Covid and the Use of Emergency Legislation

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The Covid Emergency legislation has allowed for the potential to relax the regulations and duties on government, following an expedited parliamentary process.

It is sensible to have such provisions in place to ensure that services can be maintained in some shape or form. Changes in regulations have included changing duties placed on authorities to “best endeavours” rather than a duty, or changing the time frame for reviews or assessment.

Any new provisions introduced as a result of the Covid legislation should only be used as a measure of last resort when the circumstances are necessary – for example if staffing levels were very low or there is an outbreak in residential care services.  Therefore, we have advised government that criteria needs to be established as to when measures should be in place.  I accept that such criteria may be complex but it is necessary to ensure that children and families are able to receive the services that they need.

In view of the way that staff in our services have responded to the pandemic, I am optimistic the relaxation of regulations will only be necessary to protect social distancing measures, such as allowing for virtual meetings with young people, when assessed to be appropriate.