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Supporting health and social care providers in Devon

Personal assistants and direct payments

Last Updated 16:07pm, 17 November 2020


If you have any specific issues or questions that you would like to raise with us please do so as follows:

Providing care and support at home to people who have had COVID-19

This quick guide will help home care workers and personal assistants (PAs) to provide care and support to people who have left hospital after having COVID-19.

Advice and Support for self-employed PAs

New and updated government guidance on self-employed income support scheme, published on 17 August.
Relevant to self-employed people, or members of a partnership, providing care and support services to DP recipients, self-funders, and to support for the PA market.

Decide if your business has been adversely affected for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
Find out if your business has been adversely affected due to coronavirus (COVID-19), examples and what records you need to keep if you make a claim.

Check if you can claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
If you’re self-employed or a member of a partnership and have been adversely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) find out if you can use this scheme to claim a grant.
The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme claim service is now open.

How different circumstances affect the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
If you’re self-employed or member of a partnership find out how your circumstances can affect your eligibility for the scheme.
The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme claim service is now open.

Claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
If you’re self-employed or a member of a partnership and have been adversely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) use this scheme if you’re eligible to claim the grant.
The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme claim service is now open.

Testing for COVID-19 for essential workers

Essential workers, which include personal assistants, are prioritised for testing via the National Portal. Individuals can self-refer to request a test via the portal.
There is currently no eligibility for essential workers to meet, therefore individuals can access testing if asymptomatic.
There are several options for individuals to access testing. The options are:

  • Drive through test centres
  • Mobile testing sites
  • Home testing kits

Essential workers are eligible for testing whether symptomatic or asymptomatic.

To check the main symptoms of Coronavirus please visit the NHS information page – main symptoms of coronavirus.
This test will inform you if you have coronavirus at the time the swab sample was taken.

Any queries should be sent to
For further advice and information on COVID-19, please visit the COVID advice webpage.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and PAs

PAs should use PPE when providing direct care. Direct care is defined as caring activities that take place within 2 metres and examples include:

  • washing
  • toileting
  • dressing
  • oral care and feeding
  • assistance with medication
  • walking and getting up/going to bed

PPE provides some measure of protection against infection, injury, or risks to health and safety. PPE cannot completely eliminate risk. In health and social care, PPE will most commonly be things like gloves, aprons, and facemasks.

Details of what type of PPE should be used can be found in our guide for staff working within local authority, education, community and social care settings. Personal Assistants should refer to Table A for scenarios a. to k. Please note that this is a live document so may change.

Those people who are most at risk of either being infected or transmitting infection will be more likely to be in need of PPE.
The use of PPE should only be considered as a matter of last resort when other protective measures are insufficient.
PPE does not replace good hygiene and most people will be able to reduce risk effectively by following the guidance on social distancing, washing hands in the right way, and wiping down hard surfaces.

Cleaning your hands frequently throughout the day by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitiser will help protect you and the people you live with or need to visit.

This step is one of the most effective ways of reducing the risk of infection for you and other people. This includes when you arrive at the home of the person you care for, if you do not live with them, or have been out.
If you are caring for someone who falls into the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ category for risk of severe illness from COVID-19, there are some simple steps that you can take to protect them and to reduce their risk. Ensure you follow advice on good hygiene and:

  • only provide care that is essential
  • wash your hands when you arrive at the home of the person you care for and often thereafter, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • do not visit if you are unwell and make alternative arrangements for their care
  • provide information on who they should call if they feel unwell, how to use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service and leave the number for NHS 111 prominently displayed

Information about different sources of support that could be used and access to further advice on creating a contingency plan is available from Devon Carers.

General guidance on the use of PPE is available on this part of the PEN website.

New arrangements for access to PPE

We are making some changes from 24 July 2020 relating to the distribution of PPE supplies in Devon.

As a Personal Assistant you will continue to be able to access the PPE you require from DCC if you are unable to source it yourself during normal office hours, the out-of-hours PPE offer will end on 24 July 2020.

Personal Assistants can continue to request PPE using this PPE request form.

Please note: You need to allow at least five days’ notice when submitting a request for PPE.

All local store arrangements for PPE collection will also end on 31 July 2020. Instead, deliveries of PPE supplies will be made direct to your home address.

Please note that this is now a generic form for anyone who might need PPE so it covers services as well as Personal Assistants. Simply complete as much detail as you feel able and do not worry if there are parts you cannot complete; the team that receives the requests will still be able to respond to your request.

If you require PPE urgently for any reason, please indicate that you require it as a matter of urgency giving full details and someone will be in contact as soon as possible to discuss your requirements.

PAs and Returning from Shielding

Advice on Personal Assistants and returning from shielding has been produced by Mark Bates Ltd and published on the national Think Local Act Personal partnership website.

Individual employers and personal assistants - update July

Skills for Care has produced some useful COVID-related advice for those who manage a Direct payment.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) guidance

The national guidance for Personal Assistance and Direct Payments recipients explain how to us the CJRS scheme.

Direct Payments guidance

National guidance for people receiving Direct Payments.

Guidance to support individual employers and personal assistants

This guidance support individual employers (PHB holders and direct payment recipients) and PAs during this challenging period.

Devon County Council offer to support Direct Payments recipients

DCC’s intention is that all service providers or agencies who are paid via a Direct Payment will continue to be paid as usual, subject to:

  • any adjustments that may have arisen from any decisions taken in relation to ‘furlough’ leave
  • access to any other sources of central government support, where such action has the effect of reducing overhead costs

Please note that we reserve the right to audit any requests for payment that are made.

We are continuing to pay Direct Payments throughout this period so that Direct Payments recipients have the means to make payments to you and we have written to all Direct payments recipients to request that they pay, as normal, any invoice that you may send them.

It should be noted that where a Direct Payment recipient has insufficient funds because they have had to make alternative arrangements, we have advised them to contact us for advice.

We are therefore advising that, subject to the qualification above, providers may continue to invoice Direct payments recipients as they would normally.  Please direct any questions about this to the Arranging Support Team in your locality.

In return, we would like to understand the capacity of your service to work in a different way in order to meet the needs of Devon residents during the pandemic. Our Market Management team we be in touch with you, if they have not contacted you already, to discuss your capacity to provide support elsewhere at this time.

If you have not had such a discussion could you please contact our COVID-19 mailbox and request a contact and we will follow up with you as soon as possible

Frequently Asked Questions for Direct Payment recipients

As well as writing to all adults who receive Direct Payments, we have produced this list of Frequently Asked Questions which we also think are useful for PAs and providers.

If you have coronavirus / coronavirus symptoms

We do require you to inform us by emailing as well as phoning Public Health England via 111.

If the person you provide care for has a direct payment they should speak either to their named care manager or to Care Direct.

If the person has had no contact with the Council and needs advice, they should contact Care Direct 0345 155 1007.

The person may also wish to seek an alternative supplier by reviewing the CQC list of registered providers in their area or seek a provider through Pinpoint.

Get a critical worker letter

The identification of key or ‘critical’ workers during lockdown

How to obtain a ‘critical worker’ letter from Devon County Council

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