Comment: Covid-19

Rachel Dickinson, ADCS President, said:

“Responding to emergency situations is one of most important things that local authorities do, and all councils will be dealing with the outbreak of Covid-19 as they would any other emergency by prioritising the needs of the most vulnerable. Local authorities will be in contact with their residents, providers, schools and others with updates on keeping themselves and others safe and to ensure they are aware of the latest government and public health advice available to us. It has been helpful having public health within local government as we respond to the outbreak.

“Clearly, this is a fastmoving situation. We recognise that guidance can’t be available to cover every situation, so it’s important that local authorities follow their business continuity plans in relation to essential services and exercise local judgement in response to local and individual circumstances, within the context of national guidance. It’s vital that the needs of vulnerable children and families, including children in and on the edge of care, continue to be met and that they are safe during the outbreak, all of those things are being worked through locally.

“ADCS is logging issues raised by our members in relation to Covid-19 and feeding them into our regular discussions with the Department for Education to inform government thinking and planning. One of the issues that has been raised with us is whether Ofsted inspections of social care settings will be put on hold to allow local authorities to concentrate on their local responses to the outbreak, and we are pleased the Secretary of State has confirmed all routine inspections of schools, further education, early years and social care settings will be temporarily suspended. We are also feeding issues into the Department around children’s residential settings and the use of emergency social worker registrants in response to potential workforce shortages as a result of Covid-19. Given the placements market for children in care is already overstretched we are working closely with all relevant stakeholders to ensure children are provided for. We will continue to work with the Department to try and ensure that the government’s advice becomes more tailored over time.”

ENDS


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