A Message from David Birch, CEO – Thursday 18 June 2020

I wanted to update you all on our progress and the current picture, taking account of the latest Government announcements on the easing of some of the lockdown restrictions.

Over the last three months, our services have worked tirelessly to provide continuity of support for our customers. Where necessary, services have adapted their approach and introduced innovative measures to ensure the people in our care have received what they need in a way that keeps them safe and protected. For example, our Supported Employment Service has created a number of workbooks, to replace the need for face-to-face classroom learning, and has moved job coaching online. All of our teams, from Social Care to Reablement to Residential Support, have been flexible and agile to make it possible for them to help out in new ways and deliver exemplary levels of protection to the vulnerable people we support.

While we remain vigilant in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we now find ourselves entering the next phase of our COVID-19 response. The ‘recovery phase’ focuses on reintroducing non-critical aspects of services that have up until now been put on hold, as well as supporting our customers to resume aspects of their daily lives in line with government guidelines. At the same time, each of our teams is having to reimagine their workplace creatively and adapt to new ways of working. Our residential homes are looking at ways to re-introduce more variety into residents’ daily routines and will continue to support the testing programme for care homes, as this is rolled out. Our colleagues in our social services teams are making plans which will allow them to spend some time safely in the office in the future. We will continue to closely follow the guidance from Public Health England as we implement any changes.

Throughout the pandemic we have maintained the highest levels of infection control and our focus now is to sustain these rigorous prevention measures, especially now that the lockdown for the wider population is being eased. We are following all Government guidelines to ensure that our services and offices continue to be COVID secure. Many of our colleagues continue to work from home, wherever possible, as per current government guidance. However many of our services and the support we provide to our customers cannot be delivered with staff working from home. In order to meet the unique needs of all of our customers, our colleagues continue to work in creative ways to support our customers to stay active, engaged and lead fulfilling lives in a range of locations.

With effective measures in place including robust cleaning schedules, easy access to hand hygiene stations, signage to support people to maintain safe social distancing, and designated safe flows in and out of our buildings, we have worked hard to ensure that our customers and colleagues continue to feel safe and secure while using our buildings.

While it may be some time before things start to feel more stable again in the wider world, we will continue to work hard to ensure that everyone who uses our services and who works for us is kept safe and protected, with new ideas and changing working practices bringing improvements for our customers, colleagues and communities that we serve.

Yours Sincerely

David Birch - CEO Optalis

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