COVID-19 resources

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Crises collide: women and Covid-19: examining gender and other equality issues during the Coronavirus outbreak

Women’s Budget Group

This report outlines issues relating to women and Covid-19 in the UK and makes recommendations for gender-sensitive improvements to the UK Government’s response. It focuses on the implications of the pandemic for women in relation to public health, social care, economic inequalities, social security, housing, violence against women and girls, the justice system and human rights. 73% of Covid-19 critical care cases in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are men. However, growing evidence shows that due to pre-existing gender and other inequalities, different groups of women in the UK will experience Covid-19 in specific ways in the short, medium and long term. The report finds that women are the majority of health and care workers and are the majority of workers with highest exposure to Covid-19; young women are disproportionately likely to work in the sectors that have been hit hardest by the lock-down; women are more likely to be low paid and in insecure employment and are the majority of people living in poverty and female-headed households are more likely to be poor; pre Covid-19, women were more likely to struggle with debt and bills; on average, women carry out 60% more unpaid work than men; women are more likely to experience domestic and sexual violence and abuse and are the majority (67%) of people living in homelessness.

Last updated on hub: 01 October 2020

Childhood in the time of Covid

Children’s Commissioner for England

Examining the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on children, this report provides a roadmap for what should be done to help them recover from their experiences of the last six months and the ongoing crisis. It focuses on specific aspects and settings that affect children’s experiences, including: education; children with special educational needs and disabilities; social care; looked after children and care leavers; health; early years; youth justice; housing; and family life. Even before the crisis struck, there were 2.2 million vulnerable children living in risky home situations in England, including nearly 800,000 children living with domestic abuse and 1.6 million living with parents with severe mental health conditions. The report warns these numbers are likely to have swelled, fuelled by families locked down in close quarters for weeks and months, and an emerging economic crisis adding pressures on family finances. Some of the most vulnerable children, including children in care, children in custody and children with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities have seen their rights actively downgraded at a time when protections should have been increased, not weakened. The report makes a number of recommendations, calling for a comprehensive recovery package for children to mitigate the damage caused by the crisis thus far – through greater investment in early help services, targeting resources to reduce educational disparities between disadvantaged children and their wealthier peers, increasing focus on pastoral care, and pushing back as far as possible next year’s summer exams; and for children to be put at the heart of planning for further lockdowns, local or national – ensuring children’s rights and protections are upheld, ensuring respite services for disabled children and their families continue to operate, and reviewing the rule of six over time with a view to exempting children under 12.

Last updated on hub: 01 October 2020

NHS Reset: a new direction for health and care

NHS Confederation

This report summarises the insights from an engagement exercise with health and care stakeholders, including a survey of more than 250 leaders from across the NHS, as part of NHS Reset, an NHS Confederation campaign to help reset the way the system plans, commissions and delivers health and care in the aftermath of the Covid-19. The report focuses on the key challenges that the health and care system faces, including: health inequalities; the health and care workforce; funding and capacity; integration and system working; letting local leaders lead; and social care. In relation to the latter, the report argues that ensuring the effective functioning of the NHS will require a reform of social care, including stable and adequate funding, a social care long term plan that runs parallel to and supports the NHS Long Term Plan, a well-resourced and trained workforce, and outcomes-based commissioning. The report posits that five factors will be fundamental to achieving a sustainable health and care system. These are: honesty and realism – government investment to support new ways of working that will enable it to fully and safely restore services, as well as the understanding of the public while services adjust and deal with a large backlog of patients needing care; extra funding; a lighter, leaner culture – empowering local leaders and clinicians to adopt more agile ways of working; integrating health and care; and tackling health inequalities – through a radical and conscious shift towards a strategy based on population health.

Last updated on hub: 01 October 2020

A care-led recovery from Coronavirus: the case for investment in care as a better post-pandemic economic stimulus than investment in construction

Women’s Budget Group

This briefing sets out why much-needed investment in care would promote employment, reduce the gender employment gap and would be a first step in building a resilient, sustainable and more equal economy. It argues that the Covid-19 pandemic has catalysed a revaluation of care, health and employment structures, exposing pre-existing problems, creating an opportunity for transformative change and an economic stimulus that focuses on care. The report finds that investment in care has the potential to mitigate the worst employment effects of the Coronavirus recession. Specifically, investing in care would creates 2.7 times as many jobs as the same investment in construction – 6.3 as many for women and 10% more for men; increasing the numbers working in care to 10% of the employed population, as in Sweden and Denmark, and giving all care workers a pay rise to the real living wage would create 2 million jobs, increasing overall employment rates by 5% points and decreasing the gender employment gap by 4% points; 50% more can be recouped by the Treasury in direct and indirect tax revenue from investment in care than in construction; and investment in care is greener than in construction, producing 30% less greenhouse gas emissions – a care-led recovery is a green led recovery.

Last updated on hub: 30 September 2020

Covid-19 report: the impact on women in Coventry

Women’s Budget Group

This report focuses on the key gendered impacts of the Covid-19 crisis on women in the UK, with a focus on the city of Coventry. Using desk-research and qualitative interviews, it explores several key themes which reflect the range of impact, including: health and social care, childcare and education, employment, the social security safety net, the impact on children and young people, and the impact on the women’s sector and other frontline services. Key findings from the analysis include: poverty – women expect their incomes to fall by 26%, as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, a higher rate than men (18%); employment – mothers are more likely to be losing their jobs and to be furloughed; unpaid work – mothers are doing 50% (or two hours a day) more childcare than fathers; debt and bills – women, young people, those responsible for children and those in insecure work are being hardest hit with income falls during the pandemic; loss of support and services – many women and vulnerable children are losing access to lifeline support as voluntary organisations and statutory services have had to change the way they deliver support; BAME women – BAME people are at higher risk of Covid-19, both in health and economic terms; disabled women – disabled women are one of the groups hardest hit financially and they are losing support from government and other people at a higher rate than others. The report argues that there is an opportunity to revaluate the ways in which the current labour market is not working for women and minorities, and calls for the application of a gender lens when considering ways to ‘build back better’ so women and other disadvantaged workers in the labour market are not further marginalised.

Last updated on hub: 30 September 2020

Coronavirus and us

Children's Commissioner for Wales

This report provides some analysis on children’s rights in Wales during the pandemic and shares how the Children’s Commissioner and their team have responded to the pandemic. It gives an overview on the extent to which Wales, and the Commissioner, have met the United Nations eleven priorities for children in the pandemic. These are: 1) consider the health, social, educational, economic and recreational impacts of the pandemic on the rights of the child; 2) explore alternative and creative solutions for children to enjoy their rights to rest, leisure, recreation and cultural and artistic activities; 3) ensure that online learning does not exacerbate existing inequalities or replace student-teacher interaction; 4) activate immediate measures to ensure that children are fed nutritious food; 5) maintain the provision of basic services for children including healthcare, water, sanitation and birth registration; 6) define core child protection services as essential; 7) protect children whose vulnerability is further increased by exceptional circumstances caused by the pandemic; 8) release children in all forms of detention, whenever possible; 9) prevent the arrest or detention of children for violating guidance and directives relating to Covid19; 10) disseminate accurate information about Covid-19 in formats that are child-friendly and accessible to all children; and 11) provide opportunities for children’s views to be heard and taken into account in decision making processes on the pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 30 September 2020

COVID-19 digital & ICT impact survey report: digital readiness, challenges and opportunities for local authorities in response to Covid-19

Socitm

This briefing explores the impact of Covid-19 and the lockdown on local authorities to establish what digital and ICT tools are in place to enable local services to continue to be delivered; to identify what is required to sustain the changes that have proven beneficial; and to understand the long-term help and support local government bodies need to ‘reset’ their business models and services as they transition to a new normal. The report is based on a survey, which was open to all local authorities, and collected more than 2,500 individual responses from approximately 70 organisations across the UK and 100 responses from governmental organisations outside the UK. The survey’s key results highlight that many staff have little experience in using communication tools and a majority (78%) have received no training at all. More than 80% of respondents said they had experienced issues with the IT; whether that was in the efficiency to deliver their work, in the simplicity of collaboration, or in the ease of synchronisation between technologies. Respondents within local authorities feel positive impacts due to technology changes in their work-life balance and in their productivity – 43% of respondents said this has improved; 46% reported they had felt the technology used due to lockdown had made them more productive in their roles. The report suggests that the benefits of digital and information technology on employees’ productivity and work-life balance highlights an office base five days a week is not necessary. However, the lack of digital and ICT tools in some services and the lack of training given to make this the new norm is concerning.

Last updated on hub: 30 September 2020

Delivering care at home and housing support services during the COVID-19 pandemic: Care Inspectorate inquiry into decision making and partnership working

Care Inspectorate Scotland

This report draws together the views of health and social care partnerships and service providers in Scotland about their experience of care at home and housing support services during the first phase of this pandemic. It sets out the findings of a Care Inspectorate’s inquiry which investigated how these services were prioritised to help ensure service delivery continuity; what were the known impacts on people who experience care; how the risks to service delivery were mitigated; how effective were the partnership working arrangements; and what were the recovery plans for services. The inquiry found that the most robust responses to the challenges and uncertainties of the pandemic involved an integrated approach and included: targeting resources to meet gaps and pressures as they occurred and reviewing and refining approaches as new information came to light; maintaining a focus on how staff remained confident, safe and secure by addressing the challenges of PPE, guidance and testing; responding quickly with additional financial support and guarantees to ensure services remained viable and that the commitment was not undermined by unpredictable reductions in income and additional costs; investing in staff terms and conditions to reduce disincentives to testing and self-isolating when required; and working together across health and social care, service providers and the community.

Last updated on hub: 30 September 2020

Health as the new wealth: the NHS’s role in economic and social recovery

NHS Confederation

This report looks beyond the immediate health response to COVID-19 to understand where and how the NHS is actively supporting the nation’s critical economic and social recovery. While the role of health in economic development has traditionally been peripheral at best, one consequence of COVID-19 is that it will likely form a more important and explicit part of national and local rebuilding. In many ways, health can be seen as the ‘new wealth’. The report outlines a five-point plan for every system to build on to maximise their local impact and influence and showcases innovative practice which is supporting lasting local change. The five-point plan identifies steps that the NHS can take in every local economy, which include: developing an anchor network across all health and care bodies within the system footprint; making an explicit commitment to fill existing health and care vacancies with local people; embedding health and care within national and local regeneration planning; proposing a Civic Restoration Strategy, focused on improving the vibrancy of communities; and convening industry leaders to source potential new local supply chains. The report also makes recommendations for national government and systems to support this work.

Last updated on hub: 30 September 2020

Lockdown, lifelines and the long haul ahead: the impact of Covid-19 on food banks in the Trussell Trust network

The Trussell Trust

Findings from a research project exploring the impact of Covid-19 on food banks in the Trussell Trust network. The data shows that when the pandemic first hit, there was a significant increase in the number of people receiving support from a food bank in the network for the first time – over 50% of people using food banks at the start of the pandemic had never needed one before. In April there was an 89% increase in the number of emergency food parcels given out compared with the same month in 2019. This included a 107% increase in the number of parcels given to children, compared to the same period last year. The study forecasts that there is likely to be a significant rise in levels of destitution in the UK by the end of the year, and at least an extra 300,000 emergency food parcels are likely to be distributed by food banks in the Trussell Trust network in the last quarter of 2020 – an increase of 61% compared to the previous year. The modelling shows that – depending on factors like the strength of the economy and a second wave of Covid-19 – levels of need could be even higher. As a priority, the report calls for the Government to: protect people’s incomes by locking in the £20 uplift to Universal Credit; help people hold on to more of their benefits by suspending benefit debt deductions until a fairer approach to repayments can be introduced; and make local safety nets as strong as possible by investing £250m in local welfare assistance in England every year.

Last updated on hub: 30 September 2020