COVID-19 resources

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The Government response to the Joint Committee on Human Rights reports on the detention of young people with learning disabilities and/or autism and the implications of the Government's COVID-19 response

Department of Health and Social Care

This is the Government’s formal response to the recommendations made by the Joint Committee on Human Rights in its report 'The detention of young people with learning disabilities and/or autism' published on 1 November 2019 and those made in its report 'Human Rights and the Government’s response to COVID-19: The detention of young people who are autistic and/or have learning disabilities' published on 12 June 2020. In the 2019 report the Committee concluded that young people’s human rights were being abused; that they were detained unlawfully contrary to their right to liberty, subjected to solitary confinement, more prone to self-harm and abuse and deprived of their right to respect for private and family life. The second report by the Committee concluded that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting restrictions on visits, the temporary suspension of routine inspections, the likelihood of the increased use of restraint and solitary confinement and the vulnerability of those in detention to infection with COVID-19 (due to underlying health conditions and the infeasibility of social distancing) may add to, and further compound, the issues the Committee highlighted in its earlier report. In this document, the Government sets out its response to the Committee’s recommendations, including action already underway to ensure that people with a learning disability and autistic people receive the high-quality care and treatment we expect for everybody. Topics covered include: transforming care; ending harmful detention; the legal framework for detention; families as human rights defenders; conditions in places of detention; the Care Quality Commission; visits and the right to family life; use of restraint and solitary confinement; inspections; discharges; and data on COVID-19 infections and deaths.

Last updated on hub: 27 October 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

The Government's response to COVID-19: human rights implications

House of Commons

This report sets out the findings of an inquiry into the Government’s response to Covid-19, exploring the steps that needed to be taken to ensure that the measures introduced to contrast the pandemic are human rights compliant, the impact of specific measures on human rights in the UK; and how different groups would be disproportionately affected by measures taken by the Government. It seeks to inform the six-month review of the Coronavirus legislation along with any future response to a “second wave” of the virus later this year. The report begins by setting out the legislative framework in play, then focuses on the following themes and rights: human rights impact of the lockdown; health and care, including changes to social care legislation in the Coronavirus Act 2020, children’s social care and care homes; issues in relation to detention settings; access to justice; and children’s rights — the right to education and the right to family life. The report argues that the decision to reduce care provision to certain individuals is a very serious matter and that the Government must justify its reasoning for the continuation of the powers to trigger easements to social care provision. It also questions whether removing vital protections for children was a proportionate response to the challenges posed to the children’s social care system by Covid-19. Raising its concern about the very high number of deaths from Covid-19 in care homes, the report urges the Government to ensure that addressing the issue of Covid-19 related deaths in care homes is dealt with as a priority in any inquiry or review they undertake.

Last updated on hub: 29 September 2020

The Health Foundation COVID-19 survey: second poll: a report of survey findings

The Health Foundation

This new polling data looks at the public’s attitudes towards the Government’s handling of COVID-19 and the measures it has taken to tackle the outbreak so far. The data shows a significant change in the public’s perceptions on these issues since May this year, when the first round of this polling by Ipsos MORI was carried out. The public are more critical of the Government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak. A majority (56%) now believe that the Government has not handled it well, significantly more than in May (39%). The survey shows that the clarity of the Government’s current official guidance varies. Nearly four in five think the guidance on wearing face masks on public transport is clear (78%), but less than half (44%) think official advice on who and how many people you can meet is clear (54% think it is unclear). The survey also shows that overall public confidence in using NHS services is returning, with around three-quarters (77%) of people reporting they would be comfortable using a hospital – a significant increase from 52% in May. However, concerns about using hospitals is greater among some of the groups worst affected by COVID-19, with more than one in four (28%) people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds and more than a third (34%) of people with a disability saying they would feel uncomfortable about using their local hospital, compared with just over one in five overall (22%). The majority of the public (77%) would support a social care visa for people living in the EU to come to the UK to start working in social care.

Last updated on hub: 10 September 2020

The Health Foundation COVID-19 survey: third poll: a report of survey findings

The Health Foundation

This polling data looks at the public’s attitudes towards the impact of coronavirus and Government’s handling of the pandemic. The data shows a number of changes in the public’s perceptions on these issues since July and May 2020, when the first two rounds of this polling by Ipsos MORI were carried out. The survey highlights the public’s strong support for the £20 a week increase in Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit for families during the pandemic (74%), with only one in ten opposing it (9%). The majority of the public support making the increase permanent (59%), with one in five opposing this (20%). The public’s concern about the risk of COVID-19 to the health and wellbeing of the nation remains high, with 86% saying they are concerned. However, the public are even more concerned about the knock-on impact of the coronavirus on lifestyles and the economy (94%). In relation to social care, nearly half (46%) think that some level of means testing for social care, in comparison with an NHS that is ‘free at the point of use’, is fair. A significant minority of 39% think this is unfair. However, fewer think it is unfair than in May, perhaps as the initial impact of the pandemic on social care recedes from the public consciousness. The survey shows many aspects of the coronavirus pandemic have had a negative impact on people’s mental health. In particular, 73% say that worry about family and friends catching the virus is having a negative impact on their mental wellbeing. Public support for the UK government's response to the pandemic has deteriorated. Only 39% of the public think the government has handled the pandemic well, a fall of 21 percentage points from 60% in May.

Last updated on hub: 26 January 2021

The Health Service and Social Care Workers (Scrutiny of Coronavirus-related Deaths) Directions 2020

Department of Health and Social Care

These directions ensure that NHS trusts and NHS foundation trusts seek and prioritise the services of medical examiners to scrutinise the deaths of health service and adult social care staff from coronavirus. Examiners are required to consider whether there is reason to suspect that the death was a result of the person being exposed to coronavirus during the course of their NHS or social care work

Last updated on hub: 13 July 2020

The homelessness monitor: England 2021


A longitudinal study providing independent analysis of the homelessness impacts of recent economic and policy developments in England. This ninth annual report updates our account of how homelessness stands in England in 2020, or as close to 2020 as data availability allows. It also highlights emerging trends and forecasts some of the likely future changes, identifying the developments likely to have the most significant impacts on homelessness. The report covers a year dominated by the twin major events of the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit. It is also the first Monitor in which a comprehensive analysis of Homelessness Reduction Act processes and outcomes is included and we offer detailed modelling estimates and forward projections of extreme forms of ‘core’ homelessness. Thanks to temporary protective measures (especially income protection programmes and eviction moratoria), the COVID-19 pandemic triggered no immediate overall increase in homelessness applications. The number judged as threatened with homelessness fell back significantly between April-June 2020 (down 35 per cent on the previous quarter). The pandemic has further exposed England’s severe shortage of affordable homes and, post-lockdown, local authorities expect to see an increase in levels of homelessness. In the longer term, the largest projected impact on reducing core homelessness would result from a large expansion of total and social housing supply and consistent, large-scale application of Housing First accompanied by appropriate support for mental health and substance misuse issues, and raising of the Local Housing Allowance.

Last updated on hub: 13 April 2021

The idiosyncratic impact of an aggregate shock: the distributional consequences of COVID-19

Understanding Society

Using new data from the Understanding Society: COVID 19 survey collected in April 2020, we show how the aggregate shock caused by the pandemic affects individuals across the distribution. The survey collects data from existing members of the Understanding Society panel survey who have been followed for up to 10 years. Understanding Society is based on probability samples and the Understanding Society COVID19 Survey is carefully constructed to support valid population inferences. Further, the panel allows comparisons with a pre-pandemic baseline. We document how the shock of the pandemic translates into different economic shocks for different types of worker: those with less education and precarious employment face the biggest economic shocks. Some of those affected are able to mitigate the impact of the economic shocks: universal credit protects those in the bottom quintile, for example. We estimate the prevalence of the different measures individuals and households take to mitigate the shocks. We show that the opportunities for mitigation are most limited for those in need.

Last updated on hub: 09 February 2021

The IFS Deaton review of inequalities: a New Year’s message

Institute of Fiscal Studies

This report reflects on the impact of Covid-19 on inequalities and the lessons learned during 2020. COVID-19 seems to have shone a light on many of the issues we raised pre-pandemic, more vividly than we ever could have. At the same time, public policy responses have been of a type and magnitude previously unimaginable. Key messages include: the COVID crisis has exacerbated inequalities between the high- and low-paid and between graduates and non-graduates; the crisis has hit the self-employed and others in insecure and non-traditional forms of employment especially hard; educational inequalities will almost certainly have been exacerbated by the crisis; between March and July, mortality rates from COVID-19 were twice as high in the most deprived areas as in the least deprived; the crisis has had very different impacts on different ethnic groups – mortality rates from COVID-19 among some black groups have been twice those among the white British; through 2020, pensioners have on average reported becoming financially better off, whilst the young have borne the brunt of job and income loss.

Last updated on hub: 06 January 2021

The imaginative failure of normal: considerations for a post-pandemic future

Qualitative Social Work

The COVID-19 pandemic has struck a forceful blow to an already faltering economic and political system. Decades of neoliberal capitalism have left us with extreme domestic and global inequality, a climate disaster, and the death of democracy. Now, in the midst of a global pandemic, any solace found in the toxic status quo has all but vanished. We are faced with an event of major historical significance, the effects of which are sure to be vast and enduring. As we emerge from this crisis and rebuild, we have a tremendous opportunity to (re)consider and (re)formulate the kind of world we want to live in. This essay reflects on the limitations of an uncritical desire for a return to “normalcy.” Further, it asks social workers to engage in a process of imaginative and speculative thinking to envision possibilities for our inevitably changed world.

Last updated on hub: 17 March 2021

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