Coronavirus (COVID-19): Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19), we have captured some of your most frequently asked questions for care providers and staff across Wales.

We understand and appreciate the difficulty of the current situation and the impact it is having on many care providers and staff across Wales. We hope the FAQs below answer some of your questions, and we will be updating these regularly as the situation progresses.

General questions

Where can providers find the latest guidance and information on COVID-19?

Providers are encouraged to visit the Public Health Wales website for the latest information. We also encourage you to visit the coronavirus (COVID-19) area of our website, as it holds useful links and information.

Do you have any advice for me regarding loss of earnings if I need to self-isolate and/or close my business temporarily?

We understand this is a deeply worrying and difficult time for many of our providers.  We would encourage you to visit the Business Wales website that lists the financial help and support available for those businesses impacted by COVID-19. 

Notifications

Am I still required to make notifications to CIW?

There are no changes to the requirements to make notifications or the system used to make them – CIW Online.

What COVID-19 notifications are required by CIW?

You should notify CIW of confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19 of people using the service, staff and the family of staff. By suspected, we mean people showing symptoms of the virus (new continuous cough and high temperature). 

Please use CIW Online to notify us and report as you would any infectious disease. If your childcare and play service (including childminders) is now closed please inform us, the relevant notification can be found under “Leadership and Management” on CIW Online.

More information on the symptoms of the coronavirus virus can be found on the Public Health Wales website.

If my nominated online assistants are unwell, can I nominate more people?

We encourage all providers to nominate several online assistants to ensure you are easily able to share information with us.  To find out how to set up an online assistant, click here.

Staffing

Can family members or volunteers help to provide care?

We would expect providers to have carried out appropriate checks, and be confident the family members or volunteers can carry out the tasks allocated to them safely. We also expect family members and volunteers to be appropriately supervised.

If CIW receive concerns about staffing levels, will they issue non-compliance notices or will they take circumstances into account?

We appreciate that this is a very difficult time for providers. The safety and well-being of people remains our priority. We will be reviewing each concern as reported and will take a proportionate and considered response. If we believe a provider was not taking appropriate measures to mitigate this risk, we would consider taking enforcement action.

If providers have any concerns about their ability to deliver the service safely, they are urged to contact us to discuss these with us.  

Can services recruit temporary staff without full checks?

We are aware checks for temporary staff is an area of concern. We are currently in discussion with Welsh Government about the possibility of legislative changes to assist with this matter.

Will providers have the ability to move staff between provisions? For example non-registered care home staff delivering care within Domiciliary Care. Or Day Services staff in LD delivering care in Supported Living?

In the current situation, we recognise providers may need to move staff between services to ensure the safety and well-being of people. It will be important for staff working in unfamiliar services to be well supervised and supported.

Should staff training and development continue?

In these exceptional times we understand staff learning and development will not be a high priority as your focus will be on keeping people safe. Newly recruited staff will need to have induction; we realise it might not be possible to complete the full Social Care Wales induction framework at this time. Training should reflect the needs of people who use the services and ways of delivering training may need to change. We would expect all staff to have supervision, support and oversight, but this is particularly important for new staff and volunteers.

How will providers manage to get all staff registered with social care Wales when they are recruiting high numbers of additional staff to respond to the coronavirus emergency?

We have been liaising closely with Social Care Wales (SCW) and have agreed to extend the registration period before member of staff needs to register from 6 months to 12 months, in order to allow people extra time to complete their requirements. SCW has also extended the confirmed competence eligibility which should make things easier for more experienced staff members returning to the sector.

Specific questions relating to those care services registered under the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act (RISCA)

Do Responsible Individuals (RI) visits and oversight need to continue?

It is especially important for RIs to maintain oversight of services during this difficult period.  However, we do not want an RI visit to increase the risk to people using the service and its staff.  We encourage RIs to consider different ways of maintaining oversight.  

Can care staff focus on meeting people’s core needs such as personal care, nutrition and medication where COVID-19 is having an impact, for example on staffing levels?

We understand these are unprecedented times and the care and support provided will need to adjust accordingly.

Care staff are being asked by GPs to carry out low level observations (heart rate, temperature, blood pressure etc.) and forwarding these readings on to a GP for decisions? Is this ok?

Yes, as long as the person taking the observations is competent to do so and at all times the requesting clinician takes full responsibility for interpreting these observations and making decisions on clinical care and treatment.

I have submitted an application to register/vary a RISCA service, will you be able to register this quickly?

We have streamlined our registration / variation process and are prioritising this work to create capacity in the sector. 

Will providers of RISCA services be required to submit an annual return in May 2020?

In light of the current pressures on social care providers due to the Covid 19 emergency, we have been in discussion with Welsh Government about the possibility of legislative changes to delay implementation of the annual return requirement by one year, to May 2021.

This has now been agreed.  Therefore providers will not be required to complete an annual return in 2020. 

Will CIW enforce the regulations around to pre-employment checks including DBS for social care staff, nursing staff and volunteers?

We recognise in these exceptional times, the sector will need to be agile in recruiting additional staff to ensure services can continue to be delivered.

Following discussions with the Welsh Government, the Welsh Ministers have agreed – subject to the agreement of the Assembly - to take forward legislative changes that can assist the sector to respond to these challenges.  This includes amending the requirements for pre-employment checks for newly recruited staff to focus on providers undertaking and recording appropriate checks and risk assessments.

In addition, Welsh Ministers will also be relaxing DBS requirements for regulated services for adults to enable providers to accept either a clear Adult First check pending a full enhanced DBS check, or an existing DBS which is less than three years old.

Work is now underway urgently to take these changes forward.

Specific questions relating childcare and play services

Now that schools are shut, will childcare providers eventually be forced to shut as well?

Welsh Government has announced that childcare will be reserved for the children of critical workers. You can read more about this here

Can staffing ratios be relaxed if some staff are not in work due to self-isolation?

We are in discussion with Welsh Government whether child to staff ratios can be relaxed as the COVID-19 situation progresses.  As soon as we have an update we will inform providers immediately.

Will age categories be relaxed because grandparents are considered high risk, and childminders are being asked for additional days?

If you want to change the number of children you care for in an age category you will need to submit a variation using our online variations process via CIW Online. We will prioritise these requests.

Will childcare providers be able to increase their overall numbers?

Welsh Government wishes services to be working with a smaller number of children of critical workers only. We consider it unlikely that any service will need to increase the number of children cared for. If you do want to increase the numbers of children you care for you will need to submit a variation via CIW Online. 

Can children be looked after by DBS-checked volunteers to enable parents to work, for example in a crèche in a workplace or office?

If this childcare is unpaid, and people looking after the children are unpaid volunteers, then this would be exempt from registration. If there is any reward for providing the care, it would need to be registered.

First aid courses have all been cancelled and so I’m worried I cannot renew my certificate.

We recognise these things will happen. We would expect you to do it as soon as courses resume.

As a childminder if I develop coronavirus and temporarily stop minding, can I do a deep clean and then reopen after self isolating?

If you or someone in your household develop symptoms at any time, you should follow the latest Public Health Wales guidance and self-isolate for the recommended time period. You should inform the parents of the children you mind. When the isolation period comes to an end, providing that everyone within the household is then well, there is nothing to prevent you from starting to mind children again. 

If your childcare and play service (including childminders) is now closed please inform us, the relevant notification can be found under “Leadership and Management” on CIW Online.

 

Can I mind children if only one parent is a key / critical worker?

Welsh Government is advising if one parent is a critical worker but the other parent is not then the other parent should provide safe alternative arrangements at home when possible.

For more information visit the coronavirus information area of our website.  If you have any questions regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) not currently included in the above FAQ's please use get in touch with us

Always check the Public Health Wales website and the Welsh Government’s coronavirus information area for the latest guidance.