skip to main content

Are you prepared for Winter?


The purpose of this page is to provide some suggestions on what we could do to plan for winter.

Older People are particularly vulnerable during the winter months; we are working very closely with our all our partners to ensure our plans for keeping people safe are robust. We recognise your contribution as providers to deliver these plans in a responsive and timely way. Planning for winter is an effective way to ensure elderly and vulnerable people keep well and will support the success of your business. 

As we enter the winter season we have already been hit by bouts of inclement weather conditions in Essex and it is important to ensure we are well prepared for the challenges and pressures that it brings to us all. We would like to urge all social care providers to particularly consider your capacity and contingency plans to ensure they are robust in the face of the challenges we anticipate.


Enabling sourcing in a timely way to support hospital discharge

As you will be aware hospitals will be under increasing pressure to keep bed capacity at a maximum during this period. To ensure a qualitative service for the end user it is imperative that when you are requested to undertake an assessment of any kind for someone residing in a hospital that it is done as soon as possible after being notified of the request. If the person is then being discharged into a residential or nursing service, for example, it is important that the home admits/re-admits the person as soon as possible once the assessment decision has been made. The same standard should be applied 7 days a week. It is imperative that Home Support providers respond to referrals sent to them by the Service Placement Team within a maximum of 2 hours, starting new hospital packages/restarts within 24 hours and new community packages/restarts within 48 hours. For new referrals, Service Placement Team staff are contacting the ranked providers in order by phone in the first instance so as to reduce time spent sourcing. During extreme winter and other exceptional conditions, we would ask you to work with us to achieve assessment and placement on the same day as referral. The ISP will subsequently be sent to those providers who wish to consider the referral in more detail.


Business Continuity & Emergency Plans

Business Continuity

Having good business continuity plans will protect your service users and your business.  We suggest you:

  • Review your 'Business Contingency Plan', particularly plans around temporary loss of staff due to illness or annual leave.
  • Confirm that all contact information, such as phone numbers and email addresses, is up to date.
  • Have a plan to access key data if you lose your IT.
  • Review your business continuity arrangements with your own suppliers.
  • Have plans in place to cover key roles and tasks.
  • Have mutual support plans in place with a 'buddy' organisation.


Emergency Plans

Essex County Council expects its providers to have emergency plans in place. You should have plans in place so that you can still run your business and support service users in any of the following events:

  • Fuel crisis.
  • Flooding.
  • Power Failure.
  • Severe weather.
  • Flu pandemic.


Provider should report any business continuity or emergency issues to:

The Service Placement Team.  Their opening hours are:

  • Monday - Thursday:  09:00 - 18:30
  • Friday:  09:00 - 18:00
  • Saturday:  09:00 - 17:00

They can also be contacted via email:


Being prepared for Flu

Are Are you prepared for an unpredictable flu season?  Please encourage your staff, residents and service users to be vaccinated.

All reasonable steps need to be taken to protect residents in care homes and prevent or limit the spread of flu. This can be done by facilitating the immunisation of residents by their GP practice. However as the protection from immunisation is only partially effective in this vulnerable population it is important that all staff are offered the flu immunisation.   

This is as part of the employers responsibility to protect residents and they should make the flu vaccination available to staff free of charge.

If all does not go well, and two or more cases of acute respiratory illness occur, an outbreak might be occurring. In such circumstances the Essex Health Protection Team must be contacted (Tel: 0345 155 0069). They will assess the situation and advise on measures that need to be taken to bring an outbreak under control.

Definitive guidance on infection prevention and control can be found on the Government website.

Information on this year's Department of Health winter flu vaccination programme is available on their website.


The Weather

Did you know you could sign up for warnings on the Met office website?

Were able to check whether you are at risk of flooding and sign up for free flood warnings by visiting Flood Warning website.

Did you know you can find information on clearing snow and ice on the government website?

Did you know you are able to order grit from a private supplier to keep access areas safe and to reduce the risk of trips and falls?

Detailed information on which roads will be gritted is published on the Essex County Council website.


Keeping Warm and Well this Winter

For those service users living independently it is important for providers to check that they are keeping their homes sufficiently warm to ensure service users keep well.

It is estimated that in Britain, 8,000 more elderly people will die every time the temperature drops 1 degree below average.  The government advises that the main living room should be heated to around 18-21°C (64-70°F) and the rest of the house to at least 16°C (61°F) with bedrooms kept warm overnight at above 18°C (65°F).

Further information is available from the government's Get Ready for Winter and the familiar Keep Warm and Well campaigns which you and your staff may find useful.

If you have any concerns that a vulnerable person is not warm enough, please contact Essex County Council's customer services on 0845 6037630, who can assess the person's need and/or provide information about voluntary support in their area.


How to contact us 

Service Placement Team


Disruption to service delivery

Please send an email confirm the issue and detailing the service users that may or will be affected to:


Contacting the Service Placement Team

Please find latest contact details here.


Further information about winter preparation can be found on the ECC website


Last Updated:  16 January 2019

rating button