Staff and Volunteers – COVID-19 and your Personal Data

Blind Veterans UK recognises the extraordinary challenges we are all facing during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

This supplementary privacy notice is to make it easier to understand and provide you with more information about how the Blind Veterans UK Group may seek to collect and hold information about you in relation to the unprecedented challenges we are all facing during the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).  At this time, we may process your personal data in way that you would under normal circumstances have not expected us to do so but we need to in response to the procedural and changes to our services during coronavirus pandemic.  We want to assure you that we will not process your personal data in any way that could be considered unreasonable, unfair or infringe of your rights, but we will need to ensure your safety and well-being.

The UK government have made changes to the way we are all living and working, to protect us and slow down the spread of the virus.  As a result, we are also having to change the way our staff and volunteers work. The following is a summary of the requirements the UK government has published.  As the situation changes so does the Government’s advice, in addition to the measures listed below it is necessary for you to keep updated on any changes. 

National Lockdown – Stay at Home

You must not leave or be outside of your home except where necessary. You may leave the home to:

  • shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
  • go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
  • exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person (in which case you should stay 2m apart). Exercise should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
  • meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
  • seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
  • attend education or childcare - for those eligible

If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay in your local area - unless it is necessary to go further, for example to go to work.

Staying in your local area means stay in the village, town, or part of the city where you live.

Regional Restriction tiers by area

  1. Tier 1: Medium alert
  2. Tier 2: High alert
  3. Tier 3: Very High alert
  4. Tier 4: Stay at Home

When the UK is not under a National lockdown, local tier restrictions apply.  The Tier systems is applied by the Government publishing what geographical areas within the UK fall within each Tier.  All staff and volunteers will need to keep themselves informed as to which Tier, they live/work within.  Blind Veterans UK has differentiated our service to offer an appropriate “Level” of delivery across the UK.    Our aim is to protect our staff and volunteers while also adapting our services to make sure our Beneficiaries have the support they need at this unusual and very difficult time. 

The Information Commissioner’s Office recognises this challenge:

“We know you might need to share information quickly or adapt the way you work. Data protection will not stop you doing that. It’s about being proportionate…”

The Operations directorate developed a new National Support Service to help our blind veterans across the UK during the effects and impact of the pandemic.  This service is mainly delivered by our staff and volunteers working remotely. Many of our staff in roles which are unable to delivered will now have time available which they can use to deliver the new service to our beneficiaries.

To allow us to deliver this service to beneficiaries, we will need to use and share some of the personal information that we already hold about you, in different ways. 

This is already explained in our employee and volunteer privacy policies on our website:  “To improve our services and administration. To ensure the most efficient and appropriate use of the resources we have”.  At the moment, we are not asking for additional information that we do not already hold and if we do, we will make this clear. 

We want to assure you that:

  • Our “purposes” for processing your personal information have not changed
  • Any personal data processing we need to carry out in order to set up and run this new service, will have a lawful basis to comply with UK legislation.
  • We will continue to protect your data and will store and use it securely
  • We will share as little information as is necessary and only when necessary with those who need it

To be clear, and to explain the type of changes we are making, below are some examples of your existing data that we already hold, to allow us to manage your employment contract or volunteer agreement.  These may need to be shared with additional Blind Veterans UK staff (i.e. managers and their key support staff with a particular need to know the information for operational reasons) and, occasionally, with trusted 3rd party partner organisations (such as a partner charity or organisation):

  • Your Name
  • Contact details:  To allow remote and flexible working and so we can offer an adaptable and flexible service for our beneficiaries
  • Home address and postcode:  To allow staff running the National Support Services to know where we have people who live close to or can deliver services required by individual beneficiaries
  • Age:  We must protect people who are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19
  • Underlying health conditions:  We must protect people who are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19. 
  • Specific, detailed health information will not be shared widely, however, we will need to know where there is a potential health issue that needs to be managed by us, the employee or volunteer and HR
  • Directorate, Department and Line Manager:  So we can discuss different options relating to individuals’ work
  • DBS status:  So we know which staff and volunteers have Enhanced, Standard and Basic DBS checks and employ people appropriately
  • Additional capacity and skills: to help us best match staff and volunteer skills and abilities to Beneficiary’s needs.

An example of what this additional use of your personal data might look like is:

We want to create an interactive map of the UK showing where our staff and volunteers live (e.g. name, address, department, and whether they are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19).  This will allow specific staff within the operations teams to best and safely match where we have people who are able to meet our beneficiary’s’ needs. 

This means that healthy staff, younger than 70 years, with an appropriate DBS and living close to or nearest to a Beneficiary might be asked to collect shopping or prescriptions and drop that at a Beneficiary’s home; while vulnerable staff and volunteers or those that live too far away, might be asked to phone or video call a Beneficiary to befriend them, give advice or help them feel less isolated. 

This same map might also allow us to offer staff and volunteers to support partner organisations in need, in which case, we may share your data with those organisations (we will have a data sharing agreement with them).  We are only likely to do this with your agreement to offer your service to this organisation.

Covid-19 Vaccination Programme.

As the UK Government rolls out the national vaccination programme, individuals at Blind Veterans UK will be vaccinated at different times according to their personal situation, e.g. their age, whether they are in a high-risk group, access to local provision, etc.  Blind Veterans UK has produced a Vaccination Policy which will provide staff and volunteers with information on how your personal data will be processed by the charity linked to the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

Please be assured we will maintain our high standards of data protection during this situation.  Your individual data rights have not changed. 

If you have any concerns, please feel free to talk to your line manager or directly to Dave Gibbons, the Group Data Protection Officer. DPO@blindveterans.co.uk  or call on 020 4534 1127 (direct dial)