COVID-19 resources

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Child and family social work during the COVID-19 pandemic: a rapid review of the evidence in relation to remote leadership

What Works Centre for Children's Social Care

A review of the evidence on barriers and facilitators to effective remote leadership. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and associated lockdown, one key challenge for those in leadership roles is how best to support and manage their teams when working remotely. The review identifies five facilitators: leadership style – leaders need to be flexible, and provide task-oriented and relationship-based support; communication – needs to be regular and allow for the sharing of ideas; team organisation – leaders need to pay special attention to team coordination and set specific goals for team members; team cohesion – leaders need to be visible to all team members and facilitate (non-mandatory) social as well as work-related activities; and focus on team performance – leaders need to set clear goals, provide regular feedback and allow more time and flexibility around task completion. The evidence also suggests four main barriers to effective remote leadership, including: diluted and unequal leadership – the impact of the leader is likely to be diluted and previous methods of working may not be as effective, the demands of remote leadership may not be felt equally by female and male leaders; communication – there will be an absence of opportunities for informal discussions; team cohesion – conflict or fault-lines between team members may emerge; team performance – individuals will find it harder to collaborate and overall team performance may be less productive than normal.

Last updated on hub: 08 July 2020

Webinar: Building back from COVID-19

During and after the COVID-19 crisis, we need to create the right conditions for our practitioners to be efficient and productive, so that they are freed up to spend more time with people.

Last updated on hub: 07 July 2020

Impact of easing COVID-19 lockdown restrictions on domestic violence and abuse

Social Care Institute for Excellence

A quick guide developed with Respect and SafeLives to provide practical ideas for social care professionals about the impact on domestic violence and abuse as lockdown eases.

Last updated on hub: 07 July 2020

Coronavirus: overseas health and social care workforce

House of Commons Library

This briefing paper considers the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the overseas health and social care workforce and discusses the measures used to increase numbers of overseas staff during the pandemic. Specifically, the briefing examines the measures to boost numbers of overseas health care staff during the pandemic (nurses and midwives, doctors and medical support workers); immigration measures for health and social care staff; overseas health and social care workforce statistics (nationality of NHS staff in England, regional variation, NHS recruitment by nationality, nationality of social care workers and deaths from COVID-19); and the implications for international recruitment (NHS Workforce Plan, implications for social care, ethical recruitment, and recruitment from developing countries following COVID-19). The data shows that in 2018/19 around 84 per cent of the adult social care workforce were British, whilst 8 per cent had an EU nationality and 9 per cent had a non-EU nationality. Reflecting on the implications for social care, the briefing notes that despite being faced with more severe workforce shortages than the NHS, the social care sector does not have an equivalent workforce plan and there is no central support to increase international recruitment.

Last updated on hub: 07 July 2020

Iriss on… social isolation and technology

The Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services

A brief overview of social isolation, the implications of the COVID-19 crisis, and how technology can support social connectedness, through access to social networks, health and care resources, entertainment or educational content. The document gives a definition of social isolation and explains who is at risk, the causes and consequences of isolation, and the role digital technology. It also highlights and signposts to relevant evidence and literature.

Last updated on hub: 07 July 2020

Fair care work: a post Covid-19 agenda for integrated employment relations in health and social care

King's College London

This paper contributes to deliberations on fair care work, presenting policy options designed to address the challenges to employment relations in health and social care highlighted by the Covid-19 crisis. In general, the pandemic has revealed the vulnerability of many workers in modern labour markets adding weight to recent calls for action in dealing with the precarious nature of employment in the ‘Gig Economy’. The paper argues that the organisational difficulties faced in dealing with the virus have exposed a related but distinctive set of challenges for the management of health and social care workforce and maps the way forward along key dimensions of employment: migrant workers; pay determination; learning and development; and the nature and consequences of outsourcing. The paper sets out a model of fair care work based on four essential principles: integration, aligning the treatment of workers in health and social care; parity of esteem for workers employed by different types of service provider and across the occupational hierarchy; compliance to ensure the effective implementation of fair care work; and collective employee voice to guarantee employee interests are meaningfully aggregated and articulated.

Last updated on hub: 07 July 2020

Managing through COVID-19: the experiences of children’s social care in 15 English local authorities

King's College London

This study examines the arrangements put in place in children’s social care services during the period of the COVID-19 lockdown and considers what their impact and legacy might be. A modified Delphi methodology was adopted, gathering expert opinion from 15 representatives of English local authorities to through a series of iterative questionnaires, with a goal of coming to a group consensus. Findings cover a whole range of issues, including home and office working; referrals; working with families in a pandemic; foster care; care leavers and unaccompanied young people seeking asylum; residential homes; multi-agency working; recruitment; planning for the end of lockdown; and lessons for the future. The study found that the local authorities have responded to three interrelated imperatives: to keep social workers safe while promoting their health and wellbeing, to work with extremely vulnerable families and to use technology to undertake work with these families who may be technology poor. All authorities were conscious that soon they could be facing additional challenges as they dealt not only with the practicalities of social distancing and technology, but the increased number of referrals that they expected once other services returned to ‘more business as usual’ operations. There was concern about those families who had been exposed to the risks arising within their homes such as domestic abuse, coercive control, alcohol and substance misuse, with consequences for their mental and physical health. COVID-19 has also offered opportunities, leading children’s social care services to think afresh about how things work and speed up changes that would have taken years to introduce. Previous notions of how to conduct an assessment, engage in direct practice and offer student placements are amongst the many activities that have been tested and reshaped, at least temporarily. Similarly, virtual visits to families were reported to be effective in certain circumstances and be less intrusive for some families, although establishing face-to-face contact in the home will continue to be necessary.

Last updated on hub: 07 July 2020

Managing through COVID-19: the experiences of children’s social care in 15 English local authorities: briefing paper

King's College London

Summarises the finding of a study examining the arrangements put in place in children’s social care services in 15 local authorities during the period of the COVID-19 lockdown. Findings cover: the social work workforce; referrals to children’s social care; work with families; foster care; care leavers; unaccompanied young people seeking asylum; residential homes; multi-agency working; cross-authority work; students and placements; recruitment; support for local authorities through COVID-19; planning for the end of lockdown; and lessons for the future. Lessons include: the use of technology in contacting parents should be approached with caution, taking account of the family’s ability to access it and their confidence in working in this way, and the service’s capacity to provide support in doing so; a proportion of meetings and other interactions will continue to be conducted virtually but these should be monitored to determine what it is effective and efficient to do and in what particular circumstances; the potential of technology to improve social workers’ engagement with young people has been established, but it is important to recognise that it will not work for everyone and there will be those who do not wish to use it in some circumstances; it will be important to build on positive developments that have emerged such as those in relation to multi-agency working.

Last updated on hub: 07 July 2020

Impact of coronavirus in care homes in England: 26 May to 19 June 2020

The Office for National Statistics

Sets out the first results from the Vivaldi study, a large scale survey which looked at coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in 9,081 care homes providing care for dementia patients and the elderly in England. Across the care homes included in the study, 56% are estimated to have reported at least one confirmed case of coronavirus (staff or resident). Across these, an estimated 20% of residents and 7% of staff tested positive for COVID-19, as reported by care home managers, since the start of the pandemic. The emerging findings reveal some common factors in care homes with higher levels of infections amongst residents. These include prevalence of infection in staff, some care home practices such as more frequent use of bank or agency nurses or carers, and some regional differences (such as higher infection levels within care homes in London and the West Midlands). There is some evidence that in care homes where staff receive sick pay, there are lower levels of infection in residents. Findings also include some common factors in care homes with higher levels of infection amongst staff. These include prevalence of infection in residents (although this is weaker than the effect of staff infection on residents), some care home practices (such as more frequent use of bank or agency nurses or carers, and care homes employing staff who work across multiple sites) and some regional differences (such as higher infection levels within care homes in the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber). However, regional differences may be affected by different patterns of testing in staff and residents over time.

Last updated on hub: 07 July 2020

Capturing beneficial change from the COVID-19 pandemic: response from the British Geriatrics Society

British Geriatrics Society

This report provides examples of the beneficial innovations that have been implemented across the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic. It argues that they should be consolidated and retained as health care services start to resume business as usual. Some of the innovations take place at the interface between health and social care, giving an indication of how integrated care can move forward. The examples are organised into ten themes, covering: proactive anticipatory care for older people with frailty; urgent primary care response; specialist-led assessment and treatment at home; coordinated multi-agency support for care homes; person-centred advance care planning; age-attuned acute care; safe, effective and timely transfers of care; optimising rehabilitation and recovery; virtual clinics; and digitally-enabled care. For each theme, the report provides a short description of the innovation, one or two examples of this innovation being implemented and a brief outline of the benefits to patients and staff. The document concludes with details of the key enablers that are present throughout the themes and details on how these innovations can be sustained nationally to ensure that the lessons learned in the pandemic are not lost.

Last updated on hub: 07 July 2020