Somerset Safeguarding Children Partnership

We would like to reassure you that all partners remain committed to safeguarding children.  We are closely monitoring the situation and working with the government.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information resources for Somerset

For the latest information on the situation in Somerset, visit Somerset County Council’s coronavirus (COVID-19) advice page.  For advice on how to stay healthy, see the information summarised by Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group.  Or for guidance on keeping safe and new police powers, visit Avon and Somerset Police’s coronavirus page.

Safeguarding children during the pandemic

  Somerset Linked Professional Guidance Multi-Agency Linked Professionals – an approach to safeguarding during the Covid-19 pandemic.  May 2020.

tri.x resource on Coronavirus

NSPCC advice and support for parents and carers

pdfSSCP resource list – support for young people

pdf Poem to explain Coronavirus and the restrictions to young people, (thanks Ali Hart from PROMISEworks)

pdf Poster – safeguarding children during lockdown

 

Guidance on COVID-19 is changing on a very frequent basis so please return here to check the latest updates.

All Government updates can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

 

Guidance of particular interest and relevance to children’s providers is listed here:

Social care
Education and childcare
Parents and carers

Copies of letters sent to providers:

Children’s Social Care
Education

Changes to SCC services in light of COVID19 are updated here.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) remains a very significant issue for care providers, and we are working very hard to try and resolve this as a Council.  We are working closely with our partners such as Department of Health, Public Heath England and others, as well as locally sourcing PPE where possible.  PPE is prioritised by need across the whole Council. COVID-19 – Use of PPE in Education and Social Care Settings V1.1 – Final 20/04/2020

Community PPE suppliers are supporting Somerset with PPE, some of these are free

PPE donations supplies for Micro-providers in Somerset (1)

A letter was issued on 30 April 2020 by the Department of Health & Social Care with an update on plans to support access to PPE across health and social care – click to see letter.

What PPE do I need, and how should it be used? Are there any other ways I can protect my staff? 

The NHS has set up a supply distribution helpline which can answer PPE calls and emails 24/7:

Phone: 0800 915 9964
Email supplydisruptionservice@nhsbsa.nhs.uk

Please also refer to this letter issued by NHS England & NHS Improvement on 20 March 2020 re PPE supplies which contains more details and links to helpful resources.

If you have less than seven days supply, please alert us urgently at ASCCOVID19@somerset.gov.uk and explain what your exact requirements are.

Community PPE suppliers are supporting Somerset with local supplies

We know some providers are struggling to obtain other necessary supplies, including food, soap, toilet paper

We are working with community partners to ensure essential supplies are available.

Please contact Somerset Direct on 0300 123 2224 or email us on ChildrensCommissioning@somerset.gov.uk and we will help you find the supplies you need.

Free School Meals

Under normal circumstances, schools are not expected to provide benefit-related free school meals to eligible children who are not attending due to illness or if the school is closed. However, during the COVID-19 outbreak schools are expected to continue to provide support to these children.  The steps taken to support children at this time may be different depending on the individual circumstances of the school but may be meals, food parcels or vouchers – contact the school for more information.

Well-being hubs

In response to the government’s announcement that 1.5 million of the most at risk people were asked to self-isolate for at least 12 weeks, we are working closely with Sedgemoor, Mendip, South Somerset and Somerset West and Taunton district councils to run well-being hubs to ensure they are looked after.  Click here or contact Somerset Coronavirus Support Helpline number 0300 790 6275 to find out more information.

PPE donations supplies for Micro-providers in Somerset

Details of exactly how these will work are now being finalised, but will include a single point of contact for all enquiries, a brokerage service to connect requests to food and supplies, and other support, including for homeless people. Watch this space for updates.

ARRANGEMENTS FOR COVID-19 TESTING FOR STAFF

National Testing Programme

The government have rolled out a national testing programme for key workers. Further information and the referral process can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested You will be referred to one of the large-scale testing facilities such as Bristol or Exeter.

Local Arrangements
If you are unable to access the large-scale testing facilities there are also local clinics running at Bridgwater, Yeovil and Shepton Mallet Hospitals and at the Bridgwater and Taunton College site in Taunton. This test shows if the person has COVID-19 or not at the time of testing but does not tell you if they have had it. The aim is to ensure vital services can continue by getting staff in designated roles back to work as soon as possible. This test is for people who have symptoms of COVID-19 (continuous cough and or fever) or if they are isolating because they are living with someone who is symptomatic. We are asking Managers to prioritise frontline staff to be considered for testing. It is therefore important that staff are only referred for testing if they are in a ‘frontline’ service that is ‘fragile’ – at risk of not being able to deliver a key service due to a shortage of staff or shortage of specific skills.

To be eligible for testing you must:
• Have COVID-19 symptoms (cough and/or fever) AND be in the first 5 days of the onset of symptoms at the time of testing OR
• Be living in the same household as a key worker and have symptoms of COVID-19 and therefore self-isolating for 14 days
If you are self-isolating for other reasons and are not symptomatic, for example if you have an underlying health condition you are not eligible for testing. Please note that you must be in the first 5 days of exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. If you have been symptomatic for longer than that, then you will not be tested.

How to refer for testing:
• National Testing – refer to the link at the top of this tab
• For Local Arrangements – Your Manager must complete the triage form which can be accessed by contacting childrenscommissioning@somerset.gov.uk
• Your Manager will submit the form to StaffTestUnit@sompar.nhs.uk
• The form must be submitted no later than 5 days after you have become symptomatic.

Testing and results:
If the referral is accepted, you will be contacted and invited to a ‘drive through’ testing location at a time to be agreed. The test consists simply of a nasal or throat swab test. It is very simple and takes just a few minutes to undertake. If you have transport issues, we may be able to help get you to a testing facility. Results will be phoned to you within 24 – 48 hours. If the result is positive, you will need to inform your line manager and continue self-isolation. If negative, can return to work if you feel well enough. If you think that you contracted the disease in the workplace, then this may be reportable to Health and Safety under ‘RIDDOR’ regulations.
For further advice contact the email address: StaffTestUnit@sompar.nhs.uk

In the event of a suspected outbreak of COVID-19 in a care or education setting, please take the same steps as other outbreaks and phone the local Public Health England Health Protection Team on 0300 303 8162.

They will determine the most appropriate way forward which may include sending out swabs for testing.

We recognise many provider organisations in Somerset may suffer financial losses as a result of the challenges and consequences of COVID-19.

SCC are committed to continuing to fund contracted services, whether delivered or not, at agreed/contracted levels, even where services are unavoidably reduced and support not delivered.

We would like to reassure you that we will seek to find flexible solutions to help them continue to deliver services for our users.  Recent Government guidance can be found here.

This guidance confirms that the government is fully committed to supporting suppliers and will be doing so until at least June 2020. To qualify for support, businesses will need to work with us on a transparent open-book basis – it’s important that everyone is open and honest about their current situation, as this will enable us to prioritise our support for those who need it most. We will continue to review the situation and provide updates.

We are taking the following practical steps to help businesses in need of our assistance:

  1. If a business faces loss of income, we will discuss with them the available options where we continue to pay for the services they are contracted to provide. If we make payments for these services, we will work with these businesses, and where appropriate, look for support to redeploy their resources or personnel to support the Somerset community. We recognise that some businesses may not be able to operate as normal due to workforce or supply issues, and we will work to support them.
  2. We may need to ask businesses to provide additional resources and in some cases businesses may incur additional costs.  Again we will seek to agree a solution which takes account of need and cost in a balanced way.
  3. Payment will be made as promptly as possible.
    – We will look at all payment options on a case by case basis to support business sustainability.
  4. We will be directing businesses we work with to the Government’s COVID-19 emergency financial support packages. We would ask you to be patient as these are developing on a daily basis. Any businesses in need of advice and support can visit the Local Growth Hub website at Heart of the South West Growth Hub. If any of our business suppliers are encountering difficulties due to COVID-19 we would encourage you to contact us at ChildrensCommissioning@somerset.gov.uk to discuss how we can best assist you.

You may also find this SCC site helpful as a business in Somerset

The Placements Team are working remotely and can be contacted by email or telephone during office hours – see contacts below:
placementsteam@somerset.gov.uk 

Name

Role

Contact Number

Email

Working Days

Dan Walker

Quality Assurance

07977 413850

dwalker@somerset.gov.uk

Mon – Thurs 8.30 am to 5.00 pm

Fri – 8.30 am to 4.30 pm

Jackie Markham

Duty Manager

07977 401580

jzmarkham@somerset.gov.uk

Mon – Thurs 8.30 am to 5.00 pm

Fri – 8.30 am to 4.30 pm

Jacqueline Todd

Placements Officer

07811 310050

jztodd@somerset.gov.uk

Mon – Thurs 8.30 am to 5.00 pm

Fri – 8.30 am to 4.30 pm

Julie Hoccom

Business Support

01823 357435

jhoccom@somerset.gov.uk

Mon – Thurs 8.30 am to 5.00 pm

Fri – 8.30 am to 4.30 pm

Laura Giles

Placements Officer

07971 642432

lgiles@somerset.gov.uk

Mon, Tues, Thurs

8.30 am to 5.00 pm

Lisa Tuckey

Business Support

01823 357435

ltuckey@somerset.gov.uk

Mon – Thurs 8.30 am to 5.00 pm

Fri – 8.30 am to 4.30 pm

Mark Bysouth

Placements Officer

07973 685514

mbysouth@somerset.gov.uk

Mon – Thurs 8.30 am to 5.00 pm

Fri – 8.30 am to 4.30 pm

Mel Reynolds

Duty Manager

07977 412490

myreynolds@somerset.gov.uk

Mon – Thurs 8.30 am to 5.00 pm

Fri – 8.30 am to 4.30 pm

Sabrina Piras

Business Support

01823 357435

spiras@somerset.gov.uk

Mon – Thurs 8.30 am to 5.00 pm

Fri – 8.30 am to 4.30 pm

Sharon Hurford

Duty Manager

07464 987792

slhurford@somerset.gov.uk

Mon – Thurs 8.30 am to 5.00 pm

Fri – 8.30 am to 4.30 pm

Suzanne Dixon

Placements Officer

07976 816810

sdixon@somerset.gov.uk

Wed – Fri 8.30 am to 5.00 pm


Payments, Terms

We are endeavouring to pay invoices as quickly as we can.
Please ensure you email your invoices as normal to paymentsforplacements@somerset.gov.uk 

Ofsted – (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills)

Ofsted have suspended all routine inspections of schools, further education, early years and social care providers. Urgent inspections where specific concerns have been raised can still go ahead. This allows Ofsted to prioritise the immediate safety of children where necessary.

Ofsted do not have the power to disapply or waive legislation, regulation or statutory guidance, for example around regulation 44 inspections. However, they recognise that we are in exceptional circumstances and note providers will have to make pragmatic decisions in the best interests of children. You should carry out a careful risk assessment of any action you take and keep a clear record of the decisions that you make.

Ofsted continue to register social care providers and managers. They are making some temporary changes to the steps they take in completing the registration process. Most contact throughout the process will be by telephone, email or video call. They will keep any visits to a minimum and will follow the latest government guidelines, restrictions and safety advice.

Fostering agencies and services may wish to bring recently retired or de-registered foster carers back, rather like the NHS has done with doctors and nurses.  The current regulations allow for a proportionate assessment that takes account of carers’ existing knowledge. At this time, we understand that you will need to make pragmatic decisions in the best interests of children when carrying out this assessment. Ofsted expect you to do a careful risk assessment of any action you take and to keep a clear record of the decisions made.

If your paediatric first aid certificate is due to expire, see advice from the Health and Safety Executive. It has announced a 3-month extension to the validity for all certificates coming up for renewal on or after 16 March 2020.

Updates and more information can be found on the Ofsted website.

Care Quality Commission (CQC)

The Care Quality Commission has written to all registered health and social care providers about how they are adapting their regulatory approach in response to the coronavirus outbreak.  Routine inspections have been stopped from 16 March 2020 and there is a shift towards other remote methods to give assurance of safety and quality of care.

Some inspection activity will continue in a small number of cases (for example, where there are allegations of abuse) and CQC will continue to give extra support to registered managers in adult social care.

They clarified further that there are no changes to the requirements to make notifications / or the systems used to make them.

You should continue to notify the CQC of deaths and events stopping them from carrying on their service ‘safely and properly’ (Reg 18) – this will mean letting them know if your service operation is being negatively affected by COVID-19.

It does not mean that you’ll need to notify the CQC of every single COVID-19 related issue. Aside from making notifications in the usual way, you should stay in touch and contact them if there are specific concerns and issues that they need to be aware of.

Updates and more information can be found on the CQC website.

Parking

Somerset is supporting key workers by suspending parking enforcement across the county.   As part of this we’ll be standing down our Civil Enforcement team for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic, but a small team will remain available to deal with any parking problems that could affect key access routes to premises such as hospitals and supermarkets.

This means we’ll be able to redeploy officers to support community work such as helping to shop for food and collecting medicines for vulnerable people.

We are also urging all drivers who have to go out only to park in permitted areas, such as parking bays, car parks and uncontrolled areas. It is vitally important that drivers don’t block the path of emergency vehicles and others involved in delivering services to those in need.  People must not make unnecessary journeys and should stay home where possible to protect the NHS and save lives.

Key Worker Travel letter

If you are a key worker supporting children and young people across Somerset, you can request a letter from us to confirm that you are travelling for work related purposes. Email ChildrensCommissioning@somerset.gov.uk to request a copy.

In these extraordinary times, we are all very aware of the importance of supporting both physical and mental health needs.

Find guidance, advice and tips on how to maintain mental wellbeing if you are anxious about the outbreak here

Mindline Somerset is also available if anyone wishes to talk to someone about their anxieties or worries.

Mindline Somerset logo

 

COVID-19: How to stay healthy, happy and safe at home

For those of you who are finding this period of lockdown challenging, there are lots of resources available to help keep you, your family and friends happy, healthy and safe over the coming days and weeks. Since the coronavirus outbreak, Public Health have uploaded a lot of resources on the Healthy Somerset website including advice on staying active, eating healthily, links to resources to support your mental health and wellbeing, and safety tips and advice for you, and your family.

You can access the website here

 

In response to COVID-19, the Home Office and the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) have put temporary arrangements in place to provide DBS checks and fast-track emergency checks of the adults’ and children’s barred lists free-of-charge to healthcare and social care workers being recruited in connection with the care and treatment of COVID 19 in England and Wales.

These arrangements will provide employers with the option to appoint new recruits into regulated activity with adults and/or children, as long as the individuals are not barred, and appropriate measures are put in place to manage the individual until the full DBS check is received.

Guidance has been developed for organisations who need to do these checks, setting out how who can have them and how to complete the applications so these can be easily identified and the right level of information provided as quickly as possible.

These checks will be free of charge to reduce the burden on services at this time of need.

The guidance can be found here and all other DBS guidance relating to COVID-19 can be found here.

 

Parents, carers and families are dealing with a vast amount of information on a wide range of topics about COVID-19. The information below is intended to help providers signpost parents, carers and families to the relevant guidance and support.

SCC and Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group has worked with Somerset Parent Carer Forum to answer some of the most common questions parents have been asking on the Local Offer.  Changes to SCC services in light of COVID-19 are updated here.  A fact sheet for parents has also been prepared by Children’s Social Care.

Finding the right advice can be difficult so, with the help of some Somerset parents and carers, we have pulled together the best web-based information and local support we could find in the Parent and Carer Toolkit.  There is a section on information and activity ideas for families during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Young Minds share their 10 tips for talking to your child about Coronavirus, and Place2Be have developed a guide to helping parents answer questions from their children and to support family wellbeing.

School closures are impacting on parents.  Most schools have started to prepare and send resources home with the children. Clearly, this may be much harder for some children with learning difficulties or additional needs, or if parents have to work from home as well as look after the children. The government have shared some recommended resources, as are many home education groups.  Cafcass have prepared a guide to working from home while your children are around.

Somerset Council have circulated a letter with guidance around supervised family time for families of children that are looked after, and how this might be a bit different as a result of the COVID guidelines in place. This letter can be accessed below.

thinkuknow logo

Thinkuknow is an education programme which aims to protect children both online and offline. Their #OnlineSafetyAtHome pack is now available with online safety based activities for parents and carers to use at home.

If you are working with young people and families where English is not their first language, you can find coronavirus guidance to reflect the changes made regarding the lock down rules for the whole population in the UK in English and 28 other languages here.  For UK Government guidance on migrant patients click here

Information on temporary changes to the laws about Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans can be found here.

This section of the website provides links to online resources that may help providers in supporting children and young people during the Covid-19 pandemic.

  1. Safeguarding

As families stay at home to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, some children and young people may face increased risk of abuse or neglect at home or from strangers online.  If you are concerned about a child, follow your agency’s safeguarding procedures.  More information about reporting concerns about a child is available on the SCC website.

2. Supporting children and young people’s emotional health and wellbeing:

Kooth is a free, safe and anonymous online support service for young people in Somerset.
https://www.kooth.com/ 
People can self-refer and register using the above link.

 

  

 3. Support Services for Education (SSE) website

This website offers a dedicated COVID-19 folder with resources and information for supporting children and young people and staff. Issues covered include:

  • Discussion and planning around communicating difficult information
  • Explanation of CYP’s likely reactions to change and loss
  • Answering difficult questions from CYP
  • Signposting to resources
  • Ideas around how parents can support CYP
  • Explaining Coronavirus to children of different ages
  • Explaining Coronavirus to those with Special Educational Needs
  • Continuing to support vulnerable pupils attending schools/colleges
  • Maintaining resilience in children and young people in light of COVID-19

http://www.supportservicesforeducation.co.uk/Services/3242

 

4. Education/careers guidance for young people

  • Careerpilot is a good website for exploring job sectors – this is useful for those that have no idea what they want to do. They can take various quizzes to find out what their ideal job match could be, they can explore a variety of job sectors and discover what qualifications (if any) they would need to obtain their dream role. There is also a useful section to develop a transferable skills map, this helps them identify the skills they have already and the ones they need to develop. It helps them to write examples of how they’ve used their skills which they could use to support a job/college application, personal statement, CV etc – www.careerpilot.org.uk

 

  • Useful links for careers/future study information:

www.icould.com

www.nextstepssw.ac.uk

www.apprenticeships.gov.uk

www.gov.uk/find-traineeship

www.getmyfirstjob.co.uk

www.brightknowledge.org

 

  • Links for local colleges and training providers to find out if they have any future events coming up and to explore courses/watch testimonials etc:

https://www.sslcourses.co.uk/

https://www.btc.ac.uk/

https://www.strode-college.ac.uk/

https://www.yeovil.ac.uk/

https://www.huish.ac.uk/

https://www.edfenergy.com/energy/nuclear-new-build-projects/hinkley-point-c/jobs-and-training/apprenticeships

https://uk.leonardocompany.com/en/people-careers/apprenticeships

 

  • For children and young people that may want to work on their English and Maths the following links may be useful especially for those taking functional skills.

https://mathsmadeeasy.co.uk/functional-skills-maths-level-2-past-papers/

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/levels/zvhtng8

https://www.thinkonlinetraining.com/maths/functional-skills/level-2/revision/

https://www.unionlearn.org.uk/english-and-maths-learning-resources-and-tools-m-to-z

https://www.themathsfactor.com/

 

5. Somerset Children and Young People Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Covid-19 Response

Somerset CYP Mental Health Wellbeing Covid-19 Response (EXTERNAL COMMS) – v7

 

5COVID-19 Easy Read/LD Resources

Helpful and practical easy read resources about COVID-19 have been written by Public Health England

Purple All Stars Hand Washing rap video

Easy Read information developed by Photosymbols to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers is also available here

An interactive resource designed to support and reassure children aged 7 and under is available in lots of languages at #COVIBOOK

In the first instance, if you have any issues or concerns as a provider around an individual child or young person contact their key worker or Somerset Direct.  Changes to SCC services in light of COVID-19 are updated here.

If you have a COVID-19 concern or query affecting your system or whole service, please contact us at childrenscommissioning@somerset.gov.uk

Families requiring COVID-19 support can contact the dedicated helpline 0300 790 6275.