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

More than 100 organisations urge First Minister to value social care staff in 2024-25 Budget

110 organisations from across civil society, including providers, anti-poverty groups, faith leaders, carers’ representatives and equality organisations, sign joint letter sent to the First Minister calling on him to increase pay

110 organisations have signed a joint letter sent to the First Minister calling on him to increase pay for social care staff and demonstrate that they are valued.

The letter, led by the Coalition of Care & Support Providers in Scotland (CCPS), is supported by organisations from across civil society, with social care providers joined by anti-poverty groups, faith leaders, carers’ representatives and equality organisations, among many others.

Read the letter and full list of signatories

In September’s Programme for Government, the First Minister announced a new base rate of pay for social care and support staff of £12 from April 2024, increasing from the current rate of £10.90.

As our letter explains, the pledged rate of £12 matches the updated Real Living Wage – sending a clear message to social care staff that they are only worth the bare minimum.

CCPS and signatories to the letter believe that £12 per hour is simply not enough, and that the proposed rate fails to reflect the invaluable societal contribution made by social care staff in supporting people to thrive and live independent lives.

Rachel Cackett, Chief Executive Officer of CCPS, said:

“Social care is at the heart of the First Minister’s vision for ‘Equality, Opportunity and Community’ in Scotland. Yet it is systematically overlooked and undervalued.

“Organisations that provide social care are rapidly losing staff because the current pay of £10.90 is simply too low to retain them and they migrate to better-paid jobs elsewhere.

“It is a scandal that, in communities across Scotland, people who need support to live, thrive and stay independent, can’t get it because there aren’t the staff available.

“As the First Minister will see from the range of signatories to this letter – the first time so many organisations have come together to make a joint call on this issue – we represent an emerging movement who are determined to bring social justice to social care and support.

“We are all clear that a better decision on pay for social care staff is needed in the 2024-25 Budget due to be published next month.”

(ends)

Media contact: Chris Small – chris.small@ccpscotland.org

Notes for editors:

▪ Staff vacancy rate in social care sector

Earlier this year, with the HR Voluntary Sector Forum (HRVSF), CCPS commissioned the University of Strathclyde to conduct a workforce benchmarking survey. In July we published an executive summary from the report finding that social care and support providers in Scotland are struggling with a loss of staff, with an average of 52% of those moving jobs last year leaving the social care sector altogether. Read the report. Read our media release.

▪ Proposed increase to £12 per hour, and Real Living Wage

The proposed rise from £10.90 per hour to £12 per hour for not-for-profit social care staff was announced on 5 September in the Programme for Government. The new rate of £12 for the Real Living Wage was announced on 24 October.

▪ 4 Steps to Fair Work

CCPS’s 4 Steps to Fair Work campaign (June – October 2024) called on the Scottish Government to properly recognise and reward social care staff for the work they do. It shared blogs and video contributions, including from a support worker who said that earning £10.90 per hour means “You can survive, but you can’t really live.”

▪ CCPS

The Coalition of Care & Support Providers in Scotland is the voice of not-for-profit social care providers, with 91 provider organisations in membership.

4 Steps Guest Blog: “Our staff deserve recognition for their drive, passion and commitment”

Immediate action and appropriate funding is needed to ensure children’s social care services can deliver for their workforce as they deliver for Scotland’s children, argues Capability Scotland’s Ben Bradbury

Capability Scotland work with disabled children and their families across Edinburgh, Dundee, Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire in a range of settings including holiday support, community services and residential care. We are committed to delivering outstanding care, support, and opportunities for the young people we work with and key to that is our workforce.

By their nature services for school age children and young people tend to have unusual working patterns. With children attending school during the week the support we offer is, with the exception of school holiday provision, in the evening or at weekends. This presents challenges to recruitment and retention of staff as the hours required of staff to deliver this support do not always sit comfortably alongside raising their own families or maintaining a healthy work life balance. In addition, the qualification and experience levels expected of staff in these services is often higher than in their adult equivalents, for example our day care of children registered managers must be qualified to degree level. There are good reasons for this, indeed we often work with some of the most vulnerable individuals in society, but it adds to the challenge of maintaining appropriate staffing levels of the required skill and competency.

In spite of these challenges our children’s services staff are enthusiastic, creative, playful and without exception go above and beyond to deliver exceptional services for the young people in their care. Whether it be attending training sessions at weekends to fit in with delivery of holiday support or working late on an evening to enable a trip to the cinema to take place we ask a lot of our teams, and they rise to the challenge.

However, since the pandemic an additional challenge has presented itself for organisations such as ours. The pandemic rightfully shone a light on the pay levels for social care staff, the response from the Scottish Government and local authorities has focused entirely on adult social care staff. The government, through the various Health and Social Care Partnerships (HSCPs), has provided additional funds to raise the minimum rate of pay for staff in adult social care roles. These uplifts had the effect of keeping the minimum rate of pay for staff in adult services above the Scottish Living Wage throughout the pandemic and in line with the living wage in 2023.

Unfortunately, no such uplifts have been forthcoming for our children’s services. Unlike with adults, services for children and families tend to be commissioned by the local council rather than the HSCP. There has been no reciprocal offer from the Scottish Government for children’s services, the knock-on effect has been that many of our children’s services have had no universal uplift to the rates paid by local authorities during a period of high wage and price inflation. During this period Capability Scotland has met the cost of increasing wages for children’s service staff in line with their adult service counterparts. However, this state of affairs is not sustainable indefinitely.

If appropriate funding arrangements aren’t arrived at there will be negative consequences on our ability, and the ability of organisations like ours, to continue delivering high quality care and support for disabled children across Scotland. Much has been made of the need to support Fair Work practices across the public sector, as an employer we fully embrace this approach, and we believe our staff deserve recognition for their drive, passion and commitment. As an organisation we welcome the First Minister’s recent statement regarding an uplift to £12 an hour which appears to be inclusive of staff across both adult and children’s services. However, there remains much uncertainty about the timescales and mechanisms by which this will be delivered.

What is needed now is immediate action and appropriate funding to enable us to deliver for our staff as they deliver for Scotland’s children.

4 Steps Comment: Today, the First Minister has the chance to introduce a step change in social care. Will he take it?

The Programme for Government could answer our campaign calls and make a real difference in people’s daily lives, writes Rachel Cackett

It’s been a long year already.

It’s only just turned to autumn, but today is the announcement of the Programme for Government. And for many people in Scotland, the things that really matter in life will turn on announcements made by the First Minister this afternoon – announcements that will show whether the FM’s priorities of “community, equality and opportunity” mean something tangible for the one in 25 people who will access social care this year and all who are employed to provide that support in not-for-profit providers.

For many it’s been a very long year.

If you are someone in need of care and support to stay in your own home or community, to live your life on your own terms, to thrive in your neighbourhood, work or school, you’ve long felt the crisis in social care. You may well have found it difficult to get your needs assessed, or keep the amount of support you need, or to hold on to the valued and trusted relationships as staff are forced to leave our sector.

If you are the loved one of someone who needs care and support, you may well have wondered how on earth you get your mum, dad, child, partner or friend the support they need – and how you get the help to make possible your crucial role as a carer. You’ve watched life become harder for those who need support most. You may be tired, and we know it can begin to feel hopeless.  

If you are a third sector social care and support worker, you’ve seen your real terms income decrease and the gulf between the value given to the work you do and that given to those in the public sector stretched to the limit. Your role in being a part of the very community you serve is lost in the national conversation. In fact, you may have left the social care workforce already, like over 50% of those who moved jobs in our sector at the last count – making the tough choice between a job you love and the need to pay bills for your own family.

If you are a third sector employer, you have probably spent sleepless nights wondering how you are going to keep the show on the road with far less money coming in. You know you need more to keep your staff and pay going, all while trying to meet the increasing needs of your communities through a cost-of-living crisis.

Today, the First Minister could make the beginnings of a step change to all of that.

We know that the historic underinvestment in social care isn’t going to be solved overnight. But it’s 136 days since our new FM promised a starting salary of £12 per hour.  None of those who need a functioning, thriving social care system to live can wait a minute longer for action.

That is why CCPS has been building support for its #4StepsToFairWork campaign over the summer.  We’ve had support from providers, social care staff, carer organisations and, at the end of August, the support of Scotland’s faith leaders. I would like to thank each and every person who has made their voice heard in this.

And let’s be clear. We have heard many imperatives – economic, equality, social justice, human rights, moral imperatives – to delivering Fair Work for those who provide care and support.

Our calls our simple.  And they will be our measure of any announcement today on the move towards parity for those who provide care and support in our sector, and recognition of the importance of upholding the rights of people who need that support.

The calls are:

  • Deal with pay inequality: As a first step, implement the promise of a minimum of £12 per hour for social care staff, starting from 1 April 2023.
  • Ensure equal pay for equal work: Apply pay uplifts to staff in all services, not just those in registered adult social care.
  • Value all staff who play their part: Deliver funding packages that value the crucial role of support staff and managers, alongside frontline workers.
  • Give us hope of equality: Publish a timetable by this September to deliver fully on Fair Work in Social Care by 2025.

So as a final message this morning to our First Minister: please don’t tell us there is no money. We know how tight things are. Instead, tell us how you are choosing to allocate a fair proportion of the money you do have to our sector. Show us how you will ensure your priorities mean something real in people’s daily lives. Tell us that you recognise the true value of social care.

Read more about our 4 Steps to Fair Work campaign

4 Steps Guest Blog: “What is the ethical defence of unequal pay?”

Old concepts of moral principle, politics and logic help explain the absence of fair work in social care, says Ron Culley

Ethos, demos and logos were concepts used by the ancient Greeks to make sense of the world around them: ethos referred to the development of a moral principle or argument, rooted in human values; demos referred to the body politic, to the rules of self-government; and logos referred to reason and rationality, the logical flow of an argument.

Two-and-a-half-thousand years later, and it seems to me these concepts are still useful in making sense of the world around us. The principle of fair work in social care, and the limited political progress that we have made towards it, can be helpfully understood by applying these concepts.

Ethos

The ethical argument for fair work in social care is plainly put. If social care workers across different sectors are delivering similar taxpayer-funded public services, why should the level of pay be different? Given that care workers are providing work of equal value, is the Scottish Government justified in mandating that a Healthcare Assistant in the NHS be paid £14 per hour, a homecare worker in a council £16 per hour, a support worker in a not-for-profit social care provider £10.90 per hour, and a care worker in a private sector care home £10.90 per hour? All of these jobs are comparable in terms of skill and responsibility.

So is it fair that the Scottish Government and Local Authorities have decided in favour of unequal pay? And let’s consider the fact that most people working in the care sector are women and that, on average, women continue to receive lower pay than men. Is it right that the Scottish Government and Local Authorities have not gone further to correct this injustice? Were there to be a reprioritisation of political choices, tens of thousands of women could be taken out of a low wage job. In short, the ethical defence of unequal pay is very difficult to present.

Demos

To explain why this situation nonetheless persists, we need to understand Scottish politics. The reality – however much we might want to pretend otherwise – is that the NHS is politically more important to the Scottish Government than the social care sector. It’s why many arguments about investing more in social care are actually framed around alleviating pressure on the NHS, and not about supporting people to realise their rights as citizens or to give expression to their personal agency. By this argument, social care is only important because to get it wrong damages the NHS, and a struggling NHS is a vote loser.

The other way democratic politics plays into this is in the stewardship of the public finances. There simply isn’t a strong enough tax intake to fund the health and social care system that many people would like, so we have developed a system that supports the cheap outsourcing of public services to the third and independent sector (euphemistically referred to as ‘best value’). That would be fine if it were a level playing field and all providers (including monopolistic providers like NHS Boards and Councils) had to compete for business on the same terms. But that would risk violating one of the golden rules of Scottish politics, that public sector delivery is best (despite evidence that the third sector consistently delivers higher quality care and support).

Logos

The problem with all of this is that it contains flawed logic and makes for poor strategy. What happens if we pay public sector care workers significantly more than third or independent sector workers? The answer is there is a migration of talent and experience from one to the other. As a result, the third and independent sector is weakened, especially given that the labour market has been structurally imbalanced by Brexit and Covid.

How will providers in the third and independent sector respond? I doubt there will be a dramatic implosion – there’s too much market diversity for that to happen. Rather, what we’ll see is a gradual reduction in service delivery across the sector – less care delivered by less people. That in turn will generate more unmet need. And where will those people go? I would imagine social work, GPs and Emergency Departments. Only this time, there’ll be no-one else to turn to.

Ron Culley is CEO of Quarriers, a member of CCPS’s Board and Chair of our Committee on the National Care Service

Find out more about our 4 Steps to Fair Work campaign

Media Release: Report reveals reality of staffing crisis in social care, with more than half of those moving jobs last year leaving the sector

Scale of challenges facing providers uncovered in new study of workforce benchmarking

Social care and support providers in Scotland are struggling with a loss of staff, with an average of 52% of those moving jobs last year leaving the social care sector altogether, according to a new report.

In the study of workforce benchmarking in the sector, almost three quarters of surveyed organisations reported a significant rise in staff turnover in 2021-22.

Seventy-three per cent of organisations delivering social care said their staff turnover rate had increased since 2020-21 – a jump of 14% in a single year and an indication of year-on-year rises in social care staff moving jobs.

Responses captured in the 2022 Social Care Benchmarking Report demonstrate the scale of sector-wide recruitment, retention and staffing challenges organisations are experiencing now.

The Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland (CCPS) and the HR Voluntary Sector Forum (HRVSF) commissioned the University of Strathclyde to conduct the benchmarking survey and analysis for member organisations.

The Executive Summary of the report is published today and is available to download here.

The study also found:

  • Average turnover across respondents was 25%, an increase of 5.5% from the figure reported in 2020-2021.
  • Fifty-nine percent of respondents noted an increase in their use of agency staff (the most expensive staffing option) – building on the 45% who had noted an increase in agency use the previous year.
  • Eighty-one percent of respondents reported that their recruitment needs were higher than in the previous year, an increase of 6% from the 2020-2021 Benchmarking Report figure of 75%.
  • On anticipated future recruitment needs, 46% of respondents reported that they expect hiring staff will involve more difficulty and 54% projected the same difficulty.

Rachel Cackett, Chief Executive of CCPS, said: 

“The headline results of this benchmarking survey are stark and confirm what our provider organisations have been telling us over the past year: retention and recruitment of staff is the dominant issue in a sector that is under intense pressure.

“It’s a situation that has only worsened since this data for 2022 was captured, as differences in pay between not-for-profit social care providers and the public sector have widened yet further.

“This report points to an exit of staff across organisations, resulting in a loss of current expertise; a loss of potential talent; and a massive undermining of key services.

“It’s a loss that has an impact on achieving what we all want to see: people thriving by getting the support they need at the right times and in the right places, with consistent relationships at the heart of that support.

“This is the reason we’ve launched our 4 Steps to Fair Work campaign, which calls on the Scottish Government to take the measures long needed to deliver on investment and reform and set the sector on the route to Fair Work.

“We want to see social care organisations hold on to their workforce, to have the resources to develop their people – and for their staff to finally be fairly recognised and rewarded for their public service.”

Kevin Staunton, Chair of the HR Voluntary Sector Forum, said: 

“As Chair of the Forum, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of our members who were able to participate in the survey this year.

“For years our sector has heard many warm words about parity of esteem and being seen as an equal and key partner in the delivery of social care in Scotland. This report, building on previous years’ results, provides a strong and indisputable evidence base that the reality our people experience on a day-to-day basis is very much different and the sector cannot continue to operate on the goodwill and unfulfilled aspirations of our workforce indefinitely.

“I hope that in a year’s time positive progress has been made to make the investment and reform which has often been spoken about become a reality. Our Forum members welcome the opportunity to work positively with others to make this happen. The people we support and the people our organisations employ deserve better.”

(ends)

Media contact:
Chris Small: chris.small@ccpscotland.org.uk

Notes for editors

  • The HR Voluntary Sector Forum (HRVSF) and Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland (CCPS) commissioned the University of Strathclyde to conduct the benchmarking survey and analysis for member organisations.
  • With thanks to the team at the University of Strathclyde’s Department of Work, Employment & Organisation and their colleagues at the universities of St Andrews and Middlesex.
  • The study involved 26 participant organisations, 73% of which provided social care primarily to adults. Housing support for adults formed the largest proportion of services (40%), followed by support services for adults (34%).
  • 4 Steps to Fair Work: find out more about the CCPS campaign
  • Attached 4 Steps to Fair Work campaign image by Ross Richardson – please credit the illustrator if used in print or online.
  • CCPS is the voice of the not-for-profit social care providers in Scotland. More information here.
  • The HR Voluntary Sector Forum (HRVSF) is a CIPD special interest group of third sector organisations and individuals. The Forum supports practice and information sharing alongside commissioning research relevant to the third sector workforce to inform and influence national decision-making.