COVID-19 resources

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In need of support? Lessons from the Covid-19 crisis for our social security system

Resolution Foundation

This briefing note looks at the lessons we have learnt about the UK’s welfare system over the course of the Covid-19 crisis so far, and what those lessons might mean for its future direction. The report draws out the lessons for the welfare state from both how the existing system performed and also the changes that were swiftly made to it. It also offers examples of practical policy changes that draw on the experience of the past year. It sets out seven lessons: Lesson 1 – Earnings-replacement is a fundamental role of the social security system; Lesson 2 – Our system of sick pay leaves workers with too much of a financial imperative to carry on working; Lesson 3 – Treating employees and self-employed differently is hard to justify, and getting ever-harder to implement in our modern labour market; Lesson 4 – The level of support provided by the pre-crisis safety net was insufficient given the needs of low-income families, and particularly for younger adults; Lesson 5 – The safety net needs to reflect the variation in costs faced by different households; Lesson 6 – Delivering real-time, multi-billion pound programmes is possible but will inevitably result in design flaws that leave the state exposed to greater risk of fraud, and have too many rough edges; Lesson 7 – Our system for supporting those with long-term health conditions may soon be under much greater strain if long Covid leads to people withdrawing from the labour market. Drawing on these lessons, we set out three possible directions for reform: providing a greater degree of earnings-replacement; ensuring a more generous system overall; and doing more to support those with additional costs. The suggested policies are intended to be illustrative examples, rather than concrete proposals, and are not intended to be mutually-exclusive – indeed, progress could be made on all three fronts

Last updated on hub: 05 May 2021

Bullying and the pandemic: a picture of how bullying has changed during COVID-19

National Children's Bureau

Findings from a survey of pupils, school staff and parents and carers about bullying and relationships with friends during the lockdown when some children were in school but most were taking part in learning at home. Over 400 people responded to the survey which took place from 1st – 7th February. 68% of young people said they feel less connected to their friendships than before the pandemic. The responses to the survey shows that this is having an impact on how they are feeling and there are feelings of isolation and loneliness. Some children are feeling very relieved to not be going to school due to the bullying they were experiencing in school prior to the pandemic. There is consensus that there is less bullying taking place face to face – however, there has been an increase in bullying taking place online particularly on social media sites, gaming and instant messaging apps. 75% of young people learning from home are not being given opportunities to communicate with other pupils during online lessons. Where they are allowed to use the ‘chat’ functions in online lessons, these can often be used to say unkind and bullying things. Parents and children are worried about returning to school due to bullying and concerns about not having any friendships. Online lessons are providing a window into children’s homes and there are reports that children are experiencing bullying about their home, home life and the access they have to technology.

Last updated on hub: 05 May 2021

Mapping young London: a view into young Londoners after a year in lockdown

Partnership for Young London

This report looks at a range of issues the impact that Covid-19 has had on young people in London and the support or change they want to see. Partnership for Young London conducted a survey of 1623 young people aged 16-25, that was conducted between November 2020 and February 2021. Key findings include: Priorities – Housing, employment, and mental health are the most important issues for young Londoners now, with Covid-19 and lockdown having a huge impact on these issues; Covid-19 and lockdown – Young people are overwhelming unhappy with the Government’s response to the pandemic, with three in four (76.2%) believing the response was bad or very bad; Housing – Young Londoners are worried about not having a stable or safe space to stay (40.3%), with one in three having their housing situation impacted by Covid-19 and lockdown (31%); Employment – Two thirds (66.6%) said that Covid-19 and lockdown has impacted their, or someone in their household’s employment, and half (51.4%) had said that their future employment plans had changed; Mental and physical health – Young Londoners are facing a mental health crisis, with a third (34.4%) reporting wellbeing scores indicating depression, and a majority (75.5%) indicating poor wellbeing; Safety and the police – A majority (83.8%) of those surveyed said that they believed that there is systematic racism in the police, with even more (88%) saying that they supported Black Lives Matter; Discrimination – Just less than half (45.2%) of those surveyed said that they had experienced discrimination in London, while two thirds (74.4%) said they thought discrimination was common in London; Fairness and finance – One in five (20.2%) of those surveyed said that their financial situation meant that they have to go without essentials; Youth services – Nine out of ten (88%) of those surveyed said that they do not feel that they have a say in how youth services are set up and run.

Last updated on hub: 05 May 2021

Process evaluation of Virtual Pregnancy in Mind during the COVID-19 pandemic

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

Pregnancy in Mind (PiM) is a preventative programme for parents who are experiencing or at risk of mild to moderate anxiety and depression during the perinatal period (during pregnancy and the first year after birth). To comply with coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions, an adapted version of the NSPCC’s face-to-face service was developed using virtual and digital methods. This process evaluation looks at the case data of 186 parents who accessed the adapted service between March and September 2020. It considers: practitioners’ experiences of using virtual and digital methods to deliver the service; opportunities and challenges associated with virtual and digital delivery; practitioners’ views about the adapted service; whether there were improvements in parental mental health for those using the virtual service. Key findings from the evaluation include: there was a period of early adaptation in response to local need, before pooling key learning into a co-ordinated virtual model and consistent offer; while referral volume and source remained the same following lockdown, reasons for referral differed – proportionately more concerns related to parental mental health difficulties and parental stress, and fewer related to parenting, than in the previous non-COVID year; practitioners were able to adapt to a new way of working in undertaking holistic assessments virtually; practitioners identified a range of enablers and challenges associated with virtual delivery – key enablers included a supportive local context with existing pathways, demand and awareness, as well as stability, support and readiness in the local delivery team; overall, the virtual programme was acceptable to practitioners; Virtual Pregnancy in Mind is associated with significant improvement in depression and anxiety among parents.

Last updated on hub: 04 May 2021

COVID-19: information and guidance for social, community and residential care settings (excluding adult and older people care home settings)

Health Protection Scotland

This guidance is to support those working in social, community and residential care settings to give advice to their staff and users of their services about COVID-19. It covers: general measures to prevent spread of COVID-19 and protect people at increased risk of severe illness; preventing spread of infection in social, community and residential care settings; providing care for individuals during COVID-19 pandemic; measures to protect individuals in the shielding category; measures for individuals exposed to a case of COVID-19; children being moved between or to new care facilities; placement arrangements for symptomatic or COVID-19 diagnosed individuals; staffing; restriction of visitors; death certification during COVID-19 pandemic; and additional information for specific settings.

Last updated on hub: 04 May 2021

Pandemic Patient Experience II: from lockdown to vaccine roll-out

Patients Association

This report outlines the findings of an online survey conducted from February 11th to April 5th 2021, following up key themes in our report of last year, Pandemic Patient Experience. The survey reveals that the struggles to access services that many patients experienced in the spring and summer of 2020 have been less severe since then, but have still continued to some extent. Many people have shielded during the pandemic, but most shielding has not been done in line with official advice. The impact of shielding, and the numbers of people who will find it hard to return to participating fully in society, may therefore be widely underestimated. Patient feedback on the vaccination programme is extremely positive. Most patients found communication about their vaccine appointment and the process for arranging it very positive. Patients’ views on the overall handling of the pandemic were somewhat mixed. Very few rated it as very good, but across the other response options there was a range of opinion, trending overall to the negative. Vaccinated respondents were clearly more likely to rate it positively than unvaccinated respondents, but this may simply reflect a well documented trend in views across age groups rather than people’s views being specifically influenced by whether or not they have had a vaccination.

Last updated on hub: 04 May 2021

Time out: re-imagining schools: a youth work response to COVID 19

National Youth Agency

This paper builds on the insights from the ‘Out of Sight?’ research report, on the known and emerging needs of young people through COVID-19. It explores the role of youth services and youth work in schools and colleges, and the impact of the pandemic on vulnerable young people, in particular. The closure of schools to most children and the low number of vulnerable young people attending school or college since lockdown in March 2020 raises real fears for their education and wellbeing. For vulnerable young people ‘off the radar’, with little or no contact with formal and statutory services, there are concerns too for their safety. Youth work is a form of education that engages young people and helps to ensure that no young person is ‘left behind’, developing the skills, resilience and social networks needed in a rapidly changing world. As we adjust to a ‘new normal’, post-pandemic, youth work can further help develop young people’s voices, influence and be active in their communities. The recommendations in this report are made to support young people in their education to: catch-up through the summer months in response to lockdown and self isolation; prepare now and be sure-footed in the support needed when schools re-open fully; engage with and listen to young people, agile in our response to their needs, interests and concerns in a rapidly changing and uncertain world – to be confident in their futures.

Last updated on hub: 04 May 2021

Regular testing for adult day care centres in England

Department of Health and Social Care

Sets out how eligible adult day care centres in England can order, test and register regular PCR and lateral flow tests for all staff and service users. Testing is available to all open day care centres that are run by paid care staff. Services must be for adults over 18 and are provided within non-residential care settings that support the health and wellbeing of adults. This includes settings such as: purpose-built day centres; day centres attached to or part of a care home or supported living; other buildings in communities specifically used for regular adult day care. [Published: 18 February 2021; Last updated: 30 April 2021]

Last updated on hub: 04 May 2021

Advice for emergency staffing situations: mutual aid

Social Care Wales

Advice for local authorities and independent and third sector providers of social care. This advice on mutual aid is provided in the context of the overarching principle of minimising staff movement to avoid cross infection. It contains advice for employers who, having exhausted all other options, require extra capacity due to significantly low staffing levels and whose vulnerable residents will be at risk without additional staffing resource. In Wales, all local authorities are signed up to the principle of mutual aid and assistance in an emergency situation. This means that local authorities agree to sharing staff and helping each other in times of emergency. Contents include: points to consider for short term staffing arrangements; managing infection prevention and control; case study example; and frequently asked questions.

Last updated on hub: 04 May 2021

Vulnerable children and young people survey: summary of returns waves 1 to 22

Department for Education

Findings of a survey of local authorities in England to help understand the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on children’s social care. Local authorities were asked to report on the following areas: contact with children supported by the local authority children’s social care; children’s social care workforce; and system pressures. Headline figures for Wave 22 of the survey are as follow. The total number of children looked after (CLA) was 1% higher than the same time in 2019-20 and the total number of children on a child protection plan (CPP) was 3% lower. A large proportion of CLA, children on a CPP and other children in need (CIN) have been in contact with a social worker in the last four weeks (70%, 95% and 65% respectively). The proportion of social workers not working due to coronavirus (COVID-19) has decreased, with 1% of local authorities reporting over 10% of social workers unavailable due to coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wave 22. This is compared to 3% in Wave 21 (08 – 10 March 2021) and a peak of 13% in May 2020. The proportion of local authorities reporting over 10% of their residential care staff unable to work due to coronavirus (COVID19) has decreased to 8% in Wave 22, compared to 9% in Wave 21 (08 – 10 March 2021). Note that some local authorities have small residential care workforces and therefore a small change in the number of staff available may result in a large change in the proportion unavailable. The total number of referrals during Wave 22 was 11% lower than the usual number at that time of year. The total number of children who started to be looked after reported in Waves 1 to 22 of the survey was 8,950. This is around 29% lower than the same period in 2017-20.

Last updated on hub: 03 May 2021

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