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Nottinghamshire County Councils Short Breaks Offer Update – Covid-19

Due to the recent Coronavirus outbreak (Covid-19), a significant number of children and young people are not able to access their usual Short Break provision for a variety of reasons:

  • Personal assistants are unavailable
  • Families are self-isolating or shielding
  • Short Break providers are unable to offer the continued level of support
  • Families are unable to spend Direct Payment on activities.

Nottinghamshire County Council has reviewed how it  can support families receiving a Short Break allocation during Covid-19. In these unprecedented circumstances, we will be offering families the opportunity to purchase equipment and toys such as outdoor play equipment, books, arts and craft materials, etc. so that they are able to continue supporting the development and stimulation of their children or young people through play and creativity.

 

Who will be eligible?

This offer is open to children or young people who are known to the Short Break service and have been allocated Short Break hours.  Please note this will also include new eligible applicants.

 

The offer is as follows:

  • you may purchase items to the maximum value of £150
  • any monies spent will be deducted from your 2020/21 Short Breaks allocation (including if you use a Provider Service)
  • if you use a Provider Service and you spend £150, your Short Break allocation with the Provider Service will be reduced by the equivalent hours (e.g. the provider costs £12.50ph and you spend the full £150 we would deduct 12 hours from your 2020/21 Short Break allocation, if the provider costs £16ph we would deduct 9 hours)
  • you do not need to spend the full £150. You are free to buy items of a lower value. i.e. if you purchase items with a maximum value of £100 you may do so, and the Short Break Provider Service or Direct Payment allocation will be reduced accordingly
  • all purchases must be specifically for the child or young person awarded the Short Break allocation. If you have more than one child or young person with a Short Break allocation you may spend up to £150 for each child or young person. Where there are two or more children or young people in a family receiving a Short Breaks allocation the maximum spend on a single item is limited to £200.  Other items can be purchased using the remaining balance.
  • if the Short Break allocation was awarded through an assessment the purchases should help to achieve the specified outcomes.

 

What do I need to do?

If you want to proceed with this offer and have the funds available, you can proceed with purchases (please note the list of ‘What can I buy? ‘below)

  • All purchases must be made by 31st August 2020
  • you must submit the original receipt/invoice for payment by 30 September 2020 and keep a copy for your records
  • send your invoices/receipts to commissioning.team@nottscc.gov.uk with your child's name and Date of Birth in the subject bar or upload receipts to your PFS account
  • handwritten receipts will not be accepted
  • all items must be purchased from a reputable retailer (including online retailers)
  • there will be no cash alternatives
  • this offer cannot be used as a part payment for an item (i.e. items over £150) unless a second child or young person living in the family is receiving a short breaks allocation when the maximum spend on a single item is limited to £200.

 

What do I need to do if our Short Breaks are with a Provider Service?

If you currently use your Short Break allocation through a Provider Service and would like to take up this offer please contact the Children’s Commissioning Team at commissioning.team@nottscc.gov.uk to arrange for payments to be made to a pre-paid debit card. This will take several weeks to process, you may use your own money to purchase items while we process your request and reimburse yourself when you receive your pre-paid card. You must keep any receipts for purchases. The Children’s Commissioning Team will work out the hours to be deducted from your Provider Service and inform you and your Provider of these.

 

What if I don’t have enough funds in the account?

If you do not have enough funds in your account to cover this offer please contact the Children’s Commissioning Team at commissioning.team@nottscc.gov.uk.

 

What can I buy?

You may purchase items such as: (this list is not exhaustive).

  • sensory toys/equipment
  • outdoor play equipment such as a trampoline, swing set, scooter, bike, sand box
  • books (including e-books)
  • musical Instruments
  • arts and craft materials
  • board games/puzzles
  • outdoor growing equipment- seed etc
  • suitable electronic aids, such as an age appropriate tablet / printer
  • Cooking and baking equipment

If your chosen item is not included above, please contact the Children’s Commissioning Team at commissioning.team@nottscc.gov.uk  to check before purchasing.

The purchase must be for the child or young person awarded the Short Break allocation. You cannot make the purchase on behalf of someone else.

 

What can I NOT buy?

You cannot use the funding to purchase the following: (this list is not exhaustive).

  • any subscription services such as Sky Television, Netflix, etc.
  • any large electronic items (televisions)
  • any white goods
  • items for siblings
  • tuition services
  • part payment for an item over £150
  • clothing
  • furniture
  • pets or pet related items
  • food, drink, from Supermarkets, Deliveroo, UberEats etc. (i.e. excluding items specifically for cooking and baking activities)

 

Important Information

You do not have to accept this offer. If you would prefer, you can keep your Short Break hours, but unused hours (pro-rata) will not be carried forward to the next years allocation.  If you would like to continue with your current Short Break please take no further action.

Any Short Break hours remaining once the current restrictions are lifted and children and young people can access their commissioned package again, hours will be prorated to either the end date or review date.

This is a temporary change to the Short Break offer due to the Covid-19 outbreak and will not be repeated later in the year.

After 31st August 2020 Short Break funding must not be used for the continued supply of resources following any purchases made, e.g. ink and paper for printers.

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