Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for the community learning and development sector

Guidance to help local authorities, third sector organisations and partners working in Scotland’s schools, colleges and communities to provide community learning and development (CLD) services safely.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for the community learning and development sector
Using this guidance

Using this guidance

This guidance directs to the suite of publications offering advice and guidance available on our website and should be used in conjunction with other relevant guidance and advice. Links to further guidance and advice can be found throughout and towards the end of this guidance. Together, the guidance documents will help to inform safer working practice for the CLD sector.

In recognising the diversity of CLD practice taking place in a variety of environments, this guidance should be used as a platform for each employer or organisation to meet the needs of CLD staff, volunteers and learners.

Guidance should be applied at a local level whilst recognising the set protection levels.

Each CLD service provider is responsible for translating this guidance and applying the specific actions required in order to reduce transmission of COVID-19. Organisations will need to risk assess activities and consider the impact of restarting services in relation to the type of activity taking place; any mitigations that can be implemented; and, the behaviours of participants taking part. This will include how well the expectations and protocols can be understood and adhered to by learners.

Managing the risk

Recognising that there may be negative impacts to learners and others if access to education is limited, CLD providers should carefully consider the appropriate use of risk and equality impact assessments in deciding the scope and scale of face-to-face activity.

In planning provision, consideration should be given in the first instance to whether activity can take place outdoors to reduce the risk of transmission.

Additional risk assessment and enhanced protective measures where face to face learning is essential should be carried out when an area moves to a higher protective level.

All organisations and groups operating CLD services are asked to pay very close attention to any evidence suggesting the potential for circumstances where there is a risk of transmission within groups or practice environments. In the event that any such evidence is identified, they should consult immediately with local public health teams on any requirement to pause face to face activity. They should also ensure that appropriate contingency measures for remote learning are in place for any required period of time.

Further advice on developing risk assessments and implementing adequate mitigations can be found further on in this guidance.

National organisations such as the CLD Standards Council, YouthLink Scotland, Learning Link Scotland, Youth Scotland, the Scottish Community Development Council and Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations also provide advice and support for national or community based organisations.

Advice on operating services can be also be sought from environmental health or public health teams within local authority areas.


If you would like to provide feedback or have any questions related to this guidance please email

First published: 31 Jul 2020 Last updated: 16 Apr 2021 -