CCPS responds to announcement on Living Wage for Overnight SupportTuesday 24 October, 2017
The Coalition of Care & Support Providers (CCPS), the membership body for third sector care and support organisations, applauds the intention behind the Cabinet Secretary’s decision to extend the Living Wage to sleepover hours. However, given providers’ experience of working to implement the commitment to date, we have very little confidence that it can be delivered successfully without significant unintended consequences arising.
CCPS Director Annie Gunner Logan said: “The Scottish Government has taken a lot of flak in recent months for its ‘it’ll-be-alright-on-the-night’ approach to social care. We have so far resisted joining the chorus of disapproval, but on this occasion we see clear potential for a wholly admirable policy intention to be seriously undermined by a failure to prepare for the challenges of implementation, despite these having been raised repeatedly by the very organisations that will be expected to deliver on this commitment.
“When it comes to pay for sleepover shifts, we doubt very much whether it will be ‘alright on the night’.” CCPS has raised a series of major concerns about this policy which are not addressed in today’s announcement.
The announcement says absolutely nothing about the resources required for delivery. The gap between current pay for sleepovers and the Living Wage is far in excess of anything we’ve tried to address up to this point, but the statement is completely silent on what it will cost, where the money will come from or how it will reach employers.
The announcement is clear that this will result in the ‘redesign’ of sleepover provision. We understand this to mean that the high cost of implementing the commitment will lead to this type of support being phased out, or replaced with waking night shifts and ‘on-call’ services. We believe that it is fundamentally dishonest to promise a pay rise to people working sleepover shifts, in the knowledge that these shifts will then be ‘redesigned’, aka. removed or replaced. The ramifications for employers, for the workforce and for the people they support have not been properly explored: critically, there is a risk that people’s individual overnight support arrangements will undergo radical changes over which they will have little or no choice and control, in direct opposition to the government’s own flagship policy of self-directed support.
The announcement continues to ignore growing pressure for pay review in the wider sector. The Living Wage commitment continues to focus exclusively on front-line adult social care staff, so whilst pay for these workers has quite rightly gone up, pay for other parts of the workforce has remained largely static. With the extension of the Living Wage to sleepovers, the resulting anomalies will grow and this will create further cost pressure in the system. It will also have a major impact on the huge efforts that providers have made to develop and promote career pathways and pay progression within their staffing structures.
It was in recognition of these issues that sleepover shifts were temporarily exempted from the Living Wage commitment prior to its implementation in September last. It is our strongly held view that insufficient work has been taken forward in the interim to address and mitigate the risks involved, and today’s announcement fails even to make reference to them.
We will of course continue to work with our partners, however we will be very clearly focused on seeking appropriate assurances that this measure can be implemented without adverse impact on the sector’s highly valued workforce, or placing at risk the critical support arrangements of the vulnerable people they serve.