For almost 10 years the HR Voluntary Sector Forum and CCPS have commissioned a survey and its analysis of pay and conditions in the Scottish voluntary sector for its members. The organisations participating contribute to the cost of commissioning the work and each receives a copy of the final report. An Executive Summary of the key findings is published annually and made available on the CCPS website.
This year saw the third year of collaboration with the University of Strathclyde, a partnership that will continue in the coming years to compile trend analysis of workforce issues. The thirty two participating organisations make up forty percent of the voluntary sector workforce.
The findings from the 2016 survey were launched on 3 May 2017 as part of the Engage with Strathclyde week. Professor Ian Cunningham and Dr Alina Baluch presented the quantitative and qualitative data with Professor Cunningham stating they reveal ‘ongoing instability and volatility’. This is evidenced by the 48% increase to 77% of organisations making redundancies and the 64% – 76% increase in the use of zero hours contracts.
Chief Social Work Adviser Iona Colvin and CCPS Director Annie Gunner Logan both responded to the findings with Iona Colvin saying there is a need to pick up the pace of progress and is looking forward to offering key reforms to create sustainable social services. Iona also stated there is a need to make stronger links between social care and the economy as social care is a massive employer accounting for 7.8% of Scottish employment.
Annie’s response is available as a Blog on the CCPS website.
A panel debate on the implementation of the Scottish Living Wage (SLW) followed, chaired by Dr Andrea Coulson from the University of Strathclyde, with Annie Gunner Logan, Lynn Anderson, Living Wage Accreditation Officer from the Poverty Alliance and Mike Kelly, founding Chairman of the Living Wage Foundation Advisory Board. Given the challenges some of the sector have with the implementation of the SLW, only 41% of respondents stated all their hourly rates meet the £8.25 rate, it is unsurprising the participants had a lot of questions for the panel. Annie updated the attendees on the work CCPS has been involved in to improve implementation and address some of the issues; working with partners from Scottish Care, Scottish Government, COSLA and Unison.
Lynn Anderson discussed some of the organisational and reputational benefits living wage accreditation can bring such as reduced absenteeism and improved retention but also acknowledged the challenge this presents for the sector in the current funding climate. The discussions showed strong support for the policy from the providers present but also highlighted this is only one aspect of improving the challenges of recruitment and retention. With 87% reporting recruitment being difficult or very difficult there is a need to look at other issues impacting this. The image of the sector consistently emerges as a barrier to recruitment and those present once again supported national action and collaborative working to address this issue.
This popular event was fully booked with discussion and feedback emphasising the value providers place on the survey findings for comparison with other organisations, workforce planning and training and development. The findings also contribute to the national body of evidence on the social services workforce and to national workforce planning.
That the survey consistently has 32- 35 organisations participating, despite the high volume of information to be submitted and the time taken to complete, is further evidence of the value providers place on the analysis.
The findings are also used to inform the priorities for the CCPS Workforce Development Network (WDN) with recruitment and retention seen as a key challenge for the sector. The WDN and HRVSF have commenced a retention project to identify where the challenges lie and will use the evidence from this to work with providers to develop recruitment strategies.
Preparation will soon be underway for Benchmarking 2017. If you would like more information on how to participate contact Michelle Nairn: Michelle.Nairn@includem.co.uk