Working Arrangements During Covid-19
This page will be updated regularly with information for professionals and agencies about changes to multi-agency working arrangements during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Government Advice to everyone (updated 5th January 2021):
England is now in a national lockdown. You must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary. You may leave the home to:
- shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
- go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
- exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area
- meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
- seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
- attend education or childcare – for those eligible
Detailed guidance on the national lockdown
This guidance is for people who are fit and well. There is additional advice for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus and households with a possible or confirmed coronavirus infection. If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should not attend work, school, college or university, and limit the time you spend outside the home. You should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential.
Safeguarding children is everyone’s responsibility and this remains truer than ever in the current situation, where vulnerable children and young people need our services more than ever.
The Wirral Safeguarding Partnership recognises the tremendous efforts being made by all agencies and professionals involved in the safeguarding of children. The Partnership also recognises that the way in which agencies work has changed, and will continue to change as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic to help stop the spread of the virus to keep our children, young people, their families and our multi-agency workforce healthy and safe.
What to do if you have Concerns about a Child
Safeguarding advice for reporting concerns is unchanged. All agencies and organisations should follow their safeguarding procedures. Safeguarding concerns and referrals should continue to be made into the Integrated Front Door. Further details and contact numbers are here.
Wirral Helpline for Young People
The Council has launched a dedicated freephone helpline for Wirral’s children and young people who may be feeling unsafe or worried during the lockdown. Young people can all to speak to an adviser for help, advice and support.
Poster from the Children’s Society and National Police Chiefs’ Council:
Multi-agency Safeguarding Arrangements
In relation to multi-agency working:
The Safeguarding Partnerships website and procedures directory will continue to be available to practitioners to consult. All activity must remain compliant with Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018. All decision making, where required under WT18, will continue to be multi-agency.
All WSCP Face-to-Face training is suspended. However, the website training pages contain links to e-learning and our 7-minute briefings. A series of narrated powerpoint presentations covering a variety of topics will be published over the next few weeks.
LA Children’s Services
The Local Authority (LA) is currently delivering ‘business as usual’ and this will be supported by relevant risk assessments. Therefore all statutory visits and meetings will take place with appropriate protections in place.
This continues to ‘business as usual’
National Probation Service
NPS remain in the “amber” phase of their exceptional Delivery Model, whereby face to face contact will be alternated with remote contact on a weekly basis with all Very High and High risk of Harm offenders including those where there are Safeguarding and Domestic Abuse Concerns, these arrangements also apply to medium risk of harm Offenders where there are safeguarding and DA concerns. The IOM Cohort of Offenders will also have home visits undertaken by the Police.
The Wirral Probation Office will be open 3 days per week between 10am and 2pm for NPS Service Users to report by appointment and the other 2 days will be made available to the CRC to ensure their relevant cases are able to report.
Female Service users will continue to be seen face to face via attendance at TWW and remote contact including door step visits.
Wirral Ways to Recovery
No significant change for WWR who are continuing with f face to face appointments, especially for new to treatment service users -in line with Public Health guidance, and following a risk assessment of every case.
Update to MARAC Arrangements
From 12th October 2020 these are the new MARAC arrangements for the safeguarding partnership:
Changes to Adoption Regulations
The Adoption and Children Coronavirus Amendment Regulations (click on image below to open) set out changes to adoption regulations until 25th September 2020 -when they will be reviewed- made as a result of the pandemic.
Most of the temporary changes to the regulations relate to relaxation of timescales. Full details are in the document below.
Updated Agency and Service Safeguarding Arrangements
Cheshire and Wirral Partnerships NHS Trust (CWP)
CWP have launched a new mental health helpline for people of all ages, including children and young people to call if they are require urgent help.
The phoneline is staffed 24 hours a day 7 days a week by dedicated mental health professionals. Any child or adult in need can call 0300 303 3972 to access help.
Wirral Family Safety Unit
Domestic Violence Advisors will continue to offer telephone support to victims of domestic abuse, and to all victims where risk of ‘harmful practices’ needs to be explored (forced marriage, honour-based abuse and female genital mutilation (FGM). Advisers can be called on 0151 666 4914. All calls are currently being diverted to the Integrated Front Door where all cases are triaged, risk assessed and followed up.
The FSU are continuing to offer support to clients via telephone and email. IDVAs are continuing to safety plan with clients and where appropriate referring clients to outside agencies. The Family Safety Unit continue to accept new referrals from all agencies and self-referrals.
MARAC will take place via conference call every Wednesday from 1st April 2020.
Help for those Concerned about their own Behaviour
Respect Phoneline Covid-19 Campaign
Many families and relationships will feel increased pressure and for those living with domestic abuse, this could cause serious harm.
The Respect Phoneline is a key source of support for people concerned about their behaviour and wanting to manage and change it. Now more than ever, the Respect Phoneline will be critical to family members and others who are finding it difficult to manage their behaviour during this difficult time. We need them to know that support is out there and that there is no excuse for abuse.
If you are struggling with your own behaviour at home pleas contact the Respect Phoneline using the contact information below:
• website: www.respectphoneline.org.uk
• call: 0808 8024040
• opening times: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm
• webchat: Thurs & Fri 10am-11am & 3pm-4pm
• email: [email protected]
Wirral Ways to Recovery/Change Grow Live –
All cases have been thoroughly risk assessed and WWR/CGL consulted directly with Public Health England and the Royal College of Psychiatry in making plans.
Involve North West
Leapfrog: Involve are continuing to offer support to clients and children enrolled on Leapfrog programmes.
New Referrals/Clients: Involve are offering phone and email support, and also offering support via Facebook/Twitter. Phone support – 0151 644 4500, Email support – [email protected]
Tomorrow’s Women Wirral
One to one appointments no longer being offered. Tomorrow’s Women is closed to the general public. They are offering phone support to be a listening ear and to give contact numbers for any other agencies which may be of help such as solicitors, housing support and advice, financial advice. We offer this support to any clients you feel would benefit from talking to us. Support is also available through their social media platforms.
Numbers you can give to any women who would benefit from our support are as follows:
07872 887 130 and 07715 877 866
A new Tomorrow’s Women initiative has been launched designed to benefit young women aged 14-17 to offer crucial support and specialist guidance.
We are now taking referrals to support young women so please feel free to contact us on [email protected] or call us on 0151 647 7907. If someone you know, a friend/family member, a client that you are working with between 14 & 17 could benefit from the support of Tomorrow’s Young Women please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Wirral Women’s and Children’s Aid (Wirral Refuge) – 0151 643 9766 (24/7)
Refuge are not offering any outreach support or any work with children and young people outside of the refuge. However, Wirral refuge is continuing to offer places for those in need of accommodation. All staff are now on a rota to cover the refuge working 24 hour shifts then 6 days off to reduce contact with other staff and residents.
Refuge are in telephone contact with any families or women we are working with in the community, they all have the helpline and mobile number and they will continue to offer support anyone who phones the helpline. Gateway referrals are being added to a waiting list.
Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (RASA)
RASA are offering telephone and email support to clients. They are also attending court/meetings with clients where required. RASA are continuing to accept new referrals.
In Wirral, Listening Ear offers three services currently:
Following government advice regarding working from home where possible, Listening Ear has planned how it can continue to meet its contractual obligations and provide an effective service, whilst keeping our staff and clients safe.
As a result, all Listening Ear staff were required to work from home from the 23rd March 2020 until further notice. From this date, we will provide telephone counselling across all therapeutic services and for Amparo, we will offer a mixture of telephone and SMS support.
During this period, please be aware that we will be unable to accept faxed or posted referral forms. In all cases and until further notice, referrals to Listening Ear should be submitted using our on-line referral form (https://listening-ear.co.uk/refer/). If there is a reason that this cannot be achieved, please contact us by email at [email protected] and we will try to find a solution.
Weekly appointments will continue to be scheduled as usual. We will offer telephone counselling for all clients aged 11+. For younger clients, we will offer telephone support to parents/ carers/ guardians and will work to build their capacity to support children’s mental health at home.
The Rainbow Centre is open but Covid-19 guidelines are in place. These are detailed here:
WEB Merseyside/Men Too (previously known as Women’s Enterprise Breakthrough)
WEB/ Men Too are offering listening appointments over the phone. All staff are currently working from home but are working to a system to ensure they can still support people via telephone. People can visit their website where there is a range of information and resources to help people through this difficult time. WEB are still picking up phone messages so the office number is still in use (0151 653 3771). Referrals are still being accepted. www.webmerseyside.org
Onward homes are providing all domestic violence services normally offered via telephone for their tenants. They still have target hardening equipment in stock should tenants require this service.
Safer Neighbourhoods Specialist 07970 235 831
Advance Crime Reduction (Target Hardening)
All suppliers are closed so Advance are unable to access the equipment required to carry out target hardening works and therefore are unable to offer services
Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC)
Merseyside CRC has mobilised its supervisory arrangements to ensure that all DA perpetrators and victims are being managed and supervised in accordance with the level of risk they represent as part of the COVID 19 response.
A number of useful documents have been disseminated to staff to assist their management of these cases and these are included below:
Wirral University Teaching Hospital (Arrowe Park)
WUTH are running service as usual. DASH and Safety Plans completed and if clients are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive, DASH and Safety Plans will be done over the phone. Patients kept in due to COVID-19 are in a place of safety until they are discharged
Wirral Community Health and Care (WCHC) NHS Foundation Trust
The Wirral 0-19 Health and Wellbeing Service have a page of dedicated resources for young people, the team have recently added a new mental wellbeing video to the existing videos and resources. Please visit https://www.wchc.nhs.uk/services/wirral-0-19-health-and-wellbeing-service/self-care-resources-and-support/ to take a look.
The Safeguarding Team are supporting the Integrated Front Door with availability of a core health team and strategy nurse on the Bank Holidays, and the MASH team remain in place working from home.
The Clan nurses continue to support this cohort of young people via phone and video link.
The Named nurse is working closely with the Designated nurse to ensure pathways are robust and Wirral children placed out of area can access the support they need.
HM Government – Domestic Abuse
Resources for agencies about the Government’s Covid-19 Domestic Abuse campaign:
Housing Options Service is operating business as usual with interview being conducted over the telephone using a triage process. The service had, however, already moved to this position prior to COVID-19 as it enables us to provide a more effective response to individual rather than waiting to arrange an appointment or asking people to attend Council offices.
Temporary Accommodation Officers however are seen as critical and will be available to assist any families into Council arranged emergency temporary accommodation if required
– 0151 512 2200 (9am-5pm Monday to Friday)
Advice and questions mental health support helpline
Hub of Hope Mental Health Support
– Text 85258 (24/7)
Text 85258 to be connected to a volunteer for a text conversation – most networks are free and do not show on bills.
YMCA are operating business as usual. Their night shelter remains open and Mainstay applications can be completed via telephone on 0151 650 1015.
Wirral Children Centres Services
There are currently 3 centres open across Wirral:
- Seacombe CC – 0151 666 3506 – Midwifery services running from Seacombe appointment only
- Brassey Gardens CC Birkenhead – 0151 666 3323
- Bromborough CC 0151 666 3246 – Midwifery services running from Bromborough appointment only
Children Centres are offering phone support for families most in need we are currently working with. We are working closely with feeding Birkenhead to support families struggling with food. They are supporting them to register with feeding Birkenhead scheme to deliver parcels of food to self-isolating families however this is in its infancy and will change on a weekly basis due to food chain and supplies.
Children Centres are also delivering resource pack to families who are at home with their children. Children Centres supporting childcare settings to remain open for key workers children to attend.
Family information service contact number: 0151 666 3980
Further information available here: https://wirralview.com/news/temporary-changes-childrens-centres-operations
The Open-Door Centre/Bloom
The Open-Door Centre have been busy working remotely over the past week to support existing members and families.
They have launched the New Horizons project to aid mental health in isolation. The isolated uncertain times we are currently living in will be challenging in all kinds of ways. Relationships, community and mental health will all undergo strain as we adjust to a temporarily physically disconnected lifestyle. However, there are coping strategies and activities which can help us through this period, keep our heads healthy and our households harmonious.
Further information is here: https://www.bidolito.co.uk/news-new-horizons/
Emergency Food Hub
This is a partnership between the council and community food providers provides a single point of contact for residents who need urgent help to get food.
Residents should visit www.wirral.gov.uk/foodhelp to give their details or phone the Wirral Coronavirus Helpline on 0151 666 5050 if they can’t go online, or have problems completing the form.
Emergency Food Support
Please see the link above which describes how families can access emergency food support.
School meal vouchers: These are available from schools for families who are accessing benefits and have been means tested previously. Wirral are going to pay £15 per week for these rather than the standard £11.50 as is normally the case. Wirral will also be paying for these throughout the school Easter holidays when families of course would not normally receive them.
With growing concern for the safety of some children during the coronavirus crisis the NSPCC has launched a nationwide campaign to let more people know how to get advice and support and where to raise concerns about a child’s wellbeing. The campaign comes as the charity publishes the latest data from its helpline which shows that the crisis has exacerbated existing risks for children and created new ones. In the month since lockdown there have been a total of 5,237 contacts to the helpline from across the UK from adults concerned about the wellbeing and safety of a child
It can be reached 24 hours a day by email – [email protected] – or through its online reporting form. Its team of experts can also be called Monday to Friday 8am-10pm or 9am-6pm at the weekends on 0808 8005000.
There is more information on the NSPCC website here: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/our-services/nspcc-helpline/
Useful Documents and Links