Nov 13, 2019

*Letter sent the Council Leader and Policy Lead for Health and Social Care to urge the need for the Council to look into insourcing for home care*

UNISON believes it is time for Argyll & Bute Council and the HSCP to look again at how care at home services are delivered in Argyll & Bute. The current arrangement where significant areas of the Council have no access to in house home care services leaves the Council vulnerable to failings of private and voluntary sector providers.

The HSCP finances are leading to more work being externalised. We have concerning stories of this being done without proper consultation with service users and their families.

UNISON via the STUC is part of the Fair Work Convention and our own Convenor Lilian Macer was co author of a major report in to Social Care:…/

This highlighted the challenges facing the sector and its workers, especially women workers. ‘Failure to address the gendered dynamics of the care sector and to challenge its significant voice deficit, low pay and one sided-flexibility contributes significantly to women’s poorer quality of work and to Scotland’s gender pay gap.’ The report makes recommendations which require actions at all levels. UNISON believe Argyll & Bute should play a leading role.

We have asked before and would again call on Argyll & Bute to sign up to UNISON’s Ethical Care Charter:…/Final-Ethical-Care-Charter-PD…

With the Scottish Living Wage now underpinning contracts in Scotland the other items of the Charter should be readily deliverable. Fifteen minute care visits is often put up by officers as a barrier, the Charter doesn’t seek a prohibition of 15 minute visits, there can be some limited cases when this is appropriate such as medicine prompts, the Charter says in general they should not be used for the delivery of care.

Argyll & Bute has a declining and ageing population. Part of the agenda to tackle this must be to help create sustainable good work in the area. Private and voluntary sector home care providers in general do not deliver this due to low pay rates, poorer terms and conditions and minimal pension provision. This leads to high turnover, in work and pensioner poverty.

Councils such as North Ayrshire are looking at how they can use procurement and council resources to build community wealth. We believe Argyll & Bute should be doing similar and that home care is the place to start.

A mixed economy would be better for clients, there would be more resilience and choice, better for workers, and better for the economy.

You will see from the attached APSE reports more and more councils are looking at insourcing, including in Pembrokeshire where they took back in domiciliary care.

UNISON would like to work with you to develop a plan to see an expanded proportion of home care delivered in house throughout Argyll & Bute, it should at the least be an option in every locale.

We would be happy to meet and discuss this further.

Best wishes

Simon Macfarlane
Regional Organiser