COVID-19 resources

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To the top of the cliff: how social work changed with COVID-19

International Federation of Social Workers

This booklet charts the continuing transformation of social work, from the first outbreaks of COVID-19 in China in January 2020 to the new global strategy for the profession agreed at the IFSW conference in July – a set of priorities which made manifest the new sense of purpose developing in social work as a result of COVID-19. The publication serves partly as a historical archive of what has happened but may also provide inspiration, helping social workers move forward with the new global strategy in mind. It is a first outline of what the new global social work looks like, providing examples and ideas to develop further with the new goals in mind. The booklet describes how social workers are setting a strong base for the challenges ahead. They are implementing community-centred approaches which are ideally suited to pre-empting and buffering the social effects of COVID-19. The paper argues that the experience of COVID-19 can be used to work towards policy engagement with communities, active community responses that support the wellbeing of all and social services that are platforms for communities to thrive and avert catastrophe, not agencies for picking-up the pieces.

Last updated on hub: 16 December 2020

Webinar recording: MCA and COVID vaccinations in care homes

Social Care Institute for Excellence

With the imminent roll-out of COVID vaccinations in care homes, the National Mental Capacity Forum will host a Rapid Response Webinar to share knowledge and reinforce good practice in consenting patients for the new COVID vaccinations, and to empower clinicians to have meaningful engagement with vaccine recipients.

Last updated on hub: 16 December 2020

Child protection conference practice during COVID-19: reflections and experiences (rapid consultation September–October 2020)

Nuffield Family Justice Observatory

This rapid consultation aimed to explore how child protection conferences (CPCs) practice has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact this has had on the children, families, and professionals involved. The consultation included an online survey and a series of interviews; 492 professionals responded to the survey and there were respondents from 108 of 151 local authorities in England and 16 of 22 in Wales; 52 of the professionals were also interviewed; 24 parents responded to the survey and 14 of them were interviewed. Survey responses suggested that CPCs were mainly being conducted over video or by phone, while a substantial minority of professionals had attended at least one ‘hybrid’ conference, where some people attended in person, and others joined by phone or video. Overall, according to professionals, the positives and negatives associated with remote CPCs are fairly evenly balanced. The main advantages identified were: better attendance by, and improved engagement of, a wider range of professionals, as well as convenience in terms of time saved; some felt that CPCs were less intimidating for parents. The main disadvantages as far as professionals were concerned were: limitations in terms of the restricted opportunities for discussion and reflection; problems with technology; loss of a sense of seriousness; issues around parental engagement - this includes parents not always being able to understand what was happening and not being prepared or supported to engage fully - particular issues were identified for parents with learning difficulties and language or communication needs; overarching concerns around confidentiality and safety. The small sample of parents who responded to the survey or were interviewed were much less positive than professionals – all parents interviewed said they would have preferred a face-to-face conference.

Last updated on hub: 15 December 2020

How can patients with COVID-19 and their family or unpaid carers be enabled and supported to manage palliative care treatment safely and effectively at home?

Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine

A review of the evidence to determine how people with COVID-19 and unpaid carers could be enabled and supported by healthcare professionals to manage palliative care treatment safely and effectively at home. There is a need for prompt, responsive and anticipatory support for carers at home who may be feeling unsure about their role in providing end-of-life care and where to turn to for support and treatment for their relative. Key messages emerging from the literature include: healthcare systems have had to adapt rapidly to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic – as a result, some family and unpaid carers may take on additional responsibilities in providing palliative care treatment for patients who have opted to die at home but carers may feel unsure about their role in providing end-of-life care and where to turn for support and treatment for their relative; no empirical research was found that has been conducted during the current COVID-19 pandemic to inform how to support carers of people receiving palliative care at home or to clarify whether this approach is safe for all involved; research assessing the needs of home carers in other palliative care contexts suggests carers may be enabled to manage medication at home, provided that appropriate support and education is given, and that carers have the required capabilities; the use of digital technology can help, but healthcare professionals should be aware that not all carers have access to suitable equipment; providing education for carers, relevant to their caring role, as well as supporting their general wellbeing, can be of benefit – however, providing formal, structured interventions presents considerable challenges during the pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 15 December 2020

Unequal impact? Coronavirus and BAME people: third report of session 2019-21

House of Commons

Findings from an inquiry exploring the extent to which, throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) people have been affected by pre-existing inequalities across a huge range of areas, including health, employment, accessing Universal Credit, housing and the no recourse to public funds policy. The report considers the health factors that have exacerbated the impact of the coronavirus pandemic for BAME people, including the role played by comorbidities, health inequalities, and other wider determinants of health. It examines the interplay between an individual’s occupation and their exposure to the virus; the relationship between pre-existing occupational inequality and how this was heightened by the economic consequences of the pandemic; and how BAME people have been particularly affected by zero-hour contracts during the pandemic. The report also looks at some of the challenges faced by BAME people when applying for Universal Credit (UC), as more people are turning to the UC system to access necessary support; and examines how pre-existing housing inequalities amplified the impact of coronavirus for BAME communities, focusing on the health impacts of overcrowding and housing conditions. Finally, the report highlights early evidence suggesting that there are severe impacts of the no recourse to public funds policy that need to be addressed.

Last updated on hub: 15 December 2020

Child protection conference practice during COVID-19: reflections and experiences (rapid consultation September–October 2020): executive summary

Nuffield Family Justice Observatory

Summary of the findings of a rapid consultation to explore how child protection conferences (CPCs) practice has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact this has had on the children, families, and professionals involved. The consultation included an online survey and a series of interviews; 492 professionals responded to the survey and there were respondents from 108 of 151 local authorities in England and 16 of 22 in Wales; 52 of the professionals were also interviewed; 24 parents responded to the survey and 14 of them were interviewed. Survey responses suggested that CPCs were mainly being conducted over video or by phone, while a substantial minority of professionals had attended at least one ‘hybrid’ conference, where some people attended in person, and others joined by phone or video. Overall, according to professionals, the positives and negatives associated with remote CPCs are fairly evenly balanced. The main advantages identified were: better attendance by, and improved engagement of, a wider range of professionals, as well as convenience in terms of time saved; some felt that CPCs were less intimidating for parents. The main disadvantages as far as professionals were concerned were: limitations in terms of the restricted opportunities for discussion and reflection; problems with technology; loss of a sense of seriousness; issues around parental engagement - this includes parents not always being able to understand what was happening and not being prepared or supported to engage fully - particular issues were identified for parents with learning difficulties and language or communication needs; overarching concerns around confidentiality and safety. The small sample of parents who responded to the survey or were interviewed were much less positive than professionals – all parents interviewed said they would have preferred a face-to-face conference.

Last updated on hub: 15 December 2020

Build back fairer: the COVID-19 Marmot review. The pandemic, socioeconomic and health inequalities in England

The aim of this report is three-fold: to examine inequalities in COVID-19 mortality, focusing on mortality among members of BAME groups and among certain occupations, alongside continued attention to the socioeconomic gradient in health; to show the effects that the pandemic, and the societal response to contain the pandemic, have had on social and economic inequalities, their effects on mental and physical health, and their likely effects on health inequalities in the future; and to make recommendations on what needs to be done. The report sets out the proposition that England’s comparatively poor management of the pandemic is of a piece with England’s health improvement falling behind that of other rich countries in the decade since 2010. It offers four likely reasons why: the quality of governance and political culture which did not give priority to the conditions for good health; continuing increases in inequalities in economic and social conditions, including a rise in poverty among families with children; a policy of austerity and consequent cuts to funding of public services; and a poor state of the nation’s health that would increase the lethality of COVID-19. The high mortality rate of members of Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups can be attributed to living in more deprived areas, working in high-risk occupations, living in overcrowded conditions. Structural racism means that some ethnic groups are more likely to be exposed to adverse social and economic conditions. The report argues that the pandemic must be taken as an opportunity to build a fairer society, acknowledging that economic growth is a limited measure of societal success. It suggests that to build back fairer there needs to be a commitment at two levels. First is the commitment to social justice and putting equity of health and wellbeing at the heart of all policy-making, nationally, regionally and locally. The second level is to take the specific actions needed, as laid out in this report, to create healthier lives for all.

Last updated on hub: 15 December 2020

The Government’s response to the Joint Committee on Human Rights report: the Government’s response to COVID-19: human rights implications

Department of Health and Social Care

The government’s formal response to the 55 recommendations made by the Joint Committee on Human Rights in its report ‘The government’s response to COVID-19: human rights implications’. The original recommendations and this response focus on: the lockdown regulations; health and care; detention; contact tracing; children and the right to education; access to justice; procedural obligations to protect the right to life; accountability and scrutiny. The document reiterates that while the Care Act easements were intended as a tool to help local authorities continue to meet the most urgent and acute needs in the face of COVID-19, public safety remains a top priority, including for those who need care and support – Local Authorities remain under a duty to meet needs where failure to do so would breach an individual’s human rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Last updated on hub: 15 December 2020

Build back fairer: the COVID-19 Marmot review. The pandemic, socioeconomic and health inequalities in England. Executive summary

The aim of this report is three-fold: to examine inequalities in COVID-19 mortality, focusing on mortality among members of BAME groups and among certain occupations, alongside continued attention to the socioeconomic gradient in health; to show the effects that the pandemic, and the societal response to contain the pandemic, have had on social and economic inequalities, their effects on mental and physical health, and their likely effects on health inequalities in the future; and to make recommendations on what needs to be done. The report sets out the proposition that England’s comparatively poor management of the pandemic is of a piece with England’s health improvement falling behind that of other rich countries in the decade since 2010. It offers four likely reasons why: the quality of governance and political culture which did not give priority to the conditions for good health; continuing increases in inequalities in economic and social conditions, including a rise in poverty among families with children; a policy of austerity and consequent cuts to funding of public services; and a poor state of the nation’s health that would increase the lethality of COVID-19. The high mortality rate of members of Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups can be attributed to living in more deprived areas, working in high-risk occupations, living in overcrowded conditions. Structural racism means that some ethnic groups are more likely to be exposed to adverse social and economic conditions. The report argues that the pandemic must be taken as an opportunity to build a fairer society, acknowledging that economic growth is a limited measure of societal success. It suggests that to build back fairer there needs to be a commitment at two levels. First is the commitment to social justice and putting equity of health and wellbeing at the heart of all policy-making, nationally, regionally and locally. The second level is to take the specific actions needed, as laid out in this report, to create healthier lives for all.

Last updated on hub: 15 December 2020

Keeping children and young people safe during a pandemic: testing the robustness of multi-agency child protection and safeguarding arrangements for schools

National Institute for Health Research

This study explored whether the multi-agency arrangements, of which schools are a part, have been sufficiently robust not to place children at increased risk during the first months of the coronavirus pandemic in the UK. The study provided the opportunity to explore the role of the school in multi-agency work during this time, not only from the perspective of schools and children's social care, but from that of other agencies including child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), school nurses and the police. Five local authorities took part in the research; in addition to strategic and operational leads for education and children’s social care, interviews were conducted with representatives of the police, strategic managers in health services, schools and colleges, virtual school heads, the school nursing service and child and adult mental health services; and a survey was also undertaken to gain schools’ views on how, if at all, multi-agency working had changed under COVID-19 restrictions. The study identified initiatives which had been introduced before COVID-19 but were accelerated by the prevailing conditions, as well as those that were developed because of these conditions. There were numerous references both to how quickly agencies’ ways of working had adapted and how a reactive response had been followed by a more proactive approach. This had been possible because of conversations that led to improved processes as well as systems that had been rapidly introduced. The report argues that it is now critical to consider how agencies will build on the strengths that have emerged, not least how professionals increase their availability and accessibility to others, and to reflect on those aspects of multi-agency work that did not get done or were carried out less thoroughly than they would have been before the pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 15 December 2020