Better pay for social care

In October Holly Dagnall, Director of Homes and Wellbeing, wrote to the MPs in our area, calling for their support in a move to the Real Living Wage for social care workers and sustainable adult social care services:

I wrote to you earlier in the year to detail our challenges, obstacles and solutions as we continued to house and care for some of the more vulnerable people in your constituency during the first wave of COVID-19.

As the number of infections begins to rise for the second time I write to you now to highlight the importance of our social care work and workforce. Earlier this year we witnessed the public outpouring of gratitude in the weekly Clap for our Carers. It’s essential that we continue to recognise the impact social care workers make, and reward them accordingly.

I ask you to lend your support to the open letter by the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations. The letter calls for the inclusion of social care workers in the pay rise for ‘public sector workers’, as announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak on 21 July 2020.

I’d also like to draw your attention to the dire financial forecast for adult social care, as costs of provision continue to outstrip local authority funded care. Increased labour costs will put further pressure on local authorities, should an increased settlement for adult social care funding not be forthcoming.

At NCHA we employee 735 workers in care and support schemes. Collectively they provide over one million hours of care and support annually to over 1,400 individuals across the East Midlands. The work they do is vital to so many people’s lives.

Pay for social care workers

NCHA operate as a not-for-profit organisation. The hourly rate we pay our social care workers who deliver our public authority commissioned services, has to be set at a rate that ensures full recovery of costs. The maximum wage we can pay is determined by the hourly rate commissioners of these services pay for care. Without large overheads, profit margins or shareholders to satisfy, we’re able to pass much of the hourly rates for care onto our workforce.

Our Board are seeking to increase all our social care colleagues’ salaries to a Real Living Wage base rate, but this aspiration has its challenges. We need to see an increase in hourly rates from our commissioning local authorities, who are in turn, already facing significant funding challenges to meet their statutory obligations.

Sustainable adult social care

At NCHA we strive, not just to house people, but to improve lives and individual outcomes. We’re committed to enhancing our housing services by providing high-quality, high-value for money care and support services to meet the needs of local vulnerable people, whilst working collaboratively with stakeholders and supporting local authorities to meet their statutory duties.

But these adult social care services are under threat. Without an adequate cost funding model for social care services agreed with local authorities, we’ll ultimately be faced with handing back contracts to local authorities; compounding the pressure on local authorities who are already seeing three out of four care businesses warning of insolvency.

Our ask

I ask you to lend your support to including social care workers in the promised pay rise. In addition, to push for a resolution on a national adult social care funding model, enabling local authorities to pay providers a suitable price for high quality care and consequently an expectation that all providers will pay the Real Living Wage.

If anything, the coronavirus pandemic has taught us that social care workers are anything but ‘low-skilled’. We must ensure that they are no longer low-paid.

Thank you for your support