COVID-19

Last updated: 31 March 2020 at 11:30

This page will be regularly updated with the latest guidance to support the adult social care sector during this challenging period.

COVID-19: residential care, supported living and home care guidance

The guidance sets out:

  • how to maintain delivery of care in the event of an outbreak or widespread transmission of COVID-19
  • what to do if care workers or individuals being cared for have symptoms of COVID-19

See guidance

Social care provider resilience during COVID-19: guidance to commissioners

Social care providers might find this guidance useful it picks up on points that we know are a concern.

See guidance 

COVID-19: ethical framework for adult social care

This new framework, from the Department of Health and Social Care, offers guidance on ethical considerations for local authorities and adult social care professionals planning their response to COVID-19.

It’s aimed at planners and strategic policy makers at local, regional and national level to support planning and organisation of adult social care in response to COVID-19.

See guidance

COVID-19: information governance and information sharing guidance

It’s essential that during the COVID-19 outbreak carers and social care workers can talk to each other and to the people they care for.

You should be mindful of handling people’s information securely and using the communication available to you (phone, email etc.) to clearly and quickly communicate with your local GPs, hospitals, community health services, local authorities, voluntary sector, pharmacists, and health services.

This practical guidance has helpful information on what providers should be doing around the information they’re sharing and the digital tools available to them.

See guidance


COVID-19 guidance for adult social care providers

We understand that social care providers are under immense pressure to continue providing care and support for our most vulnerable people, as well as protecting the health and wellbeing of the workforce. 

Quality care can only be achieved through having a skilled and competent workforce in place, but we appreciate that, at this time, keeping staff up to date with their training requirements and recommendations is simply not possible. Visit our COVID-19 adult social care providers area.


The Apprenticeship Programme Response to COVID-19

The government has published The Apprenticeship Programme response to COVID-19 to support providers, employers and apprentices and outline new policy changes and flexibilities. The guidance provides information on:

  • applying the policy on breaks in learning;
  • delays to end-point assessment (EPA); and
  • alternative arrangements for EPA and external quality assurance.

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education has also published guidance on the delivery of assessment at guidance on the delivery of assessment  which will be updated regularly.


Guidance on key workers

The government has produced Guidance for schools, childcare providers, colleges and local authorities in England on maintaining educational provision which defines who a key worker is. 

Information for individual employers and their personal assistants

The Department of Health and Social Care have confirmed that personal assistants (PA) are included in the definition of key workers. PAs should involve their employer in resolving issues with either schools, shops or the law enforcement agencies if there is an issue about their identity or role as a key worker.

Here’s some things that employers have told us they are doing to support their PAs:

  • Writing a document that explains that their PA is employed by them, how their PA provides essential support and details of how to get in touch with them as their employer.
  • Contacting their direct payment provider (for example, their local authority or CCG) or support organisation for a letter or other document that confirms they are a key worker.
  • Asking their PA to share a copy of their contract of employment.

Information on the PA role can be found on the Skills for Care’s information hub for individual employers and PAs here, where they can find a copy of Being a PA guide and a useful YouTube video


Temporary changes to DBS checks and fast-track emergency checks free of charge

Due to the need to urgently recruit staff and volunteers to our sector, temporary arrangements have been put in place to provide free-of-charge DBS applications and fast-track Barred List check service.

This will apply to healthcare and social care workers being recruited in connection with the provision of care and treatment of COVID-19 in England and Wales.

Find more info and a full list of eligible roles here.

In addition, the Social care provider resilience during COVID-19: guidance to commissioners states that commissioners should allow flexibility in their contracts “for example allowing recruits to begin working after a DBS AdultFirst check has been obtained”. Further guidance is available from the Care Quality Commission (paragraphs 17 and 18).


Availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) to the care sector

The government began distributing emergency supplies of free face masks on Wednesday 18 March and should be completed by next Tuesday no action is required by providers. They’re working with wholesalers to ensure a longer-term supply of all PPE items so that care providers will be able to order as normal.

Contact The National Supply Disruption
Any providers with immediate supply issues can contact The National Supply Disruption line on
0800 915 9964 or email supplydisruptionservice@nhsbsa.nhs.uk


Support and guidance for social workers

Visit our dedicated webpage 'COVID-19 updates for social work'


Training available on COVID-19

Some of our endorsed learning providers are offering free or discounted training on COVID-19 looking at signs and symptoms, latest CQC, NHS and government advice, waste disposal/laundry and many other topics. Search for endorsed providers offering this training in our search directory.


Blog: COVID-19: the Mental Capacity Act and Deprivation of Liberty Standards

This blog talks about how social care providers can ensure that they uphold the rights and decisions of people they support amid the COVID-19 emergency. Read more.

Share your COVID-19 challenges

We're sharing feedback with the Department of Health and Social Care on the challenges many of you are facing, so that where possible they can be picked up in future guidance. If there’s a specific problem you don’t know how to deal with, please get in touch at marketing@skillsforcare.org.uk and we’ll work out how we can support you.