April 2020 – Impact of Coronavirus Pandemic cont
Rough Sleepers - The government has written to local authorities in England asking them to house all people sleeping rough, and those in hostels and night shelters.
In the letter, Minister for Local Government and Homelessness Luke Hall sets out a programme of actions designed to help reduce the impact of coronavirus on people facing homelessness, based on four principles:
To focus on people who are, or are at risk of, sleeping rough, and those who are in accommodation where it is difficult to self-isolate, such as shelters and assessment centres
To make sure that people have access to the facilities that enable them to adhere to public health guidance on hygiene or isolation, ideally single room facilities
To utilise alternative powers and funding to assist those with no recourse to public funds who require shelter and other forms of support due to the pandemic and
To mitigate their own risk of infection, and transmission to others, by ensuring they are able to self-isolate as appropriate in line with public health guidance
Care Needs - The Act suspends local authority duties to assess and meet care needs in England during the Corona virus outbreak. Local authorities in England do not have to comply with certain duties in relation to meeting needs and carrying out assessments under the Care Act 2014, and the Act modifies specified duties to meet needs under the Care Act, until such time as regulations are either suspended, reviewed or the Act is no longer in force.
The government has issued guidance for local authorities that sets out how local authorities can proceed. The changes fall into four key categories, each applicable for the period the powers are in force:
Local Authorities will not have to carry out detailed assessments of care and support needs in compliance with pre-amendment Care Act requirements. However, they will still be expected to respond as soon as possible (within a timeframe that would not jeopardise individual human rights) to requests for care and support, consider the needs and wishes of people needing care and their family and carers, and make an assessment of what care needs to be provided
Local Authorities will not have to carry out financial assessments in compliance with pre-amendment Care Act requirements. They will, however, have powers to charge people retrospectively for the care and support they receive during this period, subject to giving reasonable information in advance about this, and a later financial assessment. This will ensure fairness between people already receiving care and support before this period, and people entering the care and support system during this period
Local Authorities will not have to prepare or review care and support plans in line with the pre-amendment Care Act provisions. They will however still be expected to carry out proportionate, person-centred care planning which provides sufficient information to all concerned, particularly those providing care and support, often at short notice. Where they choose to revise plans, they must also continue to involve users and carers in any such revision
The duties on Local Authorities to meet eligible care and support needs, or the support needs of a carer, are replaced with a power to meet needs. Local Authorities will still be expected to take all reasonable steps to continue to meet needs as now. In the event that they are unable to do so, the powers will enable them to prioritise the most pressing needs, for example enhanced support for people who are ill or self-isolating, and to temporarily delay or reduce other care provision
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