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Children and Families Covid - 19 News & Updates

April 2021

Young People Housing related support opportunity updated (26.04.2021)

Housing Related Support Market Engagement Event 13th May 2021


Dear All,


Following on from most recent market engagement event for Housing Related Support for young people (HRS). The Council is inviting you to a final event to share with you our intentions and final details of the upcoming tender.


The event will be held on Thursday 13th May 2021 at 9.30am.


Please confirm your attendance by emailing will then be sent details of how to join the event.


March 2021

 Children's Residential Opportunity Updated (05.02.2021)

Essex County Council is embarking on a programme of work looking at the pathways for children and young people in care, in particular those needing placements in residential homes.

We believe that the best results for this work will be achieved by working in collaboration with an independent Strategic Partner with subject matter expertise in this field. We envisage this partnership enabling us to think differently about the challenges we face and support the co-designing of a new model of care to support and deliver better outcomes for our children and young people.

Any Partner will need to have the highest of standards and the experience of delivering successful projects. They will also need to have a flexible, solution focused approach and be able to work in partnership to deliver a solution for all of Essex County.

We are undertaking an initial exploration with potential strategic partners.  Please express you interest by emailing

In your email, please state: -

  • Company name and address
  • Main Company function
  • Your subject matter experience in the field of children in care
  • Your organisational objectives
  • Your capacity to work in the context of a county the scale of Essex

We are interested in Companies who have a clear understanding of Social Care practices, Local Authority Commissioning, Children's Residential Care and Delivering successful projects.

 Companies could be a registered Children's home provider, Charity, Consultancy etc.

 Please can you confirm your interest before Friday 2nd April 2021.


February 2021

 Engagement Event Updated (03.02.2021)

 Essex County Council Online Engagement Event for Housing Related Support 16+

Essex County Council (ECC) are considering options for recommissioning the delivery of Housing Related Support (HRS) for young people aged 16+ in Essex.  The contract for the current services expires on 31st May 2022. In advance of launching a tender, we are planning a number of online engagement events to explore elements of the proposed service in further detail.

The current contract for Housing Related Support (HRS) post-16 accommodation support provides a service for young people in the following cohorts:

  • Aged 16 and 17 years old at risk of homelessness.
  • Additional young people aged 18 to 21 years old at risk of homelessness and are assessed as having specific vulnerabilities.
  • Care Leavers aged 18 to 21
  • Vulnerable young parents up to the age of 21 years old with additional support needs. 

Due to the impact of the pandemic, the design and development work that ECC had commenced in 2019 was paused, however this market engagement event will build on all the learning and feedback from earlier stakeholder and market engagement. This event will set out:

  • High level requirements and outcomes
  • Indicative timeline for procurement
  • Specific areas that we intend to explore in depth with the market
  • Opportunity for providers to network and build connections with other providers

The event will be held on Wednesday 24th February from 2pm - 4pm on Zoom.

If you are interested in attending please email to be put on the invite list. You will then receive the details for the online event.



January 2021

Engagement Event Updated (25.01.2021)

Essex County Council Online Engagement Event Wednesday 10th February 2021 at 11am for Semi Independent Accommodation for 16-17yrs Young People


Essex County Council have been developing the framework for Semi Independent Accommodation for 16-17yrs Young People. This is to replace the current framework that is will expire in October 2021.  As part of that development we are having another market engagement event on Wednesday 10th February at 11am. This will be held via Zoom.


The first event took place last year and this was to gain provider feedback and discuss our initial plans. Since this event we have taken the feedback gained and further developed our proposals. This next event is for us to present our final plans and to give providers the relevant information you will need. This event will include the following:

  • Overview of the specification and details of Lots
  • Details of forecast placement numbers
  • Overview of tender documentation including the pricing schedule and high level evaluation criteria
  • Tender timeline
  • Information on the further support we will offer to help providers with using Proactis, the Council's procurement portal


If you are interested in attending please email for you to be put on the invite list. You will then receive the details for the online event.


Department of Education Update (03.12.2020)


 Dear Provider,

Sent on behalf of the Department for Education (DfE) and Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC)

Thank you for everything you are doing for the children in your care at this time.

 To ensure that children's homes, as a critical service, are able to access tests swiftly, as soon as any child or member of staff begins displaying symptoms, DfE and DHSC have arranged to issue all registered homes with a batch of 10 tests each to hold on-site. These can be issued to symptomatic children or staff in exceptional circumstances, where homes are unable to access testing through the usual channels. Home managers will also be provided with access to the same national testing portal used by adult care homes and schools to order additional tests. Each home will be able to re-order one batch of 10 tests per 21 days, where a home's supply is running low.

 New ways to access tests quickly and easily are being added frequently by NHS Test and Trace, and those working or living in children's homes should continue to access tests via these routes wherever possible. Please visit the get a coronavirus (COVID-19) test page for the latest information and to book a test. Depending on the information provided, this will give you a range of testing options available in your local area. These will usually be attending either a drive-through or walk-through test site or ordering a home test kit.

Next steps

 We aim to deliver the initial kits to all homes who complete the form (please see details below) from early December onwards. Once registered on the portal home managers will receive an automated email advising them that an order has been placed, followed by a second email when the kits have been dispatched.

 Further guidance on how to order tests and when these should be used will be published on shortly, and full instructions on how to administer the tests and what to do next are provided within each kit.

 We will also host a webinar for home managers on the 7th December. This webinar will demonstrate the testing process from registration to receiving results.

 This webinar also be available as a recording for those who are unable to attend the live event. To register to attend visit the link at:

What we need from you

 In order to arrange the delivery of kits, and on-board homes onto the portal, providers need to register with Salesforce - the operator of the testing portal.

 Salesforce is a secure cloud-based system that DHSC uses to store information on organisations eligible for accessing testing through the National Testing Programme. It allows us to see the number of kits that have been ordered by and delivered to organisations, along with any related queries submitted by that organisation to enable a better service.  The address you supply will be shared with Royal Mail for the purposes of test kit delivery, so we recommend you do not use the home's address where possible.

 To ensure your home is included in the list of eligible providers, please follow this link: to supplythe information required to Salesforce. You will need to enter the code 99869778 to access the registration form.

If the organisational external reference field is not showing, please include your Ofsted URN alongside your setting name. We will be unable to authenticate your eligibility without this.

This must be completed by the 6th December.

 The survey will ask you to provide:

  •  Organisation External reference (this should be your Ofsted URN, which will be used to authenticate your eligibility)
  • Setting name (please include your Ofsted URN here if the organisation external reference field is unavailable)
  • Delivery address (we recommend this is not the home address where possible)
  • Home manager's name
  • Email address (this must be unique for each account)
  • Telephone number
  • Job title
  • Organisation capacity (number of beds)
  • Name of local authority area

 Please note that separate accounts will need to be created for each individual home, and the email addresses used for each account must be unique. However, the same delivery address can be used across multiple accounts.

 If your setting does not complete the form linked above by the 6th December, or you would like to amend any of the details provided, please call the Test and Trace helpdesk on 119.

 If you have any questions in the interim, please contact the DfE Children's Social Care Covid-19 Unit at:

 Thank you for your continued work to keep our most vulnerable children safe and well during these challenging times.

 Yours sincerely

 Jonathan Bacon, Deputy Director for Looked After Children

Department for Education



Update (01.12.2020)

Online Essex County Council Market Engagement Event Tuesday 15th December 2020 at 10am.

 Further to our previous advert for the market engagement event regarding Essex County Council's Short Breaks services for Children and Young People with Disabilities (CYPwD), we would like to broaden the invitation.

 The focus of the event is to engage with any organisation who can provide or develop - 

  • One to One support for CYPwD in the community or at home
  • A wide range of activities and targeted sessions for CYPwD
  • To improve your current service to be more inclusive of CYPwD

In addition to this we would also like to invite any organisation who can offer a wider range of services.

 This could include the following examples -


  • Clubs for School holidays and/or term time
  • Befriending Services
  • Mentors
  • After school clubs
  • Life Skills programs
  • Charities
  • Home Care
  • Sports Clubs eg Football, Gymnastics etc

We want to eventually have a broad flexible range of services that are inclusive and can work with children with disabilities in their community. The engagement event will be an opportunity to discuss and feedback any ideas which will help us to shape the future service.


As previously mentioned, we would like Suppliers that are already established or potential new suppliers who may wish to establish in the near future. If you would like to register your interest in attending, or have any queries please now email by 4th December 2020 to -

 Following registering your interest you will be sent a confirmation email and log in details for the event.



Update (20.11.2020) 

Essex County Council are in the process of reviewing and developing our Short Breaks services for Children and Young People with Disabilities (CYPwD) and some with complex needs aged between 0 and 25 within Essex. As part of this development we are holding an online Market Engagement Event on Tuesday 15th December 2020.

This is for any supplier that can provide or is looking to develop the following in Essex -

 One to One support for CYPwD in the community or at home

  • A wide range of activities and targeted sessions for CYPwD
  • To improve any current service to be more inclusive of CYPwD

 We would like Suppliers that are already established or potential new suppliers who may wish to establish in the near future. If you would like to register your interest in attending, or have any queries please email by 30th November 2020 -

 Following registering your interest you will be sent a confirmation email and log in details. The time of the event will be confirmed at a later date.



Update: Governement (DoE) issues funds to support children and young people who's wellbeing may be impacted during the pandemic (09.06.2020) 

A funding scheme for charities launched by the DoE to support children and young people who's wellbeing may be impacted during the pandemic. Please Click Here to access futher information. 


Update: Government issues funds to support children with educational needs and disabilities (19.05.2020)

Children with special educational needs and disabilities in England will benefit from £37.3 million of direct support in 2020-21, which is expected to help more than 75,000 families in England


Update:Actions for FE colleges and providers during the coronavirus outbreak (18.05.2020)

Guidance has been updated to include further information to plan for wider opening, including what to consider and steps to take when planning increased attendance. Other updates include vulnerable young people, safeguarding and mental health support.


Preparing for the wider opening of schools from 1 June (18.05.2020)

The government has published guidance for primary schools to help them prepare to open their schools for more pupils during the COVID-19 outbreak. Guidance includes:

  • 1. Preparing the site
  • 2. Reviewing your staff for availability in school
  • 3. Familiarise yourself with the maximum safe group size
  • 4. Creating and staffing your temporary teaching groups
  • 5. Practical steps to reduce risk
  • 6. External support for SEND and behaviour
  • 7. Changes to routines for staff and pupils
  • 8. Communicating with staff
  • 9. Communicating with parents
  • 10. Managing pupil and staff wellbeing and mental health
  • 11. Planning what to teach, and how
  • 12. Remote education during wider opening
  • Frequently asked questions


Safe working in education, childcare and children's social care (18.05.2020)

The government has published guidance on preventing and controlling infection, including the use of PPE, in education, childcare and children's social care settings during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

  • Effective infection protection and control
    • Maintain social distancing with individuals who are unwell
    • Maintain hygiene standards and frequently clean surfaces
    • Wear PPE when unable to maintain a distance of 2 metres with children who are showing symptoms
  • Testing
    • Access to testing is already available to all essential workers
  • What care should be taken in residential settings, including residential schools, residential special schools and children's care homes?
    • When no one is showing symptoms, respond like any other domestic household. However, do not share soft toys between children
    • When someone develops symptoms:
      • Staff can continue to enter and leave the home as required, consistent staff rotas should be used where possible and staff should follow good infection prevention control
      • The isolation guidance for residential settings should be followed
      • Staff should wear PPE for activities requiring close contact
      • Staff should adhere to social distancing guidelines as far as they are able to, but should take account of children's emotional needs
  • Foster Care
    • If a foster child develops symptoms their fostering service should:
      • Assess the ability of the carer to continue to deliver care to the child
      • Ensure the foster home follows the guidance for households to avoid the spread of infection
      • Consult the foster carer on how best to protect themselves and the child
    • If foster carers develop symptoms of coronavirus, their fostering service should:
      • Follow the same steps as above
      • If additional support is needed for the carer or child, ensure that staff providing this care provided with PPE
  • What care should staff visiting families in their own homes take?
    • Staff and their managers are best placed to make professional judgements of risk in each case
    • There are many ways to keep in touch with a child, young person or family without physical face-to-face contact. It is expected that these will be utilised appropriately and proportionately
    • Prior to undertaking a visit, an attempt should be made to ascertain whether any member of the household is suffering from symptoms of coronavirus
    • Where households report no coronavirus symptoms, no PPE is required, but a distance of 2 metres should be maintained where possible
    • Where households are reporting coronavirus symptoms, PPE should be worn if a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained
  • Should social care visits to extremely clinically vulnerable children and young people continue?
    • Extra care should be taken visiting children and young people who are extremely clinically vulnerable
    • Visits to provide essential support such as social care or personal care should continue only following a robust risk assessment.
  • What specific steps should be taken to care for children with complex medical needs, such as tracheostomies?
  • How should I care for children who regularly spit?
    • They should continue to receive care in the same way, including any existing routine use of PPE
    • No additional PPE is necessary, but additional space and frequent cleaning of surfaces, objects and toys will be required
  • In non-residential settings, what should be done if a child, young person or other learner becomes unwell with symptoms of coronavirus and needs to be cared for until they can return home?
    • They must be sent home
    • If a child is awaiting collection, they should be moved, if possible, to an isolated room
    • An appropriate adult should supervise depending on the age of the child
    • PPE should be worn by staff caring for the child
  • What protection is needed when transporting children?
    • If the child has no symptoms there is no need for a driver to use PPE
    • If a child shows symptoms:
      • Use a vehicle with a bulkhead
      • The driver and passenger should maintain a distance of 2 metres from each other
      • The driver should use PPE, and the passenger should wear a face mask if they are old enough and able to do so
  • What care should be taken in early years settings?
    • Regular cleaning and disinfection of surfaces, objects and toys, as well as handwashing, are particularly important
    • The use of soft toys and toys with intricate parts or that are otherwise hard to clean should be avoided
    • Settings should manage risks by keeping children in small groups and trying, as far as possible, to keep the same children and staff members together from day to day
  • How should I care for young children or children with special educational needs who do not understand why they must stay apart or who ignore distancing guidelines?
    • It is imperative that education, childcare and children's social care settings conduct risk assessments around managing groups of children within the setting
    • As far as possible, small groups of children should be supported by consistent staffing, and groups should remain as consistent as possible throughout the outbreak.
  • How should PPE and face coverings be disposed of?
    • Used PPE and any disposable face coverings that staff, children, young people or other learners arrive wearing should be placed in a refuse bag and can be disposed of as normal domestic waste unless the wearer has symptoms of coronavirus, in line with the guidance on cleaning for non-healthcare settings
    • Any homemade non-disposable face coverings that staff or children, young people or other learners are wearing when they arrive at their setting must be removed by the wearer and placed into a plastic bag that the wearer has brought with them in order to take it home

Waste should be stored safely and securely kept away from children. You should not put your waste in communal waste areas until the waste has been stored for at least 72 hours

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