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Preparing for Winter 2020/21

This winter will be particularly challenging due to pressures on the system from Coronavirus, in addition to the usual challenges including flu and weather. 

The government has published a winter plan which details actions for Health, Local Authorities and social care providers to ensure our vulnerable residents are kept as safe as possible. Below you will find a link to the plan, as well as a list of the key actions for providers over the winter period.


Adult social care: COVID-19 winter plan 2020 to 2021

Access the government's adult social care covid-19 winter plan (there is also an Easy Read version). The full list of actions for Health, Local Authorities and providers can be found within the document. Below are the key actions for providers.


Key actions for providers to take

Below are the key actions from the plan, with some additions, for social care providers to take. You should take time to review the full list which is available in the plan. We have added links below to help. One of the main considerations for your planning is you must keep the needs and safety of the people you support and your staff at the forefront of all activities


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)




Infection Prevention and Control

  • providers should utilise additional funding available to implement infection prevention and control measures, in accordance with the conditions of the Infection Control Fund and those given by local authorities, and should provide all information requested on use of the funding to local authorities
  • Access Government advice on Infection Prevention and Control


Business continuity plans 

  • providers should review and update their business continuity plans for the autumn and winter, of which workforce resilience should be a key component. 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.
  • consider the effect EU Exit (Brexit) will have on your service(s).


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.

Providers should report any business continuity or emergency issues to the Service Placement Team (SPT) -







  • providers must provide data through the Capacity Tracker or other relevant data collection or escalation routes in line with government guidance and the conditions of the Infection Control Fund


Flu vaccines


Care Home Visits

  • care home providers should develop a policy for limited visits (if appropriate), in line with up-to-date guidance from their relevant Director of Public Health and based on dynamic risk assessments which consider the vulnerability of residents. This should include both whether their residents' needs make them particularly clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 and whether their residents' needs make visits particularly important



  • You need to report outbreaks to the local Health Protection Team (HPT). PHE East of England Centre number is 0300 303 8537. Upon hearing the first message please press the number 5 on your keypad - don't continue listening.


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.



  • Sign up for warnings on the Met office website
  • Check whether you are at risk of flooding and sign up for free flood warnings by visiting Flood Warning website.
  • Information on clearing snow and ice on the government website?
  • 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.


ECC Contacts

Disruption to service delivery

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

Covid-19 provider enquiries

For questions relating to covid-19 advice please email 

Out of hours and other contacts

Our dedicated hub page has as list of contact details for ECC teams working in social care


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


Last Updated: 4 February 2021

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