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General updates

Mental Health Support -

Do you have a disability and are you feeling stressed or anxious? Are you feeling worried about the future? Or just bored and unhappy after long periods alone during the pandemic?  Do you want to find ways to feel happier?

Disabled People’s Voice are offering 100 free places on a series of online courses.

According to the Office for National Statistics Disabled People have, on average, poorer ratings than other people across measures of wellbeing, such as life satisfaction, happiness and anxiety.  So in conjunction with Creative Learning, Disabled People’s Voice aims to help you improve your wellbeing by providing a range of online courses packed full of tools you can use to enhance your peace of mind, find a level of comfort, and gain control over your worries. You can sign up for as many courses as you like and work through the material at your own pace over the next 12 months. You have the opportunity to take responsibility for your own mental health by signing up. It’s completely free! Simply visit to register.


We are continuing to support Direct Payment clients, employers and personal assistants through our existing contact channels:

Our teams are working closely with local authorities, payroll and insurance teams to offer information, advice and guidance across the following areas:

  • Employment
  • Recruitment
  • Payments
  • PA support

Our managed accounts and payroll services continue to operate as normal and there are currently no changes to existing payment schedules.

Department for Health and Social Care advice for people who buy care and support through a direct payment: Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for people receiving direct payments

See the government's road map out of lockdown (easy read) here.


PAs can now access weekly Covid-19 testing

How to access weekly testing: PAs who work in England, are employed or self-employed and are required to come within 2 metres of an adult they support, are eligible to order test kits every 28 days.

If preferred, an employer can order test kits for their PAs and four tests will be delivered for each PA for a 28 day testing cycle. Please note that the test kits can’t be posted through a letterbox so someone will need to be available to accept delivery.

Every 7 days a PA should take a test, register it online, and return it by post (using a Royal Mail priority post box). PAs will receive their results in 48 hours by email and text message (SMS).

Full guidance: Full guidance is available on how PAs working in adult social care in England can access weekly COVID-19 testing, including instructional videos, detailed processes and how to access more information and guidance.

Self testing support: You can also sign up for live webinars which talks you through the end-to-end for PA testing and there will also be a live question and answer session with the PA team.

If you have any issues ordering test kits, or need further support please call Coronavirus testing contact centre on 119. Lines are open from 7:00 - 23:00 daily.


Key messages and Q&As about PAs eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccination

Information can be accessed through the Skills for Care information hub. See Vaccination information on the COVID-19 pages for individual employers and personal assistants.

Eligibility criteria: To be eligible for vaccination in the national priority group two, PAs need to be supporting someone who:

  • is clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19, and/or
  • has a defined underlying health condition leading to greater risk of disease or mortality from COVID-19, and/or
  • is of advanced age (85+).

All PAs who meet this definition are eligible for vaccination now, regardless of whether they are self-employed, employed privately, through a social care direct payment (DP), a personal health budget (PHB), or through a broker or payroll provider.

Key information required by vaccination sites: Vaccination sites are asked to check eligibility when PAs arrive for their appointment, so it’s important a PA has all the necessary information with them which should include:

  • their notification of eligibility from the council or CCG (this is preferred option), or if using the national booking service, a signed employer’s letter confirming their eligibility and place of work
  • their consent to vaccination form
  • their NHS number
  • photo ID as proof of identity e.g. an ID badge, passport or driving licence.

Where any PA is refused vaccination, this should be raised immediately with the local council single point of contact.

Contact your local council now: Councils are asked to make sure all eligible PAs, whether known to them or not, are included in the vaccination programme and confirm in writing eligibility for vaccination.

Individual employers, and self-employed PAs are therefore asked to contact their local council and provide details of those eligible for vaccination.

Find the single point of contact at your local council anyone unsuccessful in contacting their council can notify [email protected].

National Booking Service: From 11 February, initially for a period of 2 weeks, all eligible frontline social care workers (including PAs) will be able to book their first COVID-19 vaccination appointment through the National Booking Service. Questions will be asked at the point of booking to confirm eligibility.