Civic Voice FAQs: Coronavirus pandemic

How is the Civic Voice board overseeing the charity operations?

During the Coronavirus pandemic, Civic Voice and civic societies will face challenges in looking after staff, volunteers and trustees who may fall ill, have to self-isolate, or have to look after loved ones. We all have a responsibility to look out for each other, many of whom will be amongst the most vulnerable during this public health emergency.

Civic societies can feel confident that we will, where possible, act in a pragmatic way by taking account of the wider public interest during this unprecedented period.

On a daily basis, the Chair and Deputy Chair are in daily contact with the Civic Voice team and Trustees are joining the Civic Voice team for a weekly telephone call to discuss issues. A weekly report will be shared with Trustees and we are closely watching the Charity Commission and Government advice during this period.

We will act in a pragmatic way in all of our decisions.

How do I contact the Civic Voice office?

All email addresses and telephone details remain the same. We are not holding any face-to-face meetings at the Coffin Works and anyone who was due to attend a meeting or event in the immediate future has been informed not to attend.

National Civic Day and other initiatives

Our primary concern at all times is the health and well-being of our communities. With this in mind, it will come as no surprise that we have decided to postpone Civic Day 2020. It is our aim to reschedule for a date later in the year and we’ll do everything we can to make sure everybody has time to plan for any new date. We will keep you updated regularly as our plans evolve.

How is this impacting other Civic Societies?

We know that many civic societies are cancelling or postponing events and deciding locally how best they can support the wider community. You can see the list of civic societies who have informed Civic Voice that they are making changes. The list is available here.

Civic Voice's 10th anniversary Conference and other events

We have taken the difficult decision to postpone a number of Parliamentary events including the meeting on March 17th and April 21st.

We have also decided to postpone the Civic Voice conference until September 4th - 5th. All speakers and delegates have been informed. We will offer a refund to anyone who requests it, but obviously hope we can see everyone in Blackpool in September!

How will this impact on Civic Voice's work?

We have taken a decision to postpone all scheduled events until May 4th and we have enabled staff to undertake their work at home, to help reduce the need for non-essential travel.

We have made a number of changes to the way Civic Voice operates in light of the on-going Coronavirus outbreak. The Civic Voice Board of Trustees has agreed that Civic Voice staff members can work from home for the immediate future. All email addresses and telephone details remain the same.

We have to recognise that Civic Voice, as a national campaigning organisation operates in a field that is not going to be a Government priority for the foreseeable future. Everything that we set out above is in the context of striking the appropriate balance between business as usual and recognising that it is not business as usual at the moment. We do not feel it is appropriate for us to be undertaking public facing activities i.e. launching the new website, or celebrating 'Civic Voice at 10' in April. We will be looking into further digital alternatives as to how we can support civic societies and find ways to support and connect the civic movement.

The Civic Voice Strategic Plan for 2020-2023 will be published later in the year.

Civic update will continue in this period, but will have less a celebratory feel to it.

How will this impact on Civic Voice's 10th anniversary campaign?

Civic Voice was due to celebrate its 10th anniversary on April 17th and we had intended to publish a number of publications and launch a new website. These are not important in the context of current events and we are considering how best to share these with civic societies at some point later in the year. We had other activities planned that we had not yet published and will continue to work on them and hope to be able to make announcements later in the year.

What if we cannot pay our membership fee for the year?

We understand that 50% of civic societies pay for Civic Voice membership by cheque and that it might be difficult for you to meet with colleagues to counter sign cheques. Do not worry, we want to work together to help you. If you are not going to be able to pay membership for Civic Voice for the time being, just let us know and we will ensure that you stay on our mailing lists. Our towns and cities will face challenges in the coming months and we all need to do what we can to help and support each other.

At Civic Voice, we are resilient as an organisation, but like all charities, including many civic societies, we may well be facing difficulties in a number of months, so if you are in a position to pay your membership fee by BACS, we would welcome it, but regardless of payment, we want to hear you are okay, so do get in touch with us!

What if this doesn't end in a few months?

This is the answer that we all want to know.

As an organisation, we have made significant progress over the past few years and we believe that we are resilient to be able to withstand the short-term impact of Coronavirus and that is why we will be writing to invite Civic Societies to renew your membership of Civic Voice for another year, but we are in an ever-evolving situation.

Let's all remember though, as much as we are passionate about national campaigns, what's really important to us at Civic Voice, is you, the members. You are the people that make up the civic society movement. You are the people who we speak to on a daily basis, you are the people that debate our policies. You are the civic movement. We are here for you on any issues that you might have concerning the running of your civic society.

How are you protecting staff and volunteer well-being?

We want to be regarded as responsible and reasonable employers. We are determined to do everything possible to help staff and volunteers during these months and we are mindful that loneliness and enforced social isolation could pose serious problems for staff. We will support our team and offer a flexible approach to working. We know that we have Civic Voice board members and volunteers that are in the at-risk categories and we all have families. We will be responsive to the needs of our team in the next few months. Do feel free to get in touch and say hi!

Paul Bedwell, Deputy Chair is in regular contact with all staff and will be overseeing staff well-being.

We will keep this under constant review and will be offering staff the opportunities for flexible short-term arrangements.

 

We will be updating these FAQs on a regular basis as we want to give our members the confidence that Civic Voice will make the right decisions, as required by the Charity Commission.

Please do get in touch at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) ot 0121 792 8177 if you require further information.