Norfolk County Council and the Short Breaks Team have been receiving questions from families about the situation with Short Breaks during this challenging time. Family Voice Norfolk and SENsational Families have asked for more transparency about the ongoing situation and forward planning for Short Breaks for disabled children.
All personal assistants and contracted Short Breaks providers continue to be paid during this time. At the moment providers are undertaking extra risk assessments and are experiencing significant increased expenditure on personal protective equipment along with implementing deep cleaning regimes. Additionally, provision is significantly disrupted due to social distancing and other external factors such as hand washing facilities, number of physical rooms available within settings and availability of staff (who may also be shielding, isolating or vulnerable).
Norfolk County Council has taken these steps to ensure provision does not have to close permanently, due to lack of funding. Therefore, the £500 exceptional COVID-19 spend that has enabled parents to buy toys and equipment cannot be increased. The ability to buy toys and equipment will finish on the 31 August 2020.
Personal assistants should have continued to be paid. If you have concerns or questions, please email the Direct Payment Support Service at DPCST@norfolk.gov.uk or call them on 01603 223392.
Unfortunately, we will not be able to allow unused sessions or funds in your direct payment account to be used in your next year’s Short Breaks budget.
We are asking all families in receipt of Short Breaks to wherever possible only use one provider, to reduce the risk of the infection spreading. We do appreciate in some circumstances this will not be possible. Local expectations at present are as follows:
If you do need any advice about this, please contact the Short Breaks Team. You can email them at email@example.com.