Pay must be increased to avert social care crisis

A
report released today by the Social Care Employers Consortium (SCEC) warns of a
major crisis in social care services across the UK if rates of pay do not rise.

SCEC,
which represents 58 social care employers in the voluntary sector, has warned
that if the Government wants the voluntary sector to deliver high-quality
social care services, fees paid by local authorities must be sufficient for the
sector to recruit, retain and develop qualified staff.

The
research found that some local authorities charities are being forced to use
voluntary (donated) income to subsidise services that the state should pay for,
which is against Charity Commission rules.

It
also found that on average, a road sweeper gets more than a £100 more per week
than a care assistant, and train drivers get £400 a week more.

Clare
Smith, chair of the SCEC, said: “In the interests of both staff and service
users, we call on the Government to act quickly to address this growing crisis
by investing more money in social care."

The
study found:


Because of insufficient funding from local authorities, charities are often
forced to use voluntary (donated) income to subsidise services the state should
pay for, which is against Charity Commission rules


Charities need to train staff to meet new standards, but are not able to levy
the increased fees from local authorities to cover these costs


Local authorities pay higher wages to their own staff, but often limit the fees
they pay to voluntary organisations, which means that voluntary sector staff are
paid less


The Government does not offer voluntary sector workers who are delivering
public services ‘key worker status’, which entitles their public sector
counterparts to affordable housing


Social care work is the ‘Cinderella’ of public sector services. On average, a
road sweeper gets paid more than a £100 more per week than a care assistant,
and train drivers get £400 a week more.

By Michael Millar

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