Care workers in Cornwall who look after people in their own homes are to be given more support to do their work.
Cornwall Council has today signed Unison’s Ethical Care Charter which sets out a series of commitments to protect the rights of homecare workers and ensure dignity in care delivery through a consistent, well trained workforce that enable people to have continuity of care to achieve their personal outcomes.
The Charter will commit all providers to paying workers the foundation living wage, covering the costs of travel time and travel expenditure and ensure that all care workers receive a minimum number of days training (not in their own time) each year. The Council will be exploring with providers how all workers can access an occupational sick pay scheme in the future.
The Charter also stipulates that providers should ensure that all visits allow sufficient time for the care to be carried out with personal dignity and that staff have clear and accountable processes for raising concerns.
Cornwall Council is the first authority in the South West to sign the Charter and joins several other councils across England, Scotland and Wales in signalling a commitment to improving employment conditions for care workers.
Stages 1 and 2 of the Charter will be implemented from 9 June 2018 along with elements of Stage 3. The Stage 3 requirement for an occupational sick pay scheme will be phased in over the next 3 years.
It is hoped that adopting the Charter will help improve staffing levels and enable care workers to build a sustainable career within the sector.
Cornwall Council Portfolio Holder for Adults, Rob Rotchell, and UNISON Head of Local Government, Heather Wakefield signed the agreement at New County Hall, Truro at 12pm on 30 May.
Councillor Rob Rotchell said
“The signing is a benchmark for the future of homecare in Cornwall and I am proud that Cornwall is leading the way in the South West by signing the Charter’.
“The Council commissions’ homecare workers to provide essential support to people with eligible social care needs and by helping set the employment standards through the Ethical Care Charter, we will ensure the workforce are supported to deliver high quality personalised care whilst underpinning a sustainable marketplace for Cornwall.
“Homecare provision is a challenge in Cornwall because our residents are geographically spread out and almost a quarter of our population (24%) is aged 65 or over and 21% have a limiting long-term illness. Supporting people to live in their own homes is what people say they want and it is good for them to retain their existing networks, is good for communities and families and releases pressure on our hospitals and emergency services.”
Unison Head of Local Government Heather Wakefield said:
“This commitment to decent employment conditions for care workers is vital for improving the quality of life for the people they look after. By signing UNISON’s Ethical Care Charter, Cornwall Council is signalling the end of homecare workers being rushed off their feet from appointment to appointment”.
“The Charter sets out minimum employment standards that will end the bad practices that are too common in social care. Care workers do some of the most important work in the country and they deserve to be treated with decency. They should not be on poverty pay or having to work when they are ill. They should not be isolated and they should not be afraid to raise concerns about services with their employer.
“Cornwall is to be applauded for being the latest council to sign up to the Ethical Care Charter. The county is leading the way in the South West and other councils ought to follow the Cornish example of providing better standards for care workers.”