Adult Social Care Coronavirus Winter Plan 2020-21: briefing and gap analysis for councils

This briefing summarises the key messages in the Adult Social Care Winter Plan (published by DHSC on 18 September 2020) and sets out the key actions for local authorities in a format that allows colleagues to clearly identify gaps.


Introduction

This briefing summarises the key messages in the Adult Social Care Winter Plan (published by DHSC on 18 September 2020) and sets out the key actions for local authorities in a format that allows colleagues to clearly identify gaps:

Adult Social Care Winter Plan (published by DHSC on 18 September 2020)

Summary points

  • The Winter Plan has been divided across four themes and sets out actions for Local Authorities, CCGs and providers (health and social care) to take.
  • Much will already be in motion, but local authorities should cross-check to ensure they are built into existing local plans and address the Winter Plan actions. Local authorities are required to write to DHSC and confirm they have done this by 31 October 2020; they are not required to submit a ‘Winter Plan’.  
  • Collaborative, partnership working remains central to the success of the response of the pandemic. Local authorities should work with NHS colleagues to ensure primary and community services are supporting local providers, as well as social care services and voluntary organisations to ensure people can access the help and support they need to remain well.
  • Local authorities should ensure providers are kept up to date with the local guidance and there is weekly communication from the Director of Adult Social Services and Director of Public Health.
  • Local authorities should maintain oversight of the care home support plan, ensuring providers are well supported to prevent infection outbreaks in care settings. This includes distributing free PPE to providers who cannot access the PPE portal; promoting the flu vaccination programme; supporting providers with staffing issues and working with CQC on the designation scheme for premises for people discharged from hospital who cannot go straight into a care home.
  • Local authority directors of public health should give a regular assessment of whether visiting care homes is likely to be appropriate within their local authority, or within local wards, taking into account the wider risk environment and immediately move to stop visiting if an area becomes an ‘area of intervention’, except in exceptional circumstances such as end of life
  • Local authorities should act as lead commissioners for those discharged from hospital using the Treasury/NHS money, unless otherwise agreed.
  • No care home should be forced to admit an existing or new resident to the care home if they are unable to cope with the impact of the person's COVID-19 illness safely. Local authorities remain responsible for providing alternative accommodation in local systems and should make use of the ADASS Cohorting and Isolation recommendations.
  • Local authorities must distribute funding made available through the extension of the Infection Control Fund to the sector as quickly as possible, and report on how funding is being used, in line with the grant conditions. Confirmation of how the first round was spent is required by 30 September 2020.
  • As of 1 September 2020 CHC and Care Act Assessments have been restarted. Local authorities should work with CCG colleagues to ensure they are being completed, including any deferred assessments for 19 March to 31 August 2020.
  • Local authorities and NHS organisations should continue to put co-production at the heart of decision-making, involving people who receive health and care services, their families, and carers. Recent Direct Payments guidance should be followed to support people and their carers to use these flexibly and innovatively.
  • Local authorities should ensure providers are aware of the suite of national offers available to support with staff recruitment, induction, training and wellbeing.

Key actions for local authorities

Winter Plan checklist

We attach a summary of the actions for local authorities within the DHSC Winter Plan, in a format which enables local authorities to verify that actions are in place, ready for the assurance that has to be submitted to DHSC on 31 October. We are aware that some local authorities have already drawn up their own version of this, but we are making this available for those who may not yet have had time.