Care England and GMB, the union for care workers, has backed a social care provider’s innovative approach to tackling the UK’s care crisis.
Be Caring, which runs care services across the north of England, has been praised by the union and Professor Martin Green, CEO of Care England, for exemplifying ethical commissioning practices.
The provider’s Allendale Court facility, a supported housing service for young adults with learning disabilities, is part of an ambitious build programme by Newcastle City Council, which includes specialist housing, extra care for older people and a range of other innovative approaches; each designed to deliver better outcomes for people through developing new models of commissioning.
It is funded through Individual Service Funds, which enable people to choose a provider, rather than the council or themselves, to manage their personal budget. The provider then uses the fund to arrange services and support for those people, with their agreement.
Be Caring believes this approach to commissioning may be the key to unlocking further potential in the care system.
“Issues such as funding for a workforce are compounded by a widely accepted model where care commissioners set the rates on a time and task basis,” the provider said.
“These rates leave a small margin to operate effectively, to deliver the necessary care, and provide training and a fair wage. However, Be Caring and Newcastle Local Authority are paving the way for change.”
Be Caring COO Hayley Quinn believes that forward-thinking commissioning by Angela Jamson, the commissioner for social care for Newcastle Local Authority, led to the development of Allendale Court.
“The whole system must change to enable better and financially sustainable support for all vulnerable people in our society. We want to offer good career prospects, fair pay and first-class training and development. We’ve recently mapped a career progression chart for our workforce, underpinning our provision with certified qualifications and training. Be Caring is a social enterprise owned by its employees. This means we’re committed to putting people first.”
Professor Martin Green said he was impressed by his visit to Allendale Court earlier this month.
“The commitment of their staff supports people to have a life and not just a service,” he said. “I believe the partnership approach shown by Newcastle Local Authority, Your Homes Newcastle and Be Caring is truly ground breaking and a model for the rest of the country. Quality support is dependent on the quality of the workforce. The values of Be Caring Ltd are absolutely lived by their people.”
Chris Jukes, GMB senior organiser, said: “GMB has a strong recognition and partnership agreement with Be Caring and we value the work the company does to further the Ethical Care Commissioning agenda.
“The vital services Be Caring provides at Allendale Court have been rightly recognised as ground-breaking.”