Support for public relations practitioners during the current pandemic can be found both among our professional bodies – the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and the PRCA https://www.prca.org.uk/, as well as on Government websites. We have a provided a number of links below. Also, the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists has provided some excellent fact sheets for those working alone from home as well as offering advice to small businesses. Both these fact sheets can be found by clicking here
Mental Health https://cipr.co.uk/
For Members of the CIPR the iprovision Mental Health Hotline provides members with instant access to accredited counsellors as well as support for those with personal, legal and financial difficulties. The 24/7, 365 days a year hotline is run by Health Assured, the UK and Ireland’s largest independent employee assistance programme (EAP) provider, and provides CIPR members with access to a British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) trained and accredited counsellor.
The COVID-19 outbreak is likely to provide operational and legal challenges for PR businesses, particularly freelancers. The PRCA is offering its legal helpline - operated by Lewis Silkin - to all PR professionals free of charge. Please call 0207 074 8000 for support.
The PR Cavalry, partners in the PRCA Freelancer Matchmaker Portal have agreed to make their services free of charge for three months for any freelancer who is shortlisted for work using The PR Cavalry platform before 30th April. The PR Cavalry is already free to clients to hire freelancers using their service which matches employers to flexible talent based on the relevance of their sector knowledge and experience. Freelancers normally pay a 10% commission for work finding them that is right in their sweet spot but to help freelancers and to stimulate the market, for three months from the date of being hired, The PR Cavalry will waive their commission. To access this service, email PRCA@PRCavalry.com
Volunteering during the virus pandemic
Deputy and Past Master Gavin Ellwood’s company Ellwood Atfield have created a PR “dating site: http://www.c19commsvolunteers.com/ to allow PR professionals to volunteer for health and social care organisations in desperate need of communications support.
The UN has put out a call to creatives to help get the message out: https://www.talenthouse.com/i/united-nations-global-call-out-to-creatives-help-stop-the-spread-of-covid-19
Global COVID-19 Communications Taskforce
The PRCA is assembling a team of senior professionals from across the world to help PR professionals deal with the impact of Covid-19. The PRCA wants to hear from experienced practitioners interested in working on:
Global advocacy of the need for the PR function to play a leading role in all planning, preparedness and response efforts
Fast-shifting work-from-home and virtual models that PR professionals must embrace for themselves and assist other stakeholders in embracing as well
Communicating for the mental health and well-being of the public in unprecedented, uncertain times
Key crisis-response and best-practice guidance for all communications disciplines
Collecting and reporting industry data pertaining to Covid-19 and its impact on role of PR professionals.
UK Government advice and assistance
For advice on employment and financial support:
For business support government guidelines and advice is available here
For general advice on Coronavirus (COVID-19) click here
Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can’t do
Guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from COVID-19. As you will probably know, those suffering from particularly serious health conditions are being asked to shield themselves from outside contact for 12 weeks. Details of those who are being asked to do so are here.
Please see below a letter from the Rt. Hon. the Lord Mayor William Russell and the Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Policy & Resources Committee, Catherine McGuinness.
Note that any responses to this email will not be read or responded to. Please direct any queries via the channels described in the message content.
Dear Business Owner,
We hope you are keeping safe and well in these difficult times. We are all in a very different environment both in terms of work and home life. It is extremely important to us that our businesses have the right information at the right time, which is why we are writing to you.
Preparations are underway to assist with the economic recovery of the City. We are working closely with the government, the Mayor of London, London Boroughs, Transport for London and major business organisations, to prepare for a further gradual relaxation of the lockdown measures in the City.
We know how important it is for businesses to be confident that their employees and customers will be able to travel into and around the City safely. We are looking at options to increase space available to assist with social distancing measures, advice for queues management for shops, and how to accommodate and increase in the number of people who choose to cycle.
Central Government has published guidance on how to maintain safety in the workplace, including offices. For those properties where we are the landlord, we are in discussions with managing agents and tenants about the safe use of the buildings. We do not anticipate an immediate return to normal, with large numbers of people returning to the City as the lockdown restrictions are lifted, and encourage businesses to think about how they can continue to operate with fewer people in the workplace and stagger journeys to and from work.
Central Government has provided consolidated information to support business in response to this pandemic. This information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19#support-for-businesses-that-pay-business-rates. However, as the situation progresses the City is are becoming increasingly aware of businesses/sectors that are not provided for within pre-existing schemes. We continue to raise these concerns with Central Government and would like to encourage you to contact your local Common Councillors with any matters we may usefully bring forward in these discussions. You can find the details of your local Common Councillors and Ward Aldermen here: http://democracy.cityoflondon.gov.uk/mgMemberIndex.aspx?bcr=1
Based on guidance from Central Government, the City Revenues Team has now awarded the 100% retail relief to those occupied properties that are eligible to receive the Enhanced Retail Relief and Small Business Rates Relief in the 2020/21 financial year. We continue to make business rate grant payments to all eligible businesses and we have now paid around 90% of the money allocated to us by government. Revised bills showing the adjustment have been issued. More information, including information for Serviced Offices and how to contact the team, can be found on our Business Rates webpage: https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/business/business-rates/Pages/default.aspx
We will be providing updates and information on our plans for the City on our dedicated COVID-19 Advice for Businesses website https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/business/support-promotion-and-advice/Pages/covid-19-advice-for-businesses.aspx and via social media @cityoflondon. Our website features a range of information on topics such as latest government advice, business grants schemes and updates on support offered by the City of London Corporation. It also provides links to related areas such as parking for key and non-key workers, and other helpful advice and information from Business and Trade Associations.
The City of London Corporation will continue to keep you updated as the situation develops and as we move through a relaxation of the lockdown.
Alderman William Russell, The Rt Hon The Lord Mayor
Catherine McGuinness, Chair of Policy & Resources