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The Social Care Sector COVID-19 Support Taskforce: final report

BASW England provides an initial response to the taskforce report

The Social Care Sector COVID-19 Support Taskforce: final report, advice and recommendations was published on 18 September 2020.

The Taskforce was commissioned in June 2020 and was set up to oversee the delivery of 2 packages of support that the government had put in place for the care sector in England, the Social Care Action Plan and the Care Home Support Plan. In addition the taskforce was asked to:

  • Support the government's work on community outbreaks – areas of the country that needed particular help and intervention to deal with higher rates of infection – and advising and supporting local places to consider and respond to reducing the risk of infection in care homes and the wider social care sector.
  • Provide advice on the requirements for the response to COVID-19 in the next few months, ahead of and into winter.

BASW England notes that the Taskforce has made an extensive number of recommendations, 52 in the overarching report (including some recommendations from the Advisory Groups), in addition each of the eight Advisory Groups have also made a significant number of recommendations: 111 in total.

There are a limited number of timelines within the report for implementation of recommendations and a lack of clarity as to governance and oversight of ALL the recommendations, monitoring and accountability.

We will be reviewing the recommendations and  will continue to take a lead by supporting social workers, producing ethical and practice guidance, and working with sector leaders to enable social work to uphold human rights.

Social workers’ ethics and purpose is grounded in upholding human rights.

As set out in our overarching statement on Upholding Human Rights during Covid-19, this is no different during times of crisis. In fact, during complex and uncertain times it is vital to hold firm to universal human rights. The human rights approach provides a clear and robust framework for decision-making, even during emergencies.

The pandemic is exposing great inequality in impact and in human rights protection across the UK. The pressures arising from the pandemic and the difficulties in responding to these run the risk of undermining entitlements, reducing rights and removing safeguards.

The starkest expressions of this are in the inequality of access to protection from abuse and neglect, access to treatment to sustain life, and the unequal and devastating death rates in our society.

BASW England has also pledged to work with allies in the sector – our colleagues in social care who have provided vital services throughout Covid19 and with governments to strengthen social care and improve the experience of citizens and staff.

Social workers need to be able to carry out their role to uphold and safeguard human rights during Covid-19 and always.