Lewisham Labour Councillors Damien Egan and Chris Best
Damien Egan – Labour’s candidate for Mayor of Lewisham – has today committed to making Lewisham an Ethical Care Council.Lewisham Council provides adult social care for thousands of our most vulnerable residents. Since 2010, adult social care across the country has faced increasing pressure as a result of savage Tory cuts to Council funding and growing demand from an ageing population.
Care workers do some of the most important work in the country; looking after the elderly and those with disabilities. But employment standards in the sector are often poor and too often care workers do not receive the respect that they deserve.
Many care workers across the UK have to work just 15 minute visits which leave them unable to provide the care that is needed, and many are not paid for their travel time between visits. Many are forced to work on zero-hours contracts, and many receive just the minimum wage. These poor practices are bad for care workers and bad for those receiving care too.
Despite the savage cuts, Lewisham Labour is committed both to protecting the most vulnerable and to ensuring staff are treated with the respect that they deserve. Lewisham was the first Council in the country to become a Living Wage employer and we are now committing to becoming an Ethical Care Council too.
The UNISON Ethical Care Charter is designed to ensure both decent care for vulnerable adults, and good employment standards for care workers. There are nearly 3,000 adults receiving support from over 600 care workers in Lewisham. By signing up, Lewisham Council is committing to these high standards, including:
- Paying at least the London Living Wage to all care workers.
- Scheduling care visits according to the needs of the individual, with care workers given enough time to provide the care needed.
- Paying care workers for travel time and reimbursing travel costs
- Giving care workers the right to a fixed hours contract.
- Providing homecare workers with regular training, and the opportunity regularly to meet co-workers to share best practice and combat isolation.
- Ensuring providers have clear and accountable procedures for care workers to raise concerns about the wellbeing of the people they are caring for.
Damien Egan – Labour’s candidate for Mayor of Lewisham said;
“Savage Tory austerity has hit Lewisham Council hard – putting pressure on all our services, including adult social care.
“Despite the impact of Tory cuts, Labour are committed to protecting our must vulnerable residents, and we are committed to maintaining high employment standards for care workers, who do such an important job for our community. So I’m proud that we’re committing to signing UNISON’s Ethical Care Charter.
Councillor Chris Best – Lewisham Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Older People, said;
“Despite the Tory cuts, we need to ensure that our vulnerable residents get the high quality social care that they need.
“We are developing a truly person-centred approach to care, which is based on the needs of care recipients, and which gives our staff time to care.
Heather Wakefield, Head of Local Government at UNISON, said
“I am delighted that my own local authority - Lewisham - has signed up to UNISON’s Ethical Care Charter, which aims to improve vital care needed by our elderly and vulnerable residents by giving good pay and conditions to care staff. It is clear that you can’t have one without the other and Lewisham is helping to lead the way towards quality care and quality employment.”