29 Jan 2024
by Policy, Practice and Innovation Team

Updated guidance on the preparation of integrated care strategies

Guidance on the preparation of integrated care strategies has been updated to include additional guidance on localised decision-making at place level, greater clarity on the opportunity for strategies to consider the wider determinants of health in setting the overall direction for the system (for example, housing and crime) and health-related services (services not directly health or social care but could have an impact on health), greater clarity on the expectation for integrated care partnerships to promote widespread involvement when developing strategies, and strengthening the section on ‘dying well’ within a life course.

New intervention powers come into effect from 31 January 2024
The Health and Care Act 2022 gave new powers to the Secretary of State to intervene in NHS service reconfigurations from 31 January 2024. Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) and other commissioners are required to notify the Secretary of State of any new proposals for substantial service changes and the Secretary of State can ‘call in’ proposals for service change, and can take or retake any decision that the commissioner could have taken.  More from the Integrated Care bulletin, 26 January 2024.  Sign up for bulletins

Small care provider views sought for government cyber consultation

The Government has commissioned a cyber security consultancy to undertake a pilot project to support directors of UK organisations improve how they govern cyber security risk. They are keen to ensure the care sector is represented in this project, and are seeking input from smaller care services. Organisations can participate by contacting [email protected] and full details of the project can be found here

New benchmarking in ASC-WDS to help with CQC inspections

Skills for Care has expanded the benchmarks feature in the Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set (ASC-WDS) to help providers use data to inform their decision making, bearing in mind the Care Quality Commission's inspection framework says care providers should look outside of their own organisation to see how they are performing against others. (From Digital Care Hub January Newsletter.)

Minor update to COVID-19 supplement to the infection prevention and control resource for adult social care

A minor update has been published to the Guidance - COVID-19 supplement to the infection prevention and control resource for adult social care which reflects changes to accessing tests. Tests can now be obtained from either pharmacies (for people eligible for antivirals) or from the national ordering portal (for care home outbreaks).  See also subsequent replacement guidance: https://www.homecareassociation.org.uk/resource/new-guidance-replaces-covid-19-supplement-to-the-infection-prevention-and-control-resource.html

MPs call for alternative to single-word grade for schools

MPs on the House of Commons Education Committee have called for Ofsted and the Department for Education to develop an alternative to a single-word grade, in their report on Ofsted's work with schools.  Single word ratings have given rise to debate before. Directors of Adult Social Services indicated in 2022 they would prefer to receive a narrative judgement of councils' performance, rather than a single word judgement by the Care Quality Commission.

Safeguarding adults’ enquiries: is consent needed?

There is an issue whether a local authority needs the consent of a person before undertaking a safeguarding adults enquiry, or if they need to assess the person's capacity to consent to the safeguarding enquiry. In this article, in Community Care, James Codling, Mental Capacity Act and Deprivation and Liberty Safeguards training and development manager at Cambridgeshire County Council, argues there is a fundamental misunderstanding of the law in this area.

Support for children with special educational needs and disabilities

The Department for Education has announced that families in England who have children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) will soon receive further support with more short breaks, supported internship opportunities and recognition of Down syndrome. 

What we continue to learn from COVID-19 - webinar recording

NIHR ARC Wessex have circulated a recording of their webinar held on 29 January 2024 on 'What we continue to learn from COVID-19'. The speakers were Dr Leire Ambrosio, Lecturer in Adult Nursing, University of Southampton, who spoke on the development of policy recommendations to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on physical activity and mental health in individuals with multimorbidity, and  Prof Nisreen Alwan, Professor of Public Health, University of Southampton, who addressed health inequalities and stigma in Long Covid.  Please click here to view the recording. Information about NIHR ARC Wessex events can be found here.

Postal services under consideration

Ofcom are reviewing whether changes should be made to the Universal Postal Service that Royal Mail are currently operating. Scenarios under consideration include a reduction in the number of days a week that letters are delivered. You can find out more here: Call for input: The future of the universal postal service - Ofcom

Consultation on Employment Tribunal charges

The Ministry of Justice are considering whether to (re)introduce fees for Employment Tribunals. Previously, fees introduced in 2013 resulted in a caseload drop of 53%; following legal challenge the Supreme Court quashed the fee order for reasons related to affordability and access to justice in 2017. Since then Employment Tribunals have not charged fees. The fees proposed in this new consultation are lower than previous fee levels. You can find the consultation here: Introducing fees in the Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Social work apprenticeship fund

Guidance has been issued for local authorities on accessing the new £12m fund to support apprenticeships in social work.

Large rise in overseas graduates working in social care

Research by the Migration Observatory at Oxford University has shown a large rise in overseas graduates working in social care. The rise is attributed to recent cohorts of international students being more likely to switch to work visas than in the past, and switching to long-term Skilled Worker Route visas, which provide a path to permanent residence in the UK. More about the research here: International students entering the UK labour market Migration Observatory - The Migration Observatory (ox.ac.uk).

Make shared care records work for urgent and emergency care

Claire Jones, Clinical Lead for Digital Transformation in NHS England South West, explains how information standards can ensure emergency care providers have the right information to deliver critical care, in an article for Digital Health Intelligence. Claire says 'It would make sense for an organisation such as PRSB to develop a standard ‘view’ of the subset of the the Core Information Standard that is needed to provide urgent and emergency care so that can be implemented by  ambulance services, shared care records and ICSs. This would effectively guarantee that whenever and wherever a person requires urgent and emergency care their essential clinical information would be available immediately.'

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