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Covid-19 Information for Partner Organisations

ACAS’s practical information on coronavirus is reviewed daily to give access to the most recent updates and common sense advice.  It contains detailed information on social distancing and vulnerable workers, updates on working from home, school closures, lay-offs and short-time working as well as advice for employers who have to close workplaces temporarily.

They have some really good advice for employers and employees, including very recent advice about staff carrying over holidays.  For those organisations that are having to furlough their staff, ACAS has produced a template draft letter that can be used.

ACAS is also providing training – see ‘Transitioning from Lockdown’ below.

Access to Work:
An Access to Work factsheet for people claiming Access to Work during the coronavirus outbreak.

Action Plan for Social Care:
The Department of Health and Social Care has published (15/04/20) COVID-19: our action plan for adult social care.  This details how the government will support the adult social care sector in England throughout the coronavirus outbreak.  The plan as four pillars:

  1. reducing the spread of infection in care homes;
  2. supporting the workforce, both to provide high quality care, and to cope with the practical and emotional demands of caring during the pandemic;
  3. supporting independence, end of life care and responding to individual needs;
  4. supporting the organisations that provide care.

Activity Alliance:
Activity Alliance publication with considerations for community sport and leisure providers on including disabled people and people with long-term health conditions as they begin to reopen activity.

Adult Social Care Guidance:
The government has helpfully put an overview of all social care guidance in one place.

Advance Care Planning:
St. Gemma’s and Wakefield Hospice have been working together to develop a virtual training package for care workers on Advance Care Planning (ACP) and conversation skills.  On Thursday, 21st May, they ran two live sessions, including a presentation and videos from the education hub leads, followed by an interactive Q&A session with participants.

A package of resources has now been developed for carers working within domiciliary care services and care homes during Covid-19.  This introduces ACP and supports staff in developing the skills and confidence to have conversations with residents about their future care wishes.  These resources are based on the training package that was being rolled out using face-to-face cascade training prior to Covid-19.  As this model cannot currently be used due to social distancing requirements, the package has been developed to provide interim support and training during the pandemic.  It can be accessed remotely and at a time to suit the learner.

Aerosol Generating Procedure:
There have been some queries as to what an aerosol generating procedure is.  Now NHS guidance is available and Section 8.1 provides a list of what these could be.  On 18th June the Infection Control Guidance was updated with clarification of aerosol generating procedures in the complete guidance PDF and in the Covid-19 personal protective equipment page.

On 21st August the guidance sheets about PPE use with AGPs was updated.

Annual Health Checks:
Skills for Care are offering a free webinar on Annual Health Checks on Wednesday, 16th September from 11am to 12:30pm via Zoom.

Antibody/Antigen Testing:
Antibody testing is now available for non-statutory care providers in Leeds.  Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust will provide voluntary antibody testing for a range of staff including social care staff, community health and CCG, NHSE/I staff and staff from wider NHS national bodies in the Leeds area from 7th September 2020.  They will also make this testing available for social care staff in externally commissioned services.  It includes ALL staff, including those staff in partner organisations and agency staff that are related to social care and community services.  This is confirmed in the FAQs at Question BA2. The testing will take place at Seacroft Hospital.

Please carefully read the letter and FAQs (you’ll need to scroll down to ‘Covid-19 Antibody Testing – Community and Non-Hospital Based Staff’ and click on the link.

Following the recent guidance on antibody testing for NHS and care home staff, on 14th September a video and guidance was published and the guidance was updated again to reflect the launch of the new antibody testing service, which is currently restricted to care home workers in England and Wales.

Update 17.09.2020 – the link in the guidance to the antibody testing service has been removed and a statement has been added that DHSC is working directly with organisations in the adult social care sector in order to offer tests.

App for Care Workers:
A new dedicated app has been launched for the adult social care workforce to support staff through the coronavirus.  Care workers get access to guidance, learning resources, discounts and other support all in one place.

Back to School:
The government’s FAQs on 2nd June included the question ‘Is it safe to send my child back to school if we’re shielding?’  The response is interesting for those of us considering how to put together recovery plans for buildings-based day services:

“For the vast majority of children and young people, coronavirus is a mild illness.  However, if someone in your household is extremely clinically vulnerable, as set out in the guidance on shielding and protecting people, then your child should only go to school or a childcare setting if stringent social distancing can be followed while they are both there and at home.  This may not be possible in the case of young children and older children without the capacity to adhere to the instructions on social distancing.  If social distancing rules cannot be followed, those children should be supported to learn or work at home.”

This publication gives insight into what will happen during local lockdowns, including schools remaining open for the children of critical workers.

Back to Work:
New guidance was issued by the government on getting people safely back to work on 11th May and there is a page about working safely during the coronavirus which has 8 further guides covering a range of different types of work; working in ‘offices and contact centres’ and ‘other people’s homes’ are probably the most applicable to us.

A Guardian article dated 17th June makes sobering reading: “BAME care home residents in England more likely to die of Covid-19“.

Business Advisers:
The government has launched a new, free, scheme to access expert professional and business services advisers.  It’s aimed at ‘small businesses’ so we don’t know if it is available to small charities, but may be worth taking a look.

Business Support:
The government has published guidance for business support.  This now includes the new Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 which received Royal Assent on 25th June.

For those who run cafes as part of their service offer, there is new guidance.

Cancellation Policies – Contracts & Refunds:
A position statement has been issued by the Competition and Marketing Authority which basically asks that companies play fair.

Paying by credit card may offer some level of protection.

Care Homes:
The government has published details of an extra £600m support for care homes accompanied by a letter from the Minister of State for Care.

The government has issued a summary about care homes and covid death rates.  The conclusions are:

  • regular use of ‘bank’ staff (healthcare professionals who do temporary work in different settings as needed) is an important risk factor for infection in residents and staff
  • infections in staff are a risk factor for infection in residents and infections in residents are a risk factor for infection in staff.  However, the magnitude of this effect suggests staff are more likely to transmit infections to residents than vice versa
  • emerging data suggests that the number of new admissions, and return of residents to the care home from hospital, may be important risk factors for infection in residents and staff.  This has only been tested in unadjusted analysis due to a high proportion of missing data across these variables
  • region is an important risk factor for infection in staff and residents, but its effect is different in staff and residents.  This may be due to temporal differences in the timing of testing between staff and residents
  • important transmission risk is now likely to focus on staff, who will now be tested weekly via the new whole home testing rollout

Update 2.9.2020 – guidance for people who run care homes updated with the addition of a new section on how care homes can support the NHS Test and Trace service.

Care Homes – Admission
The government has made a small amendment to its document ‘Coronavirus: Admission and Care of People in Care Homes‘ to reflect the care homes support packaged announced on 15th May and the latest advice on testing and infection prevention & control.  A further update was made on 14th August with a new Annex K section added: Moving from the Community into a Care Home.

Care Homes – Visiting
There is good news for family carers in that guidance has been issued for relatives to visit care homes, though this is about general principles of how providers can safely develop their visiting policy to enable family visiting, bearing in mind local conditions set out by the local Director of Public Health.  The guidance for visits to care homes was updated on 31st July to reflect the extension of self-isolating from 7 to 10 days.  The update states that no-one should be allowed to enter a care home if they are currently experiencing or have experienced coronavirus symptoms in the last 10 days.  It also states that visitors should be encouraged to walk or cycle to the care home if they can.

Given the importance of the subject of visiting care homes and having robust and comprehensive risk assessments in place, Leeds City Council’s Care Quality Team will host an informal session for managers to discuss issues and ask questions about managing visits and especially around completing risk assessments.  The session will take place between 1:30 to 2:30 pm on Wednesday, 29th July.  You will need to book a place so they have accurate numbers of attendees and will send joining details nearer the time.  You can also find a link to the relevant guidance and an overview of the Care Quality Team on their website.

Care Quality Commission (CQC):
Their website has useful local social care news and information.  CQC has issued a joint statement of its Chief Inspectors on its regulatory approach, setting out its Emergency Support Framework, during the coronavirus pandemic.

CQC has relaxed registration rules to aid flexibility: “We want to support health and social care providers as they look to increase capacity as part of the ongoing effort to respond to COVID-19.”  Read the full update which explains what constitutes a COVID-19 registration and what this means for providers.

Following on from suspending inspections, CQC has now paused sending out requests for the adult social care the PIRs until further notice to relieve the burden on providers.  CQC is reviewing PIRs it has already received and will continue to review any further PIRs that are submitted.  Therefore, if you are in the process of completing a PIR and would like to continue with this and submit it, please do.  For any queries regarding your PIR, please contact

For those who provide regulated services, CQC has a page on their website dedicated to Information for adult social care services during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak which includes a YouTube link to a recording of the webinar.

CQC is to concentrate on Identifying and Responding to Closed Cultures.

As part of its managed return to inspections, CQC is looking at infection prevention and control.  CQC has issued IPC guidance for care homes and the principles contained in this are good across the board.

CQC has issued guidance to support people to access hospital care from care home or community settings.

Charities and Social Enterprises:
Good Finance have a useful webpage containing information, resources and tools designed to support charities and social enterprises navigating COVID-19.

Charity Commission:
For those of you running charities as CEOs or Board Members, the Charity Commission still want to know about any serious incidents that occur during the coronavirus pandemic.

Children’s Services:
Coronavirus: guidance for children’s social care services.  The section on ‘How is the Get Help with Technology initiative helping children’s social care during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic’ has been updated.

Cleaning in Non-healthcare Settings:
Government guidance has been published describing the principles of cleaning and disinfection during the coronavirus pandemic.  It applies to non-healthcare settings outside the home.

Community Transport:
Useful guidance from Community Transport Association including links to the most recent government guidance from 4th July 2020.

Companies House:
If you think the impact of COVID-19 will cause delays in filing your company accounts, you can apply for an automatic and immediate 3 month extension, but you must apply before your filing deadline.

The Local Government Ombudsman has issued guidance on how to approach dealing with complaints through the period of the pandemic.  The guidance is quite brief and helpful.

Covid Secure Notice:
Notice to display to show you have made your workplace COVID-secure.

COVID-19 – Guidance for Care Settings:
The government has produced updated guidance on care settings, including supported living: COVID-19: guidance for residential care, supported living and home care.  NB. This guidance was withdrawn on 13th May, but was re-issued on 6th August and is reassuringly in line with practice.  Most of the content is expected and there is a helpful visitor section, but there is still  no equity in testing for care homes.

For those of you who run care homes, there is guidance too: Coronavirus (COVID-19): admission and care of people in care homes.

COVID-19 – Managing Long-term Effects:
New guidance published on managing long-term health effects of possible or confirmed cases of Covid-19.

COVID-19 – Outbreaks:
The government has issued early outbreak management action cards which provide instructions to anyone responsible for a business or organisation on what to do in the event of one or more confirmed cases of coronavirus within your organisation.  These include:

COVID-19 – Prevalence in Domiciliary Care Workers:
The findings of a new study provide evidence that the prevalence of Covid-19 among domiciliary care workers who are currently working is in line with the general population and not a higher prevalence as observed in studies of frontline healthcare workers and care home staff (0.1% with a 95% confidence interval of 0.02%-0.40% compared with 0.09% with a 95% confidence interval of 0.04%-0.19%).

COVID-19 – Support Taskforce:
The Social Care Sector Covid-19 Support Taskforce report published on 18 September, sets out the progress and learning from the first phase of the Covid-19 pandemic in informing advice and recommendations to government and the social care sector.

COVID-19 – Transmission & Infection Control training:
Health Education England have organised free 2-hour webinar training sessions.

Cyber Security:
There are some useful tips in Charity Times about keeping our charities safe from cyber attacks during the covid pandemic.

Day Service Providers:
Really helpful FAQs for learning disability day opportunities providers in Leeds.

Also, thanks to Richard in Wakefield, here’s a reminder that here are some of the most appropriate bits of specific guidance for adult day care settings:

DBS Applications & Barred List Check Service:
New guidance has been issued by the government around free-of-charge DBS applications and a new fast-track Barred List check service in response to COVID-19.  This includes information about eligible roles and a helpful flowchart.

CQC has also provided interim guidance on DBS and other recruitment checks.

CQC’s Regulation 16 (death notification) form has been updated to include Coronavirus as a reportable cause of death: “We would like to understand the numbers of deaths that are occurring due to COVID-19, whether suspected or confirmed”.

The Department of Health and Social Care also requires local authorities and social care providers to notify them of any Covid-19 deaths of employees and volunteers in social care.  The guidance is applicable to both regulated and non-regulated settings.

On 19th June the government issued guidance on what local authorities and social care providers must do following a coronavirus-related death of an employee or volunteer in adult social care.  This was further updated on 7th July with the addition of a new section on informing the coroner.

Digital Inclusion:
100% Digital Leeds has a fund that is available to help organisations deliver digital inclusion to vulnerable and isolated people.  Although the application window closed on Friday, 24th April 2020, they are working to secure additional funding so it may be worth checking out.

Digital Support:
Digital Social Care have launched a free helpline to support adult social care providers with the rapid uptake in technology necessitated by COVID-19.  The helpdesk can support providers on a range of topics including NHSmail, how technology can be used to keep people in contact with friends and family, how technology can be used for recruitment and the implementation of remote consultations with primary and acute care.  Alongside answering queries, Digital Social Care will also be collecting feedback from the helpline to collate and share best practice on how technology is being used in the sector.  The helpline is available Monday-Friday from 9am to 5pm on 0208 133 3430 or

Direct Payments:
The government’s Job Retention Scheme can be used by Direct Payment holders who employ people for their care.  On 10th June the guidance was updated, including accessible information, with the following changes:

  • Q&A for people receiving a personal budget or personal health budget updated and renamed ‘Using direct payments during the coronavirus outbreak: full guidance for people receiving direct payments and personal assistants
  • addition of case studies
  • new sections on PPE, testing and the flexible use of direct payments
  • new documents added: ‘Guidance for commissioners, people receiving direct payments and care providers (easy read)’ and ‘Using direct payments during the coronavirus outbreak: the most important things to know’
  • renamed the document ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for people receiving direct payments’ to ‘Guidance for commissioners, people receiving direct payments and care providers’

On 6th July this guidance was updated: information was added to the HTML publication about keeping a temporary record of the shift patterns of PAs for 21 days.

On 10th July the guidance was further updated.  Change made: removed the paragraph ‘You should keep a temporary record of the shift patterns of your PAs for 21 days.  If NHS Test and Trace ask for this data, you should provide it to them.  This could help contain clusters or outbreaks.’ from Using direct payments during the coronavirus outbreak: full guidance for people receiving direct payments and personal assistants.

Disability and Reasonable Adjustments:
Wrigleys employment law sessions are extremely helpful.  Here are details of their new webinar on disability and reasonable adjustments, which is free to charities and community groups.

Domiciliary Care Guidance:
The new government guidance in respect of working safely in domiciliary care/homecare came out on 27th April and is in line with practice across most social care settings.  Of particular note is that the PPE guidance is in line with the position being taken in Leeds and the wearing of masks between visits is worth a detailed read.  The guidance was updated on 1st June

Employee Expenses:
Guidance has been issued about paying travel and subsistence expenses to an employee travelling to a temporary workplace.  On 12th June the government updated its guidance on which expenses are taxable if an employee is working from home due to coronavirus.

Employers Risk Assessments:
The approach Aspire has taken is to have an overarching organisational risk assessment, building specific risk assessments and individual risk assessments for each member of staff.  We have posted our word version templates which you are free to use and amend as you see fit:

Ethical Framework for Social Care:
The framework during the Covid-19 crisis can be found here.

Face Masks & Coverings:
On 5th June the government issued guidance on the wearing of face masks and coverings by all NHS hospital staff and visitors.  Late on 20th July guidance about the wearing of masks in care homes and domiciliary care was published.  Essentially the message is that masks must be worn by all staff at all times, regardless of whether those staff are direct care givers.  This brings social care in line with guidance for healthcare settings which has been in place for some time.  It’s now time to get updating PPE protocols (again!).

Filing of Accounts:
Companies House has given a 3 month extension period to file accounts.

First Aid During the Coronavirus Outbreak:
This HSE guidance helps employers ensure that first aiders are confident that they can help someone injured or will at work during the coronavirus outbreak.

If any organisations are needing to update their First Aid responder protocol, we have updated our First Aid procedure to include not giving resuss breaths during Covid which you may find useful.

Flow Charts for Staff Returning to Work After Testing:
These flowcharts were published in the week commencing 18th May and were updated on 10th June.  They were further updated on 31st July to reflect the change from 7 to 10 days for self-isolating care staff (no other changes).  They are helpful for both symptomatic and asymptomatic staff who have been tested.

On 14th June there was a minor update of the flowcharts for working in Health and Social Care

Flu Vaccination:
Public Health England have launched a national campaign for health and social care workers to get a flu vaccination.  There are leaflets, posters, guides and resource packs available.

Food Shopping:
A number of accommodation-based providers are struggling with getting in basic food supplies.  We’ve spoken with several supermarkets and they are happy for our staff to join the ‘silver shopper’ hours to get in before the crowds.  Staff may use this Critical Key Worker letter template to identify themselves.  They may also be required to show the Identifying Critical Key Workers letter issued by Leeds City Council which confirms your organisation’s role as an external provider of health and social care support in Leeds.

NHSX and CQC have been working together to identify and disseminate priority food offers for social care staff.  There are a number of offers at retailers including Iceland, Morrisons and Food to Care (one of the discounts on the link is also for unpaid carers).  Registered Managers are being contacted individually with more details about the offer from Iceland.


  • J & S Foods have opened to the public and have plenty of stock currently
  • McQueens Dairy cover a lot of areas in Leeds and you can order online

Forum Central:
Forum Central’s website is full of some really useful information.

Forum Central’s Summer Time Out Week 4: spaces available on a range of sessions.  Summer Time Out is a month-long festival of learning from Foum Central partners, Volition and Leeds Older People’s Forum.  Throughout August, bringing together expert-led sessions and opportunities for peer learning from organisations across the city.  Designed with and for their membership, third sector organisations working in health and care, ‘Summer Time Out’ is for you.  The festival is devoted to increasing your workplace well-being, creating a healthy, happy and inclusive workplace, and supporting your colleagues and your team.

You can find all the details in the programme and sign up to all sessions on Eventbrite.  Spaces are limited so you need to book if you are certain that you can attend.  Go along, be stimulated and develop your skills.  Forum Central are looking forward to seeing you.

Funding for VCSEs:
Government guidance about financial support for voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations to respond to coronavirus was issued on 20th May and has been regularly updated so that information is now all in one place.  This includes how to apply for funds for particular types of activities.  In the most recent update on 20th July “The government has pledged £750 million to ensure VCSE can continue their vital work supporting the country during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, including £200 million for the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, along with an additional £150 million from dormant bank and building society accounts.”  Changes made: edited ‘Other Source of funding’ – Voluntary and Communities Sector Emergencies Partnership – £4.8 million added; and ‘Other Source of funding’ – Community Match Challenge – £85 million added.

The Social Enterprise Support Fund was launched on 13th July.  This provides grants of between £10,000 and £300,000 to help social enterprises during Covid-19.

Furlough Scheme:
The government has extended its worker furlough scheme until October 2020.

On 12th June a lot of government updates were issued in respect of furlough guidance:

Gender Pay Gap:
Central government has suspended reporting for 2019/20 due to the current crisis.  (This is only relevant for organisations with more than 250 member of staff.)

Health & Safety Executive (HSE):
The HSE website has helpful information and advice.  The HSE’s Weekly Digest eBulletin of 18.06.2020 includes advice on using PPE as well as advice on using face coverings and face masks during the coronavirus outbreak.

The HSE has issued advice on supporting people to return to work safely.

For employers and anyone with H&S responsibilities, the HSE is THE one stop shop.  Their site is the ‘go to’ place to ensure you have everything in place.

Health & Wellbeing for Social Care Staff:
There is new (11th May) guidance from the government providing advice for those working in adult social care on managing our mental health and how employers can take care of the well-being of staff during the coronavirus outbreak.

Health Inequalities Grant Funding:
Funding of up to £450,000 is now available for voluntary and community organisations to help them tackle the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on people’s health.  How to apply can be found on the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership website.

A temporary deferral has been announced regarding VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June 2020 to help businesses manage their cash flow.

There is also guidance available on claiming back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to Coronavirus (Covid-19).

Holiday Entitlement:
The government has issued guidance on holiday entitlement and pay during the coronavirus pandemic.  However, as the incidents of coronavirus across the world are starting to rise again, the government has confirmed that health and care workers are required to self-isolate upon their return to the UK from high risk countries.  There has been an exemption in place since June but, as of 31st July, this has been removed and workers will need to self-isolate for 14 days.  See also ‘Quarantine‘ section below.

Home Care:
All the government guidance for those providing personal care to people living in their own homes has now been put in one place.

Updated 24.06.2020 – ‘hospital discharge and testing’ section amended to state “anyone experiencing coronavirus symptoms can now be tested, which includes individuals receiving home care.  This can be accessed through the digital portal or by calling 119 to book testing.”

Updated 07.08.2020 – updated ‘shielding and care groups’ section (now titled ‘clinically extremely vulnerable people and care groups) and annexes A and B to reflect wider changes to shielding advice.  Also updated ‘social care recruitment’ section to include further details about the new online recruitment platform for social care.

The ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): Provision of Home Care’ guidance was updated on 2nd September with the addition of a new section on how home care providers can support the NHS Test and Trace Service.  Links to hospital discharge service guidance were also updated.

Home Working:
HSE has recently put out some guidance about making sure that employers keep an eye on the impact of home working on their staff.

Hospital Discharge Policy:
The government’s Hospital Discharge Service sets out the policy and operating model for how health and care systems should support the safe and timely discharge of people who no longer need to stay in hospital.

Housing Support:
The government will provide funding to 274 councils to provide interim accommodation and support for vulnerable people.

Impact of Covid-19 on the Third Sector in Leeds:
Doing Good Leeds has published its report about the impact of Covid-19.

Infection Prevention & Control:
It is important that all care workers understand the principles of infection prevention and control, and that they continue to work strictly to these requirements.  Leeds City Council’s Care Quality Team has an Infection Control and Prevention page where you can find support and guidance.  You can also find local information on PPE on the Council’s dedicated webpage.

At Aspire we are happy to sign up your staff – free of charge – to a one hour online Infection Control course via Social Care TV (unless you have loads of staff, in which case it would be good to get costs reimbursed!).  The training is aimed at care homes, but the principles are sound even if you are not running a care home.  If you want to take up this offer, just get in touch.

The government’s updated (30.07.20) guidance provides advice on appropriate infection prevention and control (IPC) precautions for COVID-19 patients recovering or recovered from COVID-19 and remaining in hospital, or being discharged to their own home or residential care.  Also, see the CQC section above for their IPC guidance.

Helpful information has been shared from the Social Care Institute for Excellence via Leeds City Council’s regular update: Managing infection control is essential to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) for your setting or service.  As care providers, it’s likely you provide essential care and support to people who often require close contact.  This quick guide sets out best practice for care providers to remain safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19.  This resource is a dynamic set of practice examples with links to quality-checked guidance and resources and is designed to support care home and supported living staff to both find and share examples of COVID-19 related good practice.

Update 16.09.2020 – An IPC highlights quick reference guide has been added to the government guidance.

Update 17.09.2020 – Care providers will be given an extra £546m to bolster infection control and help protect residents and staff throughout winter.

Information Governance:
NHS Covid-19 information governance advice for the social care sector.

Information sharing:
The Information Commissioner’s Office has set out it’s regulatory approach during the coronavirus.  The Information Commissioner has said that she cannot envisage taking action against a health or care professional clearly trying to act to save lives; ‘you should use your common sense to do the best thing for your service users and people in your care’.

Markel insurers are providing a range of useful information for employers.

Kickstart Scheme:
There is a lot of information for employers considering getting involved in the new Kirkstart scheme.

Job Retention Scheme:
HMRC has updated the employer guidance and the guidance for employees in line with some of the main queries received.  Whilst all the guidance has been refreshed, there is more detailed information on scheme eligibility, further information on how to calculate a claim and clarification on what constitutes wages.

Update 08.06.20 – the Job Retention Scheme can now include Direct Payment workers.

Update 10.06.20 – replaced a contact phone number with a link to the page ‘Get help with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’

There are free webinars from HMRC on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme covering how to make a claim, the essential information you need, what to do before you make a claim, calculating and processing your claim plus the update on 26.6.20 added YouTube videos.

Key Workers:
Fascinating data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimating the numbers and characteristics of those who could be considered as potential key workers in the response to the coronavirus.

Kings Fund Bite-sized Guides:
The Covid-19 crisis is placing unprecedented pressure on leaders across the health and care system.   To support this community, the King’s Fund has created Leading Through Covid-19, a collection of bite-sized, quick-read practical guides and videos for health and social care leaders.  The Kings Fund is  adding to the collection every week.

Leading in Difficult Times:
Safe Space online has been recommended to us as a forum for leaders in health and social are who are leading in these difficult times.  Mike Chitty and colleagues have a series of online support sessions and, though there is a cost, this is ‘pay as you feel’.  Further information and details can be found at eventbrite

Learning Disability England:
Small grants for up to £5,000 are available for self-advocacy and family care groups working in the field of learning disability.

Leeds City Council Health & Social Care:
Website useful for local social care news and/or linking to resources for people with learning disabilities.  LCC Health and Social Care is also producing daily updates for providers with some really useful information.

Leeds Community Foundation Resilience Fund:
Details of the Resilience Fund can be found here.

Legal Advice for Employers:
The law firm, Chadwick Lawrence, has a number of video clips about issues for employers, including a really straightforward clip on furlough for those in the unenviable position of facing this kind of decision.

Sue at the law firm, Wrigleys, has also shared their webpage which has lots of legal advice for employers with some really helpful advice, particularly their Q&A on the furlough scheme.

Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund:
This fund has tight criteria but may be useful for some organisations.

Re-use in Care Homes:
New guidance has been published that means there are certain circumstances in which meds can be re-used.  The guidance needs careful reading and is only applicable to hospices and registered care homes.

Reducing Medication Errors Resources
OPUS is circulating weekly bulletins to support providers to reduce medicines errors.  Issue no. 5 focuses on ‘The Role of Managers & Senior Staff in Reducing Medicines Errors’.  “Managers and senior staff are crucial when trying to reduce medicines errors in an organisation.  Not only do they have to help identify the errors, they need to know how to manage them, learn from them and prevent them recurring.  In this week’s download, we’ve set out the role of managers and senior staff in reducing medicines errors including:

  • how to become aware of medicines errors that occur
  • how to assess medicines errors to determine the causal factors
  • how to address the errors to ensure they don’t happen again

We’ve included a case study and example action plan to help managers and senior staff understand the process they should follow once they discover an error to prevent a similar error occurring again.”

Download our Managers & Senior Staff Guidance Sheet.

Sedatives to Enforce Social Distancing:
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has issued guidance about the inappropriate use of sedative medications to enforce social distancing guidelines when managing vulnerable people during the pandemic who may not understand social distancing.

Mental Capacity:
There is some now MCA guidance for the care of people who lack mental capacity in these times.  It’s really helpful and should prevent us doing unnecessary DoLS.  (You can save time by skipping the text and go straight to reading the flowchart on page 11!)

Update 10.06.20 – The MCA guidance has been updated with a new section added to the attachment ‘The Mental Capacity Act (2005) (MCA) and deprivation of liberty safeguards (DoLS) during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic: additional guidance”.  The new section is called ‘The right to appeal if someone is subject to emergency health powers and lacks the relevant mental capacity’.

A guidance note on Covid-19 testing and mental capacity has been published by 39 Essex Chambers which stats: ‘Given the move to the government guidance on regular COVID testing, it’s important to remember that (1) it’s guidance, not legislation, and (2) best interests is undoubtedly the test where an individual is assessed as not having capacity.  39 Essex Chambers some time ago produced a guidance note that remains useful.  Though Covid guidance has, and will continue to change, the law around Mental Capacity and Best Interests remains the same.’

Update 7.09.2020 – the guidance ‘ Coronavirus (Covid-19): Looking After People Who Lack Mental Capacity‘ has been updated:

  • updated attachment: ‘The Mental Capacity Act (2005) (MCA) and deprivation of liberty safeguards (DoLS) during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic’. Sections ‘summary of key points’ and ‘Supervisory bodies’ include updated information about professional visits to care homes and hospitals.
  • updated attachment: ‘The Mental Capacity Act (2005) (MCA) and deprivation of liberty safeguards (DoLS) during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic: additional guidance’.  Section ‘Best interest decisions’ includes updated information about decisions related to elective surgery and other procedures.  Sections ‘Depriving a person of their liberty’ and ‘Supervisory bodies’ include updated information about professional visits to care homes and hospitals.  

Mental Health Support for Care Workers:
A wide range of support is available for individuals who work in the care sector looking for mental wellbeing and health support/resources.  Should you need immediate support, you can contact round the clock one-to-one mental health support for social care workers:

  • Text FRONTLINE to 85258 for a text conversation, or
  • call 116 123 for a phone conversation.

Mindful Employer Scheme:
We all need to be hardwired to look after the well-being of our staff – they are truly our only asset – and we need to look after each other through this and better times.  The Mindful Employer weekly bulletin for 2nd April 2020 is devoted to coronavirus and staff wellbeing.

Mindwell Leeds has a useful coronavirus mental health information hub with resources, videos and information to help people in Leeds take care of their mental health at this challenging time.

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, Mindwell Leeds has published a Week of Kindness Planner with downloadable resources with suggestions for each daily focus.

National Audit Office:
On 12th June the NAO issued its report: ‘Readying the NHS and adult social care in England for COVID-19‘.  It’s 69 pages long and we found pages 14, 18, 20 and 41 particularly interesting.

National Council for Voluntary Organisations:
The NCVO website has a lot of information that may be useful for voluntary organisations.

NHS e-mail:
The NHS is opening its secure email facility to organisations across the health and social care sector.  (See the documents section for the social care provider NHS mail sign up form.)

Oral Care:
This guidance on mouth care for hospitalised patients with confirmed or suspected covid-19 is helpful for those of us providing care in settings where people need support with oral hygiene.

PPE & Infection Control Suppliers:
For those of you who are looking to source reasonably priced PPE with a good quality of service from a local supplier, at Aspire we use BAWA Med and the contact is Raj.  Other suppliers include Beaucare and Trevor Iles

PPE Guidance:
There is still a lag between the guidance issued by the government (2/4/20) about PPE usage in health and social care settings (tables 1, 2 and 4 seem to be the most relevant ones for our sector (NB: See updated position on PPE – Leeds Advice below) and the guidance for those of us who provide supported living services where guidance was previously issued.

Update 22.06.2020 – a slight change in government guidance regarding re-ordering emergency PPE stocks.  The change is that GPs and small social care providers can now place orders multiple times per week within the limits set out in the guidance instead of a singular order.

We have updated our guidance for staff in line with Leeds City Council’s guidance.

North Yorkshire County Council has produced some really clear guidance which they’ve shared with health and social care providers about when to, and when not to, use enhanced PPE  (of which sections 5 and 6 are the most pertinent) together with a flowchart.  Both are well worth reading by any provider trying to make sense of the national guidance for the range of social care settings in which we all operate.

There is some recent helpful Public Health England guidance on how to work safely in care homes (which is applicable to 24/7 supported living services) and which includes a couple of helpful case examples.

There is also a really good video from Public Health England about how to put on and take off PPE on the website.  Again this guide for care homes is applicable to supported living services too.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has put a lot of useful information together about the use of PPE in the workplace.

Following the recent update on the wearing of masks in care homes and domiciliary care, here is our updated guidance should anyone want to beg steal or borrow this: Aspire PPE Staff Guidance Table.

Update 31.07.2020 – Really helpful accessible PPE guide for staff working in care settings.

Update 15.09.2020 – For those of you who like data, the government has published its experimental statistics showing the latest number of personal protective equipment items distributed for use by health and social care services in England in the 7 days to 13th September.

PPE – Leeds Position Statement v.4:
Leeds updated its advice for care homes and community care staff in its position statement issued 14th April 2020.  Essentially, the view is that we are in a period of sustained community transition and therefore table 4 of the government guidance (issued 2/4/20) should be followed.  This position statement can also be found on the Council’s website together with staff swabbing information and the purchase process (as below).

PPE VAT Window:
The Treasury has suspended VAT on the purchase of PPE for the next 3 months, starting 1st May 2020.

PPE 3-step purchase process in Leeds:
Leeds City Council has reconfirmed the 3-step process for ordering PPE:

  • continue to place your orders for PPE with your regular supplier
  • if you fail to secure your orders, contact the National Supply Disruption Response 24/7 helpline on 0800 915 9964 and complete the recommended process
  • Once you have completed the previous steps, if supplies are at critical levels whereby staff and customer safety will be compromised, contact Leeds City Council via or through your contract managers.

Leeds City Council’s PPE hub will relocate on Thursday, 6th and Friday, 7th August 2020.  They will only deliver PPE in urgent situations to care delivery services on Thursday, 6th August and no PPE deliveries will be made on Friday, 7th August.  Normal services will resume on Monday, 10th August and LCC has apologised for any inconvenience this may cause.

As of 24 August, the Local Resilience Force (LRF) PPE supply has now been discontinued.  There are no longer any supplies held by Leeds City Council to be distributed to care providers.  The government has set up the national PPE portal that you will be invited to register for.  This will be the replacement for the LRF PPE supplies.  You are welcome to continue to purchase your PPE from Leeds City Council, at cost price, using the PPE order form (version 4.2).  The process remains the same if this is your preferred option.  More information.

PPE Emergency Ordering Portal:
The PPE emergency ordering portal has been extended to pharmacies and larger social care providers to top up their existing suppliers.  This is only available to organisations that have received an email inviting them to register.  There has also been an update to the amount of visors that GPs, domiciliary care providers and residential care homes can order.  The customer service team opening hours are now 7am to 7pm.  The guidance was updated on 10th August stating that hand hygiene items can now be ordered.

Update 14.09.2020 – Type II masks have been added to the list of items that can be ordered and updated order limits for GPs and social care providers.

Update 17.09.2020 – Domiciliary care providers with 50 or more clients and residential care homes with 50 or more beds can now order one box of visors (usually 200 per box) per week.

Update 21.09.2020 – Eligible providers can now use the portal to order PPE for Covid-19 requirements, rather than as an emergency top-up system (which is great news!).  The guidance has been updated to reflect this.

PI and QMF submissions:
Leeds City Council have put back the deadline for submission in respect of both the PI and QMF for those organisations which provide accommodation-based services.

The government issued Procurement Policy Note 04/20 in June 2020; this looks like it is asking for all parties to play fair to keep essential services operational as we move into the next phase, whilst keeping an eye on long-term sustainability.

Procurement Policy Note 02/20 was updated on 25th June; this sets out information and guidance for public bodies on payment of their suppliers to ensure service continuity during and after the current coronavirus outbreak.

Hot on the heels of the merger in February between PSI-Volition and Tenfold, they held their AGM on Thursday, 9th April 2020.

Psychological Support for Frontline Staff:
Staff and volunteers at the forefront of the coronavirus response across England can access a new Psychological First Aid training course from 15th June 2020.  There is also information accessible via the Yorkshire and Humber Public Health Network about psychological support for care staff.

On 14th August the government published new guidance for employers and employees where people travel abroad and need to quarantine upon their return.

Re-Opening Buildings/Services:
A group of us is working together to explore how we can share our learning in order to look at getting buildings-based services back up and running at some point in the future.  Drop Andy Rawnsley an email if you want to join the group.

On 1st June the government updated its guidance on actions for education and childcare settings to prepare for wider opening from that date.  Although this is for an early years setting, there are points that are probably useful to help inform our thinking about how we should plan to move towards a re-set buildings-based offer.  This guidance was updated on 16th June to set out a change to the protective measures in early years settings that will be effective from 20th July:

  • removing the requirement to keep children in small consistent groups within settings (sections 2.1 and 3.3)
  • added new content on risk assessment (section 3.1)
  • supporting staff with increased risk factors (section 3.2)
  • system controls (section 3.3)
  • updated content on attendance at settings for those shielding, with changes to the advice effective from 1st August
  • removal of content on vulnerable children since settings are open for all children (section 4)
  • updated content on wraparound care (section 5.3)
  • updated Early Years Foundation Stage reforms (section 7.6) and Reception Baseline Assessment (section 7.7).

Although there is, as yet, no guidance for opening up day services, there are some useful tips in the first guidance for special schools.  There is also guidance for mainstream schools.

Further/Higher Education
Guidance for Further and Higher Education has also been updated with the addition of links for the full opening from September 2020.  There is also guidance on what Further Education colleges and providers will need to do from the start of the 2020 autumn term.

For those of us starting to think about what buildings-based services for people with learning disabilities might look like, this publication about reopening higher education buildings and campuses is worth a look.

Day Services
The Irish Health Service has published its framework for resumption of adult disability day services from which we may be able to take some learning.

Kings College London have produced a document entitled Helping Day Centres to ‘Unlock Lockdown’ which may be helpful.

Whilst we are still awaiting formal guidance from government about day services, the Social Care Institute for Excellence published it’s very useful: Delivering Safe, Face-to-Face Adult Day Care on 10th July.

In preparation for re-opening some of our day services, we have developed a risk assessment template and protocols for how we will manage situations throughout the day.  Please feel free to use these as a starter for ten if they are helpful, or let us know if you  need a Word version:

Community Facilities
Guidance for those managing community centres, village halls and other community facilities on safely re-opening has been updated to reflect that multi-use community facilities can now open.

Update 11.07.20 – Section 3c revised to reflect the availability of the Performing Arts guidance.

Update 14.07.20 – links added to the guidance on rehearsal and training; maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace; and on the phased return of outdoor sport and recreation in England.

Update 15.07.20 – guidance updated again to reflect upcoming changes to the rules on wearing face coverings.

Update 31.07.20 – section 2c: hygiene and face coverings; and section 3: permitted activities in multi-use community facilities – signposting to relevant guidance.

Update 14.08.20 – revised to reflect changes to restrictions on permitted activities under section 3 and to clarify face covering advice under section 2C.

Update 14.09.20 – following introduction of the maximum 6 people rule, the updated guidance on the use of community facilities clarifies that, community buildings can take more than 6 people, but must operate in bubbles of no more than 6 in those buildings.

Update 24.09.20 – the guidance for those managing community centres, villages halls and other community facilities on safely re-opening multi-purpose buildings has been updated to incorporate changes in regulations announced by the Prime Minster on 22nd September.

Council Buildings
The guidance was updated on 31.07.20 to include a section on face coverings.

Sport/Exercise/Outdoor Events
Guidance for the public on the phased return of outdoor sport and recreation was updated on 9th July.  This will be followed by outdoor pools reopening from 11th July followed by indoor gyms, pools and leisure centres on 25th July.  Pilots have been announced for the return of spectators to elite sports events which could see fans returning, if safe to do so with social distancing measures in place, from 1st October.

Archaeological Sites
There’s even government guidance for detectorists!

Theatres/Performing Arts
Outdoor performances were given the green light from 11th July.  Indoor performances in theatres with socially distanced audiences will be able to take place from 1st August.

Registered Managers and Deputies:
Leeds City Council’s Care Quality Team has experimented with new ways of supporting Registered Managers and Deputy Managers during the present pandemic.  As one of these experiments, they thought it might be useful to facilitate an informal space to chat and reflect; a bit of a chat over a ‘virtual coffee’ for Registered Managers from any registered service, not just care homes.  They would like to do this on a regular weekly basis and the first virtual coffee was held on Wednesday, 15th July.

There is no need to attend regularly, you can just drop in if you are free or interested in the suggested topic or have another burning issue you need help with.  There is nothing formal, just an hour of chatting around issues, an opportunity to ask questions and seek some degree of clarity, from a peer group, or perhaps just realise you’re not the only one in that situation or with that problem.  All members of the Care Quality Team will attend, so they should be able to answer most questions, as they have ex-registered managers and ex-regional and national quality directors on the team.

As a starting point the team suggested a chat around assessing and evidencing risk management and government guidance at the first virtual coffee, and, for the following week, something around what they’ve picked up around CQC inspections going forward.  However, they’re happy for any questions to be sent to them prior to the virtual coffee at:  It’ll be chat with no notes taken.  Click to book a place for the next virtual coffee on Wednesday, 22nd July from 11:30 to 12:30pm.

Return to Work:
ACAS have produced a return to the workplace process map.

The Health and Safety Executive has produced guidance on instances when Covid-19 will be RIDDOR reportable.

Risk Assessment Framework:
In a bid to put a framework around the decision-making process to support vulnerable people (and particularly those who live in shared accommodation) to start to re-integrate into a covid world, we have devised a risk assessment process.  Please use, adapt or ignore this as you deem fit.

Risk Reduction Framework:
On 19th June the government issued it’s Adult Social Care Risk Reduction Framework with 70+ links to accompanying documents.

Risks and Outcomes:
The review into how different factors have affected Covid-19 risks and outcomes was updated on 11th August with 8 spreadsheets to provide further data from the review plus updates have been made to the main report.

The Local Government Association (LGA) and Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) have issued Frequently Asked Questions in respect of Covid-19 and Safeguarding Adults.

Guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection now includes the new legal requirements for self-isolation due to come into effect on 28 September 2020.  A new package has been announced to support people on low incomes or who are self-employed and to enforce self-isolation.

Social Enterprise Yorkshire & Humberside have shared a couple of surveys that organisations have been sending out to staff and volunteers to assess their concerns about returning to the workplace: staff survey and health questionnaire.  You are free to use/adapt these to your own needs and, if you have any better examples, then please forward them to so she can share them with everyone.

Skills for Care:
There is some very helpful information about training during the pandemic on the Skills for Care website together with useful guidance about considerations for training.

Skills for Care have also set up an advice line which is open to all Registered Managers

Social and Community Capital:
A £1m Coronavirus Response Fund is open for just one week from 22nd June offering grants from £5,000 – £50,000.  The grants are for social enterprises across the UK that employ people from vulnerable or disadvantaged groups.  To be eligible organisations must have an annual turnover between £50,000 and £1m and must generate at least 30% of their revenue from trading activities.

Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE):
SCIE has a website that is worth visiting for news and information in the world of social care.

Social Care Support Taskforce:
On 8th June 2020 the government announced the launch of a national Covid-19 social care support taskforce, led by David Pearson, a former chief of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services.

Spotting Serious Illness & Sepsis:
Read an overview of spotting serious illness and sepsis on the AHSN Network website.  Also, there are two NHS short films explaining the soft signs of deterioration and recognising deterioration with a learning disability.

Staff – New and Young Workers:
Useful and quick advice from the HSE for employers about new to the job and young workers.

Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme:
HMRC are offering free webinars on the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Scheme providing an overview of the scheme covering who can claim, when to start paying SSP, employees you can claim for, making a claim, keeping records and more.

If you’re an employer, find out if you can use the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme to claim back employees’ coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).  From 26 August 2020 you can claim for employees who have been notified by the NSH to self-isolate before surgery.

Support for People Shielding in Leeds:
Information and routes to support to assist anyone working with people in Leeds who may have been advised to shield due to their clinical risk to Covid-19 (this local guidance pre-dated the government’s announcement that it may be safe for people who are clinically vulnerable to go back out into the world from 6th July.)

Support for People Outside of their Home:
New government guidance issued 2nd September – nothing earth shattering but a very quick read.

Supported Living Guidance:
See Covid-19 Guidance for Care Settings

Supported Living Admissions:
In the absence of national guidance on admitting people into supported living services, in partnership with Leeds City Council and Leeds & York Partnership Foundation Trust, we have developed this Covid-19 risk assessment and guide to provide a framework to aid decision making.

Supporting Adults with Learning Disabilities & Autistic Adults:
New government guidance for care staff who support adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults was issued on 24th April 2020.  There does not seem to be anything new in the guidance other than it is now all in one place.  However, if you follow the links within the supported living guidance, it continues to have advice about not wearing masks when staff and the people supported are not symptomatic!

Swab Testing for COVID-19:
There is guidance and a very easy-to-follow video for care staff who have to take swabs as part of the testing process.

Testing for COVID-19:
Social care staff can be tested either by self-referral or employer-referral.  Guidance has been published about both routes, and we have good feedback, but please do not wait to book slots for staff or adult members of their household who are symptomatic.

There are 2 FAQs about the Coronavirus National Testing Programme:

If you didn’t pick it up in the news, testing is now available to social care staff who are asymptomatic as well as those who are symptomatic.

Leeds City Council and CCG has clarified the current and future position regarding coronavirus testing for the staff and residents of care homes (05/05/2020).  “A programme will be rolled out in the next few days to provide access to testing for all staff and residents, regardless of whether they have symptoms of Covid-19.  There is no need to do anything as yet because you will be contacted when the programme is launched.

In the meantime, should any residents display Covid-19 symptoms, you should contact your local Health Protection Team in the usual manner.  They will support you and organise testing for those symptomatic residents from the point you ring to notify (but not for any residents who become unwell after this point).  Should any staff display symptoms, they can access testing through the on-line portal on the website.”

Update 10.05.20 – There is now a new portal for testing in care homes though this is yet to be extended to domiciliary care providers.

Care homes are also to benefit from targeted training support, but it is unclear yet as to whether this will be extended to domiciliary care/supported living services.

Update 07.06.20 – Getting Tested guidance updated.  Whilst it is certainly good news that tests are now offered to all care homes for elderly people and those with dementia, the tests have not yet been extended to all vulnerable people in care homes and other settings.

Update 08.06.20 – The government announced that testing will now be available to all care homes, not just ones for older people and people with dementia.  They are also considering about extending the same process to supported living and other care settings.  In advance of a national position being sorted, LCC has written to providers about what they need to do to get on an initial programme of testing for people in supported living in Leeds.

Update 25.06.20 – Repeat testing for staff and residents in care homes to be offered.  This will be rolled out from week commencing 6th July 2020.

Update 06.07.20 – Two attachments updated to reflect changes to the registration system for the testing kits: ‘guidance on Randox testing’ and ‘how to use Randox test kits’.

Update 31.07.20 – Regular testing in care homes for people under 65 is to be rolled out: “the remaining CQC-registered adult care homes (for those aged under 65) will be able to register for retesting from 31st August”.  Two new attachments for care homes have also been added: ‘graphic summarising testing for care homes’ and ‘care home testing: information sheet for care providers’.

For those of us who are supporting people to have a home test in a care home, there is a useful video tutorial with Dr. Sarah Jarvis.

Carers and nurses who will be swabbing residents in care homes should complete the online Care Home Swabbing Competency Assessment before carrying out swabbing.  We also have a template for Best Interest decisions regarding home testing where people lack capacity.  Just drop Andy Rawnsley an email if you would like this sending to you.

On a positive note, testing may soon be less invasive if the new saliva testing trials being piloted in Southampton work out.

Update 21.09.2020 – New content on the Leeds CCG coronavirus website provides comprehensive information about accessing testing (including Gryphon, Temple Green and Bridge Street as well as Mobile Testing Unit locations).  Booking remains through 119 or and only for those with symptoms.  LCC have set up an additional venue at the Mandela Centre, but with very limited availability.  This walk-in site is available only for symptomatic key workers or their immediate families and primary school children.  As this site has been set-up by Leeds City Council, it is not available to book on the national system.  Please be aware that there may be a queue and wait time, and people may get turned away if there are indications of closing after 2pm, which affects deliveries to the lab.

Update 24.09.2020 – Leeds City Council and Leeds Community Healthcare in partnership with LTHT labs have set up an additional test centre at Cinder Moor, Woodhouse Lane LS6 2NA.  This is back-up for those who are unable to get a local appointment through the national portal.  This site opened on Thursday 24th September and will be operational seven days a week 9am – 3:30pm.

This service is for:

  • symptomatic teaching staff, health, social care and support workers
  • a member of their household that is symptomatic e.g. child (potential index case) that is causing the key worker to be off
  • this site is unable to accommodate school children, unless they are a child of a key worker

If you live outside Leeds but work for the above, you are still eligible for testing.

The first option for testing is the national portal, but if you have been unable to book a test through the national portal, then please call 07544 377547.  Once the time slots have been allocated for the day, an answer phone message will ask you to call back from 9am the following day. Due to capacity, people will need to arrive at their exact allocated time spot and will be encouraged to do their own swabs, but support can be provided if required.  Please remember to take keyworker ID, wear a face mask and bring hand sanitiser.  Results will go to the Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Team rather than through the national system and a text message will be sent.  Please do not call for results, as soon as they are reported someone will be in touch.  If you require further advice you should go to the usual routes of contacting PHE, 111 or 999 if your symptoms deteriorate.

Test and Trace:
The Test and Trace process started in England on 28th May 2020.  Workplace guidance was issued on 27th May when advice to possible contacts was also published.

Initially it seemed clear in this second piece of guidance, that the “guidance does not include health care workers and others working in health and social care settings, who should follow separate guidance“.  However, on 31st May, updated guidance made it clear that care workers are not exempt from test and trace.  The whole guidance is worth a read, but 4.3 and 4.4 are probably the key points to note.

On 2nd June the guidance was further updated including:

  • addition of information on implications of positive antibody result (introduction and section 4.3)
  • addition of guidance for staff who are notified that they are a contact of a co-worker who is a confirmed case (new section 4.4)
  • section on risk assessment for staff exposures amended to be a stand-alone section (new section 5)

This latest guidance states:

“The NHS Test and Trace Service has been established to minimise community transmission of COVID-19.  It is designed to:

  • ensure that anyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19 can quickly be tested to find out if they have the virus
  • help trace close recent contacts of anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 and, if necessary, notify them that they should self-isolate at home to help stop the spread of the virus.

Therefore, if you have had close recent contact with someone who has COVID-19, healthcare workers must self-isolate if they NHS test and trace service advises you to do so.  Close contact excludes circumstances where PPE is being worn in accordance with current guidance on infection, prevent and control.  Refer to risk assessment for staff exposures in the workplace.

There is even a Test & Trace weekly bulletin!

Update 15th June – updated no.758.  Newly added bit about multiple outbreaks in the workplace; if there is more than one case of COVID-19 associated with a workplace, employers should contact their local health protection team to report the suspected outbreak.  Find you local health protection team … they will:

  • undertake a risk assessment
  • provide public health advice
  • where necessary, establish a multi-agency incident management team to manage the outbreak

Update 02.07.2020 – Test and trace guidance issued for people who run buildings requiring them to keep records of attendees.

Update 22.07.2020 – The guidance has been redrafted for clarity.  In addition, there is a new section on collecting customer and visitor data for NHS Test and Trace.  The following information has been added to the section headed ‘If a worker develops symptoms and orders a test’: Where an interaction between 2 people has taken place through a Perspex (or equivalent screen), this would not be considered sufficient contact.  Contact tracers will not consider the wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) as a mitigation when assessing whether a recent contact is likely to have risked transmitting the virus.

However, the guidance was again updated on 4th August and this clarified that care workers who use correct PPE do not need to self-isolate if contacted as a contact by Test & Trace people from having cared for Covid ‘patients’.  See section 4 which includes: “If health and social care staff are providing direct care to a patient or a resident with Covid-19 and are wearing the correct PPE in accordance with the current IPC guidance, they will not be considered as a contact for the purposes of contact and tracing and isolation, and will not be required to self-isolate for 14 days (the standards for PPE specification, fit testing and regimes of use for clinical and care activities will be agreed and delivered by organisations)…”

On 10th August the government issued a press release announcing plans extending the NHS Test and Trace service to strengthen regional contract tracing.  The NHS and Public Health England will extend its partnership with local authorities to reach more people testing positive and their contacts.

Update 10.9.20 – The government issued a press release stating that venues are now required by law to record contact details of people who use premises.  In summary premises and venues across England must have a system in place to record contact details of their customers, visitors and staff in the latest move to break the chains of transmission of coronavirus.

Update 11.9.20 – Businesses are being urged to download QR codes to prepare for the public rollout of a new NHS Test and Trace app.  The codes will enable customers to easily ‘check in’ to buildings when they enter.

Update 14.9.20 – The NHS Test and Trace guidance has been updated with information for organisations on displaying an official NHS QR poster.  Organisations should display the official posters at their venue entrances to help support contact tracing, making it quick and simple to use for both businesses and users.  Visitors should be asked to scan the QR code when they arrive, using the NHS COVID-19 app.  This is to help trace and stop the spread of coronavirus.  Organisations should still maintain an alternative means to maintain contact details for people who do not have a smartphone or do not want to use the NHS COVID-19 app.  You should create and display a QR code if you are:

  • a business, place of worship or community organisation with a physical location that is open to the public;
  • an event which is taking place in a physical location.

If you have more than one venue you need to create a separate QR code for each location.  You can add multiple locations in the service.

18.09.2020 update – Maintaining records to support Test and Trace becomes mandatory today.  This Privacy Notice describes how the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) will process personal data from venues and establishments to support contact tracing.

Test & Trace – the Next Phase:
On 18th June the government announced the next phase of development in building an app that supports the end to end NHS Test & Trace service.

Test & Trace Flowcharts:
The flowcharts about how to respond about Test & Trace have been updated and the management of staff and exposed patients and residents in health and social care settings is the most relevant to us.  The guidance was updated on 31st July 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) and inclusion of re-testing guidance for staff (section 3).

Through the Maze:
Website useful for local social care news and/or linking to resources for people with learning disabilities.

Virtual College have some H&S online training resources, including an Introduction to Infection Prevention and Control.

The British Assessment Bureau has an e-learning Coronavirus Awareness course.

Also, there is a lot of online training at Social Care TV

Transitioning from Lockdown:
ACAS is delivering training to help transition out from lockdown.  This will cover gaining agreement around holidays, booking and cancelling leave, holiday entitlement for furloughed workers, how to vary a contract of employment, dealing with flexible working requests, brining staff back into the workplace and addressing staff concerns including staff safety, PPE and public transport.  The training will take place on 30th June from 2-4pm.  Register your placeView more detail.

Useful guidance for Trustees was issued on 7th April and updated on 26th June.  Also, Bates Wells has published Charity Trustee Duties:  A Coronavirus Guide.

UK Gov:
You will find all the latest coronavirus guidance on the website.

Utility Deals:
SEYH have introduced a new member: Utility Aid.  They specialise in providing not-for-profit organisations with gas and electricity, souring at the lowest possible cost for those that need it the most.  There’s absolutely no obligation but, if you’d like to find out more, you can simply click and one of their experienced Energy Specialists will be in touch to explain how they can help.

Vaccination for Covid-19:
The government has announced that it is to prioritise health and social care workers and the most vulnerable people when a vaccine is found.  The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation advises priority vaccination of the following groups:

  • frontline health and social care workers
  • those at increased risk of serious disease and death from Covid-19 infection stratified according to age and risk factors

On 18th June the government issued guidance on the deferral of the VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June 2020 to help businesses manage their cashflow.

Voluntary Action Leeds:
Another useful website for local social care news and/or linking to resources for people with learning disabilities.

Voluntary, Community & Social Enterprise Organisations (VCSE):
Covid-19 information and advice for voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations during the coronavirus outbreak.

The guidance on financial support for VCSE organisations to respond to coronavirus has been updated.

Waste Disposal:
The latest guidance Coronavirus (COVID-19): Disposing of Waste, includes links to previous guidance for care settings on waste disposal.  If you do not have offensive waste bins or use a specialist PPE waste disposal company, used PPE should be double-bagged, stored for 72 hours and put in a black bin (never recycled).

In anticipation of the onset of winter, on 11th September Stuart Miller, Director of Adult Social Care Delivery, Department of Health and Social Care, sent a letter  to all care providers with an update position as infection rates rise in care homes.

On 17th September the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care made an oral statement on coronavirus and the government’s plans to put us in the strongest possible position for this winter.  And on 18th September there was a press release about the new adult social care winter plan which will aim to curb the spread of coronavirus infections in care settings throughout the winter months.

Update 18.09.20: The Adult Social Care Winter Plan 2020-2021 details the government’s ambitions for the sector and the challenges facing adult social care this winter.  Also, Helen Whateley, Minister for Care, has written a letter to local authorities outlining expectations of them in relation to the Winter Plan.

Winter Planning Workshops:
We know that partnership working is essential to ensure that all people of Leeds receive the care and support needed to stay safe during the winter period, which is fast approaching.  The Local Care Partnerships Development Team is delivering a series of Winter Planning Workshops, across each of the 15 areas of Leeds, to communicate citywide plans and to allow third sector organisations working with diverse communities to coordinate their support with system partners.

If you would like to join one or more of these workshops, please complete this brief form.  If you are unable to join, but want to draw the team’s attention to the needs of particular communities of interest, or you would like to share important information on how you are supporting people this winter, then either contact Karl Witty or mention it in the joining form and Forum Central will make sure your information is shared.

Working Safely:
Working Safely during Coronavirus (Covid-19) was updated on 3rd July with a new poster to reflect the one metre plus and any other mitigations.  Also a Staying Covid-19 Secure in 2020 notice.

Documents :

Identifying Critical Key Workers

Letter from LCC Adults and Health advising social care providers to identify their critical key workers who may require exemption from some of the restrictions put in place in response to coronavirus.

Critical Key Worker Letter Template

LCC template letter for use by social care providers for staff identified as critical key workers during the pandemic

Covid-19 Transmission & Infection Control Training

Training has been commissioned by Health Education England and information about the training dates that are available can be found here.

NHS Mail Sign-up Form

NHS-mail sign up form for social care providers

Coronavirus and Staff Wellbeing

Leeds Mindful Employer Network weekly bulletin (2nd April 2020) packed full of information and resources in respect of coronavirus and staff wellbeing

COVID-19 Poster for Care Homes

Public Health England’s poster regarding the identification and management of outbreaks of COVID-19 in care/residential homes

Leeds Position Statement on PPE – v.4

Version 4 of Leeds’ Covid-19 PPE position statement for Care Home and Community Care staff issued 14/04/2020

How to Safely Remove Your Disposable Gloves

Globus Healthcare poster

Putting On and Removing PPE

NHS Scotland best practice poster

Letter to the Care Sector

Department of Health letter about the supply and distribution of PPE

PPE – Guidance for Aspire Staff

Guidance as at 17th April 2020 at 4pm

PPE and It’s Use

Operational guidance for the use of PPE during the Covid-19 response published by North Yorkshire County Council on 13th April 2020

PPE and It’s Use – Flowchart

Appendix 1 to the operational guidance for the use of PPE during the Covid-19 response published by North Yorkshire County Council on 13th April 2020

COVID-19 Testing in Social Care – 27 April 2020

Joint letter from the Department of Health & Social Care and Public Health England providing further information on COVID-19 testing in respect of:

  • social care staff
  • people resident in a social care setting (at the point of outbreak and upon admission)

The letter includes an Adult Social Care sector stakeholder Q & A.

FAQs for Essential Workers

Useful information for essential workers about the Coronavirus National Testing Programme – published by HM Government and the NHS.

FAQs for Employers of Essential Workers

Useful information about the Coronavirus National Testing Programme for employers supporting essential workers who have coronavirus-like symptoms  – published by HM Government and the NHS.

Deaths of Employees and Volunteers

The Department of Health & Social Care has instigated a process for local authorities and social care providers to report deaths from Covid-19 of employees and volunteers.  This letter explains the process for information DHSC.

Aspire Organisational Risk Assessment

Word version of Aspire’s Organisational Risk Assessment (v.8).

Aspire Covid-19 Secure Site Specific Risk Assessment

Word version of Aspire’s Covid-19 secure site specific risk assessment undertaken for Westfield Chambers (dated 18th May 2020).

Aspire Covid-19 Secure Site Example Workplace Photos

Example photos to accompany Aspire’s Covid-19 Secure Site Specific Risk Assessment.

Aspire Covid-19 Individual Risk Assessment

Aspire example Covid-19 individual staff member wellbeing risk assessment form.

SEYH Staff Survey

A survey shared by Social Enterprise Yorkshire & Humberside to assess staff members and volunteers’ concerns about returning to the workplace.

SEYH Staff Health Questionnaire

A survey shared by Social Enterprise Yorkshire & Humberside to assess staff and volunteers’ concerns about returning to the workplace.

Coronavirus Test Tutorial for Care Homes

Useful video, with Dr. Sarah Jarvis, for people who are supporting people in care homes to have a home Coronavirus test.


Our Plan to Rebuild

Easy read version of the UK Government’s recovery strategy: the plan to get back to normal.

Shielding in Leeds

Slides providing information and routes to support to assist anyone working with people in Leeds who may have been advised to shield due to their clinical risk to Covid-19.

Family Visit Risk Assessment

Irish Health Service – Framework for resumption of adult disability day services

Covid-19 supported living pre-admission guidance

Activity/Outings Assessment Form