Covid-19 advice for voluntary car schemes

The Community Transport Association have produced some useful guidance (below).  Find out more here.

UK Government announce stronger social distancing measures
On Monday 23 March, the UK Government outlined strict new measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus, including a ban on public gatherings of more than two people. You can find the Government’s full guidance on these measures here.

Does this mean I should cancel my usual services?
The latest guidance from the UK Government is to avoid all but essential public transport (if you are a key worker, unable to work from home for example). For members who are running, or considering running, services such as taking individuals to vital medical appointments for example, we would suggest you contact the health setting you would be taking people to for their input.

Can I use my vehicles to deliver shopping, transport food, medicines or other goods?
Many community transport providers are changing their services to support passengers who are self-isolating or staying in their homes due to the most recent Government guidance. This includes taking shopping to those who can’t get to the shops, or working with their local foodbank to take deliveries out into the community. If this is something you want to do, and are able to do safely, we’ve published guidance on using your vehicles for delivery purposes, as well as on working with your local foodbank, which you can find below.

Am I allowed to leave the house to operate/coordinate any services we’re running?
According to the Government’s guidance, if you operate key public services, such as “charities and workers delivering key front line services” or “sale and delivery, as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods” then you are classified as a key worker.

The 23 March guidance from the government on staying at home states that you can travel “to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.” So if you can work from home, you should, but if you need to operate essential services such as the delivery of food to vulnerable people then you are permitted to travel to and from work.

Please note this is with the proviso that you do not have to self-isolate due to yourself or anyone in your household displaying symptoms of coronavirus or coming into contact with someone who has symptoms, or the virus itself. If anyone involved in running your services should be self-isolating due to these reasons, they should not be coming into work.

Using your services to make home delivery of food, goods and medicines
If you are looking at the possibility of using your vehicles to make home deliveries of food, goods and medicines, whether as part of a wider programme or just on an individual basis, this is something that you can do under the most recent guidance, providing you are doing it safely and legally.

CTA has been working with John Taylor and John Atkins of the TAS Partnership to put together guidance on using community transport services to make home deliveries for those who have no other means of getting what they need. The guidance looks at the legal side of operating these sorts of services on section 19 and 22 permits as well as information on insurance, safety when transporting food, and other practical considerations. You can download the advice here.

Opportunities to work with your local foodbank
One avenue where community transport providers could use their services to get food and essential supplies into their community is by working with their local foodbank.

CTA have been working with the Trussell Trust, a national charity that supports 1,200 foodbank centres which provide emergency food and practical support to people in crisis. Getting involved with your local foodbank is a clear and tangible way that community transport providers can use their resources to get food out into their community, and has the benefit of doing so with the Trust’s framework and safeguards in place, as well as in a situation where money doesn’t change hands.

What other advice is out there
It is important to keep up to date with the latest advice – in the first instance make sure you keep up to date with official advice from the Government, and the NHS:

UK: latest information and advice
NHS: latest information and advice
NCVO have also produced advice and resources for voluntary organisations concerned about coronavirus including risk management processes and organisational planning.                                                                                                            Surrey County Council has produced some guidance for volunteers                                                                                Collecting a prescription for someone else