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General information and local support


Sickness absence reporting
To support GPs with the vaccine roll out, the Government has announced some temporary changes to the timescales for Statements of Fitness to Work (‘fit notes’). These changes apply from 17 December until 26 January 2022.

What this means for you as an Individual Employer of Personal Assistants¬¬

From now until 26 January 2022:

  • Employers cannot ask employees to provide a fit note until they have been absent for 28 days (it is currently 7 days).
  • The self-certification period has been temporarily extended from a maximum of 7 days to 28 days.
  • If you have a Personal Assistant who is off sick during this period for 4 days or more you should ensure they complete a Self-Certification Form (Form SC2).
  • Personal Assistants off sick for more than 28 days will still need to provide a fit note from their GP
  • You should contact your payroll provider if you have any questions relating to Statutory Sick Pay

Blue Light Card – Discount Scheme for Care Workers Workforce in Sheffield

Sheffield City Council are offering this new discount card scheme in appreciation and recognition of the dedication and commitment of care workers, including Personal Assistants, throughout Sheffield in what has been and continues to be an extremely challenging time. The Council recognises that your work has made such a positive difference to the quality of life of the people you support.

The card is for the exclusive use of health and social care workers and the emergency services. The Blue Light Card enables access to a huge range of discounts that can be used both online and in shops, restaurants and cinemas.

You can sign up to the Blue Light Card before the end of March 2022, at a cost of £4.99 for two years. The initiative is being funded through the Workforce Retention and Recruitment Grant.

Personal Assistants already in receipt of the card that they have paid for themselves are also able to claim the £4.99 back ( via Disability Sheffield ).

View information on how to apply and claim a refund


Can My PA Refuse to Wear a Mask?
The Independent Living Group , a UK wide membership organisation set up to support Individual Employers and their staff, has reported a lot of enquiries from individual employers and Direct Payment professionals about the continued use of PPE since the relaxation of restrictions in England on 19th July.

In response to this ILG Support have put together a new advice note for individual employers. It explains that in some cases, individual employers won’t be quite so ready to relax the rules for PAs working in their homes.

“This might be particularly important where there is close contact work, someone hasn’t been vaccinated or, there are PAs or householders who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV). The Government have issued a new guide to protecting people in this category which you can find here.

The guidance reminds employers of their legal duty to protect workers against risks in the workplace despite the policy change post 19th July. In some cases, it may still be appropriate to continue with health and safety measures such as continuing regular lateral flow tests or using PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) which may include masks.

The ILG Advice Note is available here

Sheffield Adult Social Care
Sheffield City Council have updated their guidance Managing your Direct Payment during the Coronavirus pandemic The information explains the extra support SCC can give you and answers lots of the questions people have been asking View Document

Risk Assessment Tool for Personal Assistants (PAs) Returning to Work
This guide has been developed by Sheffield Individual Employer and PA Development Group to support employers to think about how they might support their PAs to return to work and feel they are in a safe environment. The information in this document is only a guide and gives you topics and poses questions for you to consider when assessing the risks that might exist and how you may minimise these. View Document to Fill in Electronically or View Document to Print

Direct Payments Contingency Plan
A contingency plan is really useful for everybody with a Direct Payment to help you think about what could happen that could affect your safety or the support you need, and identifying things you could do to stop or reduce the impact on you. This template has prompts to help you plan for problems , for example PAs and paid carers being unable to help you because they have to self-isolate or if they become infected. View Document to Fill in Electronically or View Document to Print

Skills for Care
New page on Skills for Care Website with the latest guidance to support IEs and PAs during this challenging period. Guidance for IEs and PAs The page will be regularly updated and includes a comprehensive FAQ factsheet.

Government Guidance for People Receiving Direct Payments
This guidance sets out the main messages for individuals and organisations that can support planning, and help slow the transmission of the coronavirus as the outbreak progresses across the country. It’s accompanied by a Q&A, mostly aimed at direct payment holders, that directly responds to questions and concerns previously raised by direct payment holders, personal assistants, and charities and organisations that support them.

Authentication Form for PAs
The Department of Health has confirmed that PAs are included in the definition of key worker. If you are being challenged a template letter is available from Disability Sheffield on request by emailing directpayments@disabilitysheffield.org.uk or phoning 0114 2536750

Direct Payments Guidance Easy Read

Department of Health
Easy Read Guide to Direct Payments

Social Care Institute for Excellence
SCIE has produced a Q and A about social care.

Free Online Training
Health Education England e-Learning for Healthcare has created an e-learning programme for the entire UK health and care workforce, including those working in the NHS, the independent sector and social care.

Skills For Care COVID-19 Essential Training

Safeguarding children e-learning (multiple useful courses )

Skills for Care – Care Certificate workbooks

People Plus

Free e-learning on autism (amongst others)

General Data Protection Regulations (you need to register with Future Learn but the course is free)

In Control
This page is for people and families and has been set up to help share useful links, practical tips and ideas that people who manage their direct payments have put in place for themselves and their PAs. They are Coronaheroes.

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