Adult Social Care providers FAQs

Information for all providers

How are you going to ensure people continue to receive the care and support they need?

We will be working with providers to achieve this, it will include a range of considerations from identifying the most vulnerable people to ensure they continue to be supported, to identifying people who can be supported by their family and community networks during this time. This will allow us to ensure we make best use of the resources available.

Any re-prioritisation will be clearly and carefully communicated with individuals, carers and families. We will be prioritising those residents with the highest levels of need to ensure that our most vulnerable residents who receive support from adult social care can continue to receive the same level of care.

We will also assess if contact needs to be face to face or if it can be done using technology, including over the telephone. If face-to-face visits are required then carers will call before attending to check if the client, or anyone in the house has symptoms. If they do, where possible, the client will be seen by the carer in a separate room.

The Council and NHS Southampton City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are currently organising telephone meetings with providers to discuss contingency plans and support that may be needed. During these meetings, if agencies wish, we will also help in matching agencies to develop staff sharing protocols. We will also share further the city’s contingency plans and how we are working with other local areas and central government to help ensure the right support is in place to enable care to continue to be delivered even in the most challenging circumstances.

How are the council working with the health system?

We are working closely with our partners in the NHS Southampton City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), NHS and external providers to ensure that we can prevent the spread of the virus and are following the latest Government guidance. We have established an adult social care and health co-ordination hub which will be open seven days a week. The hub’s role is to manage activity across adult social care and health services jointly with key partners.

Online recruitment portal for care home providers

A new online platform will facilitate recruitment for registered care providers by helping them reach candidates looking to work in social care.

Registered providers can search for candidates in their local area, view video interviews, start the DBS check and training process, create shortlists and make conditional offers, all before on-boarding candidates directly into their organisation.

Candidates can access a range of endorsed training providers through the platform facilitated by Skills for Care, and complete full online training prior to commencing employment. Care providers can register here.

What process does the council have in place for providers who have clients who are self-isolating and or have COVID-19?

For concerns regarding service users self-isolating etc., please email (please note that this is email is for providers only)

We are making regular calls to providers to check in on the state of business activity, staffing levels, PPE levels etc. If your level of staff absence is going to threaten service delivery, please contact us via email.

The council and CCG are not informed by PHE of positive COVID-19 cases or those who may be self-isolating, we ask that you contact the hub to let us know by email should one of your clients have a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.

How can I prepare to ensure our level of service can be maintained?

While not specific to all the services the council commissions, this guidance does cover steps to be taken by providers now to ensure readiness for a larger potential outbreak of the virus affecting many more individuals. To help prepare for this the guidance, and the response of both Southampton City Council and the NHS Southampton City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are expecting all providers to take actions now. These include:

  • Reviewing contingency plans for severe staff shortages, including planning for both 20% staff unable to work and planning for up to 50% staff unable to work. We will need to know what will help with these scenarios so that we can plan for this
  • Reviewing your current clients and their needs. This needs to focus on risk planning including prioritising support needs on a daily and weekly basis, support and informal networks that may be able to help. This will provide confidence that you will be able to manage risks while ensuring appropriate care can still be provided
  • Reviewing your safe working practices including ensuring your staff are washing their hands using soap, hand gels and personal protective equipment as necessary
  • Ensuring your staff understand the need for reporting if they are feeling unwell, the key signs to be aware of, and the steps to be taken, including self-isolation measures
  • Ensuring safe practices are followed if providing cleaning and laundry support
  • The Council and NHS Southampton City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are currently organising telephone meetings with providers to discuss contingency plans and support that will be provided to ensure these are able to be carried out.
  • The Council and CCG are working on further contingency plans which include support from other providers, including community health services.

I have an urgent worry about my service delivery during this time, who can I speak to?

If you are struggling with capacity and not able to provide all the care that is commissioned, please refer to Adult Social Care Connect on 023 8083 3003 to discuss this. Care can of course be prioritised; however, this decision does need to be in conjunction with Adult Social Care. Please do not make a decision in isolation.

We have set up a new telephone line for any urgent provider issue which cannot wait for your normal commissioner to respond by email, this is manned by one of our Senior Commissioners 8am to 5pm each day, 7 days a week.

The telephone number is: 0870 3156855 (this number is for commissioned providers only)

Please note: This telephone line is not in place of your normal contact about clients, instead it should be used for urgent issues relating to service delivery and sustainability during the COVID-19 response.



What is the process for sourcing PPE?

We know that there is very high demand for PPE at the moment and some providers and direct payment recipients have found it challenging to source what they need. This is a national issue, and we are working hard with national and regional colleagues to try and resolve it. Below is the process you should follow, which has been set up nationally. It may be that there are changes to this process over the coming days and weeks as supply chains are improved. If so, we will update these FAQs.

The process is:

Step 1: Try and Source PPE From Your Usual Suppliers
First, if you are not sure what types of PPE you need, guides and lists are available. Please check the guidance for care workers delivering homecare, and for how to work safely in care homes.

Once you know what you need, the first step is to try and source PPE from your usual suppliers. If you don’t have a ‘usual’ supplier (e.g. if you don’t normally need PPE), or your supplier can’t help, central Government has published a list of suppliers who may be able to help you:

Type of Organisation
Step Two
Social Care, community care, homecare, hospices
Careshop -
Blueleaf - 03300 552 288,
Delivernet - 01756 706 050,
Countrywide Healthcare - 01226 719 090,
Nexon Group - 0800 333 5006,
Wightman and Parrish - 01323 445 001,
Gompels -
Primary care
DCC Vital (Williams Medical Supplies) - 01685 846 666,
Phoenix 0844 736 2287,
Alliance/ NWOP - 0330 100 0448,
Mckesson / AAH Pharma - 0344 561 8899,
Phoenix - 0844 736 2287,
HenrySchein - 0800 023 2558,
DD Group - 0800 585 586,
Wright Health Group - 01382 834 557,
Trycare Ltd - 01274 885544,

Step 2: Local Mutual Aid Store
If there will be a delay in receiving PPE via these suppliers, contact your Local Resilience Forum mutual aid store. This store has limited stock and is intended to help meet urgent, immediate needs (i.e. if you are due to run out in next 24 hours), by providing stock to tide you over until your next delivery.

Step 3: Escalate Your Request to The National Supply Disruption Response Hotline
If the local mutual aid store doesn’t have the PPE you need in stock, you should escalate your request to the National Supply Disruption Response (NSDR) hotline. This is staffed 24/7. The numbers for this are 0800 915 9964 or 0191 283 6543. If you call, you will need to provide the following information:

  • Your name, email and tel. no.
  • Name, email and tel. no. of a contact for next 24 hours (e.g. out of hours cover if you will be unavailable – if they can’t get hold of someone, they won’t deliver)
  • Delivery address, inc. postcode and named contact for receiving deliveries
  • Confirmation that your organisation can receive delivery outside of normal business hours
  • Nos. of COVID-19 patients being treated (confirmed and suspected)
  • No. of beds in the organisation (if applicable)
  • How long your current PPE stock provides cover for
  • Which products they are requesting and in what quantity.

Where will I find the most up to date guidance on PPE?

Public Health England published new guidance on PPE for care workers delivering homecare on 27 April 2020. This is in addition to the PHE guidance on how to work safely in care homes, which was published on 17 April 2020. 

What PPE is needed for social care providers if a client has tested positive for COVID-19 but is well enough to be discharged from hospital and returns to us before the time period for isolation has lapsed?

The PPE guidance remains the same in suspected cases or confirmed cases and is relevant to setting or type of tasks being undertaken. Please check the guidance for care workers delivering homecare, and for how to work safely in care homes.

What is the PPE portal?

GPs and small domiciliary care providers can now register for PPE supplies via a new online portal launched by the Government. Domiciliary care providers with 99 clients or less and care home operators with fewer than 24 beds can register on the PPE Portal.

The portal was launched in collaboration with eBay, to help small providers order critical PPE once a week, free of charge. Providers will receive an invitation email from DHSC to register on the portal and providers will need to use the link within the email to access the portal to complete the registration process.

If providers have problems accessing the site or registering, they should contact

Other queries can be raised with customer services at 0800 876 6802.


Care homes and Residential Homes (including testing)

Easier access to information

Working in partnership with our providers, there is a range of support that is easy to access through the Microsoft Teams pages. This new online resource enables our care providers to:

  • Access important advice and Government guidance quickly
  • Send detailed service user/patient information over email knowing that the appropriate security measures are in place
  • Have video support with health and social care colleagues at the click of a button

Our digital team works with local care providers to explore opportunities to increase the digital capability and use of technology within their provisions. If you are a care provider who would like support to use digital options more within your settings, you can access a range of webinars, information sessions as well as on-site training.

Care providers with a secure email address can access our Southampton Microsoft Teams pages to receive relevant alerts and information. Care providers will be able to send instant messages, hold meetings and video conferences with colleagues and partners across the health and social care sector. Care providers will need to download the Microsoft Teams application sign in with their NHS Mail login details.

Visit the Microsoft Teams pages using either of the links below to access these opportunities.

Please note you will have access to either or both links, so try each link. If you encounter any issues, feel free to contact the Digital Care Team.

If you are a care home provider who isn’t registered to access the Microsoft Teams pages (i.e. you do not have access to a email address/account, you can contact the Digital Care Team.



Is there any support for staff wellbeing?

The Southampton City Council Wellbeing@Work eNewsletter is sent monthly and offers information, advice, and tips on looking after the health and wellbeing of your workforce. You can encourage your colleagues to join the mailing list.

You can also view the previous two Wellbeing@Work Newsletters. For more information of working from home, staying in touch with your teams, looking after your mental wealth and health and the many health & wellbeing links on the Wellbeing@Work webpages.

What support is available for providers who are recruiting new staff?

To support quicker recruitment into social care, the Home Office and the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) have put temporary arrangements in place, to provide DBS checks and fast-track emergency checks of the Adults’ and Children’s Barred Lists free-of-charge.

The Government has also worked with Skills for Care to make it easier for employers to access rapid online induction training for new staff. This includes key elements of the Care Certificate and is available free of charge.

How can volunteers support our existing carers?

Social care providers are able to refer vulnerable individuals to the NHS Volunteer Responders programme for a check-in and chat, to prevent loneliness, or to help with fetching shopping and prescriptions. They can also support providers with moving supplies or equipment between services. Volunteers could also be involved in activities such as housekeeping, food preparation, wellbeing activities, and telephone befriending and care, depending on previous experience. We will update with more information when it has been published.

There are also local resources to support vulnerable people, please contact Southampton Community Support Hub via telephone on 023 8083 4800. More information can be found here.

SO:Linked may be able to list your organisation as requiring volunteers on its website.

Love Southampton also helps to match volunteers with the most suitable volunteering opportunities in the city.


Funding and financial

Will there be funding available for the additional assessment/planning process that needs to be undertaken prior to picking up another provider's workload?

We will ensure that providers are recompensed for additional activity picked up during this time.

As the Day Centres have closed and people living in supported accommodation can’t go out, will we receive more funding to meet additional support hours?

We will ensure that providers are recompensed for any additional activity picked up during this time. Specific cases will need to be discussed between providers, operational workers and / or commissioners.

What are your plans to support local providers should their services become financially unviable as a result of Coronavirus?

You will have received a letter in early May to describe the financial assistance which is available to providers, this is further to the communication which was sent to providers in the W/C 20 April 2020.

If you have further concerns regarding your organisation’s COVID-19 related cost pressures please contact us via email before it becomes a risk to the sustainability of the services your organisation provides to the residents of Southampton.



Is there any support available for delivering meals to service users?

The City Catering care service are taking new referrals for their Meals on Wheels service.


Phone: 023 80 83 38 66

What do I do if I am approached by the press regarding COVID-19 deaths?

There has been significant media coverage of late and speculation by the press about the number of deaths happening in care homes across the country. If you are approached by the media trying to obtain figures regarding COVID-19 deaths in your setting, please refer them to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and Public Health England who are collating this information. Also please inform your commissioner.