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Adult Social Services Covid-19 update 26th June 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Click here to read information on the status of Community Action Norfolk's Services. As well as links to other information and advice
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Community Action Norfolk are sharing this update from Norfolk County Council, please contact them directly with any queries.  

Adult Social Services Covid-19 update

26/06/2020

Dear Colleague I am writing to you as an organisation which supports people who use adult social services or supports people who are otherwise vulnerable. 

Day Services Update 

  • There have been several government announcements this week about changes to restrictions on gatherings and the future opening of more services and businesses. Whilst more things are opening, there are still restrictions about indoor and outside gatherings, and we all need to maintain social distancing. There is still specific guidance in place for those that are shielding. 
  • We are working closely with our day service providers to understand what this means for them and the services that they run and have asked any providers considering reopening any part of their buildings-based service to submit their risk assessments and plans.  
  • Robust plans are required before we can support anyone it funds to return to the service. Because the risk of infection in the community very much remains, having plans will not ensure a service is ‘safe’, but it will ensure that the provider has a good plan to manage and reduce this risk.  
  • Once a provider has an adequate risk assessment and management plan there will be a discussion with each person considering a return. The discussion will include: 
  1. Whether they or someone they live with is shielding. Under current guidance NCC would not recommend that anyone shielding or living with someone who is shielding should return. Where this is the case, there will be a discussion about alternative ways of meeting needs. This recommendation will be reviewed as shielding guidance changes. 
  2. If people live in a shared setting, such as supported housing, there will need to be consideration of the risks to all tenants or residents before a decision is made about a return to services. 
  3. If someone is not shielding NCC will support the return. However, the social work team will have a conversation with the person and their family and carers about whether this is their preferred way of meeting their needs or whether they would prefer to explore alternatives. 
  • As services start to reopen, providing transport that maintains physical distancing is both a practical and capacity challenge. Our social care teams will talk about transport options with anyone planning to return, although we anticipate that over the next 2 months NCC arranged transport will therefore only be available in exceptional circumstances. 
  • We will continue to work closely with day service providers over the coming months and support them to adapt their services to respond to infection risks. It will mean changes from how they used to operate, and we will be encouraging providers to work with the people who use their services to design these changes. The changes are focused on how to implement infection control and social distancing. 
  • We will be picking up the work on the pathways for learning disabilities life opportunity services and setting up the co-production required to support pilots agreed by Cabinet later in the year, once these safety concerns are addressed. 

Minimum Income Guarantee update

  • Norfolk County Council took the decision to mitigate the 2020 changes to the Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for four months at the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak. 
  • The cost of this decision was covered by some of the Government’s Covid-19 funding that the Council received. 
  • The Government has indicated that it will look at the issue of funding reform as part of national changes and we are calling on Ministers to bring that forward, as soon as possible. 
  • Provided this is done within a reasonable timescale, we will continue this mitigation for the foreseeable future, subject to the financial demands on the council. 
  • We are writing to the people affected by this change via standard and easy read letter. 

Help for those with sight loss

  • Like teams across the Council, our Sensory Support team had to significantly adapt the way they delivered their services due to Covid-19 and have only been carrying out face to face visits where absolutely necessary. 
  • The team are also in contact with colleagues in the Eye Clinics in Norfolk, Education Services and social work colleagues to ensure that the needs of people with sight loss/visual impairment are addressed. They have worked with a variety of organisations, national and local, to make sure people have relevant and useful information.  
  • Team Manager of Sensory Support, Paul Bowerbank, is working a national group to produce some interim practice guidance for all local authorities on Vision Rehabilitation in response to COVID-19.  
  • This will both support the planning of current and future rehabilitation services as well as provide operational guidance for practitioners and service managers to help re-establish services as contact and movement restrictions are eased.  

Welfare rights

  • Money is a big worry for lots of people right now and the work of the Money Support Service and Welfare Rights teams is making a significant positive impact on people’s lives. 
  • Norfolk County Council’s Welfare Rights Unit have been and are continuing to operate. The team is working from home and will not be visiting people, but contact is being made by telephone with conference calls to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) when necessary. ➢ The Unit is still helping people with making claims for benefits, completing claim forms, contacting the DWP and challenging decisions, including appeals. Referrals from individuals with and NCC service or who have had a service in the past can be made direct. The Welfare Rights Unit can also advice organisations on benefits for support of their service users and provide training on benefits. ➢ If you have an urgent case and need to speak to the unit please telephone: 01603 224447. Lines are open 8.30am to 5.00pm. Or you can email: [email protected] 

Useful resources

  • Please see attached a document that can support community organisations to help clients facing financial crisis by locating and accessing funding from national grant and or goods providers. It provides a breakdown of what you can get, how you can apply and who you can make an application to.
  • Public Health England have created a Psychological First Aid (PFA) digital training module, which is aimed at all frontline and essential workers and volunteers. On this course, you’ll explore the psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and what you can do to help people cope. The course will also teach you the key principles of giving psychological first aid in emergencies. Please click here to access the module.  

Thank you for your continued support.  Debbie Bartlett Director – Strategy & Transformation