Laura Sharman 06 July 2016

Care provider serves notice on councils over ‘irresponsible’ carer wages

Care provider serves notice on councils over ‘irresponsible’ carer wages image

Two councils have been served notice over their ‘unacceptable’ new hourly rate for carers, by Mears Group.

The homecare provider has criticised Liverpool City Council and Wirral Council over their proposed change to wages, arguing the new rate would lead to ‘unworkable pay and conditions’ for care workers.

Liverpool City Council has proposed increasing the hourly rate for home care to £13.10, while Wirral Council is offering £12.92. The United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA) recommends charging £16.70 an hour to achieve good levels of care.

Executive director of Mears Alan Long said the new offers from both councils were ‘extremely irresponsible’ and could even be illegal.

He said: ‘This is the first time Mears Group has ever had to take action of this nature, but we will not operate in an illegal way and we do not see how any other provider can do so either.

‘The people who will suffer the most are those receiving care and that is completely and utterly unacceptable.’

He added: ‘I hope that both councils can see sense and be prepared to change this unacceptable position.’

Liverpool City Council's cabinet member for adult social care and health, cllr Paul Brant, said: 'We have contracts with 11 home care companies and are working positively with them. The proposed rate, which will cost the council an additional £2m per year, reflects the new National Minimum Wage and allows firms to make a reasonable profit on top.

'Mears are a company based outside the City Region without the long experience and economies of scale of many of our local providers. Mears only provide a small share of local provision, but we will continue to work closely with them to ensure a smooth transition. Their staff will simply transfer across to other providers in the city, meaning there will be no disruption in the home care provided.

'As everyone knows, we are facing huge challenges due to cuts in our funding from central Government, and in calculating rates we look closely at the amount paid by other local authorities in the region. In the case of Mears we did offer to work with them to help reduce their overheads, and we are sorry they have instead chosen to pull out of the region altogether.'

Graham Hodkinson, Wirral's director of adult social care, said: 'Earlier this year, Wirral invested an additional £3.35m in increasing fees to the care sector to help meet the growing gap between the money they receive and the care they need to deliver. This was more than £1m over the figure that the government allowed us to raise via the budget precept for adult social care.

'Wirral has a clear commitment to good quality care for the residents of Wirral. The providers we use offer a vital service, and we will continue to work with them.'

The power of local systems to save lives image

The power of local systems to save lives

Councils and their partners could do even more to contain the spread of COVID-19 if properly funded to undertake a robust localised system of testing, tracking and tracing, argues Professor Donna Hall.
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Income Recovery Assistant

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£20,344 - £23,836 per annum
We are interested to hear from applicants who can demonstrate the following... Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Senior Occupational Therapist or Senior Social Worker

Essex County Council
£39168 - £47405 per annum
Essex County Council continues to review its ways of working during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. We continue to work within adult social care with a England, Essex, Clacton-On-Sea
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Social Workers

City of York Council
We are keen to enable our social workers to develop their knowledge and skills to secure the best outcomes for... York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

Junior Software Developer / Analyst Programmer

North Yorkshire County Council
This is a fantastic opportunity for you if you have an interest in and talent for software development and are looking for... Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Income Recovery Officer

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£24,313 - £28,785 per annum
You will be a key player in ensuring prompt and effective early action is taken to control and recover outstanding arrears to eviction stage.    Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue