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Supporting Scotland's vibrant voluntary sector

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations is the membership organisation for Scotland's charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. Charity registered in Scotland SC003558. Registered office Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh EH3 6BB.

The Scottish Government has now removed the remaining legal requirements in the Coronavirus regulations. However, all organisations should continue to follow good practice to manage the risk of virus transmission. The Scottish Government have produced some useful guidance to help you keep everyone safe:

Risk assessment and control

The first step for all buildings and premises is a health and safety risk assessment, involving employees in the process. The assessment must:

  • identify what work activity or situations might cause transmission of the virus
  • think about who could be at risk
  • decide how likely it is that someone could be exposed
  • act to remove the activity or situation, or if this isn’t possible, control the risk

If you have more than five employees this must be written down, but it is good practice for all organisations to record what has been agreed. It is also important to agree how often the assessment will be reviewed- it should not be a one time exercise.  

Detailed guidance and template assessments are available on the Health and Safety Executive website.

Distancing, hygiene and PPE

Whilst the legal requirement to wear face coverings has now been removed, it is strongly recommended that face coverings continue to be worn where appropriate – including in indoor crowded spaces and on public transport.

Your organisation should implement all additional 'reasonable' measures it can to help limit the risks of coronavirus transmission in your premises.

Some of the more common measures could include:

  • Voluntary limits on the number of people in the building, and in particular spaces such as toilets, at any given time. This resource from SCDC and Public Health Scotland give clear and practical steps to help you work out safe occupancy levels.
  • Maximising the use of outdoor space
  • Making hand sanitiser and face coverings available
  • Providing screens between people, for example at desks or reception counters
  • Floor markings to help people stay a safe distance apart
  • More regular cleaning, with particular care given to communal spaces such as kitchens and bathrooms
  • Introducing a one way flow to reduce people passing one another in small spaces
  • Display public health messages throughout the premises

Distance Aware Scheme

The Scottish Government have introduced a voluntary Distance Aware Scheme. The scheme is designed to help those worried about mixing with others as we adapt to living with COVID-19. Free badges and lanyards are available to people who wish to show others they would welcome additional space and extra care while out in public.

Organisations can support Distance Aware by:

  • displaying posters or leaflets in your organisation or premises
  • sharing information about the campaign on your social media channels
  • encouraging your staff or those that support your organisation to share the #BeDistanceAware hashtag
  • sharing information on your website or through email communications with your audience
  • encouraging workplace or member discussions about what Distance Aware means and how it can be promoted and understood within your business or organisation
  • purchasing badges, lanyards, or any items with the symbol for your staff, members or customers
  • talking to staff, members or customers who may benefit from the scheme, making lanyards or badges available if appropriate


Ensuring that fresh air is circulating in indoor environments is essential to preventing the spread of COVID-19. This video from Gov.UK explains why it is even more important than we initially realised.

Taking measures such as opening windows, doors or vents can help minimise the risk of spreading coronavirus to colleagues, friends, family members and customers.

The Scottish Government have a range of guidance to help businesses and staff understood what good ventilation is.

Staggered start times and flexible working

To reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission, it is advised that organisations stagger start and finish times. This will help to reduce the burden on public transport, and reduce the pressure on pinch points, like reception areas.

You should discuss the best way to stagger start and finish times with employees and volunteers as part of the risk assessment.

If you are inviting external people to your premises you should also consider how you can stagger their arrival and departure.

Community buildings and village halls

If your organisation runs a building or hall that is used by a range of different groups you will be considering a more complicated set of risks.

Key areas to consider include:

  • Adding new requirements around distancing, hygiene and cleaning to any hiring agreement (see the information sheet from ACRE below for a template that can be adapted).
  • Whether people in the clinically vulnerable category can be supported to participate in activities safely to reduce isolation. You may find it helpful to carry out individual risk assessments to help with this decision.
  • How activities that involve donated items, food preparation or handling money can be made safe.
  • What procedures are in place if someone becomes unwell.

Managing your Community Building - Guidance from MacRoberts LLP
Last modified on 16 November 2022
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