Optalis, a Wokingham-based care and support company, pledged commitment to better employment conditions for its staff this week, by signing up to UNISON’s Ethical Care Charter.
The move means that Optalis is the first local authority trading company (LATC) providing adult social care services to formally sign up to the initiative.
The Ethical Care Charter was developed by UNISON in 2012, after a nationwide survey of homecare staff revealed a system in crisis, with a committed but poorly paid and treated workforce.
Welcoming the move, UNISON national secretary for local government Heather Wakefield said: “Home care workers are at the heart of a decent, caring society and do a complex, difficult job, often under tough circumstances.
“I am delighted that Optalis has recognised the invaluable role they play. By signing UNISON’s Ethical Care Charter the company has sent a clear message that quality care depends on quality pay and conditions, and on putting users at the heart of a properly funded service.”
The objective of the charter is to establish a baseline for the “safety, quality and dignity of care”.
It achieves this by creating employment conditions that do not shortchange clients, and ensure the recruitment and retention of a more stable workforce through more sustainable pay, conditions and training levels.
Optalis managing director commented: “Our signing up to the UNISON Ethical Care Charter is the classic ‘no-brainer’. We are a people business and our staff are critical to our success. No people, no business.
“Today we are demonstrating commitment in a very tangible way to the benefit of staff in the short term and the benefit of the people we serve in the long term.”