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The social care worker card

The social care worker card has been produced to recognise the key role social care workers have in supporting individuals in every community in Wales.

What is the social care worker card?

This is a card that identifies social care workers and confirms they are key workers in fighting the current pandemic. It is not a registration card.

Why produce a card for social care workers?

Social care workers are facing similar practical challenges as those working in the NHS and other key worker jobs. They are often working long hours and shifts, which gives them little time to do their shopping. Many of them, particularly those providing care at home to vulnerable people, often have to go shopping for the individuals they are supporting, while staff at adult care homes have to go out shopping for their workplace, if they are unable to secure deliveries.

Social care workers are playing a vital role in caring for adults and children in every community in Wales during this unprecedented crisis. They are supporting people to stay safe and well, which is crucial in helping relieve pressure on colleagues in the health service who are treating people with acute symptoms of COVID-19 in our hospitals.

We hope the card will provide social care workers with useful benefits to help make things a little easier at a time when so much is being expected of them.

What kind of card is it?

There are two forms of the card – there is a digital version and a physical card which is made of plastic.

We wanted to make these cards available quickly, so that social care workers can access potential benefits as soon as possible. A digital version allows us to do that, as workers can download it to the Apple or Google wallets on their smartphones immediately. At the same time, we are producing a plastic card, which will be available within the next three weeks. Social care workers will be able to use either version of the card.

The digital and hard copy versions of the card are valid until 31 March 2021.

What benefits can I get now with the card?

Most of the major supermarket chains have already formally agreed to provide cardholders with the following benefits at their stores in Wales:

Iceland – Key workers have priority to shop in Iceland stores in the last hour of trading Monday to Sunday, usually 5:00 to 6:00pm (but check your local store for exact times).

The Food Warehouse - stores are open to key workers from 7:00 until 8:00am, Monday to Sunday.

Morrisons – you will be able to access the store without queueing (by showing your card) and also shop during the designated key worker hours between 7:00 and 8:00am, Monday to Saturday.

Tesco – you will be able to go to the front of any queue with your card.

Marks and Spencer – you are allowed to shop in the first hour of opening, usually from 8:00am or 9:00am on Tuesdays and Fridays (check your local store for exact times)

Asda – you can shop on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 8:00 and 9:00am, with a browsing hour on Sundays from 9:00 until 10:00am.

Waitrose - you will be given priority access to Waitrose shops without having to queue

Sainsbury’s – you can shop in stores for half an hour before they open, at 7:30am, Monday to Saturday

Aldi – your card will give you priority access to Aldi stores.

Please make sure you show your social care worker card, along with a form of photo ID, if required.

The following benefits are also available to you:

AO.com – you are eligible for AO.com’s free delivery and timeslot offer. Just place your order online at ao.com or via inbound sales, pay in full and then send an e-mail with an image of your social care worker badge, with the order number in the subject box, to HealthCareDiscount@ao.com. Between three and five days after delivery, AO.com will refund the applicable timeslot and delivery charges and text you to confirm when it’s been done.

Vodafone – you can get six months’ free unlimited data. To claim this benefit, you need to use the link that’s been sent to the digital card on your smartphone and provide the name of the company or setting you work for. Find out more about the offer from Vodafone.

Sleepio – you can access this personalised, digital sleep improvement programme based on cognitive behavioural therapy. Sleepio, which is backed by clinical evidence, is designed to get to the root of stubborn poor sleep. To get the programme, you need to use the link that’s been sent to the digital card on your smartphone.

Daylight - you can access this app that will teach you ways to manage worry and anxiety in your life. Through cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques Daylight offers audio-led guidance tailored to your unique problematic thoughts, behaviours, and responses to worry and anxiety. The programme introduces you to a range of techniques and guides you through daily practice sessions. To get the app, you need to use the link that’s been sent to the digital card on your smartphone.

We expect more benefits to be available shortly.

How will you update the list of benefits?

You can find out about the latest benefits the card can offer you in two ways:

  • by making sure you have opted to receive notifications to the digital card in your Apple or Google wallet. To do this, click on the three small dots in the top right of the screen and it will open a window that has information about the card. Turn on the options for notifications and automatic updates and you will be alerted every time an additional benefit is added to the card
  • returning to this section of the website every few days so you can see which benefits have been added.

Does the card include a photo of the social care worker?

No, it does not include a photo. We would recommend that any worker using it to access benefits also presents a form of photo ID, such as a driving licence or a pass from their workplace.

Who will get them?

They are being distributed to all frontline social care workers in Wales.

How will the card be distributed?

An e-mail has already gone out to all professionally regulated social care workers (approximately 30,000) on our Register with instructions on how to download it onto their smartphone. The plastic cards will be posted to the registered workers when they are ready.

What if I have a problem downloading the digital card?

If you follow the instructions given in the e-mail that has been sent out, then you should have no problem downloading the card. There are separate instructions for Apple and Android smartphones. If you have a problem with getting the links to work, then try another web browser, such as Chrome.

What about those social care workers not on the Register?

The e-mail that has gone out asks managers on our Register to distribute the same information to members of their teams who need the card but are currently not registered with us.

Directors of social services, responsible individuals and heads of service have also been asked to help us distribute the card to social care workers in their organisations or commissioned services who may not be registered with us. These could include, but are not limited to:

  • social work support workers
  • Shared Lives support workers
  • foster carers
  • personal assistants.

Can social workers get the card?

Yes, all social workers will be able to receive the card.

What if I have a zero-hours contract?

Social care workers will get the card, irrespective of their working pattern or contracted hours. This means those on zero-hours contracts will still be eligible for it.

Do early years and childcare workers get a card? If so, how do they get one?

Early years and childcare workers are eligible for the card if they are still working. This means any worker who:

  • works in a Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW)-registered childcare or playwork setting which is still open
  • usually works in a CIW registered childcare or playwork setting, but is now working in a local authority hub, as that setting is currently closed
  • works as a flying start worker or with any other early intervention service for the local authority or charity/third sector organisation which means they have to travel outside of their home.

E-mails have been sent to the responsible individuals for childcare settings that we know are still open from information sent to us by local authorities and CIW. The responsible individuals have been asked to forward the e-mail to their staff who will then be able to download a digital version of the card from the instructions provided. They have also been asked to let us know the numbers of hard copy cards we should be posting to them for onward distribution to staff. Those hard copy cards will be available within the next three weeks.

As the card can only be used by early years and childcare staff who are still working, if your setting closes after you have received it, you should stop using the card until your setting reopens.

If your setting is currently closed, but then reopens, please make sure you notify CIW as well as your local authority. We will then be made aware of your setting reopening as a result of weekly checks with local authorities and CIW. In that case, we will send details of how you can access the card to your setting’s responsible individual.

If you have any queries that are not addressed in this answer, then send an e-mail to: EYCC@socialcare.wales

Will unpaid carers get a card?

As this card is aimed at workers within social services, it does not include unpaid carers. The letters sent out to high-risk individuals by the Welsh Government to prioritise supermarket delivery slots should support unpaid carers during this period of lockdown. But we will be prepared to provide advice and support to unpaid carers if they cannot get the benefits they and the people they care for are entitled to.

What if people haven’t got a smartphone?

We believe most social care workers will have access to either a smartphone supplied by their employer or their own device. Even if they do not have a smartphone, they will not miss out, as a hard copy card will be available within the next three weeks.

What about the risk of them being misused?

The digital and hard copy versions of the cards are being distributed in a controlled and secure way. We will have a record of the names of all social care workers downloading the card and the physical card will have a magnetic signature strip which the holder will only be able to sign once. Only the person who has signed the card will be able to use it. We would recommend that any worker using the card to access benefits also presents a form of photo ID, such as a driving licence or a pass from their workplace. This will allow organisations to verify the identity of the individual, if necessary.

All social care workers work to a Code of Professional Practice which requires them to act with integrity and uphold public trust and confidence.

How will you make sure that this card is recognised by supermarkets, the police and other organisations?

Along with Welsh Government and other partners, we are working with the police, retailers and transport providers to encourage them to recognise this card.

The card is being promoted by ourselves through a number of communication channels, Welsh Government and many of our partners involved in social care in Wales.

What if a card is lost?

If the physical card is lost, a worker should use their digital card instead. If they need a replacement for the physical card, they should contact us by e-mailing iwqueries@socialcare.wales.

What if I no longer work in social care?

If you no longer work in social care, you should delete the digital card from your smartphone and destroy the plastic card by cutting it up with a scissors.

Are you looking to do something more long-term?

We are responding to the current COVID-19 pandemic. The card is designed to support social care workers during this time. As always, we will review feedback and take that into account when considering any further plans for the future.

If a social care worker and hasn’t yet received a card, how do they get one?

In the first instance, the worker should contact their manager who can then notify us that an additional card is required.

Further information

If the information given above does not provide the answer(s) you were looking for, then contact iwqueries@socialcare.wales.