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Council services

Adult social care

WarningIn the event of an emergency, always call the Police on 999

Concerned about an adult?

If you suspect an adult is being abused or neglected, call us on 0300 247 0201 and select option 3 (Monday to Thursday, 8.30am to 5pm, Fridays, 8.30am to 4.30pm), or our Emergency Duty Social Work team on  01454 61 51 65 (evenings, weekends and bank holidays). This could be you or someone you know.

Different types of abuse and who is at risk

Further guidance on safeguarding adults in the BANES area (Bath and North East Somerset Community Safety and Safeguarding Partnership (BCSSP))

Care and support

If you have a care and support plan, our Social Work teams will ensure this is maintained and your eligible needs met.

Q&A for people receiving a personal budget or personal health budget

Guidance for people receiving direct payments

Hospital discharge

The current emergency period creates a unique set of circumstances and therefore your care and support plan may in the future be reviewed and your needs reassessed. At that time, alternative services could be provided, or your reassessment could conclude that you no longer have any eligible care and support needs. 

Even though you should only be discharged from hospital as soon as you're medically fit, the package of care and support that's put in place upon discharge in the current situation, might not be as wide-ranging, or as comprehensive as it would normally be. The usual social care assessment process may also be shortened, or not happen immediately, to allow hospital beds to be freed up as quickly as possible for those in need.  

Residential placements

If you are currently in a care home, you will most likely remain there, with no change to your provision of care. However, due to social distancing, it may not be possible for some usual activities to take place, or for you to leave the care home to go on outings.

Home care

The current emergency period creates a unique set of circumstances and therefore your care and support plan may in the future be reviewed and your needs reassessed. At that time, alternative services could be provided, or your reassessment could conclude that you no longer have any eligible care and support needs. 

With potentially limited staff, it has been necessary to make decisions that are outside of those that would be taken under normal circumstances. We need to work together to protect the ability of Social Care teams to provide care and support to all those in need.

New to us

If you have only recently received social care and support from us, this could mean that your current package of care and support is not as wide-ranging, or as comprehensive as it would normally be.

Already receive care and support from us

If you already receive social care and support from us, some services may be provided by alternative methods. This ensures critical care and support is provided to all those in need. If you require additional support due to the emergency situation, we will do our best to arrange this for you.

We will aim to reach a mutually agreed care and support plan, but if you disagree with any aspect of your care and support plan, please contact your allocated worker to discuss the way forward. 

Financial assessments

New to us

If you have only recently received social care and support from us, please be aware that most people have to pay an assessed weekly care charge towards their care and support. 

A financial assessment will be done by telephone, if possible. This could be a ‘light-touch’ assessment, which is quicker, but a full financial assessment will have to be carried out when the emergency period ends. 

If your financial assessment is not carried out immediately, put funds to one side. If a ‘light touch’ assessment is carried out, it should be noted that the figure provided for payment may not be accurate long-term.

Already receive care and support from us

If you already receive social care and support from us and your assessed weekly care charge is affected by an increase or decrease in the package of care and support being provided, our Care Finance Officer will notify you as soon as they are able to do so. 

Direct payments

WarningDuring lockdown, Personal Assistants (PAs) are still considered to be key workers, which means you can continue to deliver care in people’s homes and maintain your status as a key worker (as stated in point 4 of the guidance on GOV.UK).

If you receive direct payments and are affected by the Coronavirus outbreak, go to our direct payments web page, for more detailed information about direct payments and PAs.

Personal Assistants (PAs) returning from shielding

If you are a PA or you employ a PA through direct payments, the following information outlines how PAs can return to work safely.

If you are in the extremely vulnerable category set out on GOV.UK, you could also demonstrate that you are disabled under the provisions of the Equality Act 2010.

How do the provisions of the Equality Act 2010 impact on a PA’s return to work?

A disabled employee is entitled to have reasonable adjustments made at work in order to overcome a substantial disadvantage. These adjustments are in relation to:

  • A provision, criterion or practice of the employer
  • Physical features of the workplace
  • An auxiliary aid or service

Shielding being lifted

Even though shielding measures were lifted by the Government on 1 August 2020, this doesn't meant a PA is automatically capable and safe to return to work.

The PA's workplace may need adjusting to ensure they don't face a substantial disadvantage, or you might need to provide additional aids to a PA, if they are a vulnerable worker, in order for them to return to work.

The following are examples of why it might be difficult for a PA to automatically return to work:

  • The PA has been stuck at home for many weeks through lockdown and is now experiencing acute anxiety at the idea of leaving their home when Coronavirus is still present in the UK. If after exploration the PA is found not to be well enough to return to work, in this case SSP may continue – not on the grounds of shielding, but on the grounds of ill health, and the normal sickness absence procedures would apply.
  • The PA is a family carer for a child with a medical condition, that makes them more at risk from Coronavirus and therefore isn’t able to return to using their normal support provider (grandparents may not feel confident yet to take risks,or parents may be working on the NHS frontline, and so distancing from their child or child care centres may not yet be fully operational). It may be that the PA needs to go on emergency leave for dependants with no pay.
  • Certain areas of the UK are operating under different rules. Local Authorities have new powers to try and prevent the spread of the virus locally and so local lockdowns remain a possibility.
  • The PA is now self-isolating as they (or someone in their household) has symptoms. SSP would run from the date that shielding ends until the end of the isolation period.
  • The PA is self-isolating under a track and trace notification. SSP would run until the end of the period the notification requires.
  • Insufficient risk assessments and/or safety measures have been addressed to ensure the PA can return safely. It is important to remember that additional measures might be required to ensure a disabled person is kept safe at work.

Next steps

To make sure that you can be confident of your PA’s ability to return to work, talk to them. Be aware of and responsive to their own situation and tell them what you need and how you’ve handled Coronavirus risks so far. Then, assess the risks for your PA to return to work and their needs, implement measures and take action to avoid risks.

If you still can’t find a way of avoiding risks

If you’ve followed the above advice, and you still can’t agree a safe return to work for your PA, we suggest you take further legal advice from the Premier Care legal helpline (or equivalent if insured elsewhere). This will enable to you to further explore your PA’s rights, and any pay that may or may not be applicable to an extended period of absence.

Shielding whilst PA on leave

If you have been shielding whilst your PA has been on leave, and you now want them to return to work, follow the above advice(next steps) to make sure that your PA is able to return to their duties and that you have put in place safe systems of work to reduce any risk. For further information on how to stay safe in a care setting, please see Government guidance on how to work safely in domiciliary care.

Don't want PA to return yet

If you've had no PA support whilst you've been shielding, and you don't feel comfortable about them returning to work yet because you're nervous about the Coronavirus risk, as restrictions have eased, the general view is that your risk of contracting the virus is greatly reduced, subject to having safe systems of work in place.

If you still feel that there are risks that cannot be managed, for example by following sound hygiene practices, changing systems of work and/or using PPE, you should talk to your social worker, support team or funding body to explain why you feel it is unsafe for your PA to return to work from August. What you communicate to your PA will depend on the outcome of your conversation with your social worker, support team or funding body.

You should not assume that your budget will continue to allow you to pay the PA for leave beyond 1 August 2020. Before making any decisions, we suggest you carefully consider how you may be able to put in place safe systems of work by following the Government guidance and risk assessing your care practices. If funding is to continue for a short period of time, you can notify your PA. If however, you are looking to make more permanent changes to the way your care is managed, it is very important to take legal advice on how to communicate the changes to your PA.

Mental health

It is understandable that people may feel more anxious or worried at the moment. Most people will be able to manage these feelings through putting strategies in place such as keeping themselves busy, maintaining as much of a routine as possible and reducing the time listening to or watching the news. However, some may find this a little more difficult and might need someone to talk to, or need additional support. It is therefore important to seek help if you find yourself in this position.

Visit our mental health web page if you need mental health support. It has details about what to do in a crisis, as well as what other help and support is available for people with mental health needs in Bath and North East Somerset.

GPs are still able to offer telephone and face-to-face appointments if you need treatment and support. They will talk to you about whether you need to be referred for further assessment to our local Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) service.

A new service called the Compassionate Communities Hub has also been set up to help you through these uncertain times, particularly if you are more vulnerable. They can offer a listening ear and some helpful advice around how you are coping, and put you in touch with other organisations.

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 includes the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) – a set of checks that aims to make sure that any care that restricts a person’s liberty is both appropriate and in their best interests. DoLS only apply for people in care homes and hospitals. There is a separate system for people in ‘supported living arrangements’ (where people live and receive care in the community).

It is important that care homes and hospitals continue to identify people in their settings who are deprived of their liberty and make the referral for a Best Interest Assessment for DoLS to take place. There has been no change to the law in this area

However, due to the coronavirus measures currently in place, the Best Interest Assessments may need to be carried out in a different way,or to wait until restrictions are lifted, to prevent an increase in infections within care settings. All assessments are regularly screened and prioritised, and this process will continue through this period.