Living Wage in Social Care: Progressive policy let down by chaotic implementation

The policy of paying the Living Wage in social care is seen as a “significant progressive effort”, according to new research published today by CCPS, but one which has been bedevilled by a series of major flaws in the implementation process.

The research, conducted by Strathclyde University, evaluated the experience of those responsible for delivering the policy, including employers in the voluntary sector. They regarded the process as overly complex, lacking in transparency, failing to properly engage partners, and almost entirely uncoordinated across Scotland’s 32 local authorities, leading to major concerns about the future sustainability both of the policy, and of social care services provided by the sector.

The Executive Summary and full report can be read here.

CCPS has also published the summary findings of its own membership survey conducted in September 2018, designed to establish the ‘current status’ of Living Wage implementation in 2018/19. The survey found that whilst almost 90% of providers have managed to keep pace with the annual increases to the Living Wage, fewer than a third of them have secured sufficient funding from Living Wage-earmarked resources to cover the cost.

Annie Gunner Logan, CCPS Director, said:

“The findings outlined in these reports suggest that the delivery of the Living Wage in social care has been made a practical reality at least in part by a significant transfer of financial responsibility and risk to the voluntary sector, with concomitant pressure on the sector to bail out the policy with a pretty whopping level of subsidy.

The First Minister has made a commitment to extend Fair Work, including the Living Wage, to as many funding streams as possible through public procurement. We warmly welcome that commitment and want to see it happen as soon as possible. But this new research shows clearly that the implementation process needs a complete overhaul if this policy is to have a positive lasting legacy.”

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