aspire community benefit society logo

Home :

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.

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.

Admission to Care Homes:
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.

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.

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.”

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 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.

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

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.

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.

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

COVID-19 Guidance:
The government has produced updated guidance on care settings, including supported living: COVID-19: guidance for residential care, supported living and home care.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.  It is likely therefore that this guidance will be coming to social care settings sometime soon.

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

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 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

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.

Funding for VCSEs:
Government guidance about financial support for voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations to respond to coronavirus has been updated and is now all in one place.  This includes how to apply for funds for particular types of activities.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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

Infection Protection 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.

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.

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

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.

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 Act:
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’.

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.

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.)

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.

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.

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.

Re-Opening 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.  The next meeting of the Buildings-Based Services Planning Group is Friday, 5th June.  Drop Andy Rawnsley an email if you want to join in.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.)

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’.

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.

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.

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.

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

Transitioning from Lockdown:
ACAS is delivering training to help transition out from lockdown.  This will cover graining 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.

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

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.

Working Safely:
Working Safely during Coronavirus (Covid-19) updated 3rd July with 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