I've just been reading an article published on the excellent Guardian Unlimited society section. Finally a Government Minister Andy Burnham, seems to be facing up to the reality that downward pressure on carers wages is undermining the quality of services.
I'm something of a prolific commenter on the society pages and posted my thoughts under the name enzee199:
When I first entered the field 5 years ago my Local Authourity was paying around of £15.00 per hour to block contract providers. Under the latest agreements rates are as low as £11 per hour. Add the affect of inflation and this is quite a decline.
Social Care is a labour intensive business so a significant chunk of the savings will undoubtably have come straight out of carers pay packets.
As well as this, at a time when 'local' service provision is being championed by policy guru's, declining rates favour large national providers who can gain economies of scale in the back-office functions like HR, legal, payroll, and training, edging out local or regional providers in the race to snap up LA contracts.
I don't see this situation improving, at least for the average less well-off service user, with developments like IB's. Unless a friend or family member is willing to help out for the amount a LA will pay then they will be forced to purchase care from a national provider or face paying a top-up mirroring the situation with residential care i.e the LA will pay for a bog-standard room in one of the less desierable homes unless you have a family member who wants to pay extra so you have more choice.