Your questions answered
Will GCC now share the NHS vulnerable list with members? Local supermarkets are using it to priorities deliveries, so please can members use it to assist their constituents?
We aren’t allowed to share the NHS shielding list under any circumstances, not even with district councils. With regard to the Community Help Hub, the seven local authorities have signed up to a Data Sharing Memorandum of Understanding for the sharing of personal data.
Clause 2 of this states:
The personal data must only be used for the purposes of developing and coordinating the Community Help Hubs, recruiting and managing volunteers and the provision of assistance to those who have been identified as needing help during the COVID-19 emergency. Personal data may also be used for scientific, statistical, historical and research purposes where such processing is compliant with Article 89 of GDPR. If any of the Parties wish to use the personal data for any other purposes then they are responsible for demonstrating compliance with data protection legislation.
This may be subject to interpretation by the district council who may apply their own date sharing protocol to comply with GDPR which is why the member will have been refused his request.
Here is the privacy notice for the Community Help Hub
What provision is there to support students, especially children with Special Educational Needs, at home? Particularly if they need ICT such as iPads, access to broadband?
Children with all ranges of needs are continuing to be supported by schools, and where other professionals such as social care are involved, they are working in partnership to provide the technology to children who need it.
This provision is made either directly by the schools concerned or by using the pupil premium funding. Where a child has additional needs and is in receipt of a Direct Payment from social care we have agreed to use this funding differently at this time to enable parents to purchase items which are individual to the child’s needs, this can include IT kit and/or access to broadband. Where a child has additional needs we are continuing to work in partnership with our voluntary and community sector, such as Barnwood Trust to support applications for ICT needs including access and funding for mobile data and broadband.
The local authority provides a range of equipment to support children and young people with SEND which fall outside of the schools remit. This includes communication aids, radio aids and non standard computers. We already have systems in place for these to be used both at home and school. Schools or parents are signposted to Third Sector organisations such as The Gyde Trust who provide grants to buy individual ICT systems e.g. iPads, Kindles, Switches for children with SEND.
The local authority Advisory Teaching Service (ATS) is providing a range of support for children with SEND at home, including:
- Access to a specialist advisory teacher advice
- Regular contact e.g. weekly for children with SEND who have complex or profound needs who are known to ATS, e.g. weekly advice sheets about activities to undertake at home for children with a Hearing Impairment.
- Rapid response to concerns raised by parents.
Secondary schools and many primary schools have well-developed virtual learning environments (VLEs) for children. Schools have made arrangements for children to have access to a range of home-learning resources. The local authority has dedicated pages on Schoolsnet which signpost teachers to a full range of resources and educational websites.
In addition to this, the government has announced that local authorities will be able to request, and distribute digital devices for disadvantaged pupils, care leavers and children with social workers. We are currently waiting for details of the scheme will we are expecting this soon.
What are GCC and the NHS in Gloucestershire doing to enhance contact tracing capability, particularly in Covid-19 hotspots in Cheltenham?
Public Health England (PHE) is the national agency that has responsibility for contact tracing. Policy around this is set nationally, and nationally routine contact tracing was stood down when the national pandemic phase was moved from the containment to delay phase. We understand that national policy around contact tracing is under review.
If contact tracing is restarted nationally it is likely to include both app based electronic solutions, as well as the more traditional phone based system. This is likely to involve nationally contracted agency staff as the existing contact tracing capacity is unlikely to be able to manage the volume of activity.
What testing/contact tracing is being done regarding the care system (both care homes and care for the vulnerable in their own homes) in Gloucestershire?
Public Health England is the national agency coordinating this along with NHS England/NHS Improvement since we moved to the delay phase nationally. Public Health England South West has supported care home swabbing since the onset of the Covid-19 situation, meaning care home residents in Gloucestershire have access to testing. Residents in care homes are receiving swabbing test kits once an outbreak has been reported to PHE. Residents are tested both for Covid-19 and other respiratory diseases to ensure diseases that can be treated (eg Flu) are not over-looked.
There is also a mechanism in place to ensure that care home staff can be tested if they become symptomatic. Since care homes are generally closed to visitors then sources of infection are usually confined to care home residents and staff, and are therefore being managed internally by infection, prevention and control processes rather than contact tracing.
National policy around testing those in the community who are not in residential settings, means they are currently only tested if unwell enough to require hospitalisation.