For far too long, the social care sector has not been recognised for the vital contribution it makes to our society. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has shone a bright light on the valuable work that social care workers and their organisations carry out across the country to support people in vulnerable circumstances each and every day.
Demand for government action on sleep in crisis ahead of first anniversary of controversial compliance scheme
But 12 months on from government introducing its social care compliance scheme, there is still no official guidance on how sleep in shift work should be remunerated and no government commitment for action on the issue.
VODG has consistently highlighted the threats to the sector through government’s inaction:
- local care providers and commissioners reacting in different ways – risks undermining the local services
- confusion and uncertainty as employers make decisions about whether to stay in the scheme – with pressure on boards who are legally obliged to sign off accounts.
Now, in the latest development one council has stepped forward and proposed reducing pay for sleep in work. In the official communication, seen by VODG, the council is proposing a sleep in rate at around £4 per hour once tax and national insurance have been accounted for.
Chair of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group, Steve Scown said:
“We know that when one local authority makes changes to its payment practices, others may soon follow. For providers to be put on notice that the salaries of their staff could be reduced, at a time when the sector is still waiting for official guidance cannot be right. We call on government, and the responsible Ministers, to acknowledge the sector’s concerns and urgently deal with the situation. This issue will not go away and is set to intensify if left unaddressed.”
The opportunity to shore up the fragile social care system must not be overlooked in the forthcoming autumn budget, according to a new report on the impact of decades of underfunding.
A stitch in time: the case for fundingsocial care issued today by VODG (Voluntary Organisations Disability Group), representing over 90 leading not-for-profit organisations supporting disabled people, describes the growing threat to the nation’s vital care and support services.
Voluntary and not-for-profit providers predominantly serve publicly-funded clients so are disproportionately affected by adult social care budget cuts. Local authorities’ planned savings for adult social care in 2018/19 are £700m, cumulative adult social care savings since 2010 have amounted to £7bn, and the government has yet again postponed its Green Paper on the long-term funding plan for adult social care.
Brexit exacerbates the threat to social care because the likely economic impact may lead to less public funding and potentially create instability in the sector’s labour market.
Responding to a report by Voluntary Organisations Disability Group on adult social care funding, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeingboard, said:
“With people living longer, increases in costs and decreases in funding, adult social care is at breaking point.
“Over recent years, councils have protected adult social care relative to other services. But the scale of the overall funding picture for local government as a whole means adult social care services still face a £3.5 billion funding gap by 2025, just to maintain existing standards of care. The likely consequences of this are more and more people being unable to get quality and reliable care and support, which enables them to live more fulfilling lives.
“Action is needed, which is why, following government’s decision to delay its green paper on adult social care, the consultation to drive forward the public debate on what sort of care and support we need to improve people’s wellbeing and independence, the need to focus on prevention work, and, crucially, how we fund these vital services.”
*The LGA’s green paper is available here. The consultation closed on 26 September.
The tactics being taken by Government’s revenue agency HMRC is taking a spectacular new turn in dealing with the sleep in crisis says VODG the group that represents disability charities.
Government’s recent announcement of a new Social Care Compliance Scheme raised more questions than answers. The lack of clarity has prompted VODG and other agencies to work together to compile a consolidated list of questions and concerns which have been shared with HMRC and other Government officials in writing.
This scheme and the lack of clarity on key issues has strengthened employers concerns that Government has failed to step in and fund the long-running sleepin crisis.
Now in the latest turn of events the leaders of charities and their trustees are receiving ultimatum letters from HMRC. There are variations to the letters but all introduce the Social Care Compliance Scheme and “invite” the organisation to join. Some demand a telephone call with the recipient on a fixed date and time. So far all of the letters received give just 30 days to decide whether to take part in the scheme.
VODG chair Steve Scown said:
“There are too many unresolved questions for providers to make an informed decision as to whether to join Government’s compliance scheme. In the absence of answers, and funding to cover the back pay bill, HMRC’s approach and the timeframe they are imposing is unhelpful to a sector that is at full stretch financially.”
While the chief executive of a disability charity, who wished to remain anonymous, said:
“This appears to be a concerted and planned campaign by government to undermine the sector when a constructive not punitive approach is needed. At a time when we need more funding for social care, the sector is instead being hammered by the HRMC intent on taking away resources from the sector. As a charity working with thousands of people we are deeply concerned about the impact to services such as care and support for elderly relatives, families already struggling with disabled children and young disabled adults who may not only lose their services but the charities who have supported them over many years. The public should know that the very services who support them are being pulled apart. I am concerned and dismayed that our sector is being treated in this way.”
VODG is working with other sector bodies including Association for Real Change, Care England and Learning Disability Voices to demand that Government funds the mistaken back pay.
VODG chief executive Rhidian Hughes said:
“The unspoken cost pressures on social care employers continue to mount as Government drags on the sleep in crisis. The Treasury must find the money to remedy this situation to enable local authorities to contract with providers at a level that covers the full cost of legal requirements. The long-term chronic under-funding of social care must be reversed and we demand the Chancellor takes action in the Autumn Statement.”
Source : Sleep in crisis will not be resolved by HMRC’s bullish tactics-VODG comments : Care Industry News
VODG welcomes Health Committee’s focus on securing the social care workforce post-Brexit
VODG (Voluntary Organisations Disability Group) and NDTI (National Development Team for Inclusion) have today published the second edition of a guide which
VODG (Voluntary Organisations Disability Group) represents leading not for profit disability organisations who together provide care and support to over one
To mark this year’s volunteer week the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) and National Care Forum (NCF) have produced a toolkit to help social care organisation