The Low Pay Commission is consulting on the rate for the National Living Wage (NLW) from April 2017. The Voluntary Organisations Disability (VODG) fully endorses the principle of paying social care staff a living wage. The introduction of the national living wage, if properly funded, should enable organisations to invest in their workforce by building careers in the sector, recruiting and retaining the right staff and paying people at a rate that recognises the value of the work they do.
But VODG is reporting to the Low Pay Commission that the failure of Government to properly fund the sector, including its ability to meet the workforce pay bill, risks further contraction in the market at a time when demand for services is increasing.
VODG chief executive Professor Rhidian Hughes said:
“The sector is facing a critical funding crisis with deep cuts to services. Organisations finding it very difficult to absorb further cuts on top of an increasing pay bill associated with the national living wage, pension auto-enrolment and other costs. We urge Government to heed what our members are saying and to place social care funding on a sustainable platform.”
Rhidian Hughes goes on to say:
“Securing the right workforce is one of the top three priorities amongst our membership. VODG will continue to promote greater collaboration in the sector. The whole system needs to come together to address critical workforce issues facing the sector.”
The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) report that local authority social care budgets will increase slightly this year in cash terms, primarily due to the adult social care precept. This has been applied by 83% of councils and will raise £380M. However, the precept meets less than two-thirds of the projected combined cost of the NLW (£520M) and the National Minimum Wage (£92M), and increases least in areas with the highest levels of social deprivation and greatest need for social care.