 with information on tax.
    • Guidance on business suppport grant funding – update, 30 March 2020, version 3. 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.

Business Support Service

Loans

Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS)

These loans were announced on 4 May 2020 by HM Treasury. According to the statement on Gov.uk, “Britain’s small businesses will be able to apply for quick and easy-to access loans of up to £50,000… with the cash expected to land within days.”

Businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. Loans will be 100 per cent UK Government backed for lenders. The UK Government has ” agreed with lenders that an affordable flat rate of 2.5% interest will be charged on these loans.”

The scheme is aimed at small and medium-sized businesses. You can not apply if you’re already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), but can request a lender to transfer a loan to the Bounce Back Loans scheme until 4 November 2020 (information correct at 4/5/20).

Apply for a Bounce Back Loans – more details and online application form on the British Business Bank website

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

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).

Loan scheme expanded to include large businesses, 22 April 2020. The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme is in addition to the COVID Corporate Financing Facility. The guidance released by HM Treasury states:

  • All viable businesses with turnover of more than £45m will be able to apply for UK Government-backed support
  • Firms with turnover of more than £250 million can borrow up to £50 million from lenders.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

  • The UK Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme went live on 20 April 2020. Businesses can claim up to £2,500 a month towards staff wages.
    • Employers can apply online ‘to claim cash grants worth up to 80 per cent of wages, capped at £2,500 a month per worker.’(HM Treasury)
    • Applications can now be made for the Government’s furlough scheme
    • As at 20/4/20, 5,000 HMRC staff will operate the scheme – which is expected to help thousands of firms across the UK
    • Employers can apply for direct cash grants through HMRC’s new online portal – with the money expected to land in their bank accounts within six working days
  • Step by step guide for employers on Job Retention Scheme, HMRC, 17 April 2020.
  • 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)
    • Job Retention Scheme, HMRC, 26 March 2020

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

CCFF

COVID Corporate Financial Facility (CCFF), 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.

Business and premises closures and business rates

Other coronavirus-related guidance for businesses from UK Government
Information on business and premises to close as part of social distancing Gov.uk, 23 March 2020. This provides guidance on the closure of all non-essential businesses and premises as part of the UK Government’s further social distancing measures.

Ministers from the UK and Welsh Governments on business (27 April 2020)

Information letters from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government., Gov.uk, 9 April 2020. The letters will be issued at intervals and relate to the 2020 Budget business rates measures in response to COVID-19, extension of the discount, nursery discount 2020/21, and monitoring data request for local authorities.

Letter to those working in the retail sector from the Secretay of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Alok Sharma. 8 April 2020. Links to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales added 16 April 2020.

Letter to the manufacturing sector from the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Alok Sharma. 8 April 2020.

Business Secretary, the Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP’s article for a national newspaper, 5 April 2020. On behalf of the UK Government, he thanked workers and businesses for their support during the coronavirus pandemic.

Letter to the UK construction sector, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, 31 March 2020. Updated 16 April 2020 with information for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

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. 24 March 2020

Statement on the additional support

Source: Gov.uk, Publication: 23 March 2020

Chancellor’s statement on additional measures to support business

Source: Gov.uk, HM Treasury 17 March 2020

International Chamber of Commerce and World Health Organization call for action by the private sector to help tackle COVID-19

Source: ICC and WHO, 16 March 2020

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

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Care sector

This will also be useful for communications with carers. Also refer to the ‘Health sector’ in this resource (below)

NHS guidance for people working in healthcare

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

15 May 2020: Care home support package and a ring-fenced £600 million Infection Control Fund. Department of Health and Social Care.
Care home support package

  • Wider support for care home residents and staff announced including ‘limiting staff movement, protecting wages and giving access to NHS personal protective equipment (PPE) training’
  • ‘Each care home in England to be given a named clinical lead to provide direct care for residents’
  • ‘A wellbeing package will be also launched on CARE Workforce app to support the workforce with Hospice UK and Samaritans’
    Source: Care home support package announcement, accessed 15/5/2020

27 April 2020: Collection of Adult social care guidance – updated to include domiciliary care. First published 15 April 2020.

21 April 2020: Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for people receiving direct payments. Department of Health and Social Care. Updated 7 May 2020 – advice for people who buy care and support through a direct payment, as well as local authorities, clinical commissioning groups and those who provide care and support.

16 April 2020: How the government will support the adult social care sector in England throughout the coronavirus outbreak. Includes web version of ‘COVID-19: our action plan for adult social care’.

15 April 2020: UK Government to offer testing for everyone who needs in social care Department of Health and Social Care. The announcement states: “All care home residents and social care staff with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms will be tested as capacity is built up.”

9 April 2020: Guidance on changes to hospital discharge arrangements, Department of Health and Social Care, 9 April 2020. First published 19 March 2020. This update: “sets out how health and care systems and providers should change their discharging arrangements and the provision of community support during the coronavirus situation.”

9 April 2020: Looking after people who lack mental capacity during the coronavirus outbreak – information issued by Department of Health and Social Care. Information is for health and social care staff in England and Wales.

8 April 2020: Visitor guidance update, NHS England (PDF opens in a new window). Visiting remains suspended. The document sets out exceptional circumstances. These include for patients receiving end-of-life care, for those supporting someone with a mental health issue, learning disability or autism, and other situations. Full details and steps to be taken are contained in the document.

8 April 2020: Information for those providing unpaid carer to family and friends during the coronavirus outbreak, Department of Health and Social Care

28 March 2020: Letter of thanks to social care staff and managers from the UK Health Secretary

25 March 2020: Free car parking for NHS and social care staff, NHS England

24 March 2020: Clinical guide for front line staff to support the management of patients with a learning disability, autism or both during the coronavirus pandemic – relevant to all clinical specialities (PDF, opens in a new window)

Easy Read clinical guide for staff supporting patients with a learning disability, autism, or both, NHS England (PDF, opens in a new window)

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

19 March 2020: Changes to hospital discharge arrangements and community support provision during the coronavirus situation, Public Health England and Department of Health and Social Care

19 March 2020: Guidance on home care provision, Public Health England

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

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Charity sector

12 April 2020:
Announcement on support to UK charities and international organisations, Department for International Development. The statement: “A package of £200 million will back UK charities and international organisations to help reduce mass infections in developing countries which often lack the healthcare systems to track and halt the virus. Today’s [12 April 2020] announcement brings the total amount of UK aid committed to the global fight against coronavirus to £744 million, making the UK one of the biggest donors to the international response.”

7 April 2020:
Guidance for the charity sector following the press conference, Charity Commission. It includes information on whether a charity can help with coronavirus efforts, Government’s financial support options for charities, and more. This is an updated version of the Commission’s guidance first published in March 2020.

Education sector

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

12 May 2020:
Phased opening of schools, colleges and nurseries
Travelling safely – Walking, cycling, and travelling in vehicles or on public transport during the coronavirus outbreak.Department of Transport, Published 12 May 2020

5 May 2020: Travel advice for educational settings and students and staff who are travelling or planning to travel during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This guidance was updated “to advise British nationals against all non-essential international travel for an indefinite period.” The original guidance was first published on 17 February 2020.

27 April 2020: Updated guidance for parents and guardians. Includes information on key workers and resources.

19 April 2020: Conducting a SEND assessment during the coronavirus outbreak. Updated 7 May 2020.

16 April 2020: Closure of educational settings: updated resources and support, new section for Admissions.

Updates on school closures guidance, 9 April 2020. First published 22 March 2020.

Guidance on residential educational settings. First published 21/3/20, updated 8 April 2020

7 April 2020:
Updated guidance for educational settings – first published 17 February 2020.
Updated guidance on schools closures – first published 22 March 2020. Updated 7 April 2020.
Extra support for schools and parents to help cope with coronavirus, 7 April 2020

1 April 2020:
Induction for newly qualified teachers

31 March 2020, Education updates, Department for Education (DfE):What schools will need to do during the coronavirus outbreak
Voucher scheme launch for schools providing free school meals
Coronavirus (COVID-19) free school meals guidance
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

23 March 2020: Actions for FE colleges and providers during the coronavirus outbreak. Updated 7 May 2020.

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

19 March 2020: Critical workers who can access schools and educational settings. This document has been updated since first publication.

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

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Energy-related

Health sector

Community-based care relating to health

Also view the Care Sector section above.

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

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

PPE, infection control and testing

PPE for frontline staff through business partnership. Gov.uk 9 May 2020

Coronavirus testing extended to all essential workers in England who have symptoms, 23 April 2020

Updated guidance on testing. First published 17 April 2020, updated 23 April.

Personal Protective Equipment Plan, Department of Health and Social Care, 10 April 2020
Plan for national effort on PPE statement, Department of Health and Social Care, 10 April 2020.

Change of status for COVID-19 – no longer classed as High Consequence Infectious Disease on 21 March 2020. Public Health England. This changes the guidance and management of the disease.

Infection control information on COVID-19

PHE advice to clinicians

Community pharmacies and MRHA

Hospitals

Data sharing

Funding

  • £13.4 billion historic debt write-off for NHS statement. 2 April 2020. A regional breakdown was added on 9 April 2020.
    • The statement from Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England states: “This is part of a package of major reforms to the NHS financial system, designed in a collaboration between the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England, which will begin from the start of the new financial year. This package is launched in combination with a simpler internal payment system to help NHS trusts in dealing with the coronavirus (COVID-19) response, which was agreed with NHS England last week.”
    • It added: “Under the new rules set out in a letter to all NHS Trusts, should hospitals need extra cash this will be given with equity, rather than needing to borrow from the government and repay a loan. 
    • “The letters also include details on every local area’s capital budget for 2020/21, providing certainty to the NHS for the new financial year and enabling investment in vital longer-term infrastructure upgrades as soon as possible. These budgets come on top of the capital facility the government launched in February [2020].”
  • Ministerial direction on spend: letters authorising spend on urgent coronavirus (COVID-19) issued by the Department of Health and Social Care and its Arms Length Bodies (ALBs), 30 March 2020

Mental health
Additional guidance on mental health and wellbeing. This is aimed at health professionals and organisations. First issued 3 March 2020, Public Health England

SARI treatment and screening
The World Health Organization (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, 28 March 2020

Health professionals organisations

BMA’s section on COVID-19

College of Paramedics information on COVID-19 (updated link)

NHS Confederation advice on COVID-19

RCN guidance on COVID-19

Laboratories

How laboratories can support the testing programme in the UK, Department of Health and Social Care, 9 April 2020.
Biggest diagnostic laboratory network in Britain to test for coronavirus, Department of Health and Social Care, 9 April 2020

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Housing-related

Domestic abuse safe accommodation – COVID-19 emergency support fund – relates to England. Issued by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, 7 May 2020

30 March 2020: Update on the Grenfell Tower site following the coronavirus outbreak, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

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.

24 March 2020: £500 million hardship fund for Council Tax relief for vulnerable households affected by coronavirus (Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government).

Planning-related

31 March 2020: Letter to the UK construction sector, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Updated with links for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales on 16 April 2020.

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

Reallocating road space in response to COVI-19 statutory guidance for local authorities, 9 May 2020. Department for Transport. Advice to local authorities on reallocating road space to: encourage cycling and walking, enable social distancing in response to COVID-19 issues. Statutory guidance is made under section 18 of the Traffic Management Act 2004.
Transport Secretary’s statement for the UK press conference on COVID-19, 10 May 2020

Secretary of State for Transport’s statement for the UK Government. Gov.uk 24 April 2020. The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP paid tribute to the transport workers who have kept vital freight and passenger services running.

Freight transport in the context of COVID-19 – joint statement by the UK, France and Ireland, 24 April 2020

Guidance for people using transport or working in the transport sector during the coronavirus outbreak, Gov.uk, 7 April 2020

Funding to assist bus routes in England during the pandemic, Department for Transport, Gov.uk, 3 April 2020

Guidance on recreational aviaton during the coronavirus, Civil Aviation Authority on Gov.uk, 31 March 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

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Wellbeing

NHS advice on dealing with a mental health crisis or emergency

Every Mind Matters NHS website – promoting mental health and wellbeing

Department of Health and Social Care wellbeing tweet - having food mental health helps us relax more, achieve more and enjoy our lives more

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

Public mental health Community of Practice on the Knowledge Hub. This is for public health practitioners and organisations who have an interest in addressing the mental health impacts of COVID-19. Councils can share their local actions, documents and connect with others in this hub.

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

Briefing for Directors of Public Health about the public health and wellbeing issues arising from the coronavirus outbreak. This has been produced jointly by the Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Public Health.

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

CIPR iProvision and wellbeing support

iProvision

The iProvision charity supports PR practitioners in need. It is the CIPR’s benevolent fund and operates as an independent charity. Its remit is to: “provide 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.

The CIPR’s iProvision launched a Mental Health Hotline at the beginning of April 2020. This is available to members only via the website. The hotline comes with access to the the @Health_Assured wellbeing app (27 April 2020). Search “Health e-hub” in your App Store. The login details are on the CIPR website. It includes 59 webinars and 12 training plans. More details.

Follow @IprovisionC on Twitter.

Other wellbeing support from CIPR groups

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)

CIPR Health has produced this guide to managing your mental health in the crisis.

CIPR Health: managing your mental health at times of crisis

Hotline launched by CIPR’s benevolent fund iProvision (1 April 2020).

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 charity

Coronavirus and your wellbeing, MIND charity

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

Royal College of Psychiatrists guidance for clinicians. It is working with NHS England and Improvement to update guidance for psychiatrists and other healthcare professionals working in mental health settings.

Health charities information on coronavirus

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

Autism and learning disabilities:
also view sections on guidance to the Care sector, and Easy Read guides
National Autistic Society’s page on coronavirus
Information on going outside for exercise restrictions for people with a significant health condition, Cabinet Office, 29 March 2020

Arthritis:
National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society advice on coronavirus and RA
– British Association of Rheumatology and NHS England guidance for rheumatologists during the pandemic, 7 April 2020
Arthritis Foundation: coronavirus and arthritis
Versus arthritis

Asthma:
Asthma UK section on coronavirus (COVID-19)

Skin conditions:
Psoriasis Association 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, Mandy Pearse, the CIPR and CIPR Inside Group. Thank you to CIPD, ICO and ACAS and others for sharing their relevant information.

In addition, thank you to the Advisory Group of the CIPR LPS for their work on guides.

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

This resource is provided by practitioners giving their time and professional skills to help others during the emergency.



Categories: Emergency Response, Local Public Services news, Resilience

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