United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA) has criticised Walsall Council for not going far enough in increasing its home care pay rates following talks with providers and a written warning from the national body.
The local authority sparked controversy last month following a decision to pay home care providers by the minute.
UKHCA also calculated that the council was paying providers just £14.33 per hour for home care, £4.60 below the body’s Minimum Price for Homecare of £18.93.
Policy director Colin Angel wrote to the council last month, warning about the consequences for people and providers in Walsall and, following discussion with providers, council bosses agreed to increase its hourly rate to £14.88 and announced their intention to move to weekly payments.
And while UKHCA has welcomed the increase, it said the council was still “seriously behind” the minimum price that independent and voluntary sector home care providers need to run a sustainable service.
“The price which providers will require from April 2020 will be higher, as the National Living Wage rises each financial year,” Angel told the Express and Star.
“The council must do much better than this in order to develop a stable home care market for local people.”
A Walsall Council spokeswoman said: “Following discussion with providers the council has reviewed its position and has proposed to apply a part-year uplift, increasing the hourly rate in December from £14.33 to £14.88. Application of the in-year uplift is set against the requirement that providers will deliver care compliantly to the terms and conditions as set out in the contract and the council has offered to provide additional training to support providers in meeting this requirement.
“In addition to the increased hourly rate, our intention is to move to weekly payments – which providers have advised seeks to provide cash flow benefit – as well as provide additional training sessions on the call monitoring system and to work in partnership with providers to fund a large scale recruitment campaign as providers have advised us that the recruitment of care workers is one of their greatest challenges.”