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A Social Enterprise providing community based support for adults with learning disabilities and/or autism in the South West

COVID:19

You First has had a Business Continuity Plan in place from our inception in 2014 and this has been amended and adapted over the years as You First has developed and responded to crises as they come and go.

Nathalie (You First Operational Director) has updated and revised You First's Business Continuity Plan (BCP) on a daily basis as a response to the latest advice from central Government. Government tend to issue updates at 14.00 each day and Nathalie is working hard to ensure that any changes or requirements are communicated to all staff each day around this time ensuring our teams are fully informed. We are working equally as hard to ensure that customers, their families and key professionals are also fully informed.

The latest draft of the BCP has been reviewed and approved by the Senior Management Team (SMT) and it provides internal guidance on how You First will respond during various levels of crisis. Please be assured that the BCP is under constant review and that the SMT will be meeting daily in order to ensure that our responses are informed, proportionate and appropriate at all times.

At the moment You First has two staff who are impacted, one who has removed themselves from work due to underlying health conditions and another who is self-isolating as they may have come into contact with someone who has the condition. Unfortunately, both staff members belong to the same Micro-Team. In situations such as this we must balance our duty of care to customers, staff and indeed the wider public equally and this will inevitably mean that, on occasion, changes to support will have to be made. This was acknowledged by Mel Lock (Director of Social Services, Somerset) on local TV over the weekend and The Care Quality Commission have advised that they expect Providers to: “use your discretion and act in the best way you see fit”. We will work hard to ensure that the impact of this is as minimal as possible but, at the same time, safeguards everybody. Any changes that have to be made will of course be made in full consultation and agreement with our customers and in light of the most up to date national and local guidance.

We all know that some groups of the population are more susceptible to COVID:19 than others, and/or are at greater risk of complications. Our BCP identifies customers and staff who fall into this category and informs our individual and person-centred response.

You First is a person-centred organisation that delivers bespoke community-based support and as such our BCP details individual responses for each customer; no two approaches will be the same. Whilst we evaluate our day to day response pleased be advised that in respect of people who receive less than 24 hour support patterns the time and duration of support may need to change, given the severity of the situation at any given time. This is something that we are keeping under constant review.

Currently all face to face staff meetings have been cancelled however we are looking into virtual meeting technology to ensure that people do not feel isolated.

I sincerely appreciate that this is an unsettling time for everyone, most especially as we are dealing with something that is both unprecedented and unknown. Being bombarded by 24-hour sensational news reporting also doesn't help anyone and neither does confused messages, such as those from central Government over the weekend. 

Every step and decision we take will be in the best interests of the people who choose to use You First. We are working as flexibly and responsively as possible to ensure everyone is kept safe and well in what are ever changing and challenging circumstances.

You will undoubtedly have questions and queries regarding this situation, most especially as things are predicted to get worse before they get better. If so please do not hesitate to call 0300 111 9999 where either Nathalie or Samantha will be pleased to answer your questions. You can also email Nathalie who will respond as soon as she is able. 

 Andy Robinson

Chief Executive Officer

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