COVID-19 resources

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The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: UK implementation

House of Commons Library

This briefing paper describes the findings of the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’ investigation into the UK in 2016, the UK and devolved government reactions, and subsequent developments, including the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on disabled persons’ rights. Section 2 of the paper explains how the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is applied and monitored in the UK. Section 3 considers evidence of the impact of measures introduced during the period of the coronavirus pandemic on disabled people in the UK. A summary of the UN Committee’s 2016 findings and reactions can be found in Section 4. Section 5 focuses on the specific findings of the 2016 investigation. Section 6 summarises UK and Devolved Government strategies for persons with disabilities. Section 7 covers Human Rights Commission reports on progress since 2016.

Last updated on hub: 25 November 2020

Coronavirus: support for rough sleepers (England)

House of Commons Library

This briefing paper outlines the measures taken in England to support rough sleepers, and those at risk of rough sleeping, during the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. It discusses the impact of these measures and stakeholder comment. Contents include: Contents: support for rough sleepers; impact of measures to support rough sleepers; government policies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; background information on rough sleeping and homelessness in the UK. Rough sleepers are vulnerable to coronavirus (Covid-19); they are more likely to have underlying health conditions than the wider population and to face difficulties in following public health advice on self-isolation, social distancing and hygiene. They can also face barriers in accessing public health information and healthcare. Shared facilities used by rough sleepers – such as day centres, hostels and night shelters – increase the risk of transmission of the virus. The Covid-19 outbreak in spring 2020 prompted an unprecedented public health response from the UK Government, local authorities and the voluntary sector to protect the rough sleeping population.

Last updated on hub: 25 November 2020

Covid-19 Insight: issue 5

Care Quality Commission

The report explores some of the learning about good practice in infection prevention and control, and shares some of the good examples in understanding how providers are taking action to minimise the risk of cross-infection. In particular, the report looks at infection prevention and control in care homes, revealing that effective use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and having up-to-date policies in place were the two areas with the most gaps in assurance; and the experiences of hospital inpatients during the early stage of the pandemic, showing that while people’s experiences remained positive, in line with previous inpatient surveys, discharge and care after leaving hospital were the most problematic aspects of care. The report also updates regular data including outbreaks and deaths in homecare services; numbers of deaths of people detained under the Mental Health Act; deaths of people with learning disabilities; and deaths of people from Black and minority ethnic groups in adult social care settings.

Last updated on hub: 25 November 2020

Digital health and Covid-19: a PRSB consultation

Professional Record Standards Body

Findings of a consultation exploring the role of digital in responding to the pandemic; the opportunities and challenges encountered and the lessons for the future; and views on ways in which PRSB and its members can influence this agenda. The report reveals that the experience of a shift to digitally enabled working was, on balance, seen as positive by both professionals and people using services; the benefits from remote consultation went beyond convenience and a reduced risk of infection, particularly for people who have found traditional consultations a challenge; almost universally, there was a sense that many of the changed ways of working, with adjustment where necessary, should be retained; however, poor infrastructure, multiple platforms, and lack of interoperability across many health and social care settings prevented optimal service delivery; remote and self-monitoring tools have great potential, but they need standardising, integration, quality control and risk management; data requirements, for practice, governance and for research, need much better planning and coordination and reducing burden is essential; the pace of change in practice has not been matched by updated and responsive protocols for information sharing, leading to suboptimal care and frustration; the care sector, and social care, despite welcome developments such as access to NHSMail during the crisis, experience challenges in the timely access to information that could improve outcomes and experience for people. The report sets out a comprehensive set of recommendations addressing each of the priorities for action identified in the consultation.

Last updated on hub: 24 November 2020

Staying mentally well: winter plan 2020 to 2021

Department of Health and Social Care

This plan sets out the steps that government is taking in the immediate term to support people’s mental health and wellbeing during the second wave of the coronavirus and winter months ahead. It outlines the key resources being provided to look after mental wellbeing, the government’s plans to strengthen the support available for those struggling in communities, commitments to ensure services are there to support those who need it, and the packages available to help keep our frontline workers well.

Last updated on hub: 24 November 2020

Supporting special guardians during the pandemic: Kinship Response delivery and impact during May – October 2020

Grandparents Plus

An assessment of the impact of Kinship Response during the pandemic. Kinship Response is an adaptation of the Kinship Connected support programme to support special guardians (kinship carers who have parental responsibility until the age of 18), developed and delivered by Grandparents Plus since 2018. Kinship Response was adapted, in consultation with local authorities and with feedback from special guardians, to provide targeted and time limited telephone and virtual support during the pandemic. It offers a comprehensive package of support beyond the specialist therapeutic support normally funded by the Adoption Support Fund. This includes tailored advice and one-to-one and peer support which is what kinship carers have told us they need and for which there is strong evidence of impact. The report reveals that 378 kinship carers, between them raising 527 kinship children, have received one-to-one support from project workers; and over 200 kinship carers have been matched with a Someone Like Me volunteer working on our peer-to-peer telephone support service. In terms of impact, of the kinship carers who have been referred to Kinship Response: 93% say they feel more confident in their caring role; 68% say they are more able to manage family relationships; 92% report having reduced concerns about their child’s wellbeing; and 78% feel less lonely and 79% feel less isolated.

Last updated on hub: 24 November 2020

Beyond masks: societal impacts of COVID-19 and accelerated solutions for children and adolescents

United Nations Children's Emergency Fund

This review explores the societal impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on children, drawing on the existing literature – both of Covid-19 and other health crises – to guide child-sensitive responses. It also focuses on effective and feasible interventions, providing insight into the diverse domains of children’s lives that can be affected and which will require attention and action. The review covers: health and wellbeing; economy and equality; learning and human capital development; violence and conflict; family relationships; and social networks. It finds that there are evidence-based, low-cost, scalable interventions with demonstrated effectiveness in mitigating multiple challenges worsened by Covid-19. However, rapid innovation and evidence-building is needed to adapt evidence-based interventions to a Covid-19 context, including contexts of sustained poverty, weakened government capacity, social distancing/physical distancing and movement restrictions. Many of the interventions will explore the use of digital adaptation and efforts to reduce the digital divide, while infrastructure strengthening will be a prerequisite for much of the rapid response when virtual resources are utilised. The report argues that by identifying accelerator provisions – social protection, parenting support and psychosocial/mental health support, safe and quality education environment and others – it is possible to strategically aim to mitigate the negative consequences of Covid-19 on children and adolescents. The report sets out a six-point plan to protect children from the worst effects of the pandemic, calling on governments and partners to: ensure all children learn, including by closing the digital divide; guarantee access to primary health care and vaccination; support and protect the mental health of children and young people and bring an end to abuse, gender-based violence and neglect; increase access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene and address environmental degradation and climate change; reverse the rise in child poverty; and redouble efforts to protect and support children and their families living through conflict, disaster and displacement.

Last updated on hub: 24 November 2020

COVID-19 and health inequality

Independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies

This report examines Covid-19 mortality rates in the most deprived neighbourhoods in England and in the lowest income households – contextualising them within the wider issue of health inequalities. Firstly, the report provides an overview of socio-economic health inequalities in the UK. It then summarises epidemiological evidence of socio-economic inequalities in relation to Covid-19 (both in the UK and internationally) and examines the pathways linking Covid-19 and inequality. In part three, it examines inequalities and the impact of the emergency policy response to Covid-19, including the lockdown, the emerging parallel pandemic of restricting non-COVID NHS services, mental health impacts, rising homelessness and school closures. Part four examines the emerging evidence of an unequal Covid-19 economic crisis and the impact that it could have on future health inequalities. The report concludes by outlining some key recommendations whereby local government and devolved authorities, the NHS and national government can act to reduce these inequalities. Key messages include: Covid-19 has magnified and exacerbated health inequalities with higher rates of illness and death from Covid-19 in more deprived communities; Covid-19 has highlighted the importance of the social determinants of health namely – housing, income, nutrition, employment sickness benefits and financial support, social security and social care and health care; people in lower paid jobs or living in more deprived neighbourhoods are more likely to experience adverse outcomes from the virus because of co-morbidities and reduced immune response associated with poverty and stress, occupational exposures and inability to shield at home, overcrowding and homelessness, lack of sickness benefits and lack of access to and adequacy of health and social care services. While the UK government has taken steps to mitigate some of the distributional impacts of Covid-19, there is an urgent need for additional action to reinvest and rebuild capacity in all public services linked to a strategy for full employment and resource redistribution.

Last updated on hub: 24 November 2020

Vulnerable children and young people survey: summary of returns waves 1 to 12

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. In Wave 12 the total number of children looked after (CLA) was 7% higher than the same time in 2018 and this has remained stable since the survey began. The total number of children on a child protection plan (CPP) was 1% higher than the same time in 2018, and this has increased slightly since Wave 4 when it was 2% lower than 2018. 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 (69%, 95% and 63% respectively). The proportion of social workers not working due to coronavirus (COVID-19) has reduced since Wave 1 in May, but is showing signs of increasing, with 4% of local authorities reporting over 10% of social workers unavailable due to coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wave 12, compared to a low of 1% in September. However, this is lower than the peak of 13% in May. The total number of referrals during Wave 12 was 6% lower than the usual number at that time of year. Referrals from schools were the closest to usual levels since the survey began (-2%); however, referrals from every source were lower than usual. The total number of children who started to be looked after reported in Waves 1 to 12 of the survey was 5,240. This is around 29% lower than the same period over the past three years.

Last updated on hub: 24 November 2020

ADASS autumn survey 2020

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services

Findings from the ADASS autumn survey, which was distributed between 22nd October and 13th November 2020. There are 151 local authorities in England with adult social care responsibility. For this survey, there were 101 completed returns. Key messages include: the onset of the pandemic has led to an increase in the number of people presenting with adult social care needs to local authorities, with concerning increases in older and disabled people presenting for domestic abuse and safeguarding and carer breakdown since June 2020; the precarious financial position of adult social care means that Directors confidence in meeting what they have to do in law, which is the cornerstone of meeting basic human rights, continues to diminish year on year; since the onset of Covid-19 the risk of already fragile care markets failing has significantly heightened; adult social care services are facing significant financial pressures in 2020/21, with an overspend of £468m predicted nationally, as a result of the additional need and costs that have emerged as a result of the onset of the pandemic and despite additional funding for Covid-19 from Government.

Last updated on hub: 24 November 2020