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Our compendium guide

The Care Inspectorate has developed a compendium of guidance and information in relation to COVID-19.

The compendium focuses on the information that is most relevant to the operation and delivery of regulated care services and is intended primarily to support our staff in advising services. However, the range of information may also be directly useful to services. 

The compendium is regularly updated as guidance is developed and revised.

Care home visiting guidance and testing updates (Added 13 October)

On 12 October, Scottish Government updated visiting guidance, to better balance the risks of COVID-19 with important considerations such as time with loved ones. This should be implemented as soon as care homes have planned and prepared to do so safely. Local oversight boards can give support and advice to help implement this safely. Updates include (all with safety and infection prevention recommendations to be in place):

  • Indoor visiting to up to four hours.
  • Outdoor visiting to up to one hour, with up to six visitors from up to two households.  Children and young people can also be supported to attend.
  • Increased flexibility around the circumstances and definition of essential visiting, to include visits to prevent or respond to a decline in residents’ health and wellbeing, to help with communication and distress and in end of life care.
  • Children and young people can be supported to attend essential visits.
  • No upper time limit for essential visits.
  • Changes to the designated visitor and circumstances when these should be supported.
  • Support for touch, and greater involvement with daily routine, to happen safely.
  • Spiritual and faith representatives supported to visit indoors and outdoors, at all stages of the pandemic, and not regarded as ‘designated visitors’.
  • Hairdressers supported to visit care homes.
  • Selected gifts and resident belongings can be brought in.
  • Arrangements for pets and therapets to be brought in safely.

 The new guidance also includes an update to ‘Enhancing Wellbeing Visits and Activities, including communal activities’, for visiting by professionals and people other than family and friends, to clarify support for spiritual visits, recommendations for singing, and arrangements for adult respite admissions.  

A wider update on the move of testing from UK Government Laboratories to the NHS and Regional Hubs is also included.

The full update can be read online on the Scottish Government website.

Supporting short-notice recruitment (Added on 5 October)

Due to increasing COVID-19 cases and staff consequently having to self-isolate, more care services are having to deploy new staff at short notice. In light of this changing situation and to support services, we have re-instated flexibility allowing providers to deploy staff pending employment checks being returned. Providers should continue to request PVG checks and references, but no longer need to wait for these to be returned satisfactorily before deploying individuals to regulated roles directly supporting and caring for people.

Safety Huddle Tool – Turas Care Management (Added 21 August)

On Thursday the 13th August, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport announced that the Safety Huddle – Turas Care Management tool would launch on Friday 14 August 2020.  The Scottish Government has issued guidance on the tool which you can read here.

National pilot of secure video technology to connect residents and loved ones (Added 21 August)

The Scottish Government through the Technology Enabled Care programme is funding a 12-week pilot with ten care homes across the country. The pilot aims to measure the positive impact that short video updates might have for people living in care homes, their families and care home staff. 

Letter from Jeane Freeman (Added 4 August)

The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Jeane Freeman, has issued a letter which contains an update on national actions to support local re-establishment of respite and day care services in Scotland. 

The letter also sets out next steps in the wider reopening of adult day centres and residential respite for both children and adults.

Registration and variation guidance for our staff (Added 31 July)

To support flexibility and responsiveness to the COVID-19 pandemic, we produced contingency registration and variation guidance for our staff to follow in March 2020. We have recently updated this guidance to reflect that we are now requesting fee payments for all new registration applications, and may, under certain circumstances, carry out a site visit. You can download the updated document here.

Fees update for care service providers: July 2020 (Added 17 July)

The Care Inspectorate and the Scottish Government decided in March 2020 to defer the collection of all continuation of registration fees due by care services until July 2020. This was to support service providers to focus on the immediate Covid-19 crisis.

Following a review, we will be recommencing fee collection with immediate effect for all services except childminding, daycare of children and childcare agency services.  We will confirm the position with these childcare service types by the end of July.

We will begin contacting individual services later today. In the meantime, find out what this means for your service in our fees update.

We will update childminding, daycare of children and childcare agency services once the position with fees due by these services is confirmed and agreed with the Scottish Government. 

Letter to all care home staff from Jeane Freeman (Added 24 June)

The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Jeane Freeman, has issued the following letters to care home staff and care home managers regarding testing staff for Covid-19.

Enriched model of psychological needs (Added 23 June)           

Over the last few weeks, we have heard how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting the mental health of people who use care services, relatives and staff. By isolating or shielding in order to protect ourselves and others, we limit our opportunities to engage with people or activities that are important to us. This can undermine our psychological wellbeing and quality of life.

We have produced a poster which outlines the key elements of the ‘Enriched Model of Psychological Needs’. This can be used within care services to help staff consider what actions they could take to help promote better psychological outcomes for the people who use services, relatives, staff and themselves.  

COVID-19 guides for social service workers (Added 17 June)

The Scottish Social Services Council have produced a range of 'bite-size' resources to support those working in healthcare during COVID-19. 

There are currently 9 guides that range from "key measures for infection prevention and control" to "support with death, dying and bereavement." 

Staffing during the COVID-19 crisis (Added 16 April) 

We’re working with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC), the Scottish Government, COSLA and other partners to set up a system to help social care services recruit staff during this critical time. 

It’s important you remember to submit your RAG information to us. 

Social service staff are being added to the new SSSC recruitment portal daily and the SSSC will use this to assess services and match those in urgent need to care staff in your area. 

Find out more here. 

Scotland’s first Bereavement Charter for Children and Adults (added 15 April) 

The Charter together with Guidance notes and frequently asked questions (FAQs) contains 15 statements which describe what the best bereavement care and support should look like. It has been developed to support individuals and communities who struggle with the death of someone they know or someone in their community. 

 

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Adult and older people services 

Re-opening day services for adults (Added 14 October)

The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Jeane Freeman, has issued a letter regarding the re-opening of day services for adults.

The letter reiterates the importance of daytime support to people who need it and highlights that processes for signing off reopening plans should be well understood locally. 

Winter planning for care homes (Added 8 October)

Care Inspectorate chief executive Peter Macleod has written about winter planning during the pandemic in a letter for care home providers. You can read the letter here.

Care Home Staff Testing Feedback on DHSC Portal (Added 23 September)

A system is currently being developed to move care home staff testing in Scotland from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) portal to NHS Laboratory resources. In order to inform the process of development of and transitioning to the new system, care home providers and managers have been invited to provide feedback on their experience of using the current DHSC system and to to suggest improvements that could be made and to identify best practice you may have in place.

If you wish to participate in this feedback please complete this questionnaire and e-mail it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 5pm 30 September 2020. Please use the subject line: "Care Homes Staff Testing Questionnaire".

UK Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) guidance for the remobilisation of health and care services (Added 26 August)

The Scottish Government’s Chief Nursing Officer has issued a letter following the publication of UK-wide IPC guidance for the remobilisation of health and care services on Friday 21 August 2020.

The guidance has been issued jointly by Department of Health and Social Care, Health Protection Scotland, Public Health Scotland, Public Health Wales, Public Health Agency Northern Ireland, Public Health England and NHS England.

Phased return to visiting in adult care home services (Added 10 August)

On Saturday 8 August, the Scottish Government published updated guidance on the further relaxing of visiting in adult care homes. 

From Monday, 10 August, care home residents will be able to have up to three outdoor visitors from no more than two households provided their home meets strict criteria, with infection control measures remaining in place. 

Care home providers are also be asked to develop plans on how they can safely allow one designated indoor visitor for residents within their homes. These plans, which also must meet certain criteria, are to be submitted and signed off by the relevant health board’s Director of Public Health.

The Scottish Government has issued a letter to every adult care home in Scotland with further details of what this will mean for them which can be found here.

It confirms that care home residents will be able to receive more outdoor visitors from Monday, 10 August. From this date,  care home residents will be able to have up to three outdoor visitors from no more than two households provided their home meets strict criteria, with infection control measures remaining in place. 

Care home providers will also be asked to develop plans on how they can safely allow one designated indoor visitor for residents within their homes. These plans are to be submitted by 24 August and will be signed off by the relevant health board’s Director of Public Health.

Alzheimer Scotland’s new resources for care homes (Added 5 August)

Alzheimer Scotland has been working to respond to the main concerns expressed by callers to their 24-hour Freephone Dementia Helpline (0808 808 3000) and now have a suite of resources on their website’s Coronavirus Information Hub including podcasts and videos. A specific section provides information and resources for all those supporting people living with dementia in Scotland’s care homes.

NHS Highland guidance on nutrition (Added 21 July)

NHS Highland has produced guidance on nutrition for care homes in their area. You may find the guidance useful too and we have published them on our website. There is guidance on nutritional care for residents and guidance on nutrition and hydration for staff 

Guidance from Health Protection Scotland on COVID-19 in care homes (Added 14 July)

Health Protection Scotland has published guidance to support those working in domiciliary care settings to give advice to their staff and users of their services about COVID-19.

Care home visiting from 3 July - FAQs (Added 3 July)

On 25 June the Scottish Government published guidance and a plan for the phased return to care home visiting, starting with outdoor visiting on 3 July.

FAQs are now also available through the link above to support these visits. The FAQs will be reviewed and updated as the phased return to visiting progresses.

Dementia care during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (Added 22 May) 

We have published a new resource ‘Dementia care during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic’ for care services to support them when caring for people living with dementia.  

New palliative care toolkit includes section on care homes (Added 11 May) 

The Scottish Government has produced a palliative care toolkit for application during the COVID-19 outbreak. While it is primarily aimed at NHS Boards, it includes a section on care homes. The toolkit does not replace existing palliative care processes and guidance documents but offers a range of practical tools to strengthen any local response to theCOVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19: updated information and guidance for care home settings (Updated 4 May) 

Health Protection Scotland have updated their COVID-19 information and guidance for care home settings. You can access this guidance here. 

COVID-19 Incident or outbreak control tool for social or community care or residential settings (Added 1 May) 

Health Protection Scotland have released a control measure tool for the control of incidents and outbreaks in Social or Community Care & Residential Settings, specific for COVID-19, and should be used accordingly, following the general advice provided in the guidance. 

Infection prevention and control COVID-19 outbreak checklist (Added 1 May) 

Health Protection Scotland have released an infection prevention and control COVID-19 outbreak checklist. The checklist is designed for the control of incidents and outbreak in healthcare settings and can be used within a COVID area when there is an individual case or multiple cases. 

Updated guidance for social or community care and residential settings (updated 22 April 2020) 

Health Protection Scotland have updated their COVID-19 guidance for social or community care and residential settings.

Updated guidance for social or community care and residential settings (updated 6 April 2020) 

Health Protection Scotland have updated their guidance for social or community care and residential settings to include information about personal protective equipment (PPE). 

 

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Children and young people services 

ELC COVID-19 Update for November 2020 (Added 11 November) 

The Scottish Government has published the Early Learning and Childcare Covid-19 Update for November. 

Winter Planning for ELC providers including childminders (Added 29 October)

Care Inspectorate Chief Executive Peter Macleod has written a letter to providers of early learning and childcare (ELC), including childminders and school aged childcare, about winter planning during COVID-19.

You can read the letter here.

Letter to all childcare providers (Added 8 October)

The First Minister has announced that, following an increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases across Scotland and on the advice of her medical and scientific advisers, further measures were to be introduced across Scotland to slow the spread of COVID-19. The announcement by the First Minister has no effect on current childcare arrangements and childcare providers should continue to operate in accordance with the current guidance.

The Scottish Government Early learning and childcare directorate has issued a letter outlining this to all childcare providers. 

Keeping children and families safe in your ELC setting (6 October)

We have produced a poster to help ELC settings keep children and families safe from the spread of COVID-19.

Updated guidance for childminders on social gatherings (Added 21 September)

The First Minister’s announcement on Thursday 10 September of increased restrictions on social gatherings has led to a number of questions about the impact on childminding services.

To address questions about the new household meeting guidance, the Scottish Government have released a letter to registered childminders. 

What this means is you can continue to care for families in the usual way, however when you mix socially you need to consider the new guidance. This may limit some of the activities you have done previously. Please refer to the revised guidance to ensure you are following safe practice at this time.

Operating an early learning and childcare setting (including out of school care and childminders) during COVID-19 (Updated 12 August)

We have developed ‘Key Question 5’, a self-evaluation resource and tool which asks you to evaluate how well you are supporting children and families during COVID-19. The aim of this resource is to enable settings to gather information and continually evaluate their progress in supporting staff, children and families to have confidence in the provision of ELC by specifically evidencing how they have implemented the national guidance for COVID-19, while ensuring positive outcomes for children. This is the only Key Question we expect ELC providers (including out of school care and childminders) to compete. This key question will sit alongside our Quality Framework for Early Learning and Childcare when this is published later this year (which will include Key Questions 1-4).

We encourage you to complete the ‘self-evaluation tool’. The tool asks you to take account of performance data when evaluating your service.  This will be individual to your service.  It may include how you communicate with families or other settings where there are blended placements. It may also be some examples of evidence which you wish to include within the tool e.g. Supporting evidence of how you have implemented and reviewed the national guidance relevant to your service:

Inspectors will request the completed self-evaluation from providers on a risk and sampling basis. Please do not send this to us until requested. This will not be before 10 August 2020.  However, we may undertake other scrutiny activities in settings before this date. Read more about this here. 

ELC COVID-19 Update for August 2020 (Added 5 August) 

The Scottish Government has published the Early Learning and Childcare Covid-19 Update for August. 

Transitional Support Fund for Childcare Providers (Added 31 July)

Following the Deputy First Minister’s announcement on 16 July the Scottish Government has today published further information regarding the Transitional Support Fund for Childcare Providers.

The Transitional Support Fund will help childcare providers in the private, voluntary and not-for profit sectors, including out-of-school care providers, meet the extra costs incurred to comply with public health guidance in response to COVID-19. The Fund will provide one-off grants to eligible settings. Grant amounts vary according to the number of Care Inspectorate registered places in your setting.

To be eligible for the Fund your setting needs to be registered with the Care Inspectorate as being:

  • a ‘day care of children’ service; and
  • a ‘Private’ or ‘Voluntary or Not For Profit’ service.

This includes private and voluntary settings delivering out of school care; childcare settings in independent schools; and outdoor childcare settings. You will also need to confirm that your setting has already reopened or confirm that your setting will have reopened by Monday 7 September.   

The Fund will be administered by local authorities. There will be a standard application form in order to make the application process as straightforward as possible.

The Fund will open for applications by the end of August 2020. The last date for submitting a grant application will be Friday 9 October.

Further information on the Transitional Support Fund, including the levels of grants, is available here. This page will be updated as more information becomes available, including confirmation of the date on which applications can be made.

A further communication will be issued to settings ahead of the Fund opening for applications.

Letter to childcare providers (Added 30 July)

Today the First Minister announced that Scotland would remain in Phase 3 of the routemap. Full details of the changes announced by the First Minister today can be found here.

The Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Directorate has issued a letter to all childcare providers outlining what this means for them.

Letter to ELC providers (Added 17 July)

Yesterday the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister announced two important updates.

The first is that based on scientific and public health advice, if the virus continues to be supressed, the Scottish Government will be in a position to issue revised guidance on 30 July which eases the requirement for ‘bubbles’ in childcare settings and will allow easing of the current restrictions on blended placements.

The second was to announce funding of £11.2 million for private and third sector childcare providers to help with the costs of reopening.

The Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Directorate has issued a letter to all childcare providers explaining what these updates mean for them. 

Poster guidance on preventing spread of COVID-19 in childminding settings (Added 15 July)

The Care Inspectorate has produced a poster that provides guidance on preventing spread of COVID-19 in childminding settings.

Updated guidance for childminders (Added 14 July)

From 15 July 2020, childminders who wish to deliver their service can do so in line with their usual operating model.

The Scottish Government has updated its guidance to set this out in detail, and to support childminding settings to operate safely. The guidance includes information on operating conditions, physical distancing and other safety measures, and financial impact and workforce support information.

Letter to all childcare agencies (Added 13 July)

The Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Directorate has issued a letter to all childcare agencies outlining guidance changes from Phase 3 of Scotland's Route Map.

Letter to ELC providers (Added 10 July)

The Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Directorate has issued a letter to all childcare providers outlining guidance changes from Phase 3 of Scotland's Route Map. 

ELC COVID-19 Update for July 2020 (Added 9 July) 

The Scottish Government has published the Early Learning and Childcare Covid-19 Update for July. This update provides guidance for the childcare sector during the easing of lockdown in Scotland. 

Letter to ELC providers (Added 8 July)

The Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Directorate has issued a letter to all childcare providers containing an update on plans for the ELC expansion, support for childcare providers and plans for updating existing guidance.

Early learning and childcare: letter to Directors of Education ELC LA leads (Added 8 July)

A joint letter has been issued from COSLA and Minister for Children and Young People Maree Todd MSP to Directors of Education, early learning and childcare (ELC) local authority leads.

Key question 7 for children and young people residential services (Added 6 July)

We have developed key question 7 for children and young people residential services.

Where there are concerns relating to COVID-19 in a residential childcare setting this key question is to be used as part of the scrutiny intervention.

Where there are concerns not relating to COVID-19, areas from the existing quality framework will be used as a basis of our scrutiny work.

School age childcare services reopening guidance (Added 6 July)

The Scottish Government has released new guidance to support planning for the wider reopening of school age childcare services in Phase 3 of Scotland’s Routemap.

The Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Directorate has issued a letter to all childcare providers detailing the guidance.

ELC reopening guidance update (Added 6 July)

The Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Directorate has issued a letter to all Early Learning and Childcare providers containing an update on reopening guidance.

ELC online sessions to support reopening (Added 6 July)

The Scottish Government and the Care Inspectorate are hosting a series of online support sessions on reopening guidance for the childcare sector.

The Scottish Government has issued a letter to all childcare providers detailing the sessions. 

Updated reopening guidance for childcare providers (Added 24 June)

Today the First Minister announced that subject to scientific and public health advice that all childcare providers will be able to reopen from 15 July 2020, if they wish to do so.

The Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Directorate has issued a letter to all childcare providers detailing what this means for them. 

Updated phase 1 guidance for fully outdoor childcare providers (Added 17 June)

The Scottish Government have released updated guidance for the reopening of fully outdoor childcare providers.

To support this a letter explaining the update has been issued by the Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Directorate. 

New guidance to support planning for wider reopening of ELC Services (Added 15 June)

Today the Scottish Government published new guidance for the safe reopening of early learning and childcare (ELC) services in Phase 3 of Scotland’s Routemap.

The Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Directorate has issued a letter to all childcare providers outlining what this guidance will 

ELC COVID-19 Update for June 2020 (Added 10 June) 

The Scottish Government has published the Early Learning and Childcare Covid-19 Update for June. This update provides guidance for childminder and childcare services who are considering reopening during phase 1 of the route map.

Childminder services guidance for phase 1 of route map (Added 2 June)

The Scottish Government has released guidance to support childminding settings closed during lockdown, to reopen during Phase 1 of the route map for recovery from COVID-19.

Physical distancing in education and childcare settings updated guidance (Added 20 May) 

The Scottish Government has released updated guidance on physical distancing in education and childcare settings.  

Outdoor play at emergency childcare settings (Added 21 April) 

The Scottish Government has published COVID-19 guidance on outdoor play for emergency childcare hubs

Supplementary national child protection guidance (Added 20 April) 

The Scottish Government has issued updated national child protection guidance. The supplementary guidance addresses a potential rise in caseloads due to the impact of coronavirus. 

Contingency foster care arrangements during Covid-19 (added 10 April 2020) 

We are aware that the Coronavirus outbreak is likely to have a significant impact on the demand for care services, including a rise in the number of children requiring to be placed in foster care arrangements. Due to the potential impact of COVID-19 on authorities placing children and availability of foster carers, authorities may wish to augment the number of placements available.

They could do this by using staff employed by them in a relevant professional capacity who are registered with a professional regulatory body to care for the young person in the staff member’s own home. In these situations, we would expect that the fostering agency satisfy themselves of certain aspects which we have outlined here. 

ELC COVID-19 Update for June 2020 (Added 10 June) 

The Scottish Government has published the Early Learning and Childcare Covid-19 Update for June. This update provides guidance for childminder and childcare services who are considering reopening during phase 1 of the route map.

Scottish Government supplementary national child protection guidance (31 March 2020) 

Scottish Government has written to key organisations with responsibilities around child protection to inform them of supplementary guidance now available to support them to carry out their duties during the COVID-19 emergency. 

Guidance from the Scottish Government for early learning and childcare services (updated 30 March 2020) 

The Scottish Government has issued guidance on the latest measures introduced the latest measures introduced to reduce the spread of COVID-19, which sets out the implications for childminding services in Scotland.

 Update following guidance for childminders (updated 26 March 2020) 

Following the distribution of the Scottish Government guidance which sets out the implications for childminding services on 25 March 2020, there has been a request for clarification in relation to the number of households childminders can support at any one time and over the week. 

In relation to this, the advice is that childminders should care for the children of no more than two households (in addition to the childminder’s own household) at any one time. Where childminders are working with more than two families over the course of the week, it is advised that they consider additional cleaning measures to reduce risk of transmission via surfaces and equipment. 

We hope this provides clarification to support childminders continue to provide that critical childcare during this period. 

Closure of schools and early learning and childcare settings (updated 23 March) 

The Deputy First Minister issued a letter on Thursday 19 March 2020 with an update on the closure of schools and early learning and childcare settings. 

The Scottish Government has also published further information:  

Staffing in services during coronavirus outbreak (updated 20 March) 

Child to adult ratios feature in our registration and inspection of early learning and childcare (ELC). However, for other service types, including care homes, the Care Inspectorate stopped issuing staffing schedules at the point of registering a service in 2018. Instead, we expect the staffing numbers, and skills and experience of staff to reflect the needs of people who use services.  

At this extremely challenging time, we will support all services in their need to apply flexibility and judgement around staffing to ensure the safety and wellbeing of people using the service. We recognise that services will need to be creative and make use of a wider range of resources. This could potentially include staff from other public services and volunteers. We recognise that this will mean services may not be able to undertake all normal recruitment checks as quickly and easily as they did before.  

However, during this period it is important that providers put in place structures to support and oversee staff in their role, including any volunteers and unregistered staff. The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) is responsible for registering the social care workforce. People can work in registrable roles for a period of 12 months without being registered, which enables services to adopt a flexible approach. 

You can view the SSSC Guidance here

This highlights the six-month period after starting work to obtain registration. This applies to: 

  • new staff you might recruit
  • workers covering other roles due to staff shortages
  • students who seek work to help with shortages

 

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