Wiltshire Council COVID-19 Update - 23rd April 2020

Child employment update

The council has released revised information for employers and parents after updated government guidance on child employment.

In liaison with other local authorities in the south west, the council acted on earlier government guidance and suspended child employment arrangements temporarily during COVID-19.

In response to new guidance from the Department for Education, this has since been reviewed. Suspension of child employment arrangements remains in place but businesses can apply for a dispensation, provided they meet clear criteria to ensure the child’s wellbeing is safeguarded and the child is able to work in safe conditions.

These include where an employer’s business is deemed to be essential and where a role is defined as a key worker and the employment of the child is considered essential in this context, then the local authority may consider dispensation to the suspension of a Child Employment Permit.

Employers applying for a dispensation will need to sign an employer statement and code of conduct and complete a risk assessment. Parents will also need to sign a medical declaration. All forms are available on the website and should be sent to

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Once supporting documentation is received the council will consider whether dispensation may be agreed and employers will be advised in writing. Decisions will continue to be made taking into account our safeguarding responsibilities for the safety and welfare of young people in Wiltshire.

Launch of mental health hotline for children and young people

A children and young people’s mental health helpline has been launched in Wiltshire, BaNES, and Swindon by the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust which runs children’s mental health services in the region.  

Anyone concerned about a child or young person’s mental health (or the child or young person themselves) can phone the helpline and speak to mental health experts who will provide advice, guidance and support over the telephone.

The helpline will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can be contacted as follows:

9am-5pm – weekdays 01865 903777

5pm-9am – weekdays and weekends 01865 901000

Helpful resources to support children and young people experiencing worries about coronavirus are also available on the following websites

https://www.oxfordhealth.nhs.uk/camhs/

https://www.onyourmind.org.uk/

Launch of mental health hotline for adults

A mental health helpline for adults in Wiltshire, BaNES and Swindon has also been set-up by the Avon and Wiltshire Partnership.  The number is 0300 3031320 and more information can be found here: http://www.awp.nhs.uk/advice-support/24-hour-support/.

Both helplines should not be used for situations which are life threatening (when emergency services should be notified by phoning 999).  The helplines will also help to reduce pressure on NHS 111, who are having to manage an increasing number of Covid-related calls.

Thank you for your continued support and please stay safe

Regards

Cllr Philip Whitehead

 

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