Coronavirus (COVID-19) – reopening of day services for adults: letter from Minister for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care

Letter from Kevin Stewart, Minister for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care on 7 June 2021 regarding the reopening of day centres for adults.

I am writing further to the ‘Guidance to support the safe re-opening and delivery of building-based day services for adults’ which was published on 31 August 2020. This guidance, along with our letter of 3 August 2020, sets out how day centres can re-open with local agreement.

I understand how very difficult things continue to be for many people without access to day services at this time. These services are crucial to individuals with support needs, as well as their unpaid carers and families. I want to emphasise the urgency of services re-opening as soon as possible, to help people to return to their normal lives.

Following correspondence I have received, I am aware that some service providers are seeking clarity on who has authority to sign off the risk assessments required for them to re-open. The guidance issued in August 2020 states that ‘Each local area should agree which multi-disciplinary group has responsibility for signing off risk assessments for individual services and communicate this with services’. The authority for signing off risk assessments is normally delegated by the Director of Public Health. 

It is essential that HSCPs ensure that sign-off arrangements are well understood locally, to prevent any further delays in re-opening. 

There may be occasions where someone is unable to access a day service because of the facility’s reduced capacity, because the service is based in a care home or shared premises, or because that individual is shielding. In these circumstances, alternative ways of staying connected and maintaining wellbeing must be considered and agreed with the supported person and their carer. For example: grants through the voluntary-sector Short Breaks Fund; digital and peer support; or the flexible use of social care support packages, such as moving to a different Self-directed Support option.

I want to thank everyone who has tirelessly supported those with care needs during these extremely difficult times. I look forward to working with service providers in their continued efforts to get these vital services open again.

Should you have queries or wish to discuss these arrangements, please contact Emma Shepherd at the Scottish Government.

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