Why care homes are not alone in a sector facing intense pressure

Our Chief Executive Rachel Cackett responds to news about the status of care home funding

Responding to news about the status of care home funding across Scotland today, Rachel Cackett, CEO of the Coalition of Care and Support Providers, said:

“The situation for care homes is clearly very serious just now – and care homes are not alone in contending with sustainability issues fuelled by insufficient funding increases and too few staff. Not-for-profit social care is facing these issues in all services right now.

Our member organisations report intense pressure across the breadth of their provision, in community- and residential-based services for older people, in services for people with disabilities, and in services supporting children and families.

Why is this happening? In a large part because, despite a commitment to Fair Work in Social Care dating back to 2019, the Scottish Government has chosen to raise the minimum wage in our sector by just 3.8% to £10.90 this year.

That is an uplift only applied to staff providing registered services to adults. There is no commitment to other social care staff, for example those working in children’s services. The result is more and more of the workforce leaving social care for better terms and conditions elsewhere, jeopardising many key services.

We need to see immediate action on a pay uplift to £12 for all social care staff and across all services.

Amidst this crisis, it’s also vital we remember that there are real people at the heart of all these services. People who need support to thrive and take charge of their lives, and to play an active part in their families, communities, school and work.

We need to see a fair social care system in which workers and people who use services are truly valued. That is central to the First Minister’s vison of delivering on equality, opportunity and community in Scotland.

Unless the pay inequality being experienced by social care staff is addressed it will be impossible to fulfil that pledge.”

Rachel Cackett

The days of ‘jam tomorrow’ promises on social care in this country are over. It’s time to act

It should be a national scandal that government after government, whether in Holyrood or Westminster, has kicked decisions on investing in social care and support down the road, over and over again, writes CCPS’s CEO Rachel Cackett.

I’ve been listening to the First Minister’s speech to parliament this afternoon with a growing sense of frustration and anger. It should be a national scandal that government after government, whether in Holyrood or Westminster, has kicked decisions on investing in social care and support down the road, over and over again.

Today was no exception. £12 per hour aspired to, but only for those working with adults. A delivery timetable on pay promised, with no clear dates. No indication of how hoped-for investment in frontline staff will support career progression for good people doing good and essential work to support our neighbours, our families, our friends.

The Scottish Government keeps telling us there is no money to meet their own commitment to Fair Work in Social Care – to close the outrageous 20% pay gap between NHS support workers and third sector social care support workers who are starting out in their career. But I would note that we often hear this in the same breath as money is magically found for other sectors, often in the face of actual or threatened strike action.

So, again, staff in social care fall behind. And providers struggle to recruit. And they struggle to keep staff who need to make ends meet for their own families. And politicians wonder why Scotland faces persistent health inequalities, under-attainment, poverty, unbearable pressure on our NHS….

So, this is our call to this government: Value social care’s contribution to the people and the economy of Scotland. Pay all staff properly and fairly for the work they do. Stop skewing the health and social care labour market by knowingly baking in inequities. And stop expecting charitable providers to shoulder the financial consequences of poorly thought-out and implemented national policy on social care investment.

Our First Minister could start by doing this in three, practical steps:

  1. Implement a Scottish Social Care Living Wage right now by committing to a 2023-24 social care uplift for ALL staff, to an hourly rate of at least £12.
  2. Pay all uplifts on 100% contract value to ensure employers can invest in all their staff fairly.
  3. Publish a three-year timetable by the next Programme for Government to deliver Fair Work in Social Care through parity of pay and key terms & conditions.

CCPS has detailed to the government repeatedly the unintended consequence of its approach on the future of social care in this country. We hear every day from providers about the truly difficult decisions they are having to make. The days of ‘jam tomorrow’ promises are gone. It really is time to act.


Rachel Cackett

Vison and priorities for social care: Humza Yousaf responds to our questions

One of the three candidates vying to be Scotland’s next First Minister has outlined his commitments.

Humza Yousaf, one of three candidates competing to be Scotland’s next First Minister and leader of the SNP, has responded to a letter sent by our CEO Rachel Cackett and Board chair Andrea Wood.

In the letter, sent on 7 March, the candidates were asked three questions:

  • Will you commit to our 4 Steps to Fair Work?
  • Will you commit to implement social care reform and meet with us, within your first month in post, to discuss constructive ideas for positive and urgent change?
  • How would you articulate your own vision for social care reform in Scotland?

In response Mr Yousaf, who has been Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care since 2021, said:

“Thank you for taking the time to contact me as a candidate in the SNP leadership contest and for your patience in waiting for a response.

Currently as Cabinet Secretary of Health and Social Care, the issues you raise are important to me and would continue to be so if elected as First Minister.

There are two key commitments I want to make in regards to the Health and Social Care sector.

We need to make sure that our staff are properly paid – not only to recruit staff but to retain them.

Secondly, we have some reform to do in our NHS which will see as many people as possible treated as close to home as possible, leaving our hospitals available for emergencies only. This means that investment in our Social Care sector is at the heart of NHS reform and for bettering the conditions of work for social care workers.

If we have social care that has the right workforce, that is working for people, then we can stop them from coming in the front door of hospitals or GP practices, but we can also work on stopping the exit block and see people getting out the doors of hospitals as soon as they are fit to do so and back into their community, keeping as close to home as possible.

Therefore, reforming health care and social care has to be at the heart of my leadership. That is why I am passionate about the idea of a National Care Service – although I recognise that current proposals will need amendments, via dialogue with Local Government, Trade Unions, and membership organisations to make sure it works for everyone.

The principle of the National Care Service, where we have fair pay for our social care workers, where we have national collective sectoral bargaining, and where we have ethical commissioning – these markers will solidify a national social care system that is worthy of the name.”

Our letter also argued that a legislative pause could be an opportunity for the new First Minister to look afresh at social care reform based on our model, and to drive forward Fair Work and sustainable funding.

Ash Regan and Kate Forbes have yet to respond.