Newsletter for 
 individual employers and 
 those who support them 


 February 2021 

Welcome to the individual employer update which shares the latest news, resources, events and funding opportunities from Skills for Care and partners, and you can find previous newsletters here.

 Latest news 
Vaccinating frontline social care workers
The NHS has published the standard operating procedure (SOP) to support the rollout of vaccinations to frontline health and social care workers in priority cohort 2.

Personal assistants (PAs) who provide care closely and regularly with those who are clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 are eligible to receive the vaccine. This includes PAs employed by people in receipt of personal budgets, self-employed PAs and those employed by people funding their own care.

Local authorities are working locally with employers and other organisations to collate details of eligible PAs. If employers or PAs haven’t already been contacted, they should get in touch with their local authority.

From 11 February, initially for a period of 2 weeks, all eligible frontline social care workers (including PAs) will be able to book their first COVID-19 vaccination appointment through the National Booking Service. Questions will be asked at the point of booking to confirm eligibility.

PAs must also inform their local authority, as well as their employer (where relevant) that they have booked their vaccine appointment.

⇨ Standard operating procedure - COVID-19 vaccine deployment programme: Frontline social care workers

Employment law advice and guidance have helpfully been published by ILG Support and Fish Insurance
Working together to build a sustainable workforce
The Department of Health and Social Care is launching the next phase of the national adult social care recruitment campaign in early February. The ‘Care for others. Make a difference.’ campaign is designed to inspire people with the right values and attitudes to consider a career in care, including PA roles.

There will be TV, radio and digital advertising to raise awareness of the variety of roles available. Individuals who wish to recruit PAs can use the campaign to their advantage to help them to attract people to their vacancies

Find out more and for further updates sign up to the campaign newsletter.
CARE badge – have you got yours?
The Department of Health and Social Care is providing CARE badges free of charge to staff employed across the adult social care sector, including those working as personal assistants. This is to recognise their critical work, particularly during the COVID-19 outbreak.

For PAs to order a badge, they will need to create a new account on the online ordering services. To do this they need to give their name, delivery address, email address. There is an ‘organisation name’ section, which can be left blank.

⇨ Access CARE badges
Guidance from the Government and key stakeholders 
Vitamin D for vulnerable groups
During the autumn and winter months everyone in the UK is advised to take a supplement of vitamin D every day to support general health and in particular for bone and muscle health. Many of us have been indoors more than usual this year and so might not have been making enough vitamin D from sunlight.

Guidance has been published for anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable and has been offered a free supply of vitamin D supplements in England from January 2021.

Updated 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 has been updated to reflect current national policy and includes new sections on mental health support and flu vaccination.

⇨ Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for people receiving direct payments
 Skills for Care resource and support
Individual employer funding – closing on 28 February 2021
If you employ your own care and support through a personal budget from social care or health (personal health budget) or using your own money (this is sometimes called being a 'self-funder'), you can apply for funding to train you and your personal assistants (PAs). To find out more about how to apply and what kind of training the funding can be used for please visit the website which has a short information video, guidance, links to the application form and some FAQs
  • Closing date for applications - Sunday 28 February 2021.
  • Training that’s successfully funded must be started by 31 March 2021.
⇨ Visit the website

New: Workforce wellbeing resource finder
Skills for Care has launched an easy-to-use tool to help you quickly find trusted resources to support your own and others wellbeing.

We know there is an overwhelming number of resources, support and help available and this simple tool holds different resources suited to social care from our national trusted partners. Whether you’re looking for self-help, support for others, someone to talk with confidentially or support with mental health, the results filtering system gives the user a few choices to reduce time and energy searching for resources.

This new tool will be updated regularly following user feedback and learning what resources work well and why.

⇨ Visit the wellbeing homepage to find out more
⇨ View the workforce wellbeing resource finder

Webinar recordings – In case you missed it!
We’ve completed a selection of recorded webinars covering a range of different topic areas and you can find them on our information hub. So far, we have the following webinars available:
  • Preparation for better conversations for PAs and Individual Employers
  • Understanding your responsibilities as an employer of personal assistants (PAs)
  • Wellbeing for individual employers and those supporting them
  • Learning and development webinar for individual employers and PAs
  • Recruiting personal assistants during a pandemic
We’re continuing to develop a series of webinars in a range of topics to support individual employers, personal assistants and organisations supporting them during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
⇨ View the webinars

COVID-19 Essential Training update
New national COVID-19 restrictions are in place in England from 5 January 2021. During this period, we recommend you stop face to face training and use digital solutions only. Please visit COVID-19 Essential training for more information.

Updated DBS guidance
New DBS filtering rules were introduced on 28 November affecting what is disclosed on a standard or enhanced DBS certificate and what employers can ask applicants in relation to convictions and cautions.

The Ministry of Justice has published amended guidance on making or asking for self-declarations of criminal records and Skills for Care is updating the safe and fair recruitment guidance and associated templates to reflect the changes. We have also updated the DBS guidance for PAs.
 Other resources 

PAs and vaccination and testing – webinar recording
This webinar (hosted on Be Human) focused on people who employ Personal Assistants (PAs) and want to gain useful information in regard to COVID-19 testing and vaccination.

The webinar features an overview of the current status by Martin Walker from Think Local Act Personal (TLAP), and direct experience of issues from Katie Clarke and the Bringing Us Together community, and from John Evans. There is also a legal and advisory perspective from Rachel Harkin and David Ashley from Mark Bates Ltd.

⇨ Access the webinar recording, slides and further information, together with other COVID-19 related webinars
 
SCIE quick guide: Providing care and support at home to people who have had COVID-19
This quick guide will help home care workers and PAs to provide care and support to people who have left hospital after having COVID-19. It explains what to expect as these people return to their lives at home under new circumstances.

⇨ Providing care and support at home to people who have had COVID-19
 
Personal Assistants in Care: Greater Manchester Recruitment Campaign
Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership (GMHSCP) have worked with colleagues across health and social care, and with partner organisations, existing PAs and direct payment employers to develop materials to help raise awareness of the PA in Care role, particularly among people who may be facing job losses from other sectors. The work involves:
  • Developing Greater Manchester Personal Assistants, a Greater Manchester wide website where potential PAs can find out more about the role, and be signposted through to each locality for vacancies.
  • Creating the PA Web matching tool to make it easier for prospective PAs and employers to find each other.
  • Designing digital materials for use online and in print by partners across Greater Manchester.
If you’d like to take a similar approach, you can find a list of helpful resources, including a blog from Zoe Porter, Personalisation Lead at the GMHSCP on the uniqueness of the PA role, employer and PA stories, marketing materials and so much more.
 
Top tip - Advertising PA vacancies on Find a Job
The Find a Job site is setup for companies to post jobs, however, it can be used to post details of jobs for personal assistants.

When registering on the site, use the term ‘Private Household’ as the company name. This will help to identify that the job is to support someone with care and support needs in their home.

⇨ Find a Job

Be Human - Let’s talk about…10 months into the pandemic… how are we doing? recorded webinar
Be Human have been hosting a series of webinars since the start of the COVID-19 crisis to help people and families gather information and practical tips and this recorded webinar was for people who wanted to check in and find out how people are doing 10 months into the pandemic, to bring some helpful solutions or identify what would be useful going forward.

⇨ View the recorded webinar
 
 Get involved
Calling all PAs and their employers – complete our survey
Skills for Care is the leading source of workforce intelligence for adult social care in England. Good quality information about the workforce is vital in helping to improve the planning and quality of social care services, which will, in turn, improve outcomes for the people who use these services, both now and in the future.

As the workforce includes those working as personal assistants (PAs), we are inviting individual employers and PAs to complete our online surveys:
Both surveys will close on 19 February 2021.

If your organisation supports individuals with direct payments and employing PAs, you can share links these links with your networks.

Information collected through these surveys will inform Skills for Care’s workforce intelligence reports and include key figures about the size and profile of the personal assistant workforce, turnover rates, pay rates and other workforce information.
Read the 2020 report on Individual employers and personal assistants.
 

The Personalised Care – Peer Leadership Development Programme
The personalised Care Group at NHS England and NHS Improvement has developed an exciting and innovative online personal development programme aimed at people with lived experience who are committed to working collaboratively with the system to shape and influence how personalised care is delivered.

The programme is aimed at people with long-term health conditions and disabilities who could benefit from personalised care, however Step 1 and 2 of the 4 step course are also suitable for a wider audience including health and care professionals, peer support workers and social prescribing link workers.

⇨ Read this article to find out more and download the full course booklet
 

Sharing effective references and conduct information
Gathering effective references for staff has always been an essential element of safe and fair recruitment, but many employers experience barriers and challenges obtaining or providing them.

To equip employers with the guidance, knowledge and tools to gather and provide effective references, Skills for Care is working with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), Reed Screening, Dominic Headley and Associates and VBA Consulting to develop resources for social care employers. To support this work, we’re consulting with employers of all sizes and are keen to hear views from organisations and agencies that support individual employers with pre-employment checks on prospective PAs.

If you’d like to get involved, email dominic@dominicheadleyassociates.co.uk.

Reminder
Less than six months to apply to the EU settlement scheme – are you prepared?
The deadline for applications for EU/EEA citizens to apply to stay in the UK is 30 June 2021.The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) is working collaboratively with several organisations to raise awareness and to provide guidance to all working in the care sector on how to support EU/EEA citizens to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).

If you are in contact with anyone who is, or may be, eligible to apply (e.g. PA, carer, care provider and families), it is better to check if they know if they need make an application rather than miss the 30 June 2021 deadline.More information and useful resources can be found on the dedicated
ADASS EUSS webpage.
 
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Get involved on Twitter using hashtag
#PAFramework
 
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