Mik Alban's 'Words from the Care Face'
What do you think social care staff are worth?
Our The issues we face report was developed from a series of conversations with Registered Managers and people providing care and support services. It is designed to provide a voice for the sector based on the actual experiences of those who work in it.
It is well documented that the sector is facing significant pressures not least in relation to insufficient funding and an inability to recruit and retain the staff it needs. In order for the sector to survive never mind thrive, things will have to change. We make a series of recommendations throughout the report which are designed to resolve the issues we face. We would like to use this blog to share some of these recommendations with you and to get your thoughts.
In their 2017 ‘The adult social care sector and workforce’ report, Skills for Care highlight that the average staff turnover for staff directly employed in the adult social care sector is 32% ad that this rises to 39.5% for front line care workers. The average turnover rate across all sectors is estimated to be in the region of 15% so the social care sector clearly has a specific problem in retaining staff.
When we spoke to managers about this they were clear that:
# staff recruitment and retention are as bad as it has ever been despite them dedicating more time and effort to it.
# Non-UK nationals are a vital part of many staff teams. Without them many services would increasingly struggle to operate.
# Pay rates are a key issue. Care and support work is not a minimum wage job and staff can earn the same or more in other sectors without the same level of stress, responsibility and disruption to their lives.
# Many people are either unable or unwilling to work the anti-social hours and shift patterns required in social care.
The Care and Support Statutory Guidance (The statutory guidance to the Care Act 2014) which is the guidance that local authorities need to follow states:
“People working in the care sector play a central role in providing high quality services. Local authorities must consider how to help foster, enhance and appropriately incentivise this vital workforce to underpin effective, high quality services ...” (Chapter 4.28)
“It should also allow retention of staff commensurate with delivering services to the agreed quality, and encourage innovation and improvement”. (Chapter 4.31)
There is clearly work to do.
In order to create a payment model for staff which would encourage their recruitment and retention and enable the sector to meet the requirements society has of it both now and in the future, we recommend:
1. Basic rates of pay for front line care and support staff need to be sufficiently above the National Minimum / Living Wage to enable the sector to recruit the staff it needs.
2. The ‘actual’ Living Wage as advocated by the Living Wage Foundation is used as a starting point. This is currently £8.75 an hour outside London. We believe staff working in this sector deserve an actual living wage. Using this as the baseline values staff and sends out the right message.
3. There should be a pay enhancement to recompense staff for working anti-social hours.
4. There should be a pay enhancement for staff who are required to work split shifts or to lone work.
5. There should be a pay enhancement for staff who are required to support or care for people with complex needs.
6. There should be a pay enhancement to reward experience / length of service.
7. There should be further incentivising premiums for staff to take on greater levels of responsibility i.e. Senior Carers, Senior Support Workers, Team Leaders, Deputy Managers.
What are your thoughts? Will the sector survive unless we can financially reward people properly for the work that they do?
If you are interested in looking at the full ‘The issues we face’ report, you can download a copy here.