Our Sustainable Volunteering Officer, Eleanor Moore, has compiled resources and advice to help you navigate the lifting of restrictions.

The removal of some restrictions in England does not remove the requirement on workplaces to keep employees, volunteers and anyone connected with your activities safe.

National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NVCO) advice:

  • As part of your duty of care to your volunteers, volunteer-involving organisations should undertake a covid-19 risk assessment about the volunteer activities and share the results with the people who are volunteering with them.
  • A risk assessment should ensure that the volunteering activity complies with the government guidance on enabling safe and effective volunteering during Covid-19.
  • Read more about NCVO on their website

So, what can you do? Some practical steps:

Review your Covid-19 risk assessments regularly

You can refer to this Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance as circumstances will continue to change.

Check the updated national guidelines for museums from National Museum Directors’ Council (NMDC).

Example scenario for why you should review your risk assessment regularly

A large number of people gather in your reception area to enquire about visiting during peak summer periods. This may mean you need to take steps to respond to a potentially increased level of risk of Covid-19 transmission to front of house volunteer and staff.

You could consider the following measures to reduce risk:

  • Maintaining Perspex screens
  • Enforcing a limit on numbers entering the space
  • Maintaining a one way system
  • Regular cleaning regimes
  • A requirement on volunteers and visitors to wear mask
  • Is your outdoor signage up to date, to reflect these measures?  Visitors will understand necessary steps to manage risk if you communicate clearly and consistently.

Give special consideration to individual levels of risk

Ask volunteers whether, as a result of a combination of age, health conditions and ethnicity they are in clinically vulnerable or extremely clinically vulnerable categories.  This should be done sensitively and in consultation, but take the time to do it again if you haven’t done it for a while.

The museum should review arrangements for each volunteer‘s role based on this information, as part of reviewing risk assessments.  Can you provide a range of ways for volunteers to support the museum, including alternatives to front line roles?

Encourage volunteers and staff to get vaccinated

This is the most effective way to reduce the likelihood of serious illness with Covid-19. Vaccination is not mandatory in the UK, but strongly encouraged.

Be mindful of others – transmission

It is still possible to contract and transmit Covid-19 when vaccinated. Therefore the museum should still consider and take appropriate steps to reduce risk of exposure to Covid-19, particularly for those in clinically vulnerable and extremely clinically vulnerable categories, even if fully vaccinated.

Talk to staff and volunteers

Keep the communication channels open regarding any proposed changes to workplace arrangements. You probably did this before re-opening last year and you should do this regularly. Consulting widely within the team is not only important to maintain team understanding and cohesion; it will also help you to ensure your arrangements will work in practice to keep everyone safe.

Lateral flow testing kits

Encourage everyone to take lateral flow tests regularly to reduce the risk of Covid-19 spreading through your team undetected.

Check with your local authority’s website about ordering multiple kits for your organisation – some local authorities provide this service.  Lateral Flow Testing kits can also be ordered by individual households and delivered to your door, or you can obtain them from some local chemists.

Share the responsibility

Keep in touch with fellow trustees, your local volunteer centre, your local Museum Development Officer and your county museum network – others will be going through the same process and may be able to offer ideas, tips or moral support.

If you have any questions or would like to seek any further support from us at South West Museum Development get in touch using our simple form.

Our latest coronavirus updates and guidance including the Government guidance for attractions.

Six priority actions for attractions

These have been laid out by the Government to protect yourself, your staff and your visitors during coronavirus – read in full on the Gov UK website page for events and attractions.

  1. Complete a health and safety risk assessment that includes risks from Covid-19.
  2. Turn people with Covid-19 symptoms away
  3. Provide adequate ventilation
  4. Clean more often
  5. Enable people to check in at your venue
  6. Communicate and train