Rethink To 13 interview: “Our work deserves recognition. £13 an hour would be a step forward”

Continuing our campaign calling on the government to rethink its Budget, Dementia Care Worker Jacqui says that upping pay would ultimately improve the quality of care and support people receive

“I’m Jacqui, a Dementia Care Worker at the Mungo Foundation. Every day I see the impact that our staff have on the lives of the people we support and their families. Our work deserves recognition, appreciation and a fair wage. A wage of £13/hour would be a positive step in the right direction.

I have been working as a Dementia Care worker at Bankhall Court for over a decade. My role involves providing personalised care for individuals with dementia, focusing on enhancing their quality of life. Whether it’s personal care or emotional support and companionship, I approach every interaction with empathy and compassion that is tailored to their individual needs.

I believe that my contributions have been invaluable to the people I care for. My support and companionship make people feel valued and supported, positively impacting their overall wellbeing. Increasing my pay to £13 per hour would make a significant difference in my ability to provide even better care. It would alleviate financial stress, enabling me to focus on the needs of the people I support without distraction.

I hold multiple qualifications essential to providing high-quality care. However, I do not believe that my skills are adequately recognised in my current pay. £13 an hour would make a significant difference in people’s lives. It would allow our organisation to recruit more staff, alleviating the strain on the current workforce. Ultimately improving the quality of care and support that people receive.

It’s important to remember that around 90,000 people in Scotland have dementia, and two thirds of people with dementia live at home. By paying social care staff £13 an hour, the Scottish Government can ensure that people are receiving the high-quality care that they deserve.”

Find out more about the Mungo Foundation

Read about our Rethink To 13 campaign

‘It’s time to Rethink to 13’: MSP briefing published for stage 1 debate on Budget

We’ve produced a briefing for MSPs on Fair Work for Scotland’s social care staff, with an explanation of why the Scottish Government must now reconsider pay for social care staff

We’ve produced a briefing for MSPs on Fair Work for Scotland’s social care staff, with an explanation of why the Scottish Government must now Rethink To 13.

Download and read the briefing

The briefing was sent to a targeted list of MSPs ahead of today’s Stage 1 Debate on the 2024-25 Budget at Holyrood.

It features suggested questions to ask in the chamber on Thursday, key facts and stats on social care pay, and evidence from our current #RethinkTo13 campaign.

The Stage 1 debate on the budget is being held in a period of crisis for the social care sector, with provider organisations increasingly unable to recruit and retain staff due to lack of Fair Work.

As we reported last year, an average of 52% of staff who moved jobs in 2022 left the social care sector altogether (2022 Social Care Benchmarking Report).

Through the Rethink To 13 campaign we’re sharing stories from support workers in the sector about what a pay increase to a minimum of £13 per hour would mean to them and its positive impact on services and people receiving support.

A final debate on the 2024-25 Budget is due to be held at the end of February before it is passed by parliament.

Rethink To 13 interview: “Who looks after my mental health, while I look after others?” 

As part of our campaign calling for the government to rethink pay commitments in the 2024-25 Budget, Partners for Inclusion Support Practitioner Natalie tells us about the impact a wage increase could have

“I have been a support practitioner for 20 years and in that time a lot has changed. My role has become increasingly more complex with many new health and social care skills to learn. However, one thing that hasn’t changed over time is the unfair rate of pay!

Compared to others with similar skill sets and responsibilities like teaching assistants, community support and NHS care assistants, support practitioners work the last 3.5 months of the year for nothing. That is how big the pay gap is!

I work with someone who experiences poor mental health and since the pandemic and Brexit we have struggled to recruit support practitioners. This has an impact on me and the person I support.

People’s mental health deteriorated during Covid and as a result our workload has increased.

This has meant working longer hours and often missing days off and not having as much time as we would like to attend to our own mental health and self-care. This has an effect on the relationships I have with my family and friends because at times there are just not enough hours in the week.

Having a fairer rate of pay would encourage people into the sector and retain the staff we have and as a result there would be less people suffering from burn-out and sickness.

One in 6.8 people experience mental health problems in the workplace and evidence shows that 12.7% of all sickness is attributed to mental ill health.

Having a fairer pay rate would mean I have time and money to look after myself and in turn mean I would be in an even better position to ensure supported people live their lives to the full.”

Partners for Inclusion is an independent charity providing individualised support for people with learning disabilities and/or mental health services. Find out more.

Visit our campaigns page for more information on Rethink To 13.

Comment: When will we see the government’s values of ‘community, equality and opportunity’ reflected in investment in social care?

Our CEO Rachel Cackett responds to publication of the 2024-25 Budget

Responding to Tuesday’s announcement of the 2024-25 Budget, Rachel Cackett, CEO of CCPS, said:

“It’s very disappointing to see the social care sector overlooked, under-discussed and lacking in committed investment.

The government says public services need reform to be sustainable, particularly the NHS.

Government needs not-for-profit social care providers to deliver more prevention and early intervention for that to happen.

But to do that, providers need to still be here and to be sustainable.

Announcements yesterday reiterated that the base rate of pay would increase to £12 per hour for care and support staff starting in April 2024.

That means pay for our regulated, trained and largely female workforce will continue to remain unacceptably low in the context of rising living costs, a sector recruitment and retention crisis, and ever-growing demand for social care services.

This budget doesn’t address the current crisis in social care and doesn’t invest for the future.

Tougher budgets mean tougher decisions, but choice is what governs decision-making. And choices reflect the true values of the Scottish Government.

If the Scottish Government wants to be true to its words on ‘community, equality and opportunity’, we must see those values reflected in investment in our sector.

But this isn’t over: there is still time invest in the future of Scotland.

We are calling on the Scottish Government to Rethink To £13 per hour, at least, for social care and support staff as a first step in a timetable to equity.”

CCPS is currently analysing the full budget to assess the real terms impact of the announcement on social care spending across government portfolios.

Resources:

Link to our Rethink To 13 campaign

Link to Scottish Budget

Comment: “Social care could be the gift that keeps on giving for Scotland. But only if the government rethinks its budget”

Marking the launch of our new Rethink To 13 campaign, Rachel Cackett argues that £12 p/h for staff is too low, is ethically wrong, and flies in the face of what Scotland need to enjoy equality, opportunity and community

On the 19th December, during the last week of 2023 for the Scottish Parliament, the government will publish its draft budget.

In unprecedented times, we are hoping for something a bit different from this budget.

For years now, there have been calls for the Scottish Government to be far more transparent in setting out how its draft budget is intended to match investment to its stated priorities. This is a primary task of government: To ensure that funds raised from the public are invested in the things the democratically elected government has told us are important.

And when things are tight, justifying the allocation of too few resources to those things that a government says matters most is more important than ever.

So, perhaps the government can do something different this year.

The first minister has stated that all funding decisions must deliver against three things:

  1. Equality, by tackling poverty and protecting people from harm during the cost-of-living crisis
  2. Opportunity through a fair, green and growing wellbeing economy that can support improved living standards, reduce poverty, and sustain high quality public services, and
  3. Community by prioritising public services – building sustainability and reducing inequality.

So, perhaps we can expect the budget to be structured to show clearly how decisions to invest – and disinvest – will deliver these.

Perhaps, for example, we will see a commitment to the funding of sustainable social care services that support families facing poverty or destitution in the current financial climate to stay afloat, to keep a home, to feed their families and keep children in school.

Or to services that support disabled people, or people with long term health conditions – who face a myriad of daily inequities – to maintain their right to independent living and stay well in their own homes.

Or to mental health services that help prevent adults and children reaching crisis – and stop yet more people waiting too long for NHS services that just aren’t there – so that they can live connected, engaged lives as participants in work, school, family and community.

Or to the availability of social care and support for everyone who needs it so that unpaid carers can maintain jobs that can keep their families afloat.

Or to those staff in our sector, overwhelmingly women, who provide care and support to some of the most vulnerable members of my family and yours – but are paid far less than those in the public sector to do equivalent jobs simply because the government doesn’t provide enough funds.

Staff who may often work – and spend their wages – in the communities they support. Staff who are often working part time to juggle their unpaid caring responsibilities.   Staff who desperately need equality, opportunity and community.

You see, social care and support – ever the Cinderella of public service investment – could be the FM’s answer this Christmas. It could be the gift that keeps on giving; the glue that binds his priorities to effective investment. But it’s only possible with a workforce to deliver it.

And there’s the issue.

Half the people who moved jobs in our sector last year left social care altogether. And the unethical approach to embedding pay inequity into public service delivery means staff continue to leave and social care isn’t always there when you, or I, or our loved ones need it.

The FM has already imposed a £12 p/h pay deal for social care and support staff in our sector next year and, sadly, we expect to see this confirmed in the draft Budget on 19 December. But this won’t help the government meet its own budget priorities; it will undermine them.

So, Scottish Government, rethink your budget.

Investing at the very least £13 p/h in 2024-25 for all social care staff in our sector is the absolute minimum that will cut it – and that only as a first step in a plan to reach parity in pay.

£12 is too low; it’s ethically wrong; and it flies in the face of what you’ve told us it matters to invest in and what many people in Scotland need to enjoy equality, opportunity and community.

Please. Rethink your budget.

#RethinkTo13

Find out more about the campaign here.