Halton Borough Council has pledged its support to introduce UNISON's ethical care charter that will ensure adequate staffing levels and sufficient time for workers to care for vulnerable people.
The charter includes commitments that staff will be paid for travel time, expenses, and have opportunities to meet together to avoid isolation. They will also receive regular free training, and there will be a clear and accountable process for staff to raise any concerns.
By signing the charter, the council is committing to work towards ensuring all home care staff in commissioned services receive the real living wage (currently £8.75 per hour) and occupational sick pay.
UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Making this commitment to decent employment conditions for care workers is vital for improving the quality of life for the people they look after.
“UNISON’s ethical care charter is leading the way in highlighting the importance of care work and in fighting to win the pay and conditions they deserve.
“The charter sets out minimum employment standards that will end the bad practices that we too-often see in social care. Care staff should not be having to dash between, and at, appointments.
"They should not be on poverty pay or having to work when they are ill. They should not be isolated and they should not be afraid to raise concerns about services with their employer.
“Halton is to be applauded for being the latest council to sign up to the ethical care charter. UNISON will continue to work with all six authorities in the city-region to pursue better standards in the sector through the Care Workers for Change Campaign.”
Halton Borough Council Leader, Cllr Rob Polhill, said: “We are proud to support such an important charter. As a council our workers are our most valuable asset and if we look after them, they will look after the service users."
Also on Monday, Halton Borough Council will be taking over the ownership and management of the Millbrow care home in Widnes.
The home was previously run by Four Seasons but they have decided to sell the home. Now that the home is back in-house as a council–run service, the staff will have their pay increased to the level of the real living wage – an increase of over £1 an hour for many staff.
Paula Barker, Halton UNISON Branch Secretary and North West Regional Convenor said:
“It’s brilliant news that the Millbrow care home will not be closed down and we are confident that the residents and staff will benefit from the service being run directly by the council.
“Quality care services are crucial to the well-being of vulnerable people and our whole community and it is right that the council is moving to ensure higher standards of employment and care.”