Received through the ROFA (Reclaiming Our Future Alliance) network:
A worker at Inclusion London has mentioned that some Disabled people are being asked to replace funding for Personal Assistants with volunteers to undertake their personal care by some Local Authorities. Inclusion London would be grateful for your thoughts and any examples of expectations from social workers to use volunteers to make up for cuts in your support package. Email Henrietta.Doyle@inclusionlondon.org.uk
I am aghast that this could be on the agenda of any authority.
Hopefully this worrying situation can be stopped.
My own view on this is what messages are these local authorities, who are in the process of asking for volunteers to replace paid carers, sending to the paid care workers. For the huge responsibility that these care workers undertake within their role for the low remuneration they receive, this is deplorable. No paid care worker should be only on the Minimum Living Wage, but should be, at least on the Living Wage and even above.
To be a care worker requires them to be committed to the person they are caring for, be responsive to the needs and requests from the cared for person and conduct themselves respecting the cared for persons dignity, privacy and the confidentiality with regards to the information they will be aware of about the cared for person and also their family.
They are required to attend at the times required according to the respective care packages and inform the cared for person when they are unable to do so with sufficient time for a replacement care worker to cover the caring shift to be found. Where the cared for person is deemed to be vulnerable and therefore be at risk of abuse, safeguarding is therefore an area of concern and a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check is required.
You cannot say that one person requiring care is the same as the next person requiring care, as we are all individuals and therefore have our own views. This is especially so for persons with learning disabilities and those with Autism. In these instances it takes considerable time to understand each individual and their routines, for to not take this into account could cause the cared for persons to have an adverse reaction, which if a full understanding is not known could and most likely will create situations where harm could occur to the carer and the individual concerned. The carer needs to understand that they are technically a guest in the cared for persons home and as such they should act accordingly.
While a volunteer could and should be capable of all of the above, will all volunteers respect the commitment that is required to undertake care. After all they will be undertaking this on a voluntary basis so will they really commit to engaging with regards to timings. Then what will occur if they cannot attend , say to illness, will the cared for person have a bank of volunteers they can call upon.
These Local Authorities are only looking at their own interests. If they are so committed to using volunteers, why do they not have a volunteer Chief Executive and then there will be a multitude of funds saved.
That you could say is flippant, but where is the difference with regards with paid carers.
Any local authority who undertakes using volunteers could be open to a challenge on ‘Duty of Care’.