Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) is demanding Government action on the sleep-in crisis ahead of the first anniversary of the controversial Social Care Compliance Scheme.
One year on from social care employers being encouraged to identify back-pay for essential overnight support staff, and Government introducing its Social Care Compliance Scheme, there is still no official guidance on how sleep-ins should be remunerated and Government still hasn't committed to any action on the issue.
VODG has consistently highlighted the threats to the sector through government’s inaction on the sleep-in crisis.
In the latest development, VODG has revealed that a council is proposing to reduce pay for sleep-in work. In the official communication, seen by VODG, the council is proposing a sleep in rate of 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.'
Reflecting widespread concerns about the impact of the sleep-in crisis, representative organisations recently sent an open letter to ministers about the ongoing threat to essential support for people overnight. The letter warned that commissioners and providers may move in ad hoc ways and threaten the provision of a vital night time service for people who rely on round-the-clock care. Yet following discussions with officials, including detailed written briefings to support the policy process, the letter remains unacknowledged.
VODG is aware that HMRC is now pursuing discussions with providers about their involvement in the Social Care Compliance Scheme. These discussions are happening in the absence of clear Government guidance.
VODG Chief Executive, Rhidian Hughes said, 'The Autumn Budget missed the opportunity to invest in and shore up the fragile social care sector. Social care providers are struggling to recruit and retain their staff and any decisions that erode workers’ pay are not only unfair to hard working staff, but also potentially dangerous in putting essential overnight services at risk.'