The MRS has issued new guidance for areas affected by Covid-19 variant. The following is MRS’ interpretation of the new UK Government advice for parts of the UK. This UK Government advice applies to the areas where the Covid-19 variant is spreading fastest, which are currently:
- Bedford Borough Council
- Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council
- Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council
- Burnley Borough Council
- Kirklees Council
- Leicester City Council
- London Borough of Hounslow
- North Tyneside Council
The MRS interpretation of this advice applies to these and any new areas which are added to this list. The UK Government has stated that, where possible, in the areas affected individuals should try to:
- Meet outside rather than inside where possible.
- Keep 2 metres apart from people that they don’t live with (unless they have formed a support bubble with them), this includes friends and family individuals don’t live with.
- Minimise travel in and out of affected areas.
The current MRS guidance (issued on 12 April 2021) contains the following requirements:
- Research practitioners must undertake a risk assessment of any proposed data collection exercise before beginning any face-to-face data collection.
- Research practitioners must consider the amount of travel required to undertake face-to-face data collection and introduce approaches which minimise the amount of travel required e.g., localise data collection to specific areas.
- Research practitioners should limit travel for face-to-face data collection purposes unless absolutely necessary for the purposes of the project.
- Research practitioners when travelling for face-to-face data collection projects, must plan ahead or avoid busy public transport times and routes.
- Research practitioners must follow any lockdown travel restrictions which apply to each of the UK’s four nations.
- Research practitioners must check whether additional restrictions apply in their area.
In light of the new UK Government advice, when applying the MRS requirements practitioners must consider the following:
- The results of any project risk assessments (including those projects already underway) and determine whether the risk mitigations associated with any face-to-face data collection activities are sufficient in light of the new conditions in the affected areas.
- Limiting the amount of travel which research practitioners need to undertake for any planned face-to-face data collection activities in affected areas.
- Only using research practitioners from affected areas to undertake face-to-face data collection activities in the affected areas.
The MRS Standards Team are continuing to review and update the MRS guidance as and when required. The existing MRS Covid-19 guidance documents continue to apply, supplementing the UK Government guidance:
- Undertaking Safe Face to Face Data Collection
- Undertaking Safe Face to Face Mystery Shopping
- Guidance on Facilities Used for Face-to-Face Data Collection
- Guidance Interpreting Scotland’s Level System
If you have any queries about the MRS Code or any of the MRS’ Covid-19 guidance please contact the MRS Standards Team via the MRS Codeline service.