Media statement: Programme for Government social care pay announcement “fails to grasp reality and begs questions over timeline”

Our CEO Rachel Cackett responds to today’s pledge from the First Minister

Responding to today’s Programme for Government announcement, the Coalition of Care and Support Providers’ Chief Executive Rachel Cackett said:

“We welcome the fact that the Scottish Government has recognised the issue of fair pay for social care staff.

“However, today’s announcement represents a failure to grasp the reality of what’s happening in social care in Scotland. It falls way short of what is required and what we’ve called for through our 4 Steps campaign.

“Social care staff needed an immediate pay increase, backdated to April of this year, as a first step in bringing them security – and giving a sense of consistency for the people they support.

“Any further delay will heap pressure on the workforce and services during a prolonged cost of living crisis and through another extremely challenging winter period.

“We’ve called for pay uplifts to be applied to staff in all services, not just those in registered adult social care, and we’ve urged government to deliver funding packages that value the vital role of support staff and managers, alongside frontline workers.

“Anything less than this contributes to distortion in the sector, undermines staff morale and, again, impacts on the quality of relationships and consistency of support for the people in our communities who most need it.

“We are confused by the disparity between the content of the First Minister’s statement at Holyrood and the detail of 2023-24 policy priorities outlined in the letter to the Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care, also published this afternoon.

“In the former, a pay uplift to £12 per hour was expressed as a firm commitment. In the latter, an increase ‘up to £12 per hour’ for adult social care is described as an option to be evaluated. Which is it?

“As a matter of priority, the government must confirm the commitment to a pay uplift with an absolutely definitive timeline, and no backtracking.

“We will be seeking more detail and pushing for clarification about the introduction of the £12 pay uplift, which the First Minister announced 136 days ago.

“We will continue to collaborate with Scottish Government to ensure that fair work can be delivered for social care staff – and we will continue to work to ensure that our campaign calls are answered.”

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