This page currently focuses on business support available for our members during the Covid-19 situation. For the latest news on all Covid-19 related issues, please see our Coronavirus Update page.
On 30 April the Scottish Government’s announced a £100m fund of additional grant support for small and medium sized businesses and newly self-employed people. Applicants can access these funds here.
This is also where you can find the full Updated list of funding support for businesses in Scotland.
Scottish Enterprise has collated information on available support to help businesses manage the impact of COVID-19. A further update on 21 March provided information for businesses trading internationally and a business disruption checklist.
HMRC has a set up a phone helpline to offer practical help and advice for businesses and self-employed people who are concerned about paying their tax due to coronavirus COVID-19. Contact the HMRC Helpline at 0800 0159 559
The Bank of England
A market notice by HM Treasury and the Bank of England was issued on 18 March providing information on how the Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) will operate.
A joint statement was issued by UK banks and the Bank of England on Covid-19 on 20 March, advising that banks are 'rapidly getting systems in place' to offer support. Further information has also been published on the Covid Corporate Financing Facility, including a detailed Q&A. Businesses can discuss eligibility by contacting CCFFeligibleissuers@bankofengland.gsi.gov.uk.
Scottish Ministers have advised any organisation of any size to contact their banks at the earliest opportunity to discuss any concerns about cashflow, whether imminent or on the horizon. Assurances have been made that banks will view requests to help otherwise sustainable businesses to continue to operate in the short- to mid-term sympathetically. This of course extends to the legal community.
A number of banks have set up support services for business affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. You can find out more using the links below or contact your own bank directly.
Lloyds Banking Group
On 27 April the Chancellor announced that small businesses will benefit from a new fast-track finance scheme providing loans of between £2,000 and £50,000 with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders.
The Association of British Insurers has produced a Q&A on business insurance and the impact of the outbreak.
Clio emergency relief fund
One of our member benefit companies, Clio, has set up an emergency relief fund of US$1m for legal firms affected by the current crisis. This global fund is available for Scottish firms and solicitors and is not limited to current Clio clients.
The Scottish Business Resilience Centre
The Scottish Business Resilience Centre has issued a number of updates on business resilience during the outbreak.
It is vital that your colleagues and clients are kept up to date on your response to the current COVID-19 outbreak. As this is an evolving situation, be prepared to provide regular updates.
- Ensure your staff team is kept up to date with key decisions
- Make sure you have out of hours contact details for all colleagues to ensure ease of communication
- Ensure you also have any necessary emergency contact numbers for colleagues
- Provide information on any relevant processes for sickness reporting, sick pay, any flexibility in policies given the outbreak
- Put in place procedures in case someone in the workplace shows symptoms of the virus. ACAS has some useful advice.
- This is a worrying time for many and you may wish to find out more about support available via Lawscot Wellbeing, our dedicated online resource that provides help and guidance for members and employers.
Ensure you inform your clients of any changes you are making for example, if you are moving your team to remote working.
A clear notification on your website, by email/letter and on social media will help ensure existing clients and other potential clients are aware you are open for business.
Ensure that all contact details are up to date and easily accessible, for example via your website.
Replace face to face meetings with telephone, video and skype calls with clients.
Phishing attacks has spiked recently as cyber criminals are taking advantage of the disruption and uncertainty caused by Covid-19. Protect your firm by encouraging good cyber security behaviours in your team, be vigilant, and report issues as soon as they arise. Key points:
- Continue to train staff in cyber security, they are your best line of defence.
- Do not send passwords by email or other confidential information without encryption or without password protecting documents.
- Use password phrases with characters, or 2 factor authentication and consider the use of Password Managers.
- Review your firm’s cyber security risk assessment.
- Revise your action plan based on this revised risk assessment.
- Ensure your hardware and software is protected.
- Patch regularly.
- Back-up regularly and restore regularly to test that the back-up is secure.
- Review your contingency plan for WHEN it goes wrong. Ensure this plan is written down and lists all key contacts and numbers.
- Ensure your contract with your supplier of IT services is clear about who is responsible for patching/security.
- Consider your insurance cover.
Read more about security and remote working here.
- Test technology before you try it for the first time
- Set out and circulate clear agenda and meeting guidelines in advance
- Have everyone on mute unless they are speaking or want to speak
- Involve as many people as possible in conversation by asking for views & opinions
- Use a headset, if you can, to avoid background noise
- Follow up with meeting notes or action list
Before the meeting:
- Take time to familiarise with technology:
- Conduct a test-meeting with a colleague beforehand to ensure you are familiar with the basic features (e.g. user interface, screen sharing, test your microphone and speaker settings, possible recording facility – if needed)
- Schedule meetings invites with all technology details listed within the invitation to reduce inbox clutter
- Set a clear meeting agenda and guidelines, to be sent in advance (participants should ensure to read the agenda before the meeting):
- Meeting organisers should set out: key discussion points; meeting structure; colleagues who will be in attendance; what each attendant can contribute to the meeting; any relevant documents or files
- If each participant has different tasks for the meeting, make sure these are clear from the beginning
- Dress appropriately
- Be aware of possible background noise – and your own working environment that will be shown on the screen
- Turn off notifications from apps that are open on your computer during the meeting (e.g. email notifications)
- Be mindful of lighting
- Consider using a headset or a set of headphones: this will improve audio quality for you and others
During the meeting:
- Be punctual
- Allow 1-2 minutes to ensure everyone has joined the meeting before it starts
- Take a few minutes at the beginning of the meeting for some casual conversation, to ensure engagement from the outset
- Introduce participants and the scope of the meeting: purpose, expected duration, items for consideration
- Mute your audio after the introductory conversation, and turn on again when you wish to contribute or you need to cover your agenda item
- General etiquette tips for joining virtual meetings:
- Make eye contact with the camera
- Speak clearly: slow down and enunciate
- Mute your audio when you are not speaking
- Do not interrupt other people when they are speaking (or attempt to speak over them)
- Use the ‘raise hand’ and/or ‘chat’ tool where possible
- Do not work on other tasks (e.g. checking emails) during virtual meetings
- Avoid making distracting sounds during the meeting (e.g. mute your keyboard; mute your mobile phone)
- If you are sharing your screen, be mindful of what is showing to others
- Ensure participants’ engagement during the meeting:
- Consider the use of tools e.g. ‘raise hand’/‘chat’
- Ask individual participants if they have any additional questions/points to raise verbally and remember to unmute them
- Keep to the time.
After the meeting:
- Follow up with meeting notes or action list after the meeting via email
- Set out: deliverables and next steps, who is responsible for following up on each item and/or task, and when the next meeting will be.