Milton Keynes Council signs up to the Ethical Care Charter to improve the standard of care given to the elderly and vulnerable people.
The Ethical Care Charter was developed by UNISON in 2012, after a nationwide survey of homecare staff revealed a system in crisis, with a dedicated workforce who were underpaid and often undervalued.
By signing UNISON’s Ethical Care Charter the council has sent a clear message that quality care depends on attracting and retaining quality staff by improving pay, conditions and working practices.
The objective of the Charter is to establish a baseline for the “safety, quality and dignity of care”, by paying a real living wage, not using zero hours contracts and banning the use of 15 minute car visits in most cases.
It achieves this by creating employment conditions that do not short change clients, and ensure the recruitment and retention of a more stable workforce through more sustainable pay, conditions and training levels.
The Charter sets out minimum standards for care at home, for the people who receive it and the workers who provide it and that people should have the chance to get to know their homecare worker and wherever possible, should keep the same one.
Furthermore it states that visits should allow plenty of time for tasks such as help with personal care to be carried out with dignity, and that workers should not have to rush from client to client.
Cllr Pete Marland, Leader of the Council said, “Signing the Unison Ethical Care Charter is a huge step to improving the care our elderly or vulnerable people receive.
“It seeks to ensure that people are given the highest quality care by guaranteeing the people who provide it are well paid and have the time to care for people.
“We will pay the living wage, not use zero hours contracts and not use 15 minute care visits. It will give those that need care confidence in their services.”
Graham Blues, Branch Secretary of Milton Keynes Area Branch of UNISON, said: “We are delighted that the Council has adopted UNISON’s Ethical Care Charter.
“It demonstrates a clear commitment to ensure that staff are properly rewarded and respected for the work they do with vulnerable people in our communities.
“Home care workers are dedicated to providing the best care that they can. The council’s adoption of the charter enables good employment conditions and quality training, which helps to reduce staff turnover and improve the quality of care for service users.”
Where a decision has been made to commission homecare externally the providers will need to identify how the elements of the charter will be included as service delivery processes, contract conditions or corporate objectives in the invitation to tender documents.
It must explain how these are material to the quality of the service and achieving best value