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Pay Up – Wages For Residential Child Care Workers

Pay Up – wages for Residential Child Care Workers

Residential Child Care Workers need a pay rise

A focus on pay is essential as part of the research arising from the Care Review into the Residential Child Care sector workforce

2 starting points to start making a difference

  • £15 an hour for all RCCWs in all homes, ownership – local authority, voluntary organisation, or private – makes no difference.
  • The same terms of employment for all RCCWS in all homes, ownership – local authority, voluntary organisation, or private – makes no difference

The reason for this is child centred. Here’s opportunity to put theory into practice.

To be preoccupied with a child requires that the environment in which the care is happening enables full attention on meeting the needs of the child.

Anything that gets in the way must be resolved as best it can be.

A RCCW with a worry about the cost of living, rent, travel to get to work is having the caring relationship affected by matters that can be sorted out.

Something can be done about this – the remedy is within our power to make happen.

For RCCWs to carry the load there needs to be a recognition that others need to share in carrying the load

It is acknowledged that low pay across the Residential Child Care sector, there are exceptions, is adding to the recruitment crisis.

Recent evidence

Steve Crocker, President of ADCS said of Radio 5 Live (Colin Murray – With Nick Bright – BBC Sounds 14 06 22) understands the situation. He explained that it is difficult to recruit staff when there are less challenging jobs. He applauded the vocation that people bring to Residential Child Care (he was one himself – you can take the person out of RCC but not RCC out of the person). He was clear that you have to “reward people properly.”

In his interview he explained that the ADCS were looking to bring the voluntary organisations not-for-profit ‘back into the market’ to ‘disrupt’ (the ADCS in the ‘medium to long term want a cap or to remove profit’), voluntary organisations were ‘cheaper.’ This seemed revealing of a strategy where a local authority opens their own home but has a voluntary organisation run it. Staffing costs are the major cost of care. In the light of these comments one pay scale and set of terms and conditions seems urgent.

Unison this week published a report ‘Held to ransom’ about adult care homes (UNISON-CUSP-briefing-final-1.pdf). There are comments heard from RCCWs too such as “I absolutely love my job, but not the wages.” The researchers studied the financial accounts of fifteen of the largest (adult) care home chains in the UK and found a large pay gap between directors and employees. The pay ratios between the highest paid director and average employee in large care chains were similar to the pay ratios often found in large for-profit companies in other sectors, but far higher than those found in public services like the UK’s National Health Service (NHS)

  • The highest paid directors working in for-profit care groups owned by investment firms earned on average 38 times more than the average employee.
  • In other profit-oriented care organisations, the pay of the highest paid director was 63 times the average employee pay.
  • In not-for-profit groups the highest paid director was earning on average 29 times that of the average employee

The Care Review were to commission research, or to refer the sector to the Low pay Commission. Though the Care Review made a referral to the CMA re profits it did nothing that is publicly known regarding RCCW pay.

Profits and pay are linked. There can be no profit in RCC without RCCWs.

RCCWs are the origin of the profits but do not have their contribution recognised in their pay.

As part of the research into the RCC sector workforce a focus on pay is essential.

Pay of RCCWs – the unaddressed issue of the Care Review.

The income of every other worker in children’s social care was addressed by the Care Review.

The pay of Residential Child Workers was not addressed in the Care Review.

It was brought to their attention – NCERCC wrote with evidence linking pay and the quality of care.

Now is the time to rectify the omission – the research must be swift as does the inevitable actions of increasing RCCW pay and ensuring there is one set of employment terms and conditions across the sector that apply to all RCCWs no matter the ownership of the home in which the work.

This is good child care.