Coronavirus update

Message for all DDPOs from Inclusion London

Message from Inclusion London

Dear DDPOs,

At this very challenging time I wanted to let you know what Inclusion London is doing to continue to support you and advocate for our communities. This includes updates on:

We are very conscious that the next few months will be very challenging for all of us. We will do our best to continue to support you all and we will keep you updated with resources and information as we get them.

With very best wishes

Tracey Lazard
CEO, Inclusion London

 


Our training and events

In light of the latest government guidance we have decided to postpone all our face to face training and events from 19 March until further notice. Where possible we will move our events and training on-line. If you have already booked on one of our events you will receive a notification about postponement or that we are planning to move the event online.

Please also continue to check out the training and events pages of our website for latest updates.


Our services and projects

We have adopted a remote working / working from home policy so we can do our bit to support social distancing. However all our projects and work are continuing as normally as possible, so please do keep in contact with us. Staff can be contacted via email and our office mobile text will be working as normal. Our office phones will be taking voicemail messages which we will be checking on a regular basis.  If you have meetings arranged with us, IL staff will contact you to suggest a phone call or zoom meeting instead of face-to-face contact.
Please continue to check out our website for latest updates and news about our work.


What additional support do you need over this period?

We are very conscious that the next few months will be very challenging and for many of us very isolating. We want to know what additional help and support you need to carry on doing your work. We will use this information to lobby funders and regional and central government but also to put in place additional support where we can. For example we are currently thinking of offering on-line peer support opportunities for DDPO staff, and arranging ‘how to do remote working online’ training.

If you have any thoughts or comments please email Tracey.Lazard@inclusionlondon.org.uk

London Plus – the pan London civil society organisation have also carried out a survey to determine the impact of COVID-19 on charities and wider civil society in London.  The results can be found here https://londonplus.org/blog/covid-19-civil-society . The survey results will be used to lobby key funders and policy makers to help inform how they respond to the crisis. London Plus are currently carrying out a second survey via phone. It will take no longer than 15 minutes. If you are a charity based in London please email info@londonplus.org with your phone number and availability to fill out the survey.

We will also continue to share with you new resources and information as and when we get them.


New funding opportunities

 

The Mayor has announced funds for emergency support to help London’s community and voluntary organisations affected by the impact of the coronavirus. The emergency scheme London Community Response is being coordinated by London Funders  and is available to organisations facing immediate financial pressures and uncertainty because of the coronavirus. These include increasing demands for services, higher staff absences, fewer volunteers and lower donations.

UPDATE 27 March 2020: London Community Response funding is live with an initial £5 million of funding to help civil society organisations, including London DDPOs , respond to the coronavirus emergency more info here https://londonfunders.org.uk/our-blog/london-community-response-launched-vital-funding-support-offered-london%E2%80%99s-civil-society

Trust for London have launched Phase 2 of the “Strengthening Voices, Realising Rights” funding initiative only open to London DDPOs. Phase 2 will fund DDPOs carrying out policy, advocacy, campaigning and other work that seeks to influence decisions, policies and practices, and holds policy and decision-makers to account for protecting, promoting and fulfilling Deaf and Disabled people’s rights. The guidelines and application form can be found here:  https://www.trustforlondon.org.uk/issues/people/disabled-people/strengthening-voices-realising-rights/

Don’t forget to also check out our funding directory on the IL website.


What Local and Central government must do

Finally, we will be lobbying the Mayor, London Councils and the UK Government to take urgent action to protect and support Deaf and Disabled people. We are asking Local, regional and Central government to do the following:

Social care

All eligible users of social care are Disabled people who are at greater risk than the general population and therefore need the following action / protection:

  • Local authorities co-produce with Disabled people’s organisations contingency plans for safeguarding Deaf and Disabled people who may be at risk of not receiving the care and support they need as a result of COVID-19
  • With immediate effect stop social care charging or defer charges to ensure people are not left without support because of financial difficulties
  • Increase Direct Payment rates to ensure individuals who employ their own personal assistants have enough money for contingency including recruiting, training and paying for additional support they will need if their regular support staff have to self-isolate or become sick
  • Social care staff, including personal assistants directly employed by Disabled people should be classed as key workers
  • Urgently recruit thousands of social care staff and personal assistants (PAs) to cover for PAs off sick
  • Disabled people who employ their personal assistants must be directly provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) and guidance on how to use it
  • To make it easier to recruit personal assistants in the case of emergency, local authorities must suspend restrictions in Direct Payment agreements about employing relatives and paying cash
  • Local authorities must urgently contact all Direct Payment users providing guidance on protecting the health of the Direct Payment users and their staff, clarifying responsibilities towards staff who are off sick or self-isolating and spelling out what support will be provided in case of package breakdown
  • Ensure Disabled parents, especially single parents have extra social care support to help them with parental responsibilities while the schools remain closed
  • Pay broadband and internet costs so Disabled people self-isolating can keep in contact
  • Fund local DDPO services to run on-line and phone peer support networks and advice services

Welfare

  • Increase Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to align with the London Living Wage (so up from £94 per week to £376) and make it available from day one to all workers, including those on casual work and zero hours contracts and people who are self-employed who are off sick or unable to work from home and having to self-isolate.
  • Increase benefit rates so they reflect minimum income standards
  • Suspend or cover mortgage and rent payments
  • To minimise the spread of virus, stop sanctions and all conditionality, including attending appointments at Job Centre plus, participating in work related activity and undertaking work search
  • Suspend managed migration to Universal Credit
  • Remove 5 weeks waiting period in Universal Credit to ensure financial support is available from day one
  • Suspend reassessments for benefits, unless they are triggered by the claimants, to direct more resources to process new claims
  • Ensure people can access benefits quickly by suspending Work Capability Assessments and paying claimants on ESA full rates, instead of assessment rates
  • Suspend ‘Bedroom Tax’ payments

Health

  • Provide Disabled people with direct access to medical advice and treatment because of their at-risk status
  • Prioritise the testing of Disabled people who use social care and staff who provide this support

Food security

  • Ensure at risk groups are not going without food, by funding food banks and helping them to distribute food for those in most need
  • Supermarkets to provide free and priority delivery to Disabled people who cannot get out of their homes
  • Supermarkets to allow personal assistants and others who are buying food for those who are self-isolating or sick, to shop during special hours and be exempt from limits on the number of items they can buy

Work

  • Access to work support must be available and easily accessible to enable people to work from home. Necessary adjustments to support packages must be made promptly
  • Ensure Disabled people having to self-isolate are not penalised and have full protection under the Equality Act 2010 and have their job protected

Hate Crime

  • Hate Crime incidents are already increasing and while social contacts are reduced the risk of violence increases. The police need to take robust action to protect and support Disabled victims of violence and hate crime
  • CQC, the police and Department of Health need to ensure there is a robust plan to prevent the rise of abuse in residential care
  • The Government needs to champion the message that every life is of equal value and this must be reflected in clinical guidance

National Disability Strategy

  • No National Disability Strategy without us! – delay the strategy and draw up a plan of engagement with DDPOs to co-produce
  • Consult with DDPOs and draw up a co-produced disability action plan

Our rights and inclusion

  • Fund fully accessible independent advice and advocacy services at a Local Authority level in partnership with DDPOs to provide Deaf and Disabled people with support and guidance on accessing benefits etc. These need to be fully accessible including providing: online, phone, BSL video and in person, outreach and home visiting services
  • Funding is required for civil society organisations, including DDPOs to fund online community peer support and networking