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. 

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.

Our aim is to protect our staff and volunteers while also adapting our services to make sure our Members 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…”

SLT and the Roundtable are developing a new community service to support our blind veterans across the UK.  This new service will be delivered by our staff who are now, mainly working remotely and from home.  Many of our staff now have time available which they can use to deliver the new service to our Members.

To allow us to deliver this new service, 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
  • 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 with those who need it
  • When we share your personal information with a trusted third party (such as a partner charity or organisation) we will make sure we have an appropriate data sharing agreement with them to protect your rights

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 Members
  • Home address and postcode:  To allow the team running the new service to know where we have people who live close to or can deliver services required by individual Members
  • 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 Member need

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 Members’ needs. 

This means that healthy staff, younger than 70 years, with an appropriate DBS and living close to or nearest to a Member might be asked to collect shopping or prescriptions and drop that at a Member’s home; while vulnerable staff and volunteers or those that live too far away, might be asked to phone or Skype Members 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.

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 Data Protection Officer.