SCMA Update on Self-Isolation Exemptions (23/12/21)

SCMA Update on Self-Isolation Exemptions (23/12/21)
Members should have received the latest Provider Update from the Care Inspectorate in which it is noted that the Scottish Government is in the process of finalising guidance on exemption from self-isolation. In summary, the Scottish Government has identified a mechanism through which early learning and childcare (ELC) settings can be designated as a “critically important infrastructure industry” which would enable ELC workers to opt out of self-isolation, if they wish - and if they meet strict criteria - to enable them to continue to deliver vital services. 

Currently the mechanism is only in place to allow Directors of Education to consider requests from local authority staff, so the Scottish Government has been working at pace to develop a parallel process for others in Private, Voluntary and Independent (PVI) settings. 

Childminding services are included within this; however, the exemption will only apply in specific circumstances and this is limited on public health grounds. 

Public health officials have advised it would not be appropriate to bring children from different household(s) into domestic premises where a household member who has tested positive is self-isolating. As such, childminders can only use the self-isolation exemption in circumstances where: 

they work from a setting that is not their home;

they have been identified by Test & Protect as a high risk contact for other reasons out with a positive case within their household, and no member of the household has tested positive; 

they are able to operate from alternative premises for the duration of the self-isolation period and meet a range of criteria to support a fast-track variation by the Care Inspectorate.

Members are reminded that if this is an option, they would also need to contact their insurer to ensure they are covered for this.

So, for childminding this essentially means a continuation of the public health position that it is not possible for a member of a childminder’s family to self-isolate in their house while keeping their setting open. And while it may be possible for some childminders to temporarily deliver their service from alternative premises (with a fast-track variation from the Care Inspectorate) we recognise this will not be practical for most.

As predominantly sole workers it is expected that childminders will be disproportionately affected by an increase in self-isolation and that this will have a significant adverse effect on their income. As such we continue to press the Scottish Government for targeted financial support for childminders whose income is affected by self-isolation.

We will keep you updated about developments.