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Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs for all providers

Finance

Q - What is LBI’s position for paying for care as planned (rather than by minute) during the COVID-19 pandemic?

A - LBI is committed to ensuring financial sustainability and to minimising administrative burdens on providers during this challenging time – on this basis, LBI will be paying for care ‘as planned’.

Q - Will LBI continue to pay for services that have closed in line with government guidance?

A - LBI expects, as far as practicable, that services will enact business continuity arrangements to enable continued delivery during the COVID-19 outbreak – this could mean working creatively or though alternative channels, for example, providing tele-support rather than face to face support. Where services are not able to do so, providers will need to work with commissioners to make plans for how service resources can be redeployed to best effect. If this is not possible, LBI will consider funding decisions on a case by case basis.

Q - Will LBI cover increased costs associated with staffing changes e.g. if management have to be used to cover staff absences?

A - LBI are committed to ensuring financial stability and service continuity and will take all actions open to them to support this in line with government guidance. LBI are committed to meet reasonable additional costs identified through open book arrangements.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Q - Who can providers highlight PPE supply issues to?

A - In the first instance, for more PPE please try your normal suppliers. Where you cannot source PPE through your normal route you should contact ncl.covidprocurement@nhs.net.

If you have immediate concerns over the supply of PPE there is a dedicated 24/7 service, the National Supply Disruption Response who can be contacted on 0800 915 9964 or supplydisruptionservice@nhsbsa.nhs.uk

Further information can be found in PPE section.

Q - Will LBI step in and provide care if a provider is unable to do so?

A - If providers are unable to provide planned care and support to an individual (either through its own staffing or mutual aid channels), they should contact the LBI Access Service immediately via 020 7527 2299 or access.service@islington.gov.uk who will make alternative arrangements for the provision of care.

The Council is exploring options about staff redeployment to support delivery of care and support, as required.

Mutual aid

Q - Can and will LBI offer mutual staffing aid to providers?

A - Where possible LBI will offer mutual staffing aid.

Q - How is LBI supporting providers to engage in mutual aid across the market?

A - Commissioners are engaging providers in discussions about mutual aid and staffing contingency plans and will continue to do so as the COVID-19 pandemic develops. Whether a provider chooses to offer mutual aid is an individual organisational decision, however, at this time LBI expects providers to work together, as system partners, to maintain service provision as far as practical.

Employment and staffing

Q - What support can LBI offer to support with recruitment of new staff?

A - LBI’s iWork team can offer a range of support to help you with recruitment. IWork can account manage the recruitment process for employers by:

  1. Advertise the vacancies to partners and on the proud to care website
  2. Pre-screen all candidates 
  3. Send through a list of candidates for interviews
  4. Arrange the interview schedule for the employer

Please contact marion.phillips@islington.gov.uk 

Q - Is LBI willing to relax requirements about DBS checks?

A - LBI are committed to safeguarding vulnerable adults and children. CQC have recently issued the following guidance which we shared in the 3/4/20 daily bulletin but it is repeated below,

The CQC guidance applies to individuals (paid staff and volunteers) being recruited as a consequence of and during the coronavirus pandemic, and where the following three things apply:

  • providers need to start staff urgently
  • waiting for a full DBS check could cause undue delay
  • this delay could lead to risks to the continuity of service, impacting the safety and wellbeing of people using the service

Providers are offered a fast, free Barred List DBS check for emergency roles being recruited in response to a provider risk assessment. Enhanced DBS check information will still be processed, but will be issued afterwards.

  • The barred list check applies to staff working with children and adults.
  • Providers should exercise diligence around all aspects of safe recruitment, including other recruitment checks they might carry out. Providers are responsible for risk assessing their situation and making decisions based on the needs of their service and people using that service during this emergency.
  • If providers take reasonable steps to ensure new staff are recruited in line with new DBS guidance, staff are adequately supported and sufficiently supervised so that people are safe, CQC will not take a punitive approach. Providers should record the decisions they have made, and any risks identified along with the mitigations they will put in place. For example, providers might consider accepting a relevant DBS check from a previous employer provided it is less than three years old and for a similar role.

 

Q - Staff may not be able to do practical elements of required training, such as moving and handling, while social distancing is in place. Does the council accept that providers will need to adjust their training during this period?

A - LBI are committed to safeguarding vulnerable adults and children. Training is a crucial element of ensuring staff have the skills and confidence to provide safe and good quality care.

LBI recognise that providers may have to adapt their training approach and methods during this period, ensuring they continue to provide staff with the support, knowledge, training and skills they need to carry out their duties effectively and safely.

Q - How will LBI support providers to meet the increased costs of statutory sick pay?

A - Government guidelines suggest that providers will be supported with SSP through universal credit arrangements. Visit GOV.UK for more information on guidance for employees.

Out of borough providers

Q - What is Islington’s role in respect of out of borough providers who support Islington residents?

A - LBI want to ensure that residents supported out of borough are safe and well. In the current situation, to do this they will want to stay in close contact with the provider who is best placed to advise and the local authority commissioners and safeguarding teams within which the service is located

Transport-related issues

Q - Will LBI provide parking permits for providers?

A - The national Parking Pass was sent out to providers on 16 and 21 April. If you have any further enquires please contact Sharie Omoragbon on 07738059466 or email: sharie.omoragbon@islington.gov.uk

 

Q - Will LBI meet increased costs associate with transport changes?

A - Any additional reasonable travel costs associated with delivering services will be met by LBI. Once any additional costs are authorised, these should be invoiced separately and marked as COVID-19 related costs.

Childcare

Q - Are social care staff considered ‘key workers’ and eligible to access childcare?

A - Yes, social care staff are considered ‘key workers’ and childcare provision should be available, accordingly. Staff should contact their child’s school to register their child, if this is what they decide.

Q - What documentation will social care staff require to access school childcare?

A - For Islington schools, a workplace Council ID badge and a letter from the Chief Executive confirming key worker status will be required. Schools in other boroughs may have different criteria, but are likely to accept a similar letter as evidence.

Volunteers

Q - What opportunities are there for residents to support the COVID-19 response as volunteers?

A - There are lots of different ways residents can help others in their community. This could include through volunteering or donating to the Islington Giving Crisis Fund.

Business Continuity Plans (BCPs)

Q - Will the Council share its BCPs or BCPs it has received with providers?

A - LBI will not be sharing its or other organisations’ BCPs, which are live documents subject to updates in line with changing circumstances.

Adherence to LBI standard policies and procedures

Q - Should providers continue to comply with standard LBI policies and procedures e.g. on incident reporting?

A - Yes, providers should continue to comply with policies and procedures mandated in service contracts unless changes are agreed. If there are areas of ambiguity (e.g. duplication with COVID-19 additional reporting requirements), this will be dealt with on a case by case basis.

Food and basic supplies

Q - How will vulnerable residents be supported to access food and basic supplies?

A - LBI have set up We are Islington to help Islington residents affected by coronavirus. Call 02075278222.
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