On World Social Work Day, Renfrewshire Council shows the way in the commissioning of homecare services by supporting the UNISON Ethical Care Charter.
I spent this morning in Paisley with our branch and Renfrewshire Council Leader Councillor Mark Macmillan and his colleagues, marking his commitment to supporting ethical care.
The Charter sets minimum standards to protect the dignity and quality of life for people who need homecare. It commits councils to buying homecare only from providers who give workers enough time, training and a living wage, so they can provide better quality care for thousands of service users who rely on it.
Talking to councillors at today’s event I was struck by the impact talking to home care staff had on their decision to take this initiative. The stories that our members told in our, ‘Scotland – It’sTime to Care’ report struck a chord with them. It reflected what their constituents had said and what they could see with their own eyes, watching home care delivered locally. Another councillor told me how a constituent had come to his surgery and told him just how much paying the Scottish Living Wage had meant to her family.
This initiative is a classic example of how we can use the power of public procurement to do so much more than simply buy goods and services. In this case, helping low paid workers, the people they care for and the local economy. Sadly, as the Scottish Government’s response to the Procurement Bill shows – they don’t yet fully understand this point.
We will be taking this message later this week to the Scottish Labour Party conference together with SHA Scotland. Shadow health minister, Neil Findlay MSP has been at the forefront in making the case for better home care and has also established a Quality Care Commission to look at longer term solutions. With a Labour council taking action locally, Scottish Labour is showing real leadership on this issue.