COVID Workforce Issues Update

LG Finance 

Whilst the individual local authority allocations arising from the draft budget will not be published until Monday it is clear that yesterday’s announcement fell well short of delivering the investment local government needs to protect jobs and services going forward.   

Behind the spin the budget allocation for local government for 21-22, compared to the 20-21 allocation, indicates an uplift in the total budget allocation to local government of just £91m – that’s some way short of the £1.5bn ask made by COSLA. 

As you know the Scottish Public Sector Pay policy may ‘act as a benchmark’ for all major public sector workforce groups but the technical guidance clearly states that local government pay is delegated to local authorities and its clear that the Scottish Government has not budgeted for or fully funded a proper pay rise for local authority workers.  We will have to wait to see what COSLA’s response to this is. 

At any rate our #PlugTheGap campaign must ramp up in the coming weeks to try to influence the inter-party discussions that will now be taking place before the final budget is presented to Parliament. 

The Scottish Budget 2021-22 document is available online. 

WIG update 

We have raised with COSLA a concern that day-care staff, many of whom are having to deliver services at home because of Covid restrictions, are being told they now need to register with the SSSC and incur the cost of doing so.  We have raised concern that this requirement has only come about because these members’ roles and the services they deliver have changed as a result of Covid – their substantive roles do not require SSSC registration and so the employer should meet this cost.  COSLA are looking into this and we understand that SPDS are in discussion with the SSSC about it.  We will update you as soon as we get a response. 

Replacement shielding letters – after being bounced around various government departments it transpires that there is no actual process for individuals to request another copy of their shielding letter.  There is no ‘process’ as such, however if anyone has an issue in relation to this please contact the branch.

We raised concern about the safety risk associated with holding in-person voting for the Scottish Parliamentary elections in May. We have put out a separate mail on this but in case you missed it our press release is here

We highlighted the targeting of home and social care workers by organised anti-vaccination campaigners.  (Note this is about organised groups promoting misinformation rather than individuals expressing genuine worries or concerns)  The Scottish Government representatives present said they are very concerned about this.  They underlined the importance of signposting people to factual and credible messaging.

We have sent on the key links to various Public Health Scotland (PHS) resources earlier in the week.  There is some further information below: 

  • PHS are members of the WHO Vaccine Safety Network, which is about addressing misinformation about vaccine online.  
  • NHS Inform is a WHO accredited website for vaccine information and the main source PHS push out to the public for up to date and accurate information. The content there is developed and signed off by clinical experts, including the CMO office.  
  • Referring members to a highly credible and NHS badged source is critical part of addressing misinformation. This can be done via your own social media channels, emails to members. Here is some sample vaccine information / leaflets in our toolkit for social care
  • PHS are keen for us to share with you the stakeholder and partner toolkit for the Roll up your Sleeves campaign, also attached. 

Supporting children and young people with complex additional support needs 
The Government has published specific guidance for local authorities and schools to support children and young people with complex additional support needs in mainstream schools, units and special schools during the coronavirus pandemic.    

This guidance supplements the existing Coronavirus: reducing risks in schools guidance  and the Coronavirus (COVID 19): schools reopening arrangements .  It has been developed in partnership with the Additional Support for Learning Implementation Group.   

It seeks to highlight specific issues, safety measures and mitigations to support the management of risk towards ensuring a safe environment for the learning and teaching of children with complex additional support needs in mainstream schools, units and special schools during the coronavirus pandemic.  

You can access this guidance here

Early Learning and Childcare guidance 
The Early Learning and Childcare guidance has been updated and can be accessed here 

Library guidance – updated 
The Covid guidance for Libraries has been updated and can be accessed here