Newsletter for 
 individual employers and 
 those who support them 


 August 2020 

Welcome back!
We paused the circulation of this newsletter to concentrate on supporting individuals and responding to COVID-19 related queries. Now that lockdown is easing for some, and we can move our focus to other support for individual employers and PAs, we are resuming the publication of this newsletter on a quarterly basis.
 
Individual employer funding – OPENING ON THE 18 AUGUST
We are pleased to announce that people employing PAs using a personal budget (social care direct payment or personal health budget from the NHS) or their own money, will be able to apply for funding to pay for learning and development.

The funding covers the cost of the training course, travel to and from the training and if you need to hire a replacement PA, whilst your usual PA is attending training.

The funding can be used for lots of different training including moving and assisting, first aid, communication, dementia awareness, diabetes awareness, risk assessments, skills for employers, and qualifications like a diploma in health and social care.
 
The application form, guidance on how to apply for funding and answers to frequently asked questions will be available on Tuesday 18 August here or by emailing funding@skillsforcare.org.uk.


 News and updates 
Free flu vaccinations available this winter for all PAs
The Government has agreed that PAs, as key workers, will be eligible for free flu vaccinations this winter to prevent them from getting the flu or from spreading it to the individuals they are supporting, and their families.

Flu is a serious illness that can cause severe complications and death and all PAs should therefore be vaccinated against flu to protect themselves and the people they care for.

Guidance on how PAs will be able to access free vaccinations will be available soon. Details and a link to the guidance will be added to the information hub for IEs and PAs.
COVID-19 essential training
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) continues to support the sector by funding essential training during this period.

The training is available as three individual packages of learning, rapid induction programme (aimed at new staff), refresher training (aimed at existing staff) and a volunteer programme and is available for all adult social care employers including individual employers. This approach is supported by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Find out more about how to access the training here.
Learning and development available via user-led support organisations
Skills for Care has funded 20 organisations who will deliver learning and development for PAs and their employers.

The learning on offer includes training for individual employers to support them in their role as an employer, a range of condition specific awareness and subjects such as resilience and wellbeing, first aid, mental health awareness, understanding behaviours that challenge, Makaton, Care Certificate standards, disability equality training, food safety and much more.

If you’d like to access any of the courses, contact the organisations directly. You can find full information by following this link.
Updated face-to-face training guidance
With the easing of lockdown and changes to advice about returning to work, we’ve updated our current guidance on face-to-face training and assessment during COVID-19.

We still encourage using digital solutions to deliver and access training, as far as is practicable. If digital solutions aren’t practical, then a thorough risk-assessment must be carried out. Our guidance will to assist you with this process to help you ensure the safety of everybody. Read the updated guidance here.


COVID 19: Safe and rapid recruitment
To support recruitment and ensure safety in these unprecedented times, we have brought together information to support safe and rapid recruitment.

It includes information on values-based recruiting (getting the right people), recruiting from your local community and distance recruitment (virtual interviewing).

Although many of the resources are aimed at social care providers, employers of all sizes may find them helpful. Click here to find out more.

 New resources 
Size and structure of the adult social care workforce
Skills for Care has recently launched our updated ‘Size and structure of the adult social care sector and workforce in England report 2020.’ The report contains the most up to date numbers and key findings regarding the adult social care workforce, including the PA workforce.

Some of the key findings are:
  • there is approximately 70,000 direct payment recipients were employing their own staff
     
  • the number of jobs working for direct payment recipients is likely to be between 131,000 and 143,000.
For the full report and infographics please visit our website.
 
Individual employers and the PA workforce report 2020
In addition to the size and structure report, in April 2020, we published a report specifically about individual employers and PAs.

This report, based on more than 3,500 responses from individual employers and PAs, includes key figures about the size and profile of the PA workforce, turnover and pay rates, training and qualifications, and other workforce information.

To access the full report please visit our website.
 


 Updates to the information hub 

COVID-19 guidance
The government is publishing and updating guidance in relation to the pandemic. Here are a few links to some recent updates.
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for people receiving direct payments. Updates reflect that the self-isolation period for people with coronavirus symptoms has changed to 10 days rather than 7 days.
  • Face coverings: when to wear one and how to make your own. This includes exemption badges and cards that can be used on mobile phones or printed.
  • COVID-19: guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable. This has been updated to include information related to the pausing of shielding.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) illustrated guide for community and social care settings called ‘What PPE to wear and when’.
  • ‘Please give me space’ social distancing cards or badges. Optional badges that can be used to show the carrier may have difficulties or concerns in maintaining social distancing.
Skills for Care’s main website also has links to published guidance, which individual employers, PAs and supporting organisations may find useful. Visit our website for more information.
 

 
 Blogs
Lockdown throws up big challenges for individual employers
The team at Richard's House won the 2020 Skills for Care Accolade for Best individual who employs their own care and support staff. Here Tess Reddington who employs a team of PAs to support her son reflects on the challenges the COVID-19 lockdown has presented for them. Read the blog.

Life in lockdown
Accolades finalist Jak Savage reflects on what lockdown down means for her family and support team. Read the blog.
 Get involved
National recruitment campaign
The Department of Health and Social Care is evaluating the impact of the national adult social care recruitment campaign since April 2020 and are looking for responses from a wide range of people, including individual employers and PAs.The survey is about their ‘Care for others. Make a difference’ campaign, it is open until 5pm on 21 August and should take no longer than 15 minutes to complete. To access the survey please click here.

For more information about the campaign please visit the Everyday Is Different website.
 Webinars
Skills for Care is planning a series of themed webinars. These are an online event which will be broadcast online and will replace the local networking events that we are not able to run this year.

Subjects may include recruiting during the pandemic, wellbeing and much more.

To keep up to date on the upcoming webinars and to register please visit our website.

Other webinars
The Be Human partnership, which is facilitated by In Control. Have been hosting a series of webinars since the start of COVID-19 to help people and families gather information and practical tips. These have included discussions on finding and employing PAs. You can find recordings, and questions and answers from past webinars, together with upcoming webinars here.

Think Local Act Personal, broadcast a webinar about ‘Good practice in supporting direct payment recipients during the COVID-19 pandemic’. You can find details of this and future webinars here.
Locality managers in your area

We have area teams of locality managers across England who can signpost you to relevant information, tools, funding availability as well as running workshops and networking events and supporting you with bespoke activities.

Visit our website to find out who your locality manager is in your area.
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Get involved on Twitter using hashtag
#PAFramework
 
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Skills for Care Ltd, West Gate, Grace Street, Leeds LS1 2RP
Registered company no.3866683. Registered in England
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