Risk Assessment

Planning & Risk Assessment
Scroll down for garden and individual risk assessment information, templates and examples

Latest Scottish Government Guidance

This information was last updated on 9th August 2021

Tracy McCollin, Head of Good Food Nation Team, has written to provide an update on the Coronavirus (COVID-19): community food-growing spaces guidance, following the announcement by the First Minister that Scotland will move to beyond Level 0 on 9 August.

"As the majority of restrictions have been lifted, there is no longer a requirement for specific guidance for community food growing spaces and this will be withdrawn from our website. There is general guidance on what you can and cannot do at this level - Coronavirus (COVID-19): staying safe and protecting others - gov.scot (www.gov.scot) - that sets out which protective measures will stay in place and how you can reduce the risk of transmission. This guidance should be taken into consideration when using community food-growing spaces."


FOR REFERENCE ONLY Pre- August 2021 Guidance 

Local areas of Scotland are currently in differing Covid-19 protection Levels, with many moving to Level 0 on the 19th July.
Check your area level and what you can/ cannot do at each of the protection levels here: Coronavirus (COVID-19): local protection levels - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

Guidance for food growing spaces is to be found at Coronavirus (COVID-19): community food-growing spaces - gov.scot (www.gov.scot).
Sections on physical distancing and polytunnels/greenhouses have been updated to reflect  guidance on how to calculate maximum number of people who can physically distance in public buildings and it is set out in the Coronavirus (COVID-19): calculating physical distancing capacity in public settings.

The over 80's are now exempt from being counted in group numbers!

There are some exceptions to the restriction on numbers of people and households in certain circumstances e.g. organised exercise, set out in the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 and see information on orgaised activities in the Further Information section below.

Local authorities and others with responsibility for community food-growing sites may have these sites open, subject to compliance with the Scottish Government guidance, and can provide specific advice and information as to what measures have been put in place to stop the spread of the virus. Please contact whoever is responsible for the community food-growing site for information regarding what activities can take place on the site and what restrictions may be in place.


Further Information (Revised 26/04/21) 

 Exceptions for 'organised' activities. 'Organised' activities are defined  in the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 as

'(4) For the purpose of paragraph (1)(b)(v) and (vi), an activity or exercise is “organised” if it is organised by—

(a)a person who is responsible for carrying on a business or providing a service,
(b)a person who is responsible for a place of worship,
(c)a charity or other not for profit organisation,
(d)a club or political organisation, or
(e)the governing body of a sport or other activity.'


Carers are permitted to attend gatherings to support a person, and not be counted in the total numbers, see https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-phase-3-staying-safe-and-protecting-others/pages/gatherings-and-occasions/
In particularl the paragraph referring to 'Gatherings and occasions' covers this point - 

'Gatherings inside or outside for social interactions and which include more than one household are still limited except for the following exceptions:
• where a gathering is of people from up to two households (indoors or outdoors). If someone from one of those households requires a carer, from another household, to assist them for their health and wellbeing, that carer is also permitted to attend.'


Track & Trace Some gardening projects are gathering individual's contact details as part of the Track & Trace programme. If you want to do this it's important to keep contact details confidential and stored securely for 21 days. One project manages admissions by only allowing admission to the garden to those prepared to complete a Track & Trace form. These short paper forms once completed are posted in a lockable box  - collated weekly and stored securely in a dated envelope at the project. Envelope and contents are burnt (or you could shred) after 21 days. 

There is some guidance on how to gather contact details whilst respecting GDPR (data protection) legislation at the 'Scottish Government Coronavirus (COVID-19) Test and Protect: multi-sector guidance on collection of customer and visitor contact details – July 2020' web pages - https://www.gov.scot/publications/test-protect-multi-sector-guidance-collection-customer-visitor-contact-details-july-2020/pages/1/ 

The document has been designed as 'a tool to support customer and visitor data gathering for businesses and other establishments in Scotland ... It sets out how to collect individual contact details in a safe and secure manner which is compliant with data protection legislation, to assist NHS Scotland in responding to outbreaks of COVID-19.'

The document emphasises that it's important to ensure that data is collected and handled in line with data protection laws. Some of the main points to help you make sure you are compliant with data protection regulations are below:

  • Establish if you need to register your organisation with the ICO to collect contact details - use the registration self-assessment checker at https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/data-protection-fee/self-assessment/  
  • Where members of the public are attending as a small household group, the contact details for one member - a 'lead member' - will be sufficient alongside the size of the group.
  • The Scottish Government has published a template (download /print) Privacy Notice, setting out the terms of how data should be gathered, stored, used and disposed of. The privacy notice is how your business or organisation will demonstrate compliance with Article 13 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that sets out what information needs to be provided when data are collected from the data subject (e.g. customers, visitors, staff). 
  • Poster to display showing reason for Test & Protect and taking contact details, available to download /print - A4 Poster
  • Contact details should be kept securely for 21 days - For information on Secure Collection, Storage and Disposal of Data, see  https://www.gov.scot/publications/test-protect-multi-sector-guidance-collection-customer-visitor-contact-details-july-2020/pages/4/
  • Further information on How the data will be used, how you as an organisation will be contacted etc. is contained in the document online. 

Remember F.A.C.T. S. 

  • Face coverings in enclosed spaces (such as public transport)
  • Avoid crowded places
  • Clean your hands and surfaces regularly
  • Two metres social distancing
  • Self-isolate and book a test if you develop coronavirus symptoms

and 'Hands. Face. Space.' 
The 'Hands. Face. Space.' campaign urges the public to continue to wash their hands, cover their face and make space to control infection rates and avoid a second peak.

You can find posters and signs to download and print to reinforce these messages on the government websites.

If you have any doubts/queries about your project/community space re-opening, check with your insurance provider and local council first of all.

 For further clarification and interpretation of the guidelines, contact your local council office – they should have a member of staff available to help with further explanation. 


Risk Assessment

Sample risk assessment specifically for Covid 19 in line with community food growing guidelines are available from GetGrowing Scotland resources http://getgrowingscotland.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/sample-risk-assessment-for-Tier-3.pdf

Example of a Risk Assessment for a gardening projectwith thanks to Tayport Community Garden, used in conjunction with their Individual Risk Asessment and Induction (Template), approved by Fife Council as an example of good practice.

Risk Assessment is key to safely running your gardening group  -  carrying out risk assessment and suggestions of what to include/consider 

Coronavirus COVID-19  Return to Work Risk Assessment Overview, Guidance and Template

Practical Information on minimising the risk of virus spread

Differing physical layouts and client need, require creative management to minimise the spread of coronavirus e.g. one project has fastened its gates open, as they were identified as being the one place everyone touched. Common steps include: use a rota system to admit two people at a time, use daily exercise quota to garden,  observe social distancing measures in the garden. Here are a few examples of protocols in use:

HTA Safe Trading Guidance implemented 29th May 2020 (Phase 1 Scotland) - lots of practical tips on how to protect staff and customers - through physical distancing protocols, examples of site control, queueing, till procedures, signage, employee protocols.

Hand washing outdoors/lack of traditional soap and water facilities?
Consider making a Tippy Tap, with this World Health Organisation YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miF5B8oOIrw

Or see this this Creative Star article for further ideas and discussions around hand washing outdoors https://creativestarlearning.co.uk/early-years-outdoors/hand-hygiene-outdoors/?fbclid=IwAR0oNM6qkHEfAJ3V3sThpNpGGIYiu9zZU6m_6X26YQhbV8ZOfiTpnXlEhL4

Resources from Phase 1 and the early lockdown period

Implementation on 28th May 2020 of the Scottish Government Phase 1 Coronavirus (COVID-19): framework for decision making, including

• Non- essential outdoor workplaces with physical distancing resume once relevant guidance agreed
• Beginning to safely restart NHS services, covering primary, and community services including mental health
• Gradual resumption of key support services at the community level
• Unrestricted outdoor exercise with physical distancing measures
• Max no. 8 people can gather from 2 households, outdoors

Essential Travel - what if you're employed at a gardening project more than 5 miles from home?
Carry ID and a letter from your organisation authorising your travel  to work or this one, authorising garden maintenance 

General protocols and best practice based on UK Government guidance and Trellis network suggestions 07/05/2020

Gardening in an allotment in a community garden protocol - Thanks to a community garden in the Borders for making this available to share

A community garden protocol - Thanks to a community garden in the East of Scotland for sharing this

Example of a Garden Information Notice - Thanks to an Edinburgh care project for this one

Escape Allotment, Norfolk -  20 clients a week gardening since April 2020

Incredible Edible Lambeth - considering distributing seedlings to their community see their plan and risk assessment 

National Allotment Society - information on managing allotment spaces 

 Managing forced garden neglect through lockdown - Garden Organic's suggestions as to how to manage a plot if you can't get to it at all.