skip to Main Content
Looking to read the latest articles? Please click here
Time To Do The Maths – Residential Child Care Workers = £15 An Hour And £2000 Now

Time to do the Maths – Residential Child Care Workers = £15 an hour and £2000 now

NCERCC works from establishing a sound theory and practice base.

The focus of RCC is to provide an emotional stable and secure environment upon which we meet the needs of children.

To do this we need stability of relationships, these bring continuity of care.

Providers are reporting turnover of staff and challenging recruitment. It is hard to attract and retain RCCWs. There are homes in the process of opening over months, and some mothballed.

Research tells us there are several factors that create satisfaction for RCCWs. Amongst these are pay, terms and conditions.

Another important major factor we will address at the end.


In the context of the cost of living crisis the recent pay review bodies results and the TUC ‘Raising pay for all’ analysis and report make the case for urgent changes to Residential Child Care Workers pay, terms and conditions.

£2000 now is what the pay review bodies have concluded including for social workers.

The TUC see £15 an hour as necessary.

Alongside this NCERCC has long advocated for the same terms and conditions for all RCCWs across all ownerships. This would create a level playing field for recruitment supportive of applicants and providers. Being universal to the sector it is an effective and efficient recruitment measure and it provides opportunity for the secure stable environment.

How can it be done?

To prioritise long-term sustainability of the sector the government need to work with independent advisers at the Low Pay Commission (LPC) to address Residential Child Care workers pay. It was surprising given the correspondence to the Care review that this was not a recommendation and only the referral to the Competitions and Market Authority was made. The two could have been made in tandem. It would have given a different outcome to the Care Review.  The current focus on profits would be different if we started from thinking about the role, task and pay of the people who do the caring, The RCCWs.

The overall aim of the TUC is to increase the minimum wage to 75% of median hourly pay. Since its introduction the minimum wage level as a proportion of the median average wage has slowly increased, from 47% in 1999 to a projected 66% by 2024, but that was before the current cost of living crisis. The TUC see that 75% is the “logical next step”.

Too much too fast? The current reality is that median wages are now £14.85. £15 is a small achievable step for the economy. To reach £15 across the economy, with NMW at 75% of the median wage, average hourly pay of approximately £20 an hour would be needed.

The Progressive Economy Forum (eminent economists and academics providing an authoritative analysis of current issues facing the economy) suggests the Treasury reduce national insurance to compensate small businesses, not just in RCC, for increased costs.

An important factor for retention is development

There are push and pull factors that determine staying or going. The ‘pull’ have to be weightier than the ‘push’. One of the factors is that brings people to the sector is learning, professional and personal (you don’t work in RCC without reflecting on yourself!).

Continuous professional (and personal) development is a necessity in RCC.

RCCWs need to be able to know what is going on and what is to be done about it. RCC is skilled work by informed practitioners making a selection from their knowledge to fit the situation in the here and now.

The learning and development of the RCC workforce needs development itself.

The current level of qualification has to reflect the rising complexity of the children.

The current content of the qualification has to change.

The delivery of the qualification has to change. There has to be a national delivery mechanism. There is too much variation in the delivery and resulting level of knowledge and practice currently.

NCERCC is working on the appropriate curriculum, resources and delivery as part of a current project.