The National Youth Agency (NYA) as the Professional Statutory and Regulatory Body for youth work in England has, in consultation with Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive, developed youth sector specific advice and guidance.

The guidance will support local providers, leaders, volunteers and young people to remain safe when engaging in youth sector activities. It is intended to guide the youth sector in opening up services for young people at the right pace and time.

Read the full guidance on their website.

Brief Summary:

What does RED mean?
  • Youth work must move to online/virtual platforms
  • Detached and outdoor youth sessions are still possible if adhering to COVID-19 secure activity and space guidelines (see below)
  • Door stop check ins and delivery of materials are still possible if adhering to COVID-19 secure activity and space guidelines but only if necessary (see below)
  • In-person, indoor groups can occur if the young person is high need/vulnerable in a group of 2-15 including staff/volunteers/carers forming a support group/bubble, adhering to V4.2 COVID-secure guidelines (see below) and if adhering to COVID-19 secure activity and space guidelines (see below)
  • In-person, indoor 1-2-1 support sessions can occur for the purpose of ‘triaging’ those you may believe to be at risk of becoming vulnerable if adhering to V4.2 COVID-secure guidelines (see below) and if adhering to COVID-19 secure activity and space guidelines (see below)
  • In person, indoor 1-2-1 support is permitted during RED, even if not for the purpose of triage. Youth sector providers may meet young people indoors and may have as many staff present as required to meet welfare and safeguarding needs
  • Home visits are not permitted and no groups must occur in private dwellings

Useful documents:

COVID-19 secure activity and space guidelines

V4.2 COVID-secure guidelines

Action template and risk assessment template plus other useful links

The NYA has decided not to provide a definition of ‘high need or vulnerable’ – instead they ask you to use your local professional judgement to ensure you identify and deliver support to those you truly feel fall into that category.

The NYA has made it clear that no youth work provisions have to operate during this time if they feel they are unable to do so safely. You must only open up for youth work sessions if you feel comfortable doing so, deem it to be essential to the young people, and if you are able to do so ensuring the session is COVID-secure.

Next steps:

For Online Youth Work

Ensure your risk assessment and action plan are up-to-date to include online risks. You can find a template for both simple and advanced risk assessments, and an action plan, on the NYA website. Check your Safeguarding and Social Media policies to ensure they include guidance for online youth work. If you need support with this please refer to the Safeguarding and Social Media policies in the Members Section of our website. Read the NYA 4.2 COVID-19-secure Guidance.

For Detached Youth Work

According to NYA, youth workers are permitted to engage with vulnerable young people via detached youth work, even if the group is larger than one young person outside due to the positive impact this type of youth work may provide. In this instance youth workers should seek to inform/educate young people of their responsibilities to socially distance and follow the lockdown requirements. Read the NYA 4.2 COVID-19-secure Guidance.

For Support Group/Bubble Sessions

Support groups can be made up of up of 2-15 young people of any age including staff and volunteers and any caring or support staff the young people may need. These groups must only be made up of those who are vulnerable/high need. It is up to you to use your professional judgement to identify who you believe falls into this category to ensure no young person who requires support misses out. All young people who attend the support bubble must be ‘formally invited’ to a date and time to a pre-planned activity session.

Once indoors, all attendees must adhere to the NYA 4.2 COVID-19-secure Guidance and action plans and risk assessments must be updated. Hygiene in the premises must be robust. The attendees who attend the support group do not have to be fixed and can change per session if needed. Staff who support the group can also support other support groups if needed. Sessions can happen back to back in a COVID-secure premises. If other staff are on site (bringing the total number to over 15), but not included in the support session, then that is permissible. The length of time per session is not fixed. Groups must not happen in private dwellings and home visits are not permitted. Community spaces can be opened for these sessions. Read the NYA 4.2 COVID-19-secure Guidance.

For 1-2-1 ‘Triage’ Sessions

Youth provisions may provide 1-2-1 sessions indoors with young people to check in with them to see if they are at risk of becoming vulnerable/high need. If they are identified as vulnerable/high need during these sessions, then they may be permitted to move into a Support Group (ensuring the total number for the group stays below 15). All young people must be ‘formally invited’ to these triage sessions. Once indoors, all attendees must adhere to NYA 4.2 COVID-19-secure Guidance and action plans and risk assessments must be updated. Hygiene in the premises must be robust. Sessions must not happen in private dwellings and home visits are not permitted. Community spaces can be opened for these sessions. Read the NYA 4.2 COVID-19-secure Guidance.

For 1-2-1 sessions (not triage)

Youth provisions may provide 1-2-1 sessions indoors with young people with additional staffing needed to maintain welfare and safeguarding standards. Once indoors, all attendees must adhere to NYA 4.2 COVID-19-secure Guidance and action plans and risk assessments must be updated. Hygiene in the premises must be robust. Community spaces can be opened for these sessions. Read the NYA 4.2 COVID-19-secure Guidance.

Travel

Vulnerable and high need young people are permitted to travel to attend a youth work session or 1-2-1. Supportive transport can also be used. All travel must adhere to social distancing and lockdown guidelines. Trips, visits and residential stays are not permitted.

If you wish to discuss how these guidelines apply to your youth provision then please contact us. We are here to guide you through these new hurdles and support you to deliver youth work where possible.