COVID-19 resources

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Post-Covid policy: child poverty, social security and housing

The Children's Society

This briefing sets out recommendations in relation to poverty, social security and housing for the Covid-19 recovery phase. The coronavirus crisis has been extremely damaging for children, at all stages of their life. The social security system, the housing system and crisis support delivered at a local level have a key role in supporting children and families to recover from the crisis, which may take years. While the government has acted quickly to establish measures to support people financially during this crisis, children and families have been noticeably absent from this support package. Gaps in the social security system and cuts to crisis support have meant that some families have been left without any financial support or form of safety net. The paper sets out detailed short-term and long-term asks for the government including ensuring the adequacy and accessibility of the benefits system; ensuring that children and homeless families are not placed in accommodation that is harmful to their health and wellbeing, including converted office blocks and housing of multiple occupancy with shared facilities; and providing crisis support and improved and sustained funding for voluntary sector organisations, especially second-tier welfare advice sector.

Last updated on hub: 29 July 2020

Delivering a Coronavirus recovery that works for children: summary and recommendations

The Children's Society

This briefing sets out an approach to delivering a recovery from the impact of COVID-19 that works for all children. Such an approach is underpinned by a set of principles, including taking an integrated and holistic approach, promoting children’s rights and entitlements, treating children as partners, reducing inequalities, committing to a comprehensive, long-term funding settlement, responding to the changed needs, investing in the workforce, adopting relationship-based, person-centred models of care. Experts from across the children’s sector have been working closely together to produce a set of briefings summarised in this paper. These briefings build on these principles to begin to set out an approach to delivering a recovery which works for children across six key areas: child poverty and social security; mental health and wellbeing; early years recovery; supporting children in care and care leavers; safeguarding and child protection; and school returns.

Last updated on hub: 29 July 2020

Living in poverty was bad for your health before COVID-19

The Health Foundation

This long read looks at the link between health and income. It explores the nature of the economic shocks experienced in recent years, including those stemming from COVID-19, and the consequences these might have on people’s health. It then considers how the current crisis may be used to build a fairer and healthier society. The paper highlights the extent to which income is associated with health – people in the bottom 40% of the income distribution are almost twice as likely to report poor health than those in the top 20% and poverty in particular is associated with worse health outcomes. Furthermore, income and health can both affect each other – lower income is associated with more ‘stressors’ which can harm health and allow fewer opportunities for good health. Poor health can limit the opportunity for good and stable employment and so affect income. The UK entered the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and related economic shock from a starting position of stagnant income growth and low levels of financial resilience – the pattern of employment loss and furloughing by income suggests that the future economic consequences of COVID-19 may be borne by those on lower incomes. The paper argues that providing support to bolster people’s incomes for as long as necessary should remain a priority and the Government’s current package of support should be expanded. In addition, the ‘levelling up’ agenda should include investment to improve the health of the whole population and level up health outcomes.

Last updated on hub: 29 July 2020

Flipping social care: stepping into the unknown

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services

This briefing considers how social care can be seen as an investment in communities and not just as an unavoidable cost to society. The principle of ‘flipping social care’, which is the focus of the paper, is about recognising and valuing the economic benefits and opportunities that flow from a vibrant and well-resourced social care sector. Whilst acknowledging that Covid-19 has challenged the sector in countless ways, the paper suggests that the case for the sector as a driver for economic prosperity remains intact, and it is arguably stronger than before. The sector has long been wrestling with the fact that the solutions and approaches to health and care that are used today are unlikely to be sustainable as demand continues to grow – the pandemic is magnifying the challenge and accelerating the urgency with which this must be met. The paper sets out how the ‘flipping social care’ principle can be realised through a vision for adult social care in the West Midlands. This entails putting justice for the most vulnerable and marginalised citizens at the centre; ensuring decisions about local areas are entrusted to the people who live and work locally, have a track record and know what their communities need; delivering truly-integrated working across social care and health services; building a strong case for intelligent public investment in social care as a driver for economic prosperity as well as social wellbeing; moving away from offering care from buildings to planning support around a person’s strengths and needs; using data and technology to understand what people need and how to target help and support more effectively; and designing a new and better way to ensure social care staff are paid fairly for what they do and can work in a healthy, supported and flexible way.

Last updated on hub: 28 July 2020

Direct and indirect impacts of COVID-19 on health and wellbeing: rapid evidence review

Liverpool John Moores University

This rapid review identifies the current evidence on the direct and indirect impacts of COVID-19 on health and wellbeing. Rapid searches were carried out of the academic and grey literature between 18 May and 8 June 2020 to scope and collate evidence. These sources were analysed and used to prepare this rapid evidence review. The findings show that the impacts of COVID-19 have not been felt equally – the pandemic has both exposed and exacerbated longstanding inequalities in society. Conversely, there is also evidence of increased civic participation in response to the pandemic and a positive impact on social cohesion. However, social isolation and loneliness have impacted on wellbeing for many. There are serious concerns about how the combination of greater stress and reduced access to services for vulnerable children and their families may increase the risk of family violence and abuse. Compounding this, safeguarding issues have been largely hidden from view during lockdown. In addition, the review finds that the pandemic has both disrupted and changed the delivery of NHS and social care services. Concerns have been raised about significant drops in A&E use and the health care needs of people with long-term conditions have been significantly impacted. The report concludes by arguing that as we move from the response phase into recovery, the direct and wider impacts of the pandemic on individuals, households and communities will influence their capacity to recover.

Last updated on hub: 28 July 2020

Safe, happy and together: design ideas for minimising the spread of infection whilst nurturing social interaction in later living communities

Housing LIN

This report outlines a series of practical design recommendations to control the transmission of coronavirus, and other everyday infections, in later-living housing whilst maintaining social interaction for residents. Later living, in this paper, refers to residential accommodation consisting of self-contained apartments with associated communal, support and ancillary spaces under one roof. The document is intended to be a practical guide for designers, operators and developers refurbishing ageing later-living housing projects or considering new ones. It identifies thirteen specific areas that would require improvements in order to safeguard the mental and physical health of residents, and to enable staff to manage additional tasks that might be required of them during a pandemic. Key recommendations include creating a separate entrance for staff and deliveries, additional storage for PPE, ventilators, sanitation equipment at all entrances and installing a traffic light system in the lobby to control movement in and out of the building or a ‘pop-up’ shelter in the entrance courtyard for supervised visits.

Last updated on hub: 28 July 2020

Covid 19, low incomes and poverty

The Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services

This summary provides an overview of recent evidence relating to Covid 19, low incomes and poverty. It is based on the findings of a search for academic research and grey literature using a wide range of search terms including: Covid-19, poverty, low incomes, deprivation, unemployment, health inequalities, housing, school closures, food poverty, fuel poverty, benefits system. The paper reveals that those living with socio-economic disadvantages and inequalities are more likely to experience poorer health, housing and education, lower income, and lack of access to quality outdoor space, all things most immediately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Poorer groups also have additional barriers as those who traditionally support them – friends and family, care groups and charities – may also experience a crisis or be unavailable. The report highlights the additional hardship for carers and those they care for – they are often already living on lower incomes so anything that stretches, reduces or removes it altogether will cause further deprivation. The need to maintain a focus on the gendered impact of the crisis is also highlighted – social isolation policies, and thus the current lockdown, increases women’s vulnerability to domestic abuse, with financial dependence and poverty as primary risk factors. The evidence also shows that structural inequalities put Black and Ethnic Minority (BAME) groups at much higher risk of illness from Covid-19, and facing harsher economic impacts from government measures to deal with the virus.

Last updated on hub: 28 July 2020

Domestic violence and abuse during COVID-19

Advice and resources for supporting adults and children experiencing domestic abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 28 July 2020

Supporting children and young people with SEND as schools and colleges prepare for wider opening

Department for Education

Risk assessment guidance for settings managing children and young people with an education, health and care (EHC) plan or complex needs during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, including special schools, specialist colleges, local authorities and any other settings managing children and young people with SEND. [Updated 24 July 2020]

Last updated on hub: 28 July 2020

Adult social care: shaping a better future: nine statements to help shape adult social care reform

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services

This paper sets out nine statements which are intended to help shape the future of adult social care in a radical, person-centred and transformative way. As a result of Covid-19, a number of challenges have emerged and been brought to light– they offer an opportunity to rethink, redesign and reorientate care. The document argues that what is required now is a total reset; a wholesale reimaging of adult social care, built around the following statements: we need a public conversation about adult social care reform; locally integrated care, built around the individual, should be the norm; we need a complete review of how care markets operate; we must address existing and historical inequalities; housing is central to care and to our lives; we need a workforce strategy; we must prioritise access to technological and digital solutions; we need a cross-government strategy; we need to manage the transition. The paper calls for a two-year funding settlement in 2020 that ensures the short-term sustainability and continuity of care; creates the space to undertake the national conversation that will ultimately shape a new person-centred vision for adult social care, secure new deal for those that work in social care and family carers; and help properly transition to the new models of care that emerge as a result.

Last updated on hub: 27 July 2020