Client Coronavirus Information Hub

Client Coronavirus Information Hub

This page is no longer being updated regularly. Last update 6th January 2021.

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak there have been huge amounts of new information for Health and Social care providers to digest and changes to make to our processes. These have included new legislation, government measures and sector specific guidance, and many aspects have been changing frequently.

For the latest coronavirus advice please visit Support Workers should download the ‘Care Workforce’ app for free on Apple and Android devices to stay abreast of the latest guidance.

Latest Updates

01/09/20 update

DHSC Adult Social Care guidance portal launched

DHSC have now collated all information and guidance related to Adult Social Care in a clearly presented way arranged by topic. You can access the online portal here.

Due to this we will not be updating this web page currently as all information is now clearly and easily accessible as above.

31/07/20 update

Illustrated PPE Guidance Issued

Public Health England have provided a useful illustrated guide for staff in community health and social care settings regarding correct PPE.

21/07/20 update

Updated PPE Guidance for Care Homes and Homecare

Public Health England have updated the guidance for “Working Safely in Care Homes” and “Working Safely In Homecare”. In both cases there has been the addition of Table 3, and some extra question/answers provided to include information regarding the use of PPE required for staff within care environments who are in contact with other care staff, but not directly with clients.

06/07/20 update

New Covid 19 Testing Strategy

The Department for Health and Social Care is rolling out a new testing strategy for social care from today, starting with regular testing of staff and residents in residential care homes for older people.

29/06/20 update

Heatwave PPE Guidance

Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive have issued guidance around the additional precautions required to safeguard staff wearing PPE during a hot weather.

19/06/20 update

New Guidance – Reducing Risk to Staff in Adult Social Care

DHSC has issued this guidance for adult social care employers to assess and mitigate the risks to workers who may be at increased risk from Covid 19 due to a range of factors. The guidance signposts employers to additional resources and the steps they need to take to ensure the safety of staff.

Employment / Human Resources Issues
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

12 June – Changes to Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme published

A new document has been published setting out how the CJRS will be changing from 1st July. Employees will be able to return to work part time from 1st July and receive the furlough payment for hours not worked. From 1st August employers will start contributing to the cost of the scheme – beginning with paying the Employer NI for furloughed workers, then 10% from 1st September and 20% from 1st October.

Update on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS)

The online portal for employers to claim from JRS is open from today (20th April). It was announced on 12th April that the scheme will be extended to the end of October 2020, however employers will be expected to contribute to the costs from August onwards.

Ahead of this, on 17th April the Government updated the Claim for your employees’ wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance (now on the fifth version) and published the first Work out 80% of your employees’ wages to claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Employer Step-by-step guide to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The government also published the Treasury Direction to HMRC on 15 April, which provides the rules relating to the Scheme.

In particular the guidance clarifies the following:

  • There will be an online calculator to help employers calculate the furlough payments
  • Detailed information with examples of how to calculate furlough pay for both monthly and weekly paid employees, with fixed and variable pay, which takes into account whether they have worked a whole year or part year.
  • Holiday accrual/holiday pay
  • Commission payments and other payments – what can/cannot be included in furlough pay.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (updated 15th April) was announced by the government recently. It is a way for a business to keep staff on the payroll if they can no longer operate or have no work for their staff due to COVID-19. It is a means to avoid having to make staff redundant. It is not mandatory and each business will need to decide whether they are eligible and whether they wish to utilise the scheme.

If a business and employee agree on this course of action, the employee is placed on “furlough” during which time they cannot work, and will receive 80% of their wages, to a monthly cap of £2500. The minimum length of time a staff can be placed on furlough is 3 weeks, and the scheme has now been extended to the end of October 2020. When the scheme ends the business will decide whether the employee can return to work, or whether a redundancy will be required.

The business will be responsible for calculating the amounts required according to the scheme guidance and paying the employee. There will then be an HMRC portal (envisaged to be available by the end of April) where you will enter details for each employee and make a claim for a grant to recoup these costs. You will need to issue each employee you furlough with a letter detailing the scheme and the agreement you have made and need to keep a copy of this on their staff record.

Care providers may be unlikely to utilise this scheme for care staff as there will be ongoing work demand for care staff and most care businesses will remain operational. It may be that there is a need to furlough administrative or other staff however. An additional consideration for care providers is that the scheme may not be suitable if you receive public funding for your service, for example you are paid by your local authority.

An employee cannot be placed on this scheme while they are sick or self-isolating due to COVID-19 and may be eligible for company sick pay or SSP during this time. They can be furloughed once they return to work. A staff member who has been advised by the government to “shield” for 12 weeks can be furloughed.

The Government has issued changes to the guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), following a Direction from HM Treasury to HM Revenue and Customs on 15th April 2020
The main changes are:

  • The date for eligibility under the CJRS was employment on or before 28th February 2020. This has now changed to 19th March 2020.
  • The CJRS is not limited to employees who would have otherwise been made redundant, clarifying the issue concerning the furloughing of shielded employees. However, there are key conditions that have to be met for an employee to be a furloughed employee.
  • The employee must consent in writing that they will cease doing work for the employer during the furlough period.
  • Where Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is payable to an employee at the time they are placed on furlough, the furlough period will not start until SSP period has ended.
  • If an employee is on any form of statutory leave, unpaid sabbatical or other unpaid leave on or before 28th February 2020 and then placed on furlough, the furlough period would not begin until the expiry of the period of leave previously agreed.
  • The Direction goes into further detail than the Government guidance about how pay is calculated under the Scheme.
  • The Direction goes on to state that employers cannot make claims under the CJRS for specific statutory benefits that are payable to an employee during an employee’s period of furlough, for example Statutory Sick Pay or Statutory Maternity Pay.
  • Some issues remain with holiday during furlough, which await clarification.
Sick Pay Entitlements, Self-Isolation and Shielding

Statutory Sick Pay Update – ‘Shielding’ employees are entitled to SSP.

On 16th April, the SSP provisions were updated to include individuals who are unable to work because they are following the official ‘shielding’ guidance because they are at high risk in relation to coronavirus due to underlying health conditions.

Anyone who has received written notification to follow the shielding public health guidance issued by Public Health England, the Scottish Ministers or Public Health Wales National Health Service Trust will be eligible for SSP if they meet the remaining qualifying criteria.

If a staff member cannot attend work due to being unwell with symptoms of COVID-19 then they are eligible to receive either company sick pay (if you offer this) or Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). SSP payment is worth £94.25 a week and can paid for up to 28 weeks.

If a staff member is required to self-isolate but are not unwell themselves they will be eligible to receive SSP for a maximum of 14 days. Businesses with less than 250 employees will now be able to reclaim 14 days of SSP payments made to employees from a new government scheme.

The government have changed the rules so that statutory sick pay can be claimed from day one rather than day four as previously. As people are advised not to visit a GP there is also a new online service so that individuals can provide an isolation note to their employer. Online isolation notes can be accessed here.

If an individual has been assessed as “extremely vulnerable” to COVID-19 on medical grounds they will have received correspondence from the NHS advising them to “shield” for 12 weeks – this involves measures that are more stringent that normal social distancing. If a staff member has been advised to shield and cannot carry out their role from home, they could be eligible to have their role furloughed, or they may be eligible for SSP for this period. Full guidance on shielding the extremely vulnerable can be found here.

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme opens 26 May

The government’s online Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme opens from 26 May. Small and medium-sized employers will be able to recover up to 2 weeks of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments made to current or former employees for eligible periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020, subject to conditions. The scheme applies UK-wide. Government press release

Access to schooling for keyworkers

Schooling for keyworkers

Although the schools have now closed to the public, they are staying open (where they can) for the children of ‘key workers’, including:

“…care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain…”

Although this is a helping hand for many of you, it’s clear that the objective of closing schools is to slow the transmission of COVID-19. If it’s possible for children to remain at home, they should do so.

Please also note that parents should not rely on childcare from those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with an underlying condition.

We recommend that if parents are struggling to keep their children in school, they should draw the school administrators’ attention to the full guidance produced by the Cabinet Office and Department for Education. There is also a question and answer web page for parents and carers.

Template Key Worker Document – Word Format – Click to Download

Additional sources of help for businesses & employees

Sources of help for businesses & employees

The government has announced extensive measures to provide support to businesses to enable them to remain viable during the current crisis. The assistance available includes the job retention scheme, business interruption loans, deferring of VAT, SSP reclaim, business rate relief and other schemes. Support for businesses during COVID-19

The government has put in place a series of measures to ensure people who can no longer work, or have been made redundant, can receive financial support, where needed. The full guidance regarding support available to individuals is here.

The following overview may be a useful guide for your staff:

Is there any other help available?

The minimum income floor for universal credit claims has been removed – this should increase what you are entitled to. The standard allowance for a single universal credit claimant aged 25 or over is usually £317.82 a month but it is being increased to £409.89, and there are other elements you may be entitled to.

Couples can claim more, but if your partner is still earning an income, that will affect how much you can claim. Apply for Universal Credit here.

Local councils have been given a £500m hardship fund so that they can help vulnerable households by reducing council tax for those who receive local council tax support.

How do I know exactly what I can claim?

To find out what your circumstances make you eligible for, use one of the benefits calculators offered by charities. TurntoUs has one (This site is very busy so make sure you take note of the reference on the front page in case of an issue).

I have a mortgage and no work

You can use the mortgage payment holiday scheme announced by the chancellor to stop your payments for three months and give yourself some breathing space.

Lenders have been told that they must not charge fees for this, but there will be an additional cost over the term of your mortgage as interest will be building on the money you haven’t paid off.

Your lender should outline the financial implications if you decide to take up the mortgage holiday. You need to contact them directly. Phone queues are very long but some are offering the service online so check your bank or building society’s website. Lenders have been told that they must not repossess anyone now.

I can’t pay my rent

The local housing allowance for renters has been increased so that it covers up to 30% of the market rent in your area. This will help anyone who already claims universal credit or separate housing benefit.

If you do not already claim a benefit and you are losing your job, you will be able to claim for support for housing as part of a universal credit application.

There have also been moves to prevent landlords from evicting tenants, although these just prevent eviction for three months rather than the usual two.

Speak to your landlord if you are having problems. Buy-to-let landlords have the option of taking a payment holiday and passing it on. It will cost them more for their mortgage in the long term, but they may be willing to accept that extra cost or negotiate a way to share it.

Health & Safety regarding workplaces

Workplace safety guidance

The government published guidance on 12th May to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic. The guidance is in eight sections; those that are most relevant to care providers are:

Working safely during COVID-19 in other people’s homes

This guidance refers mainly to workers who carry out maintenance or repair work in a person’s home. Some sections, such as those on risk assessment, could be helpful to care providers.

Working safely in offices and contact centres

This guidance contains useful advice on social distancing in offices and staggering arrival and departure times.


This guidance gives advice on social distancing between individuals when in vehicles. All businesses have been advised that their staff should continue to work from home where at all possible. For many care providers, such as care homes, this may not be possible and therefore there is additional guidance from the Health & Safety Executive and Public Health England regarding how to maintain a safe working environment. This includes advice on social distancing measures at work, cleaning workspaces, handwashing and what to do if someone displays symptoms at work.

Staff Training & Recruitment
Changes to DBS Checks and Identity Checks

Changes to DBS Checks and Identity Checks

The DHSC, Home Office and DBS have made temporary changes to their procedures to ensure the DBS is rapidly able to meet the additional demand for DBS checks during the coronavirus pandemic. The changes will be in force for the duration of the Coronavirus Act 2020 only.

Free, fast track Barred List checks will be available for staff being recruited in connection with the provision of care and treatment of COVID-19. These checks are for Adults and Children’s workers and will enable staff to start work before a full DBS check is returned. Full details of eligible roles and how to apply for this service can be found here.

Identity Checking Requirements are also being temporarily changed. Currently the ID checker is required to be in physical possession of original documents in order to check for fraud indicators. The two changes are:

  • ID documents can be viewed over video link
  • Scanned images of ID documents can be used to apply for a DBS

The candidate will need to present their original documents for checking when they start work. Changes to DBS ID Checking Guidelines

Care Quality Commission Approach

CQC have published guidance regarding their approach to regulation and inspection in light of the current coronavirus pandemic and in recognition of the stresses this is placing on staffing. In summary, their approach is to be pragmatic in accepting changes to the recruitment processes of providers as long as providers take reasonable steps to ensure new staff are adequately supported and supervised to ensure people remain safe.

“We encourage providers to continue to carry out other recruitment checks as they ordinarily would. We understand that, during this time, providers may have to assess their situation and consider starting a new member of staff or volunteer based on less evidence than they normally would. For example, if a single reference or telephone conversation with a previous employer gives the provider enough assurance to start that person in some capacity, we trust providers to use their professional judgement and to be pragmatic.”

CQC Interim Guidance on DBS and other Recruitment Checks

Changes to Training Requirements

Changes to Training Requirements

Skills for Care, with endorsement by CQC, have identified changes that can be made to mandatory training requirements for both new and existing staff during the coronavirus pandemic. They have identified those training courses which should remain a priority to ensure a skilled and competent workforce. These courses are:

Care Certificate / Assisting & Moving People / Health & Safety Awareness / Fire safety / Basic Life Support & First Aid / Infection Prevention & Control / Food Safety / Medication Management / Safeguarding Adults

We advise that you complete your own revised training needs analysis and risk assessment in addition however, based on the specific needs of your service. You may identify different priorities depending on the needs of the people you support. You should also consider whether to include delays to required refresher training for existing staff during this period. All face to face training should be stopped during this period and digital solutions only used. The full guidance also includes a list of Skills for Care endorsed providers who can offer fully funded courses.

Risk Assessing and documenting your approach

Risk Assessing and documenting your approach

The Care Quality Commission have acknowledged that during the current situation people may be started in their roles as an emergency, without all of the usual recruitment and compliance checks. We advise that any changes you intend to make to your recruitment processes are risk assessed according to the specific needs of your service.

It is important that providers document carefully any decisions they have made, any risks identified and the actions you have put in place to mitigate these risks, such as additional supervision or actions that will be taken should there be any concerns raised about new staff.

Pragmatic Suggestions

  • Consider a means to identify those staff recruited during this period (such as adding the code “COVID” to their file) so they can be easily identified and that additional recruitment checks and training can be followed up at a later date if required.
  • Consider accepting DBS checks from a previous employer completed within the last 3 years in a similar role if the new starter does not have the Update Service.
  • If you can complete the full and usual recruitment checks on a new candidate without a significant impact on the timescale for starting and safety of your service, then continue to do so.
General Coronavirus Information
Sources of information, guidance and advice

NHS Coronavirus Hub

This information hub is a good place to start for general information regarding coronavirus, what it is, symptoms, how to keep healthy and how and when to access medical help.

Guidance on social distancing

The recovery strategy is accompanied by guidance for the public which adopts a new message: ‘Stay alert, control the virus, save lives’.  This replaces the original ‘Stay at home’ guidance, which has been withdrawn.  The new and updated guidance is:

Guidance:  Staying alert and safe (social distancing), published 11 May 2020.

Guidance: Staying safe outside your home, the principles you should follow to ensure that time spent outside your home is as safe as possible, published 11 May 2020.

Guidance: Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can’t do, updated 11 May 2020.

The ‘Stay alert’ message and above guidance applies in England only.

Spending time outdoors

The recovery strategy permits people in England from today to spend more time outdoors for exercise and for leisure.  Certain outdoor sports courts can re-open and people are able to see one person from another household outdoors. People who are shielded are advised to stay at home until at least the end of June.

New guidance on spending time outdoors

Coronavirus – Guidance on access to green spaces

Face covering guidance for members of the public

The Government’s recovery strategy suggests the public in England should consider covering their mouth and nose in enclosed public places. The guidance says the public should not buy medical grade masks so they can be reserved for frontline health and care workers.

The purpose of wearing the face covering is to help prevent the wearer from infecting others, if they are asymptomatic, rather than protect the wearer, who should exercise care using the covering.

Press release, Public advised to cover faces in enclosed spaces, published 11 May 2020.

Guidance, How to wear and make a cloth face covering, published 11 May 2020

Guidance for household with possible COVID-19

This guidance from Public Health England (updated 24th March) details the steps that should be taken if someone in the household has symptoms of possible COVID-19, including the recommendations for 7 day isolation for the symptomatic individual and 14 days for the rest of the household.

The guidance contains advice regarding what you can and cannot do during household isolation, cleaning, laundry, pets, living with children, hand-washing, vulnerable members of the household, requiring medical assistance and how to end self-isolation. Illustrated diagram regarding household isolation timescales


This guidance (updated 30th March) is for those people, including children, who are at very high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 because of an underlying health condition. “Shielding” is a measure to protect these people by minimising all interaction with others for a period of 12 weeks. The NHS is contacting all those to whom these extra measures apply.

This guidance includes the following information:

  • a list of those conditions included
  • definition of shielding
  • advice on what to do if others live with you
  • assistance available to get food and medicines
  • advice for informal carers, visitors and care providers
  • looking after mental health.

NHS111 online

Due to overwhelming demand on the 111 telephone service, the NHS introduced a new online tool, to be used before calling for advice for those people not requiring emergency assistance. The tool enables you to find out what to do if you, or somebody else, may have symptoms of COVID-19. These are defined as a new continuous cough OR a high temperature (37.8C or over).

NHS111Online COVID-19 Advice



In response to the serious and imminent threat to public health posed by the outbreak, the government passed new emergency legislation which came into effect on 26th March.

This legislation details the requirements to close non-essential businesses, restrictions on movement, restrictions on gatherings and details the enforcement and penalties in place. The full legislation can be viewed here.

General Social Care Guidance
General Social Care Guidance

Management of Staff and Exposed Residents in Health and Social Care Settings

This guidance has been updated to include antibody tests and guidance for staff who are notified that they are a contact of a co-worker who is a confirmed case.

This guidance covers the following areas:

  • Staff with COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Staff return to work criteria.
  • Risk assessment for staff exposures in the workplace.
  • Resident exposures in care settings.

CQC Emergency Support Framework

The Care Quality Commission announced in April that they were to suspend their usual inspection regime. In its place they have launched the Emergency Support Framework which will be used during the current pandemic.

The core elements of this interim approach are:

  • using and sharing information
  • having open and honest conversations
  • taking action to keep people safe
  • capturing and sharing what CQC do

Maintaining the mental health and wellbeing of the adult social care workforce

In addition to recovery strategy-related documents, new guidance has been issued to health and social care providers and their staff on looking after their mental health during the pandemic.

The Department of Health and Social Care’s advice includes guidance and tools for employers, and contains six steps to supporting mental health, good practice examples and links to further information and resources.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): health and wellbeing of the adult social care workforce

Key Worker Testing

During the government briefing on 23rd April it was announced that all key workers will now be able to access Covid-19 tests for themselves and their household via a self-referral process. These tests are for those currently displaying symptoms and the aim is to ensure essential staff can avoid self-isolating unnecessarily.

Supporting people living with Dementia

This guidance was developed by Essex County Council in conjunction with the Dementia Service of Essex Partnership University NHS Trust. It provides some useful advice for health and social care professionals on how to assist individuals with dementia and their families during the current COVID-19 pandemic, with ideas and resources for further information.

SCIE Guide for supporting adults with LD or autism

This guidance for care staff was published on the 20th April with further updates expected. It contains useful guidance, strategies and resources for staff to use in the following areas:

  • Helping the person understand the changes and current situation with COVID-19
  • Supporting the individual with personal hygiene and home cleanliness
  • Dealing with the impact of social distancing measures, including exclusions available to exercise limits for those with a psychological or medical reason for flexibility
  • Impact on safeguarding, the Care Act, advance planning and death/bereavement.

Action Plan for Adult Social Care

On 15th April the Department of Health and Social Care issued COVID-19: our action plan for adult social care. This document sets out the government’s plan for:

• controlling the spread of infection in care settings
• supporting the workforce
• supporting independence, supporting people at the end of their lives, and responding to individual needs; and
• supporting local authorities and the providers of care.

The plan applies to all settings and contexts in which people receive adult social care. This includes people’s own homes, residential care homes and nursing homes, and other community settings. It applies to people with direct payments and personal budgets, and those who fund their own care.

COVID-19 rapid guideline: managing symptoms (including at the end of life) in the community [NG163].

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published new guidelines on 3rd April. This guidance contains information for commissioners and prescribers, but it is also relevant for front line care providers. It includes guidance on communication, treatment and care planning, managing COVID-19 symptoms and medication management.

COVID-19 Looking after people who lack mental capacity

This guidance is for health and social care staff who are caring for, or treating, a person who lacks the relevant mental capacity during the coronavirus crisis. It ensures decision makers are clear about the steps they need to take during this period. It focusses on new scenarios and potential “deprivations of liberty” created by the outbreak.

You will need to read the full guidance, however a few important summary points are below:

  • The principles of the Mental Capacity Act (2005) and the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards will still apply during this period
  • The guidance contains a useful flow chart at Annex A to help to make decisions quickly and safely, whilst keeping the individual at the centre of the process
  • In many cases it will be sufficient to make a best interest decision in order to provide the necessary care and treatment and put in place necessary arrangements for a person who lacks the relevant mental capacity to consent to the arrangements during this emergency period.

CQC New Notification of Death Form

The Care Quality Commission have now updated their notification form for “Death of a person using the service”. They have added a section to indicate whether the death was as a result of either confirmed or suspected coronavirus. This is a statutory notification required by all CQC registered providers.

Guidance for care of the deceased with suspected or confirmed COVID-19

This provides guidance to all services and settings, including care homes, required to manage the bodies of a deceased person with COVID-19 infection. It aims to ensure sensitivity, dignity and respect in the treatment of the deceased and their family, as well as ensuring the safety of staff in these services.

It is important to note that:

“there is likely to be a continuing risk of infection from body fluids and tissues of cases where COVID-19 has been identified.”

The guidance advises on the following steps within a residential setting:

  • ensure all residents maintain a 2m distance or are in another room from the deceased
  • avoid all non-essential staff contact with the deceased
  • use correct PPE if staff are required to provide any care to the deceased
  • follow your usual procedures for dealing with a death in your setting, including CQC notification.
Care Home Specific Guidance
Care Home Specific Guidance

Care Home Specific Guidance

The Department of Health and Social Care, Public Health England, the Care Quality Commission and the NHS have been working together to provide and update guidance specifically for the care home sector.

COVID-19 how to work safely in care homes

This guidance was updated on 15th June in order to provide clarity to the care home sector regarding the use of PPE. The updates include additional question and answers, details around specification of face masks and a new section relating to advice when caring for someone with a Learning Disability and/or Autism. The PPE requirements have been enhanced to reflect the fact that the UK is now in a period of sustained transmission, and PPE is now required for all care provision.

Although titled for care home staff we believe this is also applicable within many supported living setting as well. The guidance contains the following:

  • PPE recommendations for care home staff
  • FAQ’s on the use of PPE in care homes
  • Examples to help identify the correct use of PPE
  • A video specifically for care home staff to show how to put on and remove PPE

Admission and Care of Residents during a COVID-19 Incident in a Care Home.

More detailed guidance was published on April 2nd. This guidance includes detailed information on the admission of residents, caring for residents with COVID-19, reporting procedures, care after death, advice for staff, supporting residents requiring hospital admission and available national support.

COVID-19 Hospital Discharge Service Requirements

The government and NHS have also made changes to hospital discharge procedures in order to free up hospital beds. The come into effect on 19th March and include a section 8 detailing specific actions to be taken by care providers. These actions include implementing NHS Mail and the new national “Capacity Tracker”.

PHE (East of England) Presentation Slides – COVID-19 and care home settings (1st April)

Public Health England (East of England) have provided a set of presentation slides which can be used to train managers and staff as they provide a comprehensive overview of all the issues and requirements related to a care home setting. This includes general advice on the coronavirus, transmission, infection control and PPE.

Supported Living Specific Guidance
Supported Living Specific Guidance

Supported Living Specific Guidance

Guidance has been issued specifically for supported living providers and this was updated on 6th April. The guidance contains information on maintaining the delivery of care for local authorities, Clinical Commissioning Groups and registered providers. The full guidance can be read using the link below. In addition some of the guidance above in the section “General Social Care Guidance” is also relevant to supported living providers – discharge procedures, NICE rapid guideline on managing symptoms, supporting a person who lacks mental capacity and guidance for care of the deceased, for example.

Summary of the guidance

The guidance provides clear and practical steps to be taken in a number of scenarios, and these are summarised below.

Steps to maintain service delivery

  • review existing client lists identifying any priority health needs and additional informal support available to each person
  • work with local authorities to identify people who self-fund and establish levels of informal support available to them
  • map all care and support plans commissioned by the local authority to inform planning
  • work with local authorities to establish plans for mutual aid e.g. workforce sharing and deployment of volunteers
  • note arrangements local authorities, CCG’s and NHS111 have to refer vulnerable people to additional volunteer support schemes

If a care worker has COVID-19 symptoms

They need to follow NHS advice and if appropriate the stay at home guidance. Care workers advised to self-isolate should not visit and care for individuals until it is safe to do so.

If an individual being cared for has COVID-19 symptoms

Procedures are detailed for the use of PPE, cleaning and laundry in this circumstance.

Applying household isolation principles

In some cases the general government guidance which recommends actions for a household if one member has symptoms (see Section 3. Of the Client Information Hub – General Coronavirus Information) will be relevant to supported living provision.

Providers are advised that they will need to assess the best course of action for isolation based on their service set up, as these can range from self-contained flats to services with communal areas. Providers should also consider in their plans the underlying health conditions that may make some residents especially vulnerable to COVID-19.

If neither the care worker nor individual being cared for have any symptoms

In this case no additional measures are required beyond normal hand hygiene and infection control procedures.

Homecare Specific Guidance
Homecare Specific Guidance

New Provision of Homecare guidance

On 22nd May the Department of Health and Social care published new guidance for the provision of homecare during COVID-19.

The document brings together guidance for social care staff, registered providers, local authorities and commissioners who support and deliver care to people in their own homes in England.

It covers:

  • personal protective equipment
  • shielding and care groups
  • hospital discharge and testing
  • government support for social care
  • information collection and governance

How to work safely in Home Care published

The government published this guidance regarding correct PPE for home care providers on 27th April and it has been updated to include additional detail and a section on caring for people with Learning Disabilities on 15th June. It applies to visiting home care, extra care housing and live-in care. It includes clear scenario based guidance, tables and FAQ’s.

The PPE requirements have been enhanced due to the UK being in a period of sustained transmission, and require PPE of some level for all care provision regardless of symptoms.

If any staff are working within complex care they need to refer to the separate guidance regarding aerosol generating procedures.

COVID-19 – Guidance on homecare provision

Guidance has been issued specifically for the homecare sector and this was updated on 6th April. The guidance contains information on maintaining the delivery of care for local authorities, Clinical Commissioning Groups and registered homecare providers. The full guidance can be read using the link above. In addition some of the guidance above in the section “General Social Care Guidance” is also relevant to homecare providers – discharge procedures, NICE rapid guideline on managing symptoms, supporting a person who lacks mental capacity and guidance for care of the deceased, for example.

Summary of the guidance

The guidance provides clear and practical steps to be taken in a number of scenarios, and these are summarised below.

Steps to maintain service delivery

  • review existing client lists identifying any priority health needs and additional informal support available to each person
  • work with local authorities to establish plans for mutual aid e.g. workforce sharing and deployment of volunteers
  • note arrangements local authorities, CCG’s and NHS111 have to refer vulnerable people to additional volunteer support schemes

If a care worker has COVID-19 symptoms

They need to follow NHS advice and if appropriate the stay at home guidance. Care workers advised to self-isolate should not visit and care for individuals until it is safe to do so.

PLEASE NOTE – the guidance detailing what to do if the individual or household member has symptoms has been superseded by the new (27/04) “Working safely in homecare” document.

Infection Control & Personal Protective Equipment
General Information

How to work safely in Home Care

The government published this guidance regarding correct PPE for home care providers on 27th April. It applies to visiting home care, extra care housing and live-in care. It includes clear scenario based guidance, tables and FAQ’s.

The PPE requirements have been enhanced due to the UK being in a period of sustained transmission, and require PPE of some level for all care provision regardless of symptoms.

If any staff are working within complex care they need to refer to the separate guidance regarding aerosol generating procedures.

This guidance was updated on 27th April in order to provide clarity to the care home sector regarding the use of PPE. Although titled for care home staff we believe this is also applicable within many supported living setting as well. The guidance contains the following:

  • PPE recommendations for care home staff
  • FAQ’s on the use of PPE in care homes
  • Examples to help identify the correct use of PPE
  • A video specifically for care home staff to show how to put on and remove PPE

DHSC Communication to Adult Social care Sector of PPE Guidance

This update was sent to all care providers on 17th April to provide clarity around PPE guidance due to the number of times this has been changed and amended. It clarifies which are the current guidelines and which have been superseded, as well as providing an update about what to do in the case of PPE supply issues.

HSE Covid-19 RIDDOR reporting

The Health & Safety Executive have provided guidelines for when care providers should be making reports related to coronavirus under RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013).

General Infection Control Guidance

There is a hub page on the government website which contains all of the documents, posters, tables and guidance in relation to COVID-19 infection prevention and control, and this is the first place to look for the information you require. It was last updated on 27th April.

The guidance contains general IPC information, gives the broad principles of COVID-19 transmission and sets out the PPE which should be worn in different health and social care services. We suggest you read through the full guidance documents contained on this page – however we have put additional links below to some of the more useful overviews.

Video guide to donning and doffing PPE

Public Health England and NHS England have put together a useful YouTube video which provides a step by step guide to “donning” (putting on) and “doffing” (taking off) PPE within health and social care services.

Supply chain issues and sources of help

Zero VAT Rating for PPE

On 30th April the government announced a new temporary zero rate that will apply to supplies of Personal Protective Equipment. The measure will take effect from 1 May to 31 July 2020.

Its main objective is to relieve businesses, particularly in the healthcare and residential care sectors, of the burden of tax on essential infection protection equipment needed to deal with the coronavirus emergency.

Supply Chain

The health and social care sector has been receiving regular correspondence and updates both from central government and local authorities regarding the supply chain for PPE and the difficulties providers have been faced with in accessing sufficient supplies.

The most recent letter from the Department of Health & Social Care is linked below – it contains useful updates and information regarding supply issues, when to contact the NSDR and a list of health and social care PPE distributors and their contact details.

National Supply Disruption Response (NSDR)

Providers who have an urgent requirement for PPE, which they are unable to secure through their business as usual channels, should contact the NSDR via the 24/7 helpline:

0800 915 9964 (Freephone number in the UK) or

PPE Plan

On 10th April the government published a UK wide plan to ensure that critical PPE is delivered to those on the front line. The plan has three strands:

  • Guidance – being clear about who needs PPE and when
  • Distribution – setting up a new national supply system
  • Future supply – working with industry to boost further supply
Additional Information
Additional Information

Good Work Plan in effect from Monday 6 April 2020

The changes in the government’s plan are designed to give greater protection for those working under more flexible working arrangements – who, in employment law, occupy a middle ground between employees and the self-employed, known as a ‘worker’.

There are at least two changes that Care Homes should be aware of:

Written Contracts

What is changing? Written contracts must now be issued to employees as well as workers on Day 1 of employment instead of within 2 months

When? Day 1 of employment (currently within 2 months)

Who? Given to workers (for example Bank Staff and people on zero hour’s contracts) as well as employees (currently these only have to be given to employees)

What? Contracts must now include:

  • all benefits (not just pay, holidays and sick pay)
  • details of all leave
  • days worked
  • whether days or hours vary, if so, basis on which variation determined
  • probationary period and conditions for passing
  • details of training provided; mandatory training not funded etc.

Holiday Pay

The Good Work Plan stipulates that holiday be averaged over the previous 52 weeks worked (instead of current 12 weeks).

What people are saying about ENS

ENS has been our sole agency provider for the past 8 years. During this time we have worked in partnership to establish an agency service that provides us with the assurance that ENS staff are flexible, highly trained and able to adapt to our working environment across all of our diverse services.
ENS has been able to support our services to a very high standard throughout our geographical locations. Key Performance Indicators often exceed agreed outcomes.
Our relationship with their senior team and operational supervisors is professional and open. We are assured that our long standing working relationship with ENS will continue.
To this end we would not hesitate to recommend ENS as an agency provider to support their organisation.

Director of Human Resources and Training – large Housing and Support charity based in London

We needed to fill two last minute vacancies with high quality teachers.  With this brief, Julie from ENS did not disappoint.  One candidate was from Canada and Julie ensured that the move over went as smoothly as possible both for the teacher and the school. 
What impressed me the most was how Julie listened to exactly what I required and so no time was wasted on my part, sifting through candidates who would not have been good enough for my school. I would highly recommend ENS to another school looking to fill their teacher vacancies.

Darren, Drapers Academy in Harold Hill

My daughter Lynda has enjoyed 24 hour care provided by ENS since July 2013. The care staff are all well trained & briefed as to her complex healthcare regime & are also very sociable. This is very important to Lynda who loves to talk &interact with them. They also manage her household budget, encourage her to participate in domestic tasks within her capabilities, & promote a healthy lifestyle. The administration of ENS is excellent & has ensured that Lynda has a regular rota of carers & that when stand ins are necessary that they have had shadow shifts with her.


I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the hard work and support you have offered our Foyer and Parent and Child Scheme in managing the placement of temporary staff.
We appreciate the level of consistency and continuity your staff have bought to the schemes and would not hesitate in recommending the services of ENS Recruitment.

Foyer Manager – Large Housing Association based in Southeast England