COVID-19 updates for social work

Last updated 16.09.2020 at 15:30

We will providing the most up to date information and support on this page needed for your role. With the added pressure in these very challenging times and we'd like to thank you for all you're doing.

This page covers the following:


General guidance:

An open letter from the Chief Social Workers to all social workers practicing in every setting is available to download.


An open letter is available to download which has been shared with social work students, on behalf of the Chief Social Workers.


A best practice guide has been produced specifically for social workers about getting the most out of video-calling applications.

Download the guide

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, mental health services and their staff are rapidly transforming how they work, in order to provide the best possible care in these unprecedented circumstances. This rapid report aims to describe these transformations, based on interviews with 36 mental health social workers across the country. In particular, this report focuses on the involvement of social workers in adult community mental health services (the professional group with which Think Ahead has the most contact).

Download the report

We are considering how we can support employers to ensure that our newly qualified social workers are able to continue and complete the ASYE. 

The ASYE is intended to provide a year of support and assessment for every newly qualified social worker. As employers are meeting the current challenge of protecting those who need social work services during the Covid-19 crisis we understand that the priority is front-line social work activity. 

Our priority is to ensure that the supply of the workforce remains constant,  so we suggest the following principles in order to ensure that ASYE activity continues as much as possible and that newly qualified social workers are not prevented from progressing in the workforce.

  • The assessment standard for the ASYE remains the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) and relevant Knowledge and Skills Statement (KSS).
  • Employers may review the usual minimum evidence requirements including considering a reduction in the amount of evidence presented.
  • Principal Social Workers can suspend internal moderation activity providing they are confident that assessment outcomes are being recorded effectively.
  • External moderation panels can be suspended in line with our decisions to suspend the national moderation panel.
  • Once the immediate Covid-19 crisis is over, Skills for Care will consult with employers on the best way to re-commence quality assurance and moderation activity, as well as benefitting from learning gained from doing things differently at this time.

Get in touch

We’re receiving questions and using them to update the ASYE FAQs daily. If you have any queries that are not covered in the current FAQs then email:


Free visa extensions will be automatically granted to more crucial overseas health and care workers, the Home Secretary has announced. 

Frontline workers, including midwives, radiographers, social workers and pharmacists, with visas due to expire before 1 October 2020 will receive an automatic one-year extension. It will apply to those working both in the NHS and independent sector and include their family members. 

⇨  Find out more.

Social Work England has created a webpage which is designed to share details of adjustments that education providers have made as a result of COVID-19. The information is intended to highlight the adaptations that individual education providers have made to reflect their own local requirements in order to meet the education and training standards. 

⇨  Visit their website

Government thank all social workers for keeping vulnerable children safe and adults cared for, throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. The Department for Education and Department of Health and Social Care have published a joint letter applauding all social workers for their inspiring efforts during the outbreak. The letter goes on to say:

“We wanted to thank the entire sector, including those returning to it, for stepping up to this challenge with such dedication and determination. Over the recent weeks we have been struck by extraordinary examples of social workers responding to these unparalleled circumstances.”

⇨  Read the letter in full.

The Chief Social Workers for Adults have published guidance for the support and wellbeing of adult social workers and social care professionals in a pandemic crisis. 

⇨  Read the guidance.

This guidance provides a professional risk framework to prepare for face to face social work in hospitals with adult patients, families or carers during COVID-19. It is not a comprehensive guide to hospital social work. Its aim is limited to planning for and managing risk during COVID-19 – whether with adults who are COVID-19 positive, negative or infection status unknown. It may be transferable to social work with children and young people in hospital. 

⇨  Find out more.  

This guidance is only valid during the COVID-19 pandemic and applies to those caring for adults who lack the relevant mental capacity to consent to their care and treatment. The guidance applies until withdrawn by the Department. During the pandemic, the principles of the MCA and the safeguards provided by DoLS still apply. 

⇨  Read the guidance.  

This guidance sets out how local authorities can use the new Care Act easements, created under the Coronavirus Act 2020, to ensure the best possible care for people in our society during this exceptional period. As you will see from the guidance, principal social workers play a key role in the decision making process. 

⇨  Read the guidance.     

Social Work England has a dedicated webpage offering information and guidance for social workers, employers, education providers and social work students. The page is updated regularly.

Get in touch
For any queries around student placements and the impact of students working from home, email 


This framework, from the DHSC, 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.

Information from Social Work England on the registration of temporary social workers is available on their website

Community Care Inform has made their guide to developing emotional resilience and wellbeing freely available to everyone. It’s a comprehensive guide, based on what research says supports resilience in social workers and is full of information and ideas to use in your practice. 

⇨  Download the guide.

The COVID-19 AMHP briefing has been published by BASW. This work has come from the two webinars held last week, and the many questions and issues raised by AMHPs and AMHP leads across the country. It will be updated and reissued as new information is available. 

This is not official guidance, but a summary of the responses to many questions raised by AMHP leads and PSWs and a review of the flexibilities currently available to LAs and NHS Trusts.

This has been produced by BASW, working closely with the AMHP leads Network and Chief Social Workers office.

Get in touch
If you feel anything is missing please email


Social Work England has given further advice about placements for student social workers giving flexibility to HEIs regarding length of placements whilst ensuring that minimum standards can be met to enable students to join the register. 

We’d encourage all employers providing placements for student social workers to work with the relevant HEIs to enable the completion of placements in line with the Social Work England flexibilities. This is to ensure the supply of new social workers entering the workforce is disrupted as little as possible in these challenging times.

⇨  Read Social Work England’s advice


2 people icon Information specific to principal social workers in adults services 


The DHSC has developed two new pieces of guidance aimed at adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults.

They have also been working with SCIE on their guidance for adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults, which is updated on a weekly basis.This guidance is specifically for social workers and occupational therapists.

⇨  Visit their website.

Other useful guidances and resources from a range of people and places are below:

This framework sets out how Brighton and Hove City Council will implement the provision set out within the new Care Act easements, created under the Coronavirus Act 2020, to ensure the best possible care for people during this exceptional period. 

⇨  Read the framework

A campaign called Social Work Together has been launched in partnership with Social Work England, DHSC and the Local Government Association to allow social workers to express their interest in employment opportunities in these extraordinary times. 

A website has been launched, which can be accessed at and will connect those offering their expertise to local employers. Under the Coronavirus Act, they were given powers to temporarily add 8,000 former social workers to their register.  

⇨  Read a letter from the Cheif Social Workers - It includes an update on the COVID-19 Bill and Ethical Framework for Adult Social Care. 


 3 people icon Principal social workers in child and family services:

The network has also developed some guidance around video calls/contact and virtual/online home visits which we think you’ll find useful.

Further guides are being developed and many PSWs have already joined the new reference groups. 

The department has made the decision to pause the delivery of all NAAS assessment centres until Spring 2021. 

The NAAS programme is running in background mode whilst the department prioritise the need for ongoing support and guidance to local authorities and trusts, their workforce and the children and families they support during this unprecedented time. 

NAAS endorsements will remain valid during this time, and local authorities and trusts should continue to ensure that all staff receive adequate training and development opportunities, especially new and agency staff brought in at this time. 

The ASYE pathway to NAAS remains open, with registration available until 31 May 2020. 

For any questions, please email

Social work values have probably never been so important. Empowerment, inclusion, respect and an ability to appreciate lived experiences will be at the heart of our responses. Creativity in being able to continue working with children and families when face to face contact may not always be possible has quickly helped activities to continue using technology and the PSW Digital research will assist in capturing this practice while the PSW best practice guides offer helpful support and guidance for practitioners in frontline services. 

⇨  Read the full letter.    

A campaign called Social Work Together has been launched in partnership with Social Work England, DHSC and the Local Government Association to allow social workers to express their interest in employment opportunities in these extraordinary times. 

Visit to connect those offering their expertise to local employers. Under the Coronavirus Act, they were given powers to temporarily add 8,000 former social workers to their register.    

A campaign called Social Work Together has been launched in partnership with Social Work England, DHSC and the Local Government Association to allow social workers to express their interest in employment opportunities in these extraordinary times. 

Visit to connect those offering their expertise to local employers. Under the Coronavirus Act, they were given powers to temporarily add 8,000 former social workers to their register.    


3 people icon Information for child and family social workers

COVID-19: Guidance and resources to assist with school and other education settings attendance from September

The Department for Education have produced a toolkit to help support children and family social workers with attendance conversations. 

The toolkit includes a range of guidance and resources to help explain the benefits and importance of attendance at summer activities, school clubs and formal childcare as well as the return to school, college, early years and childcare settings in September, providing an environment where all children and young people can achieve and thrive. 

It is designed to be used in combination with social workers drawing on their own local authority’s guidance and resources. For example, social workers should link in with the services that support attendance and SEND. 

Please see below for a full list of resources and guidance.

The Department for Education recognises the crucial role children and family social workers have played in supporting families, carers and residential settings in providing care and safety for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people throughout the pandemic. Social workers are already likely to be encouraging engagement with education in the conversations they have with children, young people and their families over the summer holidays..

It is recommended that the conversations focus on

  1. explaining why attendance is important.  
  2. identifying children and young people who are reluctant or anxious about returning or who are at risk of disengagement. This may include children and young people who have themselves been shielding previously but have been advised that this is no longer necessary, those living in households where someone is clinically vulnerable, or those concerned about the comparatively increased risk from coronavirus (COVID-19), including those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds or who have certain conditions such as obesity and diabetes.  
  3. developing plans for re-engaging them, including by working closely with wider support services.  
  • Common questions from parents and carers
    A list of answers to commonly asked summer activity and school attendance questions, designed to help support conversations with parents and carers about attendance, signposting them to relevant government guidance. 
    ⇨ Download the common questions

  • Editable copy for social workers to support conversations and formal communications
    Designed to be tailored to support conversations with children, young people and their families about the benefits of summer activities and importance of school attendance in September. 
    ⇨ Download the editable copy

  • School guidance for full re-opening from September 
    Outlines the measures school leaders. It also covers the expectations for children and young people with special educational needs and disability (SEND), including those with education, health and care plans, in mainstream schools and details operational expectations in this new context.
  • Guidance for parents and carers 
    Details of changes to after-school clubs, holiday clubs, tuition, community activities and other out-of-school settings for children and young people over the age of 5 during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. 
  • Mentally healthy schools 
    Quality assured information, advice and resources to help primary schools understand and promote children’s mental health and well-being  
  • Children's commissioner website 
    Support, advice and information for children and young people in care, leaving care, living away from home or working with children’s services 
  • MindEd 
    A free educational resource from Health Education England on children and young people's mental health  
  • Rise Above 
    Designed to build resilience and support good mental health in young people aged 10 to 16  
  • Every Mind Matters 
    Includes an online tool and email journey to support everyone to feel more confident in taking action to look after their mental health and wellbeing.