1 April 2020
Following the Coronavirus Act 2020 passing through Parliament last week, further changes have been made in England to the Care Act 2014, effective from 31 March 2020.
Each local authority area will now need to decide whether to adopt ‘easements’ of the Care Act 2014, if and when they reach a stage where they and their health partners locally agree it’s necessary because of the impact of coronavirus on family carers, staff numbers, care services, and the need/demand for support.
‘Easements’ essentially mean either operating the Care Act as if nearly all duties (e.g. rights to assessment, rights to a care plan, rights to a financial assessment) are now ‘powers’; using the new Ethics Framework when making decisions; operating within public law principles (these are the bases of legal cases being heard through Judicial Review); and ensuring that at the very least that no-one is left in a position where their human rights have been breached. This means carers’ human rights, as well as the human rights of cared-for people.
If and when a local authority takes the decision to implement 'easements', it is required to record the reasons i.e. the specific local circumstances that underpin their decision and then they must tell the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
A local authority can’t operate these ‘easements’ indefinitely – when DHSC decide this period is over, they will be required to return to pre-coronavirus arrangements and responsibilities, with the caveat that this could take a bit of time to achieve.
What you can do
The first thing for anyone to do would be to find out if their local authority is making any ‘easement’ decisions – if you aren’t already involved with a local group that has its ear to the ground on these things, a good starting point would be to contact your local carers organisation and ask them to find out. Bear in mind that local authorities may not feel they need to make this decision straight away, or at all.
This information is for England. If you live in any of the other three countries in the UK, please check the respective government websites. For Scotland, this government website might be helpful - https://careinfoscotland.scot/
Thank you to member, Lorna Easterbrook for digesting the Coronavirus Act 2020 and explaining how these 'easements' will affect carers.
Coronavirus changes to services
Weekly Skype Calls
Our Writer as Carers Group will have weekly Skype calls on Tuesdays from 1.30pm to support each other during this time. To join this Group, or to find out more, email AGanley@societyofauthors.org.
Find out how the emergency bill could affect your rights to care services and carers’ rights.
Member and health and social care professional, Lorna Easterbrook joined our Skype call on 24 March to talk about health and care services, funding and systems, and being a carer herself. Login for further information.
Other online activities during this time:
Create To Connect is a 2-week trial of fun, free and accessible creative challenges to do at home, to help isolation feel less isolating. This started on 23 March and if there is demand, they will look into rolling this out for longer. Sign up here.
The Creative Network - a daily online get-together open to anyone involved in arts, culture and creativity who would welcome the opportunity to talk to others about dealing with the current situation. It's an open daily Zoom (conference call) gathering from 9:30 - 10:30am. Join in the Zoom call - there's no need to register or log-in, just click the link and smile for the camera! If you have any problems connecting, email firstname.lastname@example.org or look on their website.
About this Group
You don't have to stop being a writer if you start being a carer.
Are you a professional writer with caring responsibilities for someone with an illness or disability? If so, you might wish to join this SoA support group which aims to help keep writers writing.
Our Writers as Carers (WaC) Group supports SoA members, who also have caring responsibilities, to keep in touch with their professional writing community, keep writing and help each other through difficult times.
There are lots of organisations, such as Carers UK and Carers Trust, who offer practical help, advice and support groups to carers. What makes this group different is that it offers support to professional writers, helping them to keep writing whilst fulfilling their caring responsibilities.
Members of our group have different caring roles, responsibilities and experiences, but they all have one thing in common: they're professional writers.
If you would like to join this group, please email Anna Ganley.
Here's the group's founding member, Jim Green, to tell you more...
Due to the nature of the group, members mainly connect via online discussions using Facebook and Skype, although we do get together for an annual summer lunch and the occasional event during Carers Week. Details of any events will be listed on this page and emailed to members of the group.
We Need To Talk About Caring
In June 2019 we live streamed the Raising Films 'We Need To Talk About Caring' launch event to members. At the event we caught up with the scriptwriter, Ming Ho to chat about why she is involved with the project. Watch the video (please note that although the visual quality is not great, the audio quality is good, so you may prefer to listen to the conversation).
Our most active forum is our private Facebook discussion group. Members share tips and advice, as well as updates about their writing, but all conversation is welcome, even it's simply to share details of your day in a safe space. To join this discussion group, email Anna Ganley for joining details. We also have an all-member discussion forum on this website for members to connect outside of Facebook.
Monthly Skype get-togethers
We run monthly online get-togethers using Skype, where members can chat informally with other members online. Depending on your computer or device, this could either be an audio or video call. If you're interested in joining a group chat, email Anna and she will send you the joining instructions.
Writers as Carers Group webinars
Jim Green asks what kind of webinars members of this Group would find useful? Please comment on the forum with your feedback and/or suggestions of topics.