Ian Hulme of the IOC (Information Commissioner’s Office) has published advice for community groups which we have condensed as follows:

1) When contacted for help, please explain clearly that you will need the person’s name, address and phone number to pass on to the volunteer assigned to them, and that this information will not be shared publicly, used solely for the purpose of helping, and will be deleted after the Covid-19 crisis has abated.

2) In an emergency, sharing information with partners can make a real difference to public safety and sometimes can be harmful not to share it. For example, you might need to tell the local council about an elderly housebound resident who needs support. Data protection law does not prevent you sharing personal information in a situation where it is necessary and appropriate to do so.

3) When handling personal data, think about whether it falls into one of the following categories:
• Would the person expect me to use their information in this way?
• Have they given me their clear and unambiguous consent to use their personal information?
• Is the person’s health or safety at risk if I don’t use their personal data?
If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then you can handle and share personal data.

4) Volunteers have a responsibility to keep any personal data they collect safe.

5) When the Covid-19 crisis is over volunteers must delete any personal information they hold.

6) Keep a record of help you have given. If volunteers haven’t been keeping a record of jobs done, please can they make a record in retrospect. (Records must be deleted when the crisis is over.)

Regarding point 6, it would be useful to monitor the help provided. It would be great if you could let us know how many jobs you have a done and what type (prescription, groceries etc). This is useful for tracking, but also helpful to spread volunteers more evenly across the village. It also provides feedback for OCC.