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People with learning disabilities dying at a greater rate from coronavirus

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From the Independent

People with a learning disability must be urgently prioritised for the coronavirus vaccine, charities have warned as new data shows they are almost twice as likely to die from the virus than the general population.

The latest data for learning disability deaths shows 80 per cent of deaths in the week to 22 January were linked to Covid-19. This compares to just 45 per cent in the general population.

The charity Mencap said everyone with a learning disability should be prioritised for the vaccine.

According to its analysis of deaths reported to the Office for National Statistics and the national Learning Disabilities Mortality Review programme, the proportion of deaths among the learning disabled has been increasing every week since November when it was just above 35 per cent.

You can read the full article here

Home Secretary to introduce ‘Kay’s Law’ reform to better protect victims

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New laws to reform pre-charge bail will provide better protection for victims and witnesses in cases of violent and sexual offences, Home Secretary Priti Patel announced today (Thursday 14th January).

The Home Office has published its response to a consultation on pre-charge bail, which allows police to release a suspect from custody subject to conditions, while they gather evidence or await a charging decision.

The new measures will ensure a system where individuals are not held on bail for unreasonable lengths of time, whilst enabling police to impose strict conditions on more suspects in high-harm cases, including most cases of domestic abuse and sexual violence.

The full package of reforms will be named ‘Kay’s Law’ in memory of Kay Richardson, who was murdered by her ex-partner following his release under investigation, despite evidence of previous domestic abuse.

For more information go to the Government website

A thematic review of the work of youth offending services: Action Plan

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This action plan is the HMPPS and MoJ response to the HM Inspectorate of Probation inspection report for a thematic review of the work of youth offending services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has a list of actions in response to the single recommendation directed to HM Prisons and Probation Service. These actions will be shared with colleagues in the Youth Justice Board and the Ministry of Justice, as part of a joint commitment to address recommendations

For more information go to the Government website


A look at volunteering during the response to COVID-19

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DCMS commissioned Kantar to do the Community Life COVID-19 Re-contact Survey to better understand the role played by volunteers during the pandemic, among other things. The survey, which was carried out from 7-26 July, is based on Government’s long-running Community Life Survey, enabling them to compare change between the time before and during COVID-19. Responses were sorted for demographics to ensure that this is a nationally representative sample for England.

Formal volunteering

Volunteers have given unpaid help to a range of organisations or clubs, including to over 3000 Mutual Aid Groups. Across England, around 21% of people formally volunteered at the beginning of the pandemic.

Informal volunteering

47% of people informally volunteered during the pandemic and 52% of those were helping people affected by COVID-19. These informal volunteers were more likely to carry out certain tasks than in the pre-pandemic period:

  • keeping in touch with someone who has difficulty getting out and about (58% of regular informal volunteers from March to July, compared to 43% before)
  • shopping, collecting items, medicine etc. (49% compared to 23% before).

You can read the full results of the survey here

Advice for parents and carers looking after children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

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Updated 16th July 

From the beginning of the autumn term, the DfE will expect all pupils, in all year groups, to return to school full-time.  

Government feels it is vital for all children to return to school for their educational progress, for their wellbeing and for their wider development. 

For more information go to the Government website (opens in a new tab)  

Information on what parents and carers need to know about the opening of schools is available here (opens in a new tab) 

Coronavirus and the latest indicators for the UK economy and society: 25 June 2020

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The latest Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) (collected 18 to 21 June 2020) collated by the office for National statistics (ONS) showed 44% of working adults in Great Britain had travelled to work in the past seven days, an increase from 41% the previous week, following a shift from remote working to travelling to work.

This supplements the latest Business Impact of Coronavirus Survey (BICS), which showed 2% of the UK workforce in businesses continuing to trade had returned from remote working in the past two weeks; 7% of the total workforce had also returned from furlough.

Between 12 June and 19 June 2020, the volume of job adverts in catering and hospitality increased from around 20% to 27% of its 2019 average; education also saw a large increase.

For the full report go to the ONS website (opens in a new tab)

Opening certain businesses and venues in England from 4 July (test and trace)

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Published 23rd June 

The opening up of the economy following the COVID-19 outbreak is being supported by NHS Test and Trace.

You should assist this service by keeping a temporary record of your customers and visitors for 21 days, in a way that is manageable for your business, and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed. This could help contain clusters or outbreaks.

Many businesses that take bookings already have systems for recording their customers and visitors – including restaurants, hotels, and hair salons. If you do not already do this, you should do so to help fight the virus.

Government will work with industry and relevant bodies to design this system in line with data protection legislation, and set out details shortly. 

For more information go to the Government website (opens in a new tab) 

1.1 million more people face poverty at end of 2020 as a result of coronavirus pandemic

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The economic fallout of the pandemic could leave 1.1 million more people below the pre-Covid poverty line at year end, including a further 200,000 children, according to analysis released on 4th June by The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) think tank.

Without urgent action to protect families from the financial hardship caused by the pandemic, this would bring the total number of children living in poverty in the UK to 4.5 million, an increase of almost 5 per cent, IPPR says.

The IPPR analysis provides the first projection of the poverty impact of the crisis since the pandemic began. It draws on Bank of England estimates showing that unemployment is likely to reach just under 10 per cent in the final quarter of this year (Q4).

It finds that the number of children newly pushed into poverty since before the pandemic is likely to be 300,000 at the end of this year. This number is partially offset by the 100,000 children likely to have moved out of poverty, due to emergency reforms to the Universal Credit system introduced in March.

You can read the full report from The Institute for Public Policy Research here (opens in a new tab)

Health and wellbeing of disabled children at risk during pandemic

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New findings from a major survey conducted by Family Fund have highlighted the impact of Coronavirus on families raising disabled or seriously ill children, as emergency funding is announced by the Department for Education.

Family Fund conducted two surveys on 27 March and 30 April, to track the continuing impact of lockdown, finding:

94% of families said the health and wellbeing of their disabled or seriously ill children had been negatively affected, an increase from 89% in first few weeks of the lockdown.

89% said their disabled or seriously ill children’s behaviour and emotions were being negatively affected and 82% reported a negative effect on their mental health.

65% said their access to formal support services for their child, such as physiotherapy and mental health services, has declined since the Coronavirus outbreak.

30% struggled to afford food and a quarter of parent carers (24%) admit to missing meals in the last two weeks, with nearly three quarters of families now having no savings to fall back on.

The biggest concerns for families are around educating and entertaining their disabled or seriously ill children at home (74%) and their children’s health and wellbeing (71%).

You can read or download the findings here (opens in a new tab)

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