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2010 Local Government Service Group Conference
25 May 2010

Conference notes the increased focus on personalisation of social care and its proposed role in the future of social care provision. Conference recognises the negative impact on jobs, pay and conditions and service provision and therefore the importance of maintaining UNISON’s personalisation campaign – “Cash for Care” – across the UK.

This shift in the way care is organised and paid for will have huge implications for our members in this area, who are predominantly low paid, part time women.

The emergence of the call centre approach to Social Care, with unqualified staff making minor amendments to care packages and the use of Brokerage teams to arrange packages will further erode the role of qualified staff.

Our “Cash for Care” campaign supports the principles of genuine personal choice and control and independence in personal care, whilst ensuring that our real concerns around the personalised workforce and the funding and quality of care are fully addressed.

Conference welcomes the moves towards a National Care Service in England and the introduction of free personal care for those in most need, set out in the Personal Care Bill (England) 2010. However conference believes that councils across the UK are facing an impossible task of delivering personalised care, with increased demand and no extra funding. At the same time, many are choosing to freeze or cut council tax while they are still being required to generate ‘efficiency’ savings.

Conference believes that this undermines the ability for local authorities to maintain a long term role in this sector, as the in-house service diminishes it opens the door for potential outsourcing of the remaining services and the loss of the in-house service acting as the market leader could lead to a long term lowering on industry standards and an inability to respond to future market failure.

Conference views with concern the development of an unregulated workforce created by personalisation. Conference believes that all care commissioned via personal budgets should be subject to a level playing field of the same legislation and regulation as other forms of care.

Conference therefore calls on the SGE to work with UNISON’s Regions and branches across the four UK nations to:

1)Review and monitor the impact of underfunding and personalisation on the delivery of quality social care, jobs, training and pay and conditions

2)Campaign for adequate funding to meet the real needs of users and potential users and high quality training and employment

3)Guarantee that direct payments and individual budgets will be uprated each year to reflect rising costs

4)Ensure that care recipients have the right to choose which type of budget and which type of service they want

5)Secure statutory guidelines in each UK nation which include professional registration, vetting and barring, financial scrutiny, employment and health and safety legislation, National Minimum Wage and training requirements

6)Negotiate codes of practice on the employment and pay and conditions of Personal Assistants with governments and employers

7) Campaign for Criminal Record Bureau checks to be made compulsory for personal assistants employed by people receiving direct payments or individual budgets

8)Work towards the establishment of a central advisory body on standards for personal assistants

9)Encourage local authorities to provide support and advice for service users in recruiting and managing personal assistants in a fair manner, whilst safeguarding themselves in the process

10)Require all personal budget schemes, including direct payments and individual budgets, to include an option for local authority in-house services and encourage Local Authorities to retain their Homecare services in such a way that those who do decide on a personal budget are able to buy the service directly from the Local Authority at a marketable rate

11)Provide guidance and support for local authorities to help keep support and budget brokerage services in – house, provided by an in-house pool of well trained and qualified personal assistants

12)Ensure inclusive local adult social care workforce planning

13)Statutory enforcement of the Code of Practice for Social Care Employers

14)Secure a stronger focus on workforce issues and standards within the inspection and enforcement work of the Care Quality Commission

15)Ensure the inclusion of specific requirements on qualifications and training in any revised National Minimum Standards for care

16)Campaign for successful apprentices on government or local apprenticeship schemes to be provided with disability equality training and embedded in future career structures