Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Underpaid and undervalued.

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.


  1. This is one of the things that really upsets me on a day to day basis. I've seen the effect of the squeezing of these contracts and it seems each time the contracts come up for renewal, it is the most vulnerable who always suffer through the cost-cutting - which I know needs to be done but sometimes it can seem so callous. Still, I try to be positive.

  2. Absoloutely. Sadly I feel its inevitable that Carers are undervalued under the current funding system. LAs seem to me to be concerned with cutting budgets as far as they can go. IB's might provide some improvement by giving people more control but I'm sceptical there will be any real change for most service users until the whole funding question is resolved. Personally I like the idea of a 'national care service' with the responsibility for Social Care removed from LAs with a structure more akin to the NHS.