October 5, 2023
4 Steps Guest Blog: “In all good conscience, we cannot allow the support of vulnerable children to be devalued”
We refuse to accept that our children’s services staff are any less important than their adult counterparts, writes Cosgrove Care’s Depute Chief Executive Pauline Boyce
Cosgrove Care is proud to work with children and adults with learning disabilities, mental health issues, autism and other support needs. We want to see them thrive and grow, realise their human rights and live life to the full. We simply cannot do that without our dedicated, committed and skilled team. That means the direct support workers and their managers, in both our children’s and adult services.
In recent years the uplift in pay for adult social care staff has been welcome. However, the consistent failure to equally value the children’s social care workforce has placed a significant financial burden on organisations such as ours, who refuse to accept that our children’s services staff are any less valuable than their adult counterparts.
How do you explain to a skilled support worker that, in the eyes of the powers that be, the work they do on a Monday morning, caring for a vulnerable adult at our wellbeing group, is of more value than the care and they provide at 3pm the same day, to a vulnerable child after school?
The answer is you do not. You simply cannot in good conscience allow the support of vulnerable children to be devalued. As an organisation you absorb the cost of increasing wages for children’s service staff, carrying an unsustainable financial burden.
The First Minister’s recent statement announcing an uplift to £12 an hour – which does appear to include both adult and children’s services staff – is again welcome. But it does not recognise the burden organisations such as ours have carried in the last few years supporting children’s services staff.
Equally, the provision of funding to increase the rate of pay for social care workers in direct care roles does not recognise the burden that we carry in maintaining a differential for our first and second level managers. It fails to value our team leaders and managers.
Are they less deserving of a pay increase? Are their families less deserving of their support? How do you explain to your managers that the work they do supporting staff, managing and deploying ever more stretched resources, all whilst ensuring quality services, are delivered and improving outcomes is of less value than direct support work?
The answer is you do not. You simply cannot in good conscience allow the support of your staff to be devalued. As an organisation you absorb the cost of increasing wages for front line managers, carrying an unsustainable financial burden.
If we are genuine about valuing social care, in recognising it as a worthwhile service and career we need to ensure funding increases value all aspects of the social care work force, without placing further burdens directly onto organisations.