COVID-19 resources

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Reflections on social work 2020 under Covid-19 online magazine

Social Work Education (The International Journal)

Social Work 2020 under Covid-19 was a free online magazine conceived just before the UK’s Covid-19 full lockdown began, in late March 2020. It ran for five editions until 14 July 2020. In this time it published close to 100 articles from academics, people with lived experience, practitioners and students. It contained a far higher proportion of submissions from the last three groups of contributors than traditional journals. This article draws on the six-person editorial collective’s reflections on the magazine: it considers its founding purposes; its role in fostering social work community, utilizing an adaptation of social capital classifications; and its potential as a learning tool. It concludes by arguing that the magazine illustrates the potential for free online publications to be an important emergent vehicle for ‘everyday activism’ within the field of social work.

Last updated on hub: 15 October 2020

Reimagining the future of health and social care: how to learn the lessons from the Covid-19 crisis for a next generation health and care system

Royal Society of Arts

This report considers how the lessons from the Covid-19 crisis can help inform and shape the transformation of the health and social care system in England. The pandemic has acted as a real-time experiment of the capacity of the health and care system, highlighting the need for: greater connection between health and social care systems, social care on an equal footing with health care, agile and adaptive leadership, clear public health messaging, greater professional autonomy, addressing health inequality, digital access and literacy, flexible access to resources, including local and community assets, and effective deployment of new technology and data insights to support efficient responses. The paper explores three feasible scenarios for change: pandemic NHS – all health and social care activities are pivoted to ensure that as and when another pandemic hits, the NHS can respond effectively and efficiently; system stasis – returning the health and social care system to normal is the critical activity; and care horizons – a greater period of reflection and review of what happened during the pandemic leads to far greater integration between health and social care. The report explores how to take the best elements from these very different scenarios and recommends both immediate actions to build on the successes in responding to the pandemic and a national process of deliberative engagement with embedded consent amongst professionals, people with lived experience and the public more widely as a foundation for a new health and care settlement for England.

Last updated on hub: 13 July 2020

Relational lockdown and relational trauma in the time of coronavirus: a reflection from a UK family therapist

Family Process

Like a meteor hitting the earth’s surface, 44, 131 unexpected deaths have shaken, disturbed, and saddened the core of our nation. This reflection considers the consequences of the coronavirus crisis in the UK with particular reference to the impact on families and on the practice of family therapists. The perspective presented can only be partial because of the fast‐changing situation and the limited access to alternative perspectives that are available during this period of relational lockdown. The author provides a systemic understanding of what has happened and what is happening.

Last updated on hub: 14 October 2020

Relationships and resilience in the time of the Coronavirus

Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care

The Why Not? Trust for Care Experienced Young People is a charity set up in 2018, to support long term connections and relationships between young people with care experience and the people who matter to them. As well as individual connections, the Why Not? Trust is supporting young people, including young parents with care experience to develop their own community networks. These networks allow young people to access experiences and events which give opportunities they may not be able to access on their own. Their approach is based on a belief in being defined by relationships. The COVID-19 lockdown presented a challenge to relational engagements which are contingent upon being able to interact. Despite their fears they have managed to cope. The online world provided a way of maintaining contact and providing support with young care experienced adults. The experiences of the past few months helped the Trust better understand the causes of isolation and exclusion, but also to appreciate more than ever the value of human relationships.

Last updated on hub: 27 November 2020

Relationships and resilience in the time of the Coronavirus

Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care

Coming together as a community is an important function for members of The Why Not? Trust, a charity which supports long term connections and relationships between young people with care experience and the people who matter to them. These networks allow young people to access experiences and events which give opportunities they may not be able to access on their own. Their approach is based on a belief in being defined by relationships. The COVID-19 lockdown presented a challenge to relational engagements which are contingent upon being able to interact. Despite their fears they have managed to cope. The online world provided a way of maintaining contact and providing support with young care experienced adults. The experiences of the past few months helped the Trust better understand the causes of isolation and exclusion, but also to appreciate more than ever the value of human relationships.

Last updated on hub: 06 October 2020

Re-making state-civil society relationships during the COVID 19 pandemic? An English perspective

People Place and Policy Online

State and civil society have had a complicated and inter-twined relationship for many years and this has arguably never been more evident than during the COVID 19 pandemic. This review article discusses how this relationship played out locally and nationally during the early months of the pandemic from an English perspective to consider whether we have witnessed an extension of pre-existing roles or a re-making of new ones. At a national level we identify the exacerbation of pre-existing adversarial relationships focussed on the scale and necessity of the government’s financial support package for civil society organisations (CSOs). At the local level we observe an extension of prior complementary relationships, with CSOs further embedded in local systems of decision making, co-ordination and service provision. This paper also identifies a newly visible and increasingly complementary local role for previously supplementary community-led CSOs responding to the needs of vulnerable citizens. It is unclear if the next phase of the pandemic will affect these relationships yet further, or whether these configurations will be preserved following the COVID-19 crisis, but it seems certain that the crisis will have a lasting effect on national and local state-civil society interactions in one way or another.

Last updated on hub: 01 February 2021

Remote hearings in the family justice system: a rapid consultation

Nuffield Family Justice Observatory

The results of a rapid consultation with parents, carers and professionals in the family justice system across England and Wales on the use of remote hearings in the family courts, which have been widely adopted by UK courts facing the challenges of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The consultation had over 1,000 respondents, including Cafcass advisers and social workers Overall the respondents were evenly balanced in terms of their positive and negative reactions to remote hearings. Concerns raised related to the fairness and justice of remote hearings, issues relating to the technology and the impact of attending remote hearings on professionals' wellbeing. Respondents also provided examples of emerging good practice, and suggestions for future practice, which are included in the report. These largely related to the management of the process, such as the preparation and running of hearings and making the most effective use of technology.

Last updated on hub: 07 May 2020

Remote hearings in the family justice system: reflections and experiences. Follow-up consultation (September 2020)

Nuffield Family Justice Observatory

This report provides an overview of the findings of a follow up consultation on remote hearings in the family courts, undertaken between 10 and 30 September 2020. 1,306 respondents completed a survey, several organisations submitted additional information, and focus groups and interviews were undertaken with parents. Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the introduction of social distancing measures, the family courts in England and Wales rapidly adapted to using telephone and video hearings. Key findings include: most professionals who responded to the survey felt that things were working more smoothly but parents, other family members and organisations supporting parents were less positive about remote hearings – just under half said they had not understood what had happened during the hearing; professionals had concerns about whether proceedings were perceived as fair by parties in all cases and shared concerns about the difficulties of being sufficiently empathetic, supportive, and attuned to lay parties when conducting hearings remotely; there continue to be many technical problems encountered in most forms of remote hearing – most problems related to connectivity and common issues identified included difficulty in hearing people, difficulty seeing people, and difficulty identifying who is speaking.

Last updated on hub: 28 October 2020

Remote hearings in the family justice system: reflections and experiences. Online survey results (part of the follow-up consultation September 2020)

Nuffield Family Justice Observatory

Results of an online survey of views and experiences of remote hearings in the family court in England and Wales since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the introduction of social distancing measures. 1, 306 people (90% professionals and 10% parents or other relatives) responded to the survey, which was conducted between 10 and 30 September 2020. The survey forms part of a wider rapid consultation that incorporates information from other organisations, and the results of focus groups and interviews undertaken with parents. The graphs presented in this document are organised by: all respondents; professionals; parents and other relatives.

Last updated on hub: 28 October 2020

Remote justice – family court hearings during the pandemic

Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law

This case note discusses Re A (Children) (Remote Hearing: Care And Placement Orders) [2020] EWCA Civ 583 and other reported judgments involving decisions on remote hearings and those held partly in the courtroom and partly remotely, known as hybrid hearings. On 23 March 2020, the UK government announced a state-wide lockdown, restricting freedom of movement, as a response to the spread of the coronavirus and threat of COVID-19 overwhelming the National Health Service, closely followed on 25 March by the passing of the Coronavirus Act 2020. Consequently, hearings scheduled in court buildings across the country could no longer take place. However, a central principle of the Children Act 1989 is the avoidance of delay that is not in the child’s welfare. Building on the increasingly common use in family court hearings of some parties giving evidence by video link in certain circumstances, the possibility of an entire hearing being undertaken online had to be explored. A series of practice guidance documents on the use of remote and hybrid hearings was issued by the senior judiciary from 19 March onward. In Re A, the President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, set out explicit guidance to judges in England and Wales on decisions to be made about holding a hearing ‘remotely’, that is, through online participation instead of in the traditional court room. Re A was the first appeal in a case relating to the welfare of children to be heard by the Court of Appeal on the issue of remote hearings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 11 September 2020

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