Government guidance and guidance from other useful sources
Government guidance and guidance from other useful sources.
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During this time of unprecedented challenge and uncertainty we have decided to make our enews weekly so that we can signpost you to guidance, support and resources that we hope will be useful.
Our CEO Oonagh Smyth has written a blog where she outlines her hope that our sector’s role in supporting people in the face of COVID-19 will make social care a sung rather than unsung hero. Read the blog.

Temporary changes to ID checking guidelines
The government has announced temporary changes DBS ID checking in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The change will enable:
  • ID documents to be viewed over video link
  • scanned images to be used in advance of the DBS check being submitted.
Read more here.
Information about temporary arrangements to fast track emergency checks of the adults and children’s barred lists, are currently being developed in response to COVID-19.

Extension to expiring first aid certificates
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Department for Education have released a statement extending the validity of various qualifications by 3 months, including Emergency First Aid at Work and First Aid at Work. This also applies to qualifications held by First Aid trainers and IQAs. Click here for the full statement from the HSE.
This comes into effect for certificates expiring on or after 16 March 2020. HSE will review this matter over the coming months and will issue further statements as necessary.

Free access to COVID-19 eLearning programme
Health Education England e-Learning for Healthcare have created a free eLearning programme available to all staff across health and social care. The programme includes key materials to help the health and care workforce respond to Coronavirus including essential guidance from the NHS, Government and WHO, infection prevention and control, personal protection equipment and more.
Find out more.

DHSC confirm that PAs are key workers
The Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed that personal assistants (PAs) are included in the definition of key workers. If your PA is being challenged as to whether or not they are a key worker, they should follow the steps below:
  • contact their direct payment provider (for example their local authority or care commissioning group) to ask if they have a letter or something that validates the PA is a key worker and can share with their child(ren)'s school
  • provide the school with a copy of their contract of employment.
If schools are struggling with understanding what a PA is, please refer them to our resources here, where they can find a copy of Being a PA guide and a useful You Tube video.

COVID-19 guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable
The Government has issued guidance on shielding for people, including children, who are at very high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 because of an underlying health condition, and for their family, friends and carers. It is intended for use in situations where the extremely vulnerable person is living in their own home, with or without additional support. This includes the extremely clinically vulnerable people living in long-term care facilities, either for the elderly or persons with special needs.

Secure digital communication between health and social care
Find information on how your organisation can use digital technology to support your staff and the people you support at Digital Social Care. The latest updates include:
  • you no longer need to complete the Data Security and Protection Toolkit to access NHSmail or do video calling (this will be reinstated after the pandemic is over)
  • there is a new quick process to give all adult social care providers free access to NHSmail and Microsoft Teams
  • all care homes have been asked to start using Capacity Tracker as a priority
  • the national data opt-out compliance deadline has been moved to September 2020.

Are you a registered manager or another frontline manager in a similar role?
We’re opening our Facebook group for registered manager members of Skills for Care to all registered managers, and other front-line managers in similar roles. You can request to join here.
Staying connected with one another and sharing your advice, experiences and guidance is an important way to look after yourselves and others during this time.

Identifying new managers and deputies
During this challenging time, services will be thinking about who can cover the role of registered manager if the registered manager is unable to work or must work remotely. Identifying individuals and developing their skills and knowledge now is important to ensure continuity should this happen. Here a couple things to help:
  • Digital learning for managers – 11 interactive learning modules developed to support individuals to develop the skills they need to become a good leader and manager. Find out more here.
  • Identify talent – for support on how to identify talent within your workforce click here.

COVID-19 learning and development
It’s important, especially when you may be short staffed due to COVID-19, that you have a strong workforce with the skills and knowledge to continue delivering effective care and support.
Some of our endorsed learning providers are offering free or discounted training on COVID-19 looking at signs and symptoms, latest CQC, NHS and government advice, waste disposal/laundry and many other topics.
Search for an endorsed provider here.

Blog: COVID-19 - the Mental Capacity Act and Deprivation of Liberty Standards
We have been asked how social care providers can uphold the rights and decisions of people they support amid the COVID-19 emergency. Karen Morse, Head of Area and mental health lead has written a blog in response.
Read the blog here.

 Tell us your story 

The social care workforce is playing a vital role in helping to respond to the challenges of COVID-19 so thank you all for everything you’re doing. Every day social care workers are making positive differences to the lives of people across England, continuing to work on the frontline, despite the risks, to provide high quality, personalised care.
We want to make sure that the vital work you’re carrying out in the sector is recognised and shared as widely as possible so others can learn from it. We’d love to hear about and share the outstanding work of your workforce. Send your stories to
Skills for Care Ltd, West Gate, Grace Street, Leeds LS1 2RP
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