An update on the #BetterPay4SocialCare campaign
The pandemic has put adult social care firmly in the spotlight. It has shone an important light on the tireless work of the nation’s invaluable 1.52 million social care workforce who are providing care and support to all who need it in the most challenging of circumstances, and the risks they take to do their job. This emergency has begun to highlight the essential value of social care to the wider public.
Our support workers have been heroic, working through this pandemic with the welfare of the autistic adults they support at the heart of everything. They have supported adults who have experienced heightened anxieties and frustrations that lockdown has caused. They have supported parents, distressed at not being able to visit their loved ones.
As the pandemic progressed, Autism at Kingwood’s Senior Leadership Team could not sit back without taking action about social care pay rates. Similarly, as heartening as it was that the Government recognised social care workers as key workers, these words began to feel hollow, as the Government awarded pay rises to NHS staff, but not social care workers.
Social care charities are unable to pay social care staff what they deserve; their salary is determined by an hourly rate that local authorities pay social care providers. The rates vary considerably between authorities, but none award enough to pay a Real Living Wage; for Autism at Kingwood, our entry salary for social care is above the National Living Wage, but not enough.
We set up an online petition #BetterPay4SocialCare calling for Government to provide additional funding to local authorities, to pass on to social care providers so they can pay social care workers a minimum of the Real Living Wage. We set up www.betterpay4socialcare.org and invited other social care organisations to join and campaign on their social media platforms – and I am pleased to say that over 20 organisations across the country have joined us.
We supported our campaign with updates, reports that have been produced, Autism at Kingwood case studies and videos from our staff, people we support and family members endorsing the campaign. https://www.kingwood.org.uk/about-kingwood/betterpay4socialcare/
In the autumn, the Future Social Care Coalition (FSCC) was established by former cross-party Health Secretaries, sector/union leaders, with celebrity endorsement. This is a powerhouse, and is campaigning not only for better pay for social care workers, but for:
- parity of esteem for the social care sector with the NHS: if social care is to improve and increase health and wellbeing outcomes, the social care service must no longer be treated as the ‘forgotten frontline’
- a comprehensive social care workforce strategy designed to generate established career paths, professionalism and improve conditions for social care workers
- a social care funding solution that is both equitable and sustainable
We are pleased to report that this month, the #BetterPay4SocialCare partnership became a member of the FSCC, as the voice of the small and medium sized social care providers. The Future Social Care Coalition has delivered a high profile conference, to which Kate Allen, our Chief Executive spoke on behalf of social care providers.
Joining this force will help our petition grow, which the #BetterPay4SocialCare partnership will present to Government at an opportune time in synergy with the overarching Future Social Care Coalition campaign; with the aim of influencing both the Treasury Spending Review 2021/22 and the Social Care Reform Bill.
We have been successful in gathering momentum and persuading others to join our campaign. We will do all we can to influence Government to pay our support workers a minimum of the Real Living Wage.
If you haven’t already signed our petition, please do so here – and share with your family, friends and contacts. https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/betterpay4socialcare.
Philippa, Head of Fundraising and Communications