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Adult social care

Possible changes to service due to COVID-19

To ensure we continue to provide the best possible care and support for people during this exceptional period, the Council may need to make some changes to the way that we operate our adult social care services.

It is likely that during this time more people than usual will require support from our services, in addition to the possibility of a reduction in staff available to deliver them.

Currently, Bedford Borough Council Adult Social Care services are providing care and support in line with their usual duties, although doing so in line with social distancing guidance. Wherever possible we will continue to work with our partners across the borough to keep business as usual running for as long as possible. However, we must also plan ahead to make sure the most vulnerable people continue to receive the care and support they require, while ensuring that everyone is safe and well.

New government legislation has been introduced under the Coronavirus Act 2020 which enables local authorities to make changes to the way services are assessed for and delivered.

To support this, we have developed a local framework outlining the steps we can take if any changes to the service need to be put in place. This has been done in line with government guidance and building in feedback from various community organisations to ensure the views of citizens are captured.

If any changes do have to be made to any of our services, they will be temporary and will be continually reviewed throughout the crisis period.

Four areas of change the Council may put in place if the situation requires it

  1. To speed up access to services for those most in need, and to be able to respond quickly to increased numbers of people requesting support, the Council may decide not to carry out full assessments as detailed within the Care Act, but to instead use a streamlined assessment tool to determine the care and support that is needed in the short term. This will be a much quicker process than a full assessment, will not cover the same level of detail and will be undertaken over the phone wherever possible.
  2. To prevent delays in care and support and to reduce time spent on paperwork, the Council may decide not to carry out financial assessments to determine how much people need to pay towards their care and support at the time of putting services in place. Instead, information will be provided on the likely charges and the financial assessment process that will be conducted at a later stage.
  3. To ensure staff time is used most effectively, the Council may decide not to undertake routine reviews or prepare detailed care and support plans but will instead use a streamlined support planning tool where required. The plans will still be person-centred and contain enough information for all concerned to deliver safe, effective care and support for the duration of this crisis.
  4. If the situation reaches a point where there is insufficient staffing available to deliver care and support to everyone for all eligible needs as defined in the Care Act, the Council may take steps to prioritise the most pressing needs, and to temporarily delay or reduce other care provision. This will only be used if the council assess that greater risk would be caused by continuing to try and meet all needs. If this is necessary, it will be for the shortest possible time at the peak of the coronavirus outbreak and would be de-activated immediately following the emergency period.

Should any changes be required, the Council will notify everyone affected to make sure they understand the changes that are being put in place and why they are necessary.

The need for establishing a framework to make these decisions is to be able to minimise harm to people and protect human rights in the event of the social care system becoming overloaded during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Any decisions made will follow a robust process to ensure that all other options have been considered before any changes are implemented.

You can find out how we are supporting adult social care providers during COVID-19 here