Social Care

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2010 National Delegate Conference
3 June 2010

Conference welcomes the rise of social care up the political agenda and looks forward to action from all political parties in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to improve both funding and quality. Social Care needs to be an equal partner of the National Health Service (NHS), the best free care according to need not income, and not the source of endless cuts, marketisation and efficiency savings in both residential and home care.

Conference therefore welcomes the green paper in England on the National Care Service and the Personal Care Bill in the Queens Speech to give 250,000 more citizens free personal care, as is already the case in Scotland. Conference is keen to learn the lessons too from Scotland where free personal care is under funded and results in variation between authorities about what is free or not.

Conference supports the common national elements of the proposed new English service, such as common assessment procedures, portability between local authorities, common advice and guidance. We were disappointed the free social care funded through general taxation option was not included in the consultation, and whilst it remains UNISON Conference policy, we would support the Comprehensive Insurance option as the fairest and most collective option currently available, ensuring all contribute and benefits are based on need operating in a similar fashion to the National Insurance scheme.

Conference believes there is an important agenda across the UK to raise standards in social care and to reward social care staff fairly. The Care Quality Commission and charities like the Royal British Legion have evidence that there is a clear link between staff pay, conditions and training and quality for service users. There is also the need for high quality workforce practices to underpin the personalisation agenda (there are no guidelines or regulations at all for personal assistants currently). Disabled people will need support to exercise good employer practice and UNISON will need to underline the importance of trade union membership and organisation in this profession

Conference therefore calls on the National Executive Council to:

1)Campaign for generous increases in social care funding to match unmet need and for a future funding system as close to the NHS as possible;

2)Campaign for quality services delivered by a well trained and rewarded workforce;

3)Campaign for decent social care training standards to apply to all providers, in all circumstances, regardless of sector and funding levels;

4)Campaign for the end of low price and low quality contracting;

5)Assist branches, including retired members, in every way in their campaigns against cuts including making available fact sheets, model agreements, a helpline and training;

6) Support affiliates and community groups campaigning against cuts;

7)Develop a service improvement campaign agenda for Day Care Centres to act as a hub for different public services.

8)Work with all appropriate service groups, sectors and UNISON Regions to:

a)Highlight the issue of Personal Assistants being completely unregulated and outside the remit of the Independent Safeguarding Authority or Protection of Vulnerable Groups scheme in Scotland and that of the Care Quality Commission inspection and Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland regimes;

b)Expose that Direct Payments are insufficient to pay for a reasonable employment package, such as maternity leave, pension, annual leave above the statutory minimum, occupational sick pay, redundancy pay and training;

c)Persuade governments and commissioners that there need to be directly employed pools of personal assistants to deliver high quality services without the risks of micro-employment.

d)Develop strategies for recruiting and organising Personal Assistants and build on and develop the work in Scotland between UNISON and Scottish Personal Assistants Employers Network, in particular the ‘Your Rights At Work’ guide for Personal Assistants and their Employers