CamdenNewJournal

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Ensuring that home care is good for users and staff

18 April, 2019

• ISLINGTON Council is committed to providing good quality home care for local people, and to ensuring that staff delivering this vital support receive fair pay and terms and conditions.

In 2014, Islington became the joint first local authority to sign the UNISON Ethical Care Charter, which ensures important protections for care workers and helps to maintain good quality care for those who need it.

In September 2017, the council agreed a new set of contracts with providers to deliver home care across the borough.

In keeping with the Ethical Care Charter, all those contracts included a requirement that care visits are based on people’s need, not costs; that all staff are paid at least the London Living Wage; that staff are paid for their time spent travelling between appointments; that 15-minute visits are not used; that staff receive statutory sick pay; that people receiving care are seen by the same home care worker wherever possible; and that zero hours contracts will not be used in place of permanent contracts.

We are pleased that, after a review conducted this week, we are clear that all our providers are adhering to the contracts they have signed with the council and with Ethical Care Charter.

It is the case that a large proportion of staff are employed on flexible contracts, but, importantly, staff opt for these contracts only after being offered the choice of a guaranteed hours contract or a more flexible option.

Staff choosing the flexible option still receive sick pay and our review has confirmed that staff are securing regular work in order to maintain their income, whilst benefiting from the flexibility of the contract, with most staff working between 27 and 31 hours per week.

In the case of London Care, staff are being paid above the London Living Wage rate and have reported that staff turnover is significantly below the industry average.

We are working with London Care, and other providers, to ensure that the choice for staff between types of contract is fair and to encourage them to provide guaranteed hours where that is the wish of employees.

We will continue to carefully and closely monitor all contracts the council holds with external providers of services, including home care workers, in order to ensure that staff are receiving a fair deal and that local people are being provided with the support they need.

CARMEL LITTLETON
Corporate Director for People
Islington Council

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