SENDMatters: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Children’s disability service

The children’s disability service will continue to work in line with government guidance. Although there is greater flexibility to work from the office the majority of CDS team members will continue to work remotely and so calls to the service will be directed to a single point of access where your enquiry will be answered and managed. It is viewed that a good quality service can still be delivered with this arrangement, whilst minimising the risk of spreading coronavirus and/or the potential need for social isolation requirements

Getting in touch

Please continue to contact your allocated worker on their direct telephone number or email alternatively contact the team on or call our duty worker  020 8313 4511.

Home visits

Where possible and practical home visits will resume and will be focused to meet the intended purpose of the visit whether that is providing support to families, promotion of the child’s welfare or following safeguarding procedures.  

Our team will work with families to find the best way of communicating together while recognising the importance of social distancing.  Video calls will be used where it is of benefit to see you and your child and to complete review assessments where there are no concerns about the welfare a child.

Where concerns about a child exist, a risk assessment will be done, and a joint decision made with parents or legal guardians to agree whether a face to face visit is appropriate.

Formal meetings

Office based meetings are not currently available but we will work with you to find the best way of communicating together.

Childrens occupational therapy

During the pandemic our services have adapted to meet this developing situation. Service update for specialist equipment at home.

Hollybank overnight short break provision

Hollybank continues to be fully open and are doing risk assessments and following government safety guidance  to support the service and to keep children and staff safe.   

Parents and carers have been advised of the new measures in place and will continue to be contacted directly regarding any service changes where necessary.  

Riverside Playscheme

Riverside Playscheme is  running and are completing risk assessments and following government safety guidance to keep children and staff safe. 

Direct payments

We recognise that due to concerns around shielding, social isolation or social distancing families may not be employing a personal assistant.

If you are considering advising your personal assistant that they are not needed, we strongly recommend that you discuss your concerns with Vibrance to ensure that you are complying with employment law. 

In difficult circumstances where  families are not able to use their direct payments for the usual purpose, we are supporting the flexible use of direct payments to purchase equipment/toys which can provide stimulation and enjoyment for your child, which also supports you as a family in your caring role.

Please make contact with the CDS before making any purchases if you wish to buy equipment/toys from your direct payments. Some examples of how the DP’s can be used are the purchase of trampolines, padding pools, tablets, as well as funding days out.

 Direct payments increase 

The direct payment rate has been agreed to increase again this financial year to reflect inflationary increases, changing from £12.32 to £12.57 (2 percent) per hour from 5 April 2021. This will be solely for the hours that people use to employ personal assistants. An inflationary increase will be implemented for this rate and families affected will be contacted directly in due course.

In order for the increase to be arranged, the service requires details of your employers liability insurance If you’ve not completed it already, please send this information to the


To contact Vibrance for general direct payment queries, you should contact the Bromley team on 020 8290 6639 or email

For payroll queries, you should contact the payroll team on 01702 214 540 or email

Vibrances self-directed support services provide information, advice and guidance around direct payments, enabling people to make informed decisions about how their needs can be best met. Their service is designed to enable disabled children, adults and older people to access chosen activities and support to live quality lives; whether this be making new friends, finding a hobby, or recruiting a personal assistant (PA), their approach focuses on bringing people and communities together.

You can also contact the Bromley team for information regarding lateral flow testing, PCR tests and where to obtain PPE.

Government guidance - direct payments

Guidance which might answer questions you have about direct payments.

Guidance for using  personal budgets during the coronavirus outbreak

Guidance for using personal budgets during the coronavirus outbreak (easy read).

Support from the borough’s volunteers

If you are still experiencing difficulties in caring for your child at home, obtaining essentials, or have concerns about your family’s welfare, contact your allocated CDS worker.

Our service is working with Vibrance, Bromley Mencap and other  local care agencies to identify workers who might be available to support families. 

Find out more about support for residents