We will aim to keep this page updated with the latest advice.
Information on this page aims provide a hub of information to support social workers with advice and guidance which has been issued by Government, regulators and health professionals.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): UK government response
Following the Prime Minister’s statement on COVID-19 (Coronavirus) on 12th March 2020, the latest Government advice is here and includes:
DfE DHSC joint letter to social workers. Published 27 April 2020
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to the Care Act 2014. Published 31 March 2020. Department of Health and Social Care
Changes to the Care Act 2014 to help local authorities prioritise care and support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
- The Coronavirus Bill: The Response from BASW. BASW'’s initials calls are set out - more to follow (20th March 2020)
- Coronavirus bill: what it will do. Measures contained in the fast-tracked coronavirus legislation and why they are needed to effectively manage the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the UK.
BASW policy brief on The Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020. Published 24 April 2020
Local resilience forums: contact details. Contact details for local resilience forums in the UK, and information about what they do. Local resilience forums (LRFs) are multi-agency partnerships made up of representatives from local public services, including the emergency services, local authorities, the NHS, the Environment Agency and others. These agencies are known as Category 1 Responders, as defined by the Civil Contingencies Act.
Guidance from Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England
Workforce App launched.
The Care Workforce App will formally launch in May 2020. The App is available for free download on the Apple App Store and the web platform - workforce.adultsocialcare.uk/join. It will shortly be available on the Google Play Store.
The app is intended as a digital hub for social care news, updates and guidance. It includes e-learning resources on crucial areas such as how to correctly use PPE and practical advice and support on mental health and wellbeing. It also signposts to offers for care workers, such as free car parking and discounts from major brands. Our wider ambition in the future is for the app to act as a networking platform to bring the social care workforce together in one place to share learnings, best practice and inspiring stories from across the sector throughout the outbreak.
DHSC would like to invite you to download the app or visit the web platform to register online and explore the platform and content. As we improve and review our content offer, we would welcome your feedback on the presentation of information, the registration page and content you think would be useful to include in the future – please send this to Team-SocialCareWorkforce@dhsc.gov.uk with the subject “Re: Workforce app feedback”.
- Government launches new portal for care homes to arrange coronavirus testing. All care home staff and residents are now eligible for testing with priority for those in homes that look after the over-65s.Published 11 May 2020
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): health and wellbeing of the adult social care workforce. Advice for those working in adult social care on managing your mental health and how employers can take care of the wellbeing of their staff during the coronavirus outbreak.Published 11 May 2020
- Further expansion of access to coronavirus testing helps protect the most vulnerable. Anyone in England with coronavirus symptoms who either has to leave home to go to work or is aged 65 and over will now be able to get tested. Published 28 April 2020
- New guarantee on death in service benefits for frontline health and care staff during pandemic. The families of health and care workers on the frontline in England will benefit from a new life assurance scheme during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Published 27 April 2020
- COVID-19: providing unpaid care to adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults. Guidance for people who are providing unpaid care to adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.Published 24 April 2020
- COVID-19: supporting adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults. Guidance for care staff who are supporting adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Published 24 April 2020
- COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection. Stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection - updated with easy read and various languages. Published 12 March 2020
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for people receiving direct payments. Advice for people who buy care and support through a direct payment, as well as local authorities, clinical commissioning groups and those who provide care and support. Published 21 April 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19): hospital discharge service requirements. Sets out how health and care systems and providers should change their discharging arrangements and the provision of community support during the coronavirus situation. Published 19 March 2020
Collection - Coronavirus (COVID-19): social care guidance. Information for the social care sector on responding to the coronavirus pandemic. Published 15 April 2020
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): adult social care action plan. How the government will support the adult social care sector in England throughout the coronavirus outbreak. Published 15 April 2020
- COVID-19: guidance for commissioners and providers of services for people who use drugs or alcohol. Published 15 April 2020
- The Mental Capacity Act (2005) (MCA) and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic. Guidance for health and social care staff who are caring for, or treating, a person who lacks the relevant mental capacity. Published 9 April 2020.
COVID-19: infection prevention and control (IPC). Guidance on infection prevention and control for COVID-19.Published 10 January 2020. Last updated 12 April 2020
Supporting disabled people through the coronavirus outbreak. Published 31 March 2020
A joint statement from the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, the Minister for Care, and the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families.
COVID-19: guidance on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. Advice for parents and carers on looking after the mental health and wellbeing of children or young people during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.Published 29 March 2020
Guidance for the public on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19). Published 29 March 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19): letter from the Secretary of State to the social care workforce. Published 28 March 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on vulnerable children and young people
Published 22 March 2020
COVID-19: guidance on social distancing and for vulnerable people. Guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK, including children, and protecting older people and vulnerable people. (PHE updated 23 March)
Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance. Find guidance about coronavirus (COVID-19) for health professionals and other organisations. Published 3 March 2020
COVID-19: ethical framework for adult social care. A framework to support the planning and organisation of adult social care during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Guidance on ethical considerations for local authorities and adult social care professionals planning their response to COVID-19. This guidance may be reviewed and updated as the outbreak develops and subsequent guidance may be issued to support its application. Published 19 March 2020
- COVID-19: guidance for social or community care and residential settings is available here. Guidance for social or community care and residential settings in providing advice about the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for health professionals and other organisations
- COVID-19: stay at home guidance
- Guidance for employers and businesses
- Read commonly asked questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) on Public Health England’s blog.
Social Work England
See all the latest updates from Social Work England here. Updates include:
- Social Work Together. Former social workers ready to return to essential roles in response to Covid-19 pandemic. Published 2 April 2020.
- Emergency powers to bring back social workers now confirmed. 27 March 2020.
- Social Work England issue advice on student placements. An update from the regulator with three pieces of advice for eductaion providers and trainers, such as being flexible on placements and required practice days, and also the possibility of postponing any placements due to begin in April. Published 19 March 2020
- Maintaining vital support for people during uncertain times. An update from Social Work England chief executive Colum Conway (18th March 2020)
- Social Work England provides an update for social workers following 16th March announcements by the Government. The regulator encourages employers to support and prioritise mental health and wellbeing of social workers in these difficult times
- Social Work England has shared the following advice along with a joint statement from chief executives of statutory regulators of health and care professionals on 3rd March 2020
Department for Education
See all the latest updates from DfE here. Updates include:
Emergency funding to support most vulnerable in society during pandemic. Communities Secretary announces £76 million extra funding to support survivors of domestic abuse, sexual violence and vulnerable children and their families and victims of modern slavery. Published 2 May 2020
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): SEND risk assessment guidance. Guidance for special schools, specialist colleges, local authorities and any other settings managing children and young people with complex special educational needs and disability (SEND). Published 19 April 2020
No fees will be charged for criminal records checks, enhanced criminal records checks and urgent applications for checks related to people who are providing social care services in relation to Covid-19 issues (which includes people employed in children’s homes).
A fast-track process for children’s barred list checks, which was already possible for adults, has now also been enabled for the purposes of the children’s barred list – it will now be possible for urgent checks to be carried out if related to Covid-19 issues. This means that a preliminary response can be requested which will inform the applicant whether the person is not included on the barred list or that an enhanced criminal records check will be issued in due course.
There is DBS-issued guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-of-charge-dbs-applications-and-fast-track-barred-list-check-service
Coronavirus (COVID-19): implementing social distancing in education and Coronavirus (COVID-19): implementing social distancing in education and childcare settings. Updated 7 April 2020
Covid-19 adoption support fund scheme to help vulnerable families. Up to £8 million in funding for adoptive families to meet needs arising from coronavirus outbreak. Published 10 April 2020
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for children's social care services. Advice about coronavirus (COVID-19) for local authorities and their partners to help support and protect vulnerable children. Published 3 April 2020
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on vulnerable children and young people. Questions and answers about the provisions being made for vulnerable children and young people. (22nd March 2020). Find out more.
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on isolation for residential educational settings. Guidance to support management of children and young people in residential educational settings, including boarding schools, residential special schools and specialist colleges and children’s homes (22nd March 2020). Find out more
- Closure of educational settings: information for parents and carers. Information for parents and carers about the closure of schools and other educational settings following the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). (20 Mrach 2020) Find out more.
- COVID-19: free school meals guidance. Guidance for schools and local authorities on free school meals arrangements during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. (19 March 2020) Find out more.
- COVID-19: guidance for education settings Updated 16th March 2020
- The government has issued new travel guidance for the education sector. This advises against all overseas education trips for children under 18. This does not apply to domestic trips, or overseas trips which are already underway. You can find the full education travel guidance here.
The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:
Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday. If you work in a school, please have your unique reference number (URN or UK PRN) available when calling the hotline.
COVID-19 RIDDOR Reporting Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
All providers of adult social care who are employers must make a report under RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) for COVID-19 workplace deaths that meet the criteria published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The Office of the Public Guardian
The Office of the Public Guardian holds a register of everyone who has a lasting or enduring power of attorney (LPA and EPA), or who has a deputy acting for them. Since the coronavirus outbreak, there have been many urgent requests to search the database for people who have lost mental capacity. OPG is working to respond quickly to these requests, with a process specifically for patients incapacitated by COVID-19. Follow this link to find out how to carry out a search of the register quickly: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-staff-searching-our-registers-of-attorneys-and-deputies
Treasury cut taxes to reduce PPE costs. From 1 May 2020, PPE purchased by care homes, businesses, charities and individuals to protect against Covid-19 will be free from VAT for a three-month period.Published 30 April 2020
Ofsted: coronavirus (COVID-19) rolling update. Ofsted guidance and information relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) for schools, early years, children's social care and further education and skills providers.
NHS England treatment decisions. NHS England has set out in a letter dated 3 April 2020 that treatment decisions should not be made on the basis of the presence of learning disability and / or autism alone
- COVID-19 updates for social work, Skills for Care.
- The provision of immediate, on demand access to British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters for communication with Deaf people in health settings free of charge during the current Coronavirus situation
- COVID 19 - National guidance for family court 19th March 2020
- National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF) - Input into Covid-19 Contingency Planning. Key issues that have been identified by the membership of National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF) to contribute towards planning for a significant outbreak of the COVID – 19 virus. It highlights key considerations, as well as makes recommendations to support parents and carers who are caring for children, young people and adults with disabilities.
- ACAS is sharing good practice and advice for employers here and have a helpline for advice: 0300 123 1100
On 10 February, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, announced strengthened legal powers to protect public health.
The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 have been put in place to reduce the risk of further human-to-human transmission in this country by keeping individuals in isolation where public health professionals believe there is a reasonable risk an individual may have the virus.
Around the UK
Health Protection Scotland has issued COVID-19: Information and Guidance for Non Healthcare Settings