Published July 27, 2021 at 9:27
The Branch has again this week contacted the Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council to ask that they sign up to UNISON’s Ethical Care Charter.
This is a set of commitments that fix minimum standards that will protect the dignity and quality of life for the vulnerable people the council is responsible for and the workers who care for them.
The commitments are split into phases to allow for gradual implementation of the charter:
The starting point for commissioning of visits will be client need and not minutes or tasks. Workers will have the freedom to provide appropriate care and will be given time to talk to their clients
The time allocated to visits will match the needs of the clients. In general, 15-minute visits will not be used as they undermine the dignity of the clients
Homecare workers will be paid for their travel time, their travel costs and other necessary expenses such as mobile phones
Visits will be scheduled so that homecare workers are not forced to rush their time with clients or leave their clients early to get to the next one on time
Those homecare workers who are eligible must be paid statutory sick pay
Client(s) will be allocated the same homecare worker(s) wherever possible
Zero hour contracts will not be used in place of permanent contracts
Providers will have a clear and accountable procedure for following up staff concerns about their clients’ wellbeing
All homecare workers will be regularly trained to the necessary standard to provide a good service (at no cost to themselves and in work time).
Homecare workers will be given the opportunity to regularly meet co-workers to share best practice and limit their isolation
All homecare workers will be paid at least the living wage (as of November 2020 it is currently £9.50 an hour for the whole of the UK apart from London. For London it is £10.85 an hour. The Living Wage will be calculated again in November 2021 and in each subsequent November). If council employed homecare workers are paid above this rate are outsourced, it should be on the basis that the provider is required, and is funded, to maintain these pay levels throughout the contract.
All homecare workers will be covered by an occupational sick pay scheme to ensure that staff do not feel pressurised to work when they are ill in order to protect the welfare of their vulnerable clients
When UNISON have asked the council to sign up in the past, the answer has always been that the commitments of the charter are unaffordable due to budget cuts, however, many other councils have pledged to meet the commitments, including areas with similar deprivation challenges.
We will keep members posted.