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Workforce and coronavirus

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Information on: guidance for employers and care workers; managing sick leave; recruitment; free services and grants for care staff; and remote working.


Organised Events§

Supporting BAME across social care: webinar recordings – 7 August 2020 – Skills for Care

Skills for Care is currently undertaking some work to find out more about the experiences of adult social care workers from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background during the COVID-19 pandemic. The BAME workforce plays a vital role in the day-to-day care of people in our communities and it is critical we know more. They have also developed four webinars which are available on their website covering: supportive leadership, building alliances to support BAME staff, mental wellbeing and creating collaborations and supportive networks within organisations.


Webinar: Growing your staff to ease your workload

Tuesday 11 August 2020: 11:00 – 11:30
This Skills for Care webinar looks at how staff have stepped up to support managers in response to COVID-19 and how this has helped. It will also look at how to identify and develop emerging talent to support new challenges, as well as what opportunities are there to develop future managers.

Poems in a Pandemic: poetry and art competition – 24 June 2020 – Care Talk

Poems in a Pandemic is a poetry and art competition for frontline social care support staff, leaders and nurses to capture their thoughts, feelings and experiences of caring for people in a pandemic. Closing date for entries is 31 July. Virtual press launch is 7 July 2020.


Clap for our Carers – every Thursday at 8pm

The campaign is ongoing – with a public clap for carers and everyone providing support, every Thursday at 8pm. #clapforourcarers


Guidance for employers and care workers§

Skills for Care: State of social care workforce 2020 – 21 October 2020 – Skills for Care

The Skills for Care report provides a comprehensive analysis of the adult social care workforce in England and the characteristics of the 1.52 million people working in it. Topics covered include: employment information, recruitment and retention, demographics, pay, qualification rates and future workforce forecasts.

The report for 2019/20 shows that the adult social care sector in England still needs to fill around 112,000 job vacancies on any given.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Adult social care is a growing sector that, in 2019/20, comprised of around 18,200 organisations across 38,000 care-providing locations and a workforce of around 1.52 million compared to around 1.4 million NHS workers.
  • The adult social care sector was estimated to contribute £41.2 billion per annum to the economy in England, which is worth more than the oil industry and the culture sector.
  • Around 84% of the adult social care workforce were British, 7% (113,000 jobs) had an EU nationality and 9% (134,000 jobs) had a non-EU nationality.
  • Skills for Care estimates that 7.3% of roles in adult social care were vacant in 2019/20, equivalent to 112,000 vacancies at any one time.
  • Skills for Care estimates that the staff turnover rate of directly employed staff working in the adult social care sector was 30.4% in 2019/20.

Read the Skills for Care press release

Read the report

Download the infographic


Skills for Care reveals need for long-term support and recognition: CPA response – 21 October 2020 – CPA

Skills for Care today released the findings of its annual ‘State of the adult social care sector and workforce’ report, which highlights the social and economic value of social care workers, and the need to recruit, support and retain new staff into the sector.

Kathy Roberts, Chair of the Care Provider Alliance (CPA) welcomed the report saying: “COVID-19 has rapidly raised the profile of the adult social care sector, and of the complex and skilled role that care workers play in supporting some of our most vulnerable people in our country. The Skills for Care report reminds us that, despite this improved awareness, much needs to be done to ensure we have sufficient numbers of well-supported care workers right now, and in the future.”


Coronavirus Life Assurance Scheme 2020 – Updated 9 September 2020 – NHS BSA

The Government has a life assurance scheme for frontline health and social care staff who contract coronavirus during the course of their work.The scheme pays a £60,000 lump sum where staff die as a result of coronavirus and had been recently working in frontline roles and locations where personal care is provided to individuals who have contracted coronavirus. The scheme is administered by the NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA). Further information on how to make a claim can be found on the NHS BSA website

Contact the NHS BSA helpline on 0300 330 3331.


CEV employees and returning to work: letter from Stuart Miller, DHSC – 21 August 2020 – DHSC

DHSC letter states “Current guidance is that clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) employees can return to workplaces if those workplaces are COVID-secure, but should be supported, where possible, to work from home. As new evidence emerges, this guidance will be updated. Clearly, for most people who work in adult social care and, in particular, those providing personal care, working from home is not possible. In addition, the high level of close personal working means it is more challenging to decide whether an individual can return to work safely. I have set out, below, some guiding principles for employers and employees to consider when deciding whether it is safe for an employee to work. Where possible, we want to enable people to work. Ensuring safe working practices and carefully considering how individuals can carry out their responsibilities is crucial to these guiding principles for employers and employees to consider when deciding whether it is safe for an employee to work.”


Professional Care Workers Week 1-4 September 2020 – 21 August 2020 – The Care Workers Charity

During the first week of September, The Care Workers Charity wants the social care sector to come together (virtually of course) to celebrate Professional Care Workers Week. Professional Care Workers Week has been designed to bring the sector together and to appreciate the outstanding efforts of care and support workers.


Modern slavery risks for care-workers in England during COVID-19 pandemic – August 2020 – University of Nottingham

The University of Nottingham Rights Lab Modern Slavery Evidence Unit has released a Policy Briefing related to recent research into the modern slavery risks for care-workers in England during the Covid-19 pandemic.

This 2-page briefing describes the key findings of the research and proposes a series of recommendations for local authority commissioners and the UK Government. The full report is also available.


COVID-19: management of staff and exposed patients and residents in health and social care settings – 19 August 2020 – GOV.UK

Guidance on the management of staff, patients and residents who have been exposed to COVID-19. Updates made to section 4 to include guidance on when health and social care staff can be exempt from being considered a contact for the purposes of Test and Trace.


COVID-19: management of staff and exposed patients and residents in health and social care settings – Updated 31 July 2020 – GOV.UK

Guidance on the management of staff, patients and residents who have been exposed to COVID-19. Updated to reflect the extension of the self-isolation period from 7 days to 10 days for staff who have COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test result from the community; 14 days isolation period for staff and patients who are admitted to hospital (section 2); inclusion of re-testing guidance in staff (section 3).


Health and care workers to self-isolate on return to UK from high-risk countries - 30 July 2020 - GOV.UK

Registered health and care professionals travelling to the UK from high-risk countries will be required to self-isolate for 14 days, the government has confirmed.


Survey for BAME care workers – 1 July 2020 - Skills for Care

Skills for Care is launching a survey, and a series of webinars and peer coaching sessions, to find out more about the experiences of adult social care workers from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background during COVID-19. Closing date 7 July 2020.


Verification of expected death with clinical remote support by care workers: consultation – 1 July 2020 – Skills for Care

Skills for Care is working together with NHS England and NHS Improvement to develop supportive guidance and resources for the social care sector in line with the recently published government guidance ‘COVID-19: verifying death in times of emergency’.

They have developed two consultation resources for the social care sector to support with decision-making: 

The survey closes at 17:00 on Tuesday 7 July. Take the survey


The Health Service and Social Care Workers (Scrutiny of Coronavirus-related Deaths) Directions 2020 – 2 July 2020 – GOV.UK

Directions to NHS trusts and NHS foundation trusts in England to ensure the scrutiny of deaths of health service and adult social care staff from coronavirus (COVID-19).


Coronavirus and occupational health – Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM)

The Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM) is the UK organisation for all healthcare professionals working in or with an interest in occupational health. SOM has produced a range of resources on occupational health and coronavirus, including returning to work.


Reporting deaths of social care workers – 29 June 2020

All employers have a legal duty to report Covid-19 cases of disease or death, which may have arisen from employment, to the Health and Safety Executive under the Reporting of Injuries Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR). Failure to report a dangerous occurrence or disease (especially death), in accordance with the requirement of RIDDOR, is a criminal offence, and may result in prosecution. 

Although the obligation to report to the HSE under RIDDOR lies with the employer, the doctor (with the workers’ consent) should advise the employer in writing of “cases where a registered medical practitioner has highlighted the significance of work-related factors when communicating a diagnosis of COVID-19 these cases would also be reportable”. See RIDDOR reporting – Further guidance.

As of June 2020 the government has asked social care employers to report the deaths of workers from confirmed or suspected Covid-19 to the Department of Health and Social Care. This is not mandatory but expected and should not be seen as an alternative to reporting the death to HSE. See Government request.


Air conditioning and ventilation during the coronavirus outbreak – Health and Safety Executive

HSE says you can continue using most types of air conditioning system as normal. But, if you use a centralised ventilations system that removes and circulates air to different rooms it is recommended that you turn off recirculation and use a fresh air supply.

See all HSE information and advice on coronavirus.


NHS Volunteers: information sheet for social care providers – 16 June 2020 – NHS England and Royal Voluntary Service

Information on who is eligible, what volunteers can do and what help and support care staff can receive.


Join Social Care: new recruitment tool – 26 May 2020 – GOV.UK

A new online platform to fast-track recruitment into the adult social care sector has been launched the government. Join Social Care will accelerate the recruitment process for adult social care. People looking to work in care can upload an online profile to be viewed by CQC registered care providers in their local area. Online training and DBS checks available free of charge. The online platform, developed and licensed from Cera Care, allows candidates to record a video interview and access free training supported by Skills for Care before starting employment.

Registered providers are then able to search for candidates in their local area, view their video interviews before starting DBS checks and training processes and make conditional offers.


Recruitment solutions: share examples – 20 May 2020 – Skills for Care

Skills for Care is working together with the Local Government Association, the Care Provider Alliance and ADASS and they want to hear how care providers have recruited people in the following areas: 

  • people returning to work in social care 
  • people being redeployed within the sector
  • students in their final year of study who are starting their career in social care early 
  • volunteers 
  • people coming from other sectors. 

Send success stories to randr@skillsforcare.org.uk using the subject line ‘Sharing local recruitment solutions’.


Bereavement scheme extended – 20 May 2020 – GOV.UK

The Home Office is extending the offer of indefinite leave to remain, free of charge, to the families and dependants of all NHS support staff and social care workers who die as result of contracting coronavirus. The offer of indefinite leave to remain will be effective immediately and retrospectively.


Death of care workers: informing DHSC – 20 May 2020 – GOV.UK

Government guidance on how local authorities and social care providers can tell DHSC about the death of an employee or volunteer in social care.


Care Workforce COVID–19 App – 5 May 2020 – GOV.UK

A new app from Department of Health and Social care to enable care workers to get information and advice in one digital hub, swap learning and ideas with colleagues across the country and access practical resources on looking after their own health and well-being.

Available via Apple App Store, Google Play, and web platforms.


Guidance for care providers – GOV.UK

The government guidance on residential care, supported living, and home care includes information on supporting your workforce.


Guidance for employers and business – GOV.UK

General guidance for all employers including encouraging working from home, protecting vulnerable employees and supporting infection prevention and control at work.


Home Secretary announces visa extensions for frontline health and care workers – 29 April 2020 – GOV.UK

Free visa extensions will be automatically granted to more crucial overseas health and care workers. The extension comes into effect immediately and is for all visas expiring between 31 March and 1 October 2020. Those benefitting from this extension will be identified by health and care employers across the UK.


Coronavirus testing for essential workers: Information pack for employers – 27 April 2020 – DHSC and PHE

There are two routes through which your staff can be tested. Employers should either:

  • use the online employer portal to upload details of those they know are self-isolating. In order to obtain a login, employers of essential workers should email portalservicedesk@dhsc.gov.uk with two email addresses that will primarily be used to load frontline worker contact details.
    OR
  • increase awareness of the employee portal amongst staff so that they can book a test directly for themselves or members of their household if they become symptomatic and are self-isolating. They can book a test through the self-referral service.

Mobile coronavirus testing units to target frontline workers – 26 April 2020 – GOV.UK

Mobile testing units, operated by the Armed Forces, will travel around the UK to increase access to coronavirus testing for frontline workers including care workers. Units will respond to areas of highest demand, travelling to test frontline workers and the most vulnerable at sites including care homes.


Involving volunteers – Updated 23 April 2020 – NCVO

Advice on involving and managing volunteers during the COVID-19 outbreak.


Registered managers' webinars – Skills for Care

Skills for Care is hosting a series of webinars for registered managers. The first three in the series cover Essential training, Human Resources in the time of COVID-19 and Attracting workers. More webinars to follow.


Webinars for voluntary sector organisations – NCVO

A series of webinars from NCVO including:

  • Governing during a pandemic: What are key things trustees need to be focused on? - 30 April, 15.00
  • Involving volunteers during the pandemic: What you need to know - 5 May, 10.00
  • How to involve and safeguard your volunteers during coronavirus - 14 May, 14.00
  • Making decisions in tough times - 11 June, 14.00


Safeguarding adults and coronavirus virtual training 6 May – 10 June 2020 – SCIE

A series of six training webinars on safeguarding during the coronavirus outbreak. To be held every Wednesday 1-2pm, from 6 May to 10 June.


New guarantee on death in service benefits for frontline health and care staff during pandemic – 28 April 2020 – GOV.UK

Government has announced that the families of health and care workers on the frontline in England will benefit from a new life assurance scheme during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.


Essential training during COVID-19 – Updated 6 April 2020 – Skills for Care

Skills for Care has identified priority training, and fully funded virtual training, delivered by endorsed providers for adult social care employers.


Ethical framework for adult social care – 19 March 2020 – GOV.UK

This framework intends to provide support to ongoing response planning and decision-making to ensure that ample consideration is given to a series of ethical values and principles when organising and delivering social care for adults.


Digital Social Care – use of technology

Digital Social Care is e-sharing information on how technology can be used to support care staff and the people who use services.


Royal College of Nursing members on COVID-19 – Royal College of Nursing

Information and resources to support their understanding of and management of COVID-19.


Updates on social work practice and coronavirus – British Association of Social Workers

Coronavirus social work advice, BASW updates and information.


Providing unpaid care – 8 April 2020 – GOV.UK

Information for people who are caring, unpaid, for friends or family during the coronavirus outbreak.


Secretary of State letter to care workers – 28 March 2020 – GOV.UK

The letter thanks the social care workforce for their help on coronavirus (COVID-19) so far.


Sick leave and pay§

Sick pay and workforce availability: guidance for commissioners – ADASS, LGA and CPA

Guidance for local authority commissioner on alleviating pressures on care providers, including in relation to sick pay, backfill payments, workforce availability, DBS checks and deployment across different care setting.


Sick pay for employees – GOV.UK

Those who follow advice to stay at home and who cannot work as a result will be eligible for statutory sick pay (SSP), even if they are not themselves sick.


Sick pay support for business – GOV.UK

Small- and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay.


Recruitment, DBS checks and volunteers§

NHS Volunteer Responders – 14 July 2020 – CPA

NHS Volunteer Responders offer help to people in need of support or who are avoiding public places during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is run by the NHS in England, supported by Royal Voluntary Service and operates across England. This Care Provider Alliance briefing summarises the programme and how staff, care provider organisations and people who use care services can access NHS Volunteer Responders.


NHS Volunteers: information sheet for social care providers – 16 June 2020 – NHS England and Royal Voluntary Service

Information on who is eligible, what volunteers can do and what help and support care staff can receive.


Recruitment campaign for adult social care: Care for Others. Make a Difference - 23 April 2020 – GOV.UK

The government has launched a new national adult social care recruitment campaign to boost the adult social care workforce in England as part of a wider plan to attract more staff into the sector. The campaign aims to encourage the right people with the right values and attributes to consider a paid career in adult social care work. 


Deployment of registered nurses in social care – Skills for Care

Skills for Care is the primary point of contact for employers who need to access deployed registered nurses in social care. They are not responsible for deploying nurses - those decisions are being made by seven regional hubs. Skills for Care’s role is to ensure that social care is included in this decision-making process. 


DBS checks and backfilling roles – Explanatory Memorandum – GOV.UK

DBS has confirmed that recruitment for backfilling roles is included within special arrangements for DBS checks during COVID-19 outbreak, as per the amended regulations. See Para 7.1 in the Explanatory memorandum. DBS are stressing this to their registered bodies and will be updating their guidance FAQs.


Employing your own care and support – April 2020 – Skills for Care

Guidance on coronavirus for people who employ their own personal assistants and carers directly.


Free support, grants and benefits§

Blue Light Card – 31 July 2020 – Blue Light Card

Blue Light Card provides those in the NHS, Emergency Services, social care sector and Armed Forces with discounts both online and in store. The Blue Light Card also allows small and large companies to get involved with offering a discount and encourage companies in local areas to offer discounts.  The Blue Light Card offers a range of official discounts from large national retailers to local businesses across categories such as holidays, cars, days out, fashion, gifts, insurance, phones and many other items.


Discount for carers – 31 July 2020 – Discount for Carers

A range of discounts Carers and Care workers, money-saving deals and vouchers, including travel and holiday deals, restaurant deals, money off fashion brands, through to deals on mobile phones, utilities and gym membership.

Internet connection offers for care homes – NHS X and NHS Digital

NHSX and NHS Digital have negotiated a range of internet connection offers with telecom companies. This is accompanied by two guides:


NHS volunteer responders support to care workers – 6 June 2020 – GOV.UK

From 8 June, NHS volunteer responders will be carrying out socially-distanced tasks including helping with delivering food shopping and dropping off personal medication to frontline staff at their homes. The aim is to help care workers to protect those they care for by making fewer journeys and coming into contact with fewer people.


Care Worker Charity Update on Covid Grants – 29 May 2020 – Care Worker Charity

The Care Workers' Charity has opened up their Covid-19 Emergency Fund to include more support roles in care settings. Due to more funding they can now support: cooks/kitchen roles, housekeepers, maintenance staff, admin staff etc. Grants will be offered on a case by case basis and are available while funds last.

For applicants who have had their income reduced due to self-isolating for 2 weeks or shielding for 12 weeks, they may be entitled to a grant between £500 and £1000.

CWC is also offering grants of £2000 for funeral costs. This grant is available if a person working as a care worker or in a supporting role in a care setting passes away OR to help a care worker cover the funeral costs if a next of kin passes away.


Subsidised Uber rides for care providers and workers – updated 31 July 2020 – Uber and CPA - Offer Closed

CPA and Uber have been working together to enable care providers and individual care workers to get 25% off Uber trips. Uber Medics allows care providers and workers to benefit from:

  • 25% off every ride – only the driver receives payment for these trips. Uber will not make any money on these rides.
  • A safe, reliable and efficient way to get to and from work. Drivers consent to wear masks, gloves and sanitise their care after every trip.

This offer is now closed


Vodaphone offers 6 months free unlimited data to care workers – Updated 31 July 2020 – Vodafone - Offer Closed

Mobile phone company Vodafone is offering six months free unlimited data to health and care workers. Complete the online for to register.


Sleepio: digital sleep improvement programme – free to care workers – 7 May 2020 – CPA and Big Health

Sleepio is a highly personalised, digital sleep improvement programme based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), that gets to the root of stubborn poor sleep. Sleepio users interact with The Prof, their own virtual sleep expert, who teaches them evidence-based skills via 6 weekly video sessions. There are also tools to help manage any worries and thoughts that make it difficult to sleep and ways to improve your environment and habits for better sleep. Sleepio is backed by clinical evidence, including 12 published RCTs and 37 published papers.

Access Sleepio from a computer or laptop here.

For technical issues, contact hello@sleepio.com 


Daylight: app to help manage anxiety – Free to care workers – 7 May 2020 – CPA and Big Health

Daylight is an app that will teach you ways to manage worry and anxiety in your life. Through techniques based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), Daylight offers audio-led guidance tailored to your own problematic thoughts, behaviours, and responses to worry and anxiety. The programme gives you a range of techniques and guides you through daily practice sessions. Access Daylight here.

For technical issues contact hello@trydaylight.com


Increase to Working Tax Credits – what this means – 6 April 2020 – GOV.UK

The government has announced that Working Tax Credits payments will be increased from 6 April 2020.


Grants for self-employed people – 26 March 2020 – GOV.UK

Claim a grant through the coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme. Use this scheme if you're self-employed or a member of a partnership and have lost income due to coronavirus.


COVID-19 health, care and volunteer workers parking pass and concessions – 3 April 2020 – GOV.UK

Guidance and terms of use for the parking pass and concessions for COVID-19 health, care and volunteer workers.


Car MOTs extended – 25 March 2020 – GOV.UK

From 30 March 2020, MOT due dates for cars, motorcycles and light vans will be extended by 6 months. This is being done to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

 

Free emergency plumbing or heating repairs – Update 31 July 2020 – Home Serve UK - Offer Closed

Home Serve UK is offering free repairs to NHS and social care workers during lockdown.

Tel 0330 0247 222


Schools closures guidance – 19 March 2020 - Department for Education

Every child who can be safely cared for at home should be. But children with at least one parent or carer who are identified as critical workers (inc social care) can still go to school if required.


Remote working§

For some staff at care services, it may be possible to continue working at home while in self-isolation.  There are free software packages that can help maintain open communications with staff. These include:

  • Slack is essentially a chat room for your whole company, designed to replace email as your primary method of communication and sharing.
  • Zoom Basic allows your company to host a conference with up to 100 participants for up to 40 minutes on group meetings. One-on-one meetings, on the other hand, are free with Zoom Basic, and you can host an unlimited number of total meetings without paying a thing.
  • Chrome Remote Desktop can be quickly installed as an extension for the Chrome web browser. Users can create a PIN to allow other PCs to log in, though you will need a Google account. It's very easy to use, and best of all it's free, so you can give it a try to see if it's right for you.
  • Zoho Assists diverse selection of software plans and features make it an excellent option for small businesses to remotely access and support their devices.
  • Office 365 Part of Office 365, Teams' free version supports up to 300 participants and offers guest access, one-on-one, and group video and audio calls, as well as file and screen sharing, and online document collaboration. And for businesses requiring more services, Microsoft too has responded to the current epidemic by offering a free six-month trial of the paid version, including full meetings, collaboration and workflow capabilities.

See Digital Social Care for more information on using technology.

See all related information on coronavirus.