Thursday, 3 October 2013

UNISON's Ethical Care Charter

UNISON is asking all councils to sign up to an Ethical Care Charter. The over-riding objective behind the Charter is to establish a minimum baseline for the safety, quality and dignity of care by ensuring employment conditions which a) do not routinely shortchange clients and b) ensure the recruitment and retention of a more stable workforce through more sustainable pay, conditions and training levels. Rather than councils seeking to achieve savings by driving down the pay and conditions that have been the norm for council – employed staff, they should be using these as a benchmark against which to level up.

UNISON's Ethical Care Charter for the commissioning of homecare services

Stage 1

The starting point for commissioning of visits will be client need and not minutes or tasks. Workers will have the freedom to provide appropriate care and will be given time to talk to their clients

The time allocated to visits will match the needs of the clients. In general, 15-minute visits will not be used as they undermine the dignity of the clients

Homecare workers will be paid for their travel time, their travel costs and other necessary expenses such as mobile phones

Visits will be scheduled so that homecare workers are not forced to rush their time with clients or leave their clients early to get to the next one on time

Those homecare workers who are eligible must be paid statutory sick pay

Stage 2 

Clients will be allocated the same homecare worker(s) wherever possible

Zero hour contracts will not be used in place of permanent contracts

Providers will have a clear and accountable procedure for following up staff concerns about their clients’ wellbeing

All homecare workers will be regularly trained to the necessary standard to provide a good service (at no cost to themselves and in work time)

Homecare workers will be given the opportunity to regularly meet co-workers to share best practice and limit their isolation

Stage 3

All homecare workers will be paid at least the Living Wage (As of October 2013 it is currently £7.45 an hour for the whole of the UK apart from London. The Living Wage will be calculated again in November 2013 and in each subsequent November). If Council employed homecare workers paid above this rate are outsourced it should be on the basis that the provider is required, and is funded, to maintain these pay levels throughout the contract

All homecare workers will be covered by an occupational sick pay scheme to ensure that staff do not feel pressurised to work when they are ill in order to protect the welfare of their vulnerable clients.

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