Letter from Cabinet Secretary & COSLA on Fair Work and the Living Wage in Adult Social Care

Scottish Care has received the following letter from the Cabinet Secretary and COSLA regarding the 3.3% uplift to contract hourly rates from April 2020.

The 3.3% uplift relates specifically to home care and those areas who are not applying a greater value of increase, essentially to set a minimum standard to enable the payment of SLW of £9:30 to social care staff.

Fair work in social care Letter from Cabinet Secretary and Councillor Currie - 10 04 03

Radio Reminisce – a free online radio station

Radio Reminisce is free online radio station for the older generation, playing songs from the 30s to 70s and sharing memories from times gone by with Ashley Franklin (Ex. BBC/Saga presenter). 

This will hopefully bring some smiles, entertainment and joy into the homes and ears of our elderly loved ones. 

You can read all about Radio Reminisce in the latest news update here: https://mailchi.mp/cc1d8414099f/radioreminisce

Or you can listen for yourselves now at: www.radioreminisce.com 

Update on student nurse placements

As the National Workforce Lead for Nursing, my primary focus over this challenging period has been to campaign and advocate for the paramount importance of nursing within the independent sector. As you all know, at the forefront of this developing campaign, has been the promotion of emergency student placements within the sector.

As an NHS-led initiative, this has been extremely challenging. Due to the ongoing challenge to prioritise the NHS workforce, unfortunately the unsurprising knock-on effect is that nursing students will be more likely to undertake placements in the Identified Key Areas within the NHS. Furthermore, the CNO’s (Chief Nursing Officer’s) statement a few weeks back highlighted that 3rd year student nurses in their final 6 months could opt into a placement to assist with the current workforce situation resulting from COVID-19. There was a discussion regarding an emergency register for Band 5 students, however this has currently been discounted in Scotland.

What has been agreed is that those nurses who opt in will remain on student status  until their natural registration date and  will be employed by the NHS boards and those placed out-with the NHS will be contracted through NES (National Education Scotland) and will be set up as a secondment application to the payroll system used by the placement employer and will be cross charged. I anticipate a similar arrangement being applied for 2nd year students and I will update if this is not the case.

Third year students will be paid at Band 4 and allocated via the Higher Education Institutes (HEI’s) with support from Practice Leads, Practice Education Facilitators (PEF’s) and Care Home Education Facilitators (CHEF’s). The universities will be working closely with the NHS boards to allocate all placement appropriately to key areas.

It was agreed that to assist this transition it would be most effective that those final year students return to their last placement where possible, as this would allow a greater understanding of how they could assist. They all have undergone clinical induction programmes.

Unfortunately, as highlighted above, most students have been placed within the NHS and only an extremely low number of nursing students to the care sector. I have continually raised my concerns in relation to supporting our sector throughout this process. However, I am forced to acknowledged that this initiative is underpinned by the students’ choice to opt-in, preference and an academic curriculum whereby it is unfortunately not commonplace for high numbers of 3rd year students to undertake management placements in care homes. It is my sincere hope that this is something we see resolved by the introduction of the new pre -reg nursing curriculum beginning September 2020.

Currently we are working to ensure that all previously planned 3rd year student placements go ahead as planned within care homes. However, these numbers are very low. On the 6th April some students commenced placements within the Greater Glasgow area to a small number of care homes. Whilst this small number of students have gone to care homes, it is important to note that the ‘Non-NHS’ allocation of student placements refers to private hospitals, hospices and charity based organisations, also. A further few students will commence this week and those homes involved will have been notified.

NES are currently working with NHS boards around 2nd year student placements and I am strongly advocating for an agreement for those students who had a 1st-year placement within a care home to return to a care home where possible to support. These students are also likely to be employed as a secondment arrangement and paid at band 3. These students are likely to be placed around 30th April and you will be advised re this.

There has been a lot of discussion around some students being refused by care homes. This may have been due to safety concerns due to a lack of PPE, issues around liability and reduced staffing to support the student within the placement, as a sign off mentor will be required. As safety is paramount at this time, it is important that care homes receiving students offer a safe learning environment and therefore should raise any concerns in advance of students starting during this time of significant change, or at any point throughout the placement. Support resources will be available on the nursing update section within the website to support mentors.

Based on this, I am hopeful that the students we get to support our care homes during this difficult time may result in some of these students returning in their final placements and more importantly post registration, viewing it as a positive career option. As many providers offered a willingness to accommodate nursing students, I acknowledge and appreciate that many will be disappointed with the low numbers within our sector at present, however this may be boosted as I continue to promote the 2nd year placement option within care homes.

I thank you all for your patience and for your acceptance to support students at this most challenging time.

Jacqui Neil

Transforming Workforce Lead 

Scottish Care

 

The Good Work Plan: Employment Law changes for April 2020 & beyond

The Good Work Plan: Employment Law changes for April 2020 and beyond

‘…the biggest shake-up of employment law in a generation.’

In response to the massive growth in self-employment and casual working arrangements, the government‘s Good Work Plan is an extensive programme of employment law reforms.

Significantly for Scottish Care members, the changes don’t seek to restrict flexibility for employers, as this is seen as crucial for business. However, they aim to provide greater clarity on the terms of engagement and make it easier for individuals to understand and enforce their rights.

April 6 2020 is when many of the changes will come into effect. However, Citation’s research in 2019 indicated that one-third of employers are still unaware of the Good Work Plan, and many do not feel prepared.

Every single sector in the UK will be affected, but the care sector will be hugely impacted due to the prevalence of flexible work.

Defining employment status

The key issue at the heart of the Good Work Plan reforms is that of correctly identifying the employment status of those individuals who work for your care business, as employment rights are governed by this.

The government has conceded that this is an area of unacceptable uncertainty and has promised legislation to clarify this, though there is no sign of this on the horizon.

One of the reasons this is so key for those in the care sector is that many employers may find that individuals start working for them on a casual basis but, through regular use, become integrated with the business – to such an extent that they would be classed as employees, and therefore the additional rights this entails.

So what do Scottish Care members need to know?

Many people currently working in the care sector will be doing so without a stable contract, with their hours varying week by week.

A key focus area of the Good Work Plan is seeking to address employment rights for workers without fixed hours, and those working without employee status.

The reforms aim to improve the enforcement of employment rights (especially holiday entitlement and pay), by introducing state enforcement of these rights for ‘vulnerable workers’ (yet to be defined). Over recent years, the rules about what should be included in holiday pay have changed through a series of court decisions on overtime and commission payments.

The Good Work Plan also aspire to improve clarity in terms, for both employees and those workers who have a more casual relationship with the business. It will extend the right to a statutory statement of main terms to all workers, requiring this to be made available by the first day of work, as well as introducing a list of additional information which must be provided.

One of the biggest changes set out in the reforms is allowing some workers the right to request a stable contract. This will not be mandatory, meaning that those who are happy to work varied hours each week will be able to continue doing so. However, from April 2020, carers who would like more certainty about their hours will be able to request a fixed working pattern from their employer.

The Good Work Plan itself is complicated and confusing. Managers and employers in the social care sector wanting to know more should download the white paper, produced by HR and employment law experts and preferred supplier, Citation. It clarifies all the major changes and what they mean for both employers and employees.

If my business employs agency staff, what does this mean for me?

Under the Agency Worker Regulations 2010, a company hiring agency workers has to give them the same basic pay and conditions as its own comparable employees after they’ve been with them for 12 weeks.   The ‘Swedish derogation’, so called because it was requested by the Swedish government, was put into EU law.  This created a special type of agency contract, officially named “pay between assignments” contract, where the agency workers gave up the right to have the same pay after 12 weeks, in return for a guarantee that they would receive a certain amount of pay when they have gaps between assignments.  However, the Swedish derogation type of agency contract has now been abolished from today’s date, i.e. 6 April 2020.  Accordingly, all agency workers have to have the same basic pay and conditions as comparable employees after 12 weeks.

From 6 April, employment agencies will need to provide agency workers with a document called a “Key Facts Page”. This document will need to include details such as type of contract, rate of pay, details of any deductions that may be taken out of their pay, method of payment, if the agency worker is paid through an intermediary and an estimate or example of what their take-home pay will be after deductions.

Got any questions about how you’ll be affected?

Call Citation’s friendly experts today on 0345 844 1111 to ask any questions you have about The Good Work Plan, or get in touch herejust mention you’re a Scottish Care member when enquiring.

For further content that breaks down the different aspects of The Good Work Plan, visit citation.co.uk/good-work-plan and read Citation’s guidance and best practice advice on the changes.

Your Scottish Care member benefit – Citation’s HR & Employment Law support

With complex legislation change on the horizon, there’s never been a better time to consider getting the complete backing of HR experts.

Scottish Care members are also entitled to preferential rates on Citation’s HR offering, including:

  • Dedicated local consultant
  • 24-hour expert advice line
  • Full legal documentation, including staff handbooks and contracts of employment
  • Access to Atlas, your one-stop-shop HR management tool

Please get in touch by calling 0345 844 1111, or by leaving your details here – just mention you’re a Scottish Care member when enquiring.

Useful resources and guides

Here are some popular relevant resources that are free-to-access from Citation :

Citation’s complete archive of free guides and resources can be accessed here.

Police Scotland update on travelling during Covid-19

Scottish Care has received the following update from Police Scotland on workers travelling during Covid-19.


Further to our conversation, please see the guidance below which we would ask you to signpost to your network of carers.

This Government link explains the rules of social distancing alongside travel restrictions.

As you are aware, new legislation has been introduced in respect of the Government guidelines. At this time, the general public are largely compliant with the restrictions placed upon them and Police Scotland are engaging with the public they come into contact with and explaining the restrictions. Enforcing the legislation by means of a Fixed Penalty Notice, at this time, is not our objective.

You mentioned you had around 122,000 care workers in Scotland and the job they are doing is vitally important. Police Scotland may stop your workers travelling to and from work and we appreciate not every member of your network of carers has official ID. If workers do have ID then by all means encourage them to carry it and if they don’t, please advise them to simply explain to the officers where they work and what care organisation/care home they are travelling to and from.

This is a rapidly changing picture and one that the general population alongside the key workers are adapting to deal with. Please continue to follow UK and Scottish Government guidance alongside NHS and HPS guidance as it gets updated.

The Listen Project: a BBC & British Library project which connects people during Covid-19

The BBC and the British Library are looking for care home residents to take part in their latest project ‘The Listen Project’. Please see below for more information:

Would you like to record a conversation that matters whilst we all hunker down – with someone you love or care about? BBC Radio and the British Library would like to capture this strange time in our lives through the conversations we are having with each other. We look after the tech, you just decide who you would like to speak with and about what. 

Maybe it’s a chance to have that conversation about your shared experiences, the one that normal life simply doesn’t make time for.

We want to hear about the emotional connections that people are missing – or even the space that isolation gives you to reflect on the bigger issues of life, friendship, health, safer times. 

If you are interested in taking part in this project please contact Caitlin Smith at [email protected].

NHS NSS triage centre for social care

At 8am tomorrow (Thursday 19 March) a helpline will go live regarding social care supplies during COVID-19. 

 

Please note that in the first instance, this helpline is to be used only in cases where there is an urgent supply shortage and a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.  This will be reviewed regularly in the coming days and weeks.

 

The following contact details will direct providers to the NHS NSS triage centre for social care:

Phone: 0300 303 3020

 

When contacting the helpline,  providers will be required to:

– Answer a series of short screening questions 

– Confirm they have fully explored business as usual procurement routes

– Confirm they have a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 and therefore have a need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

– Provide their Care Inspectorate registration number

 

The helpline will be open 8am – 8pm, 7 days a week.

Note of CEO meeting with Cabinet Secretary – 18 March 2020

Dear members,

This afternoon (18th March) I had a meeting initially with Jamie Macdougall, Deputy Director Social Care Support Division and Elinor Mitchell, the Director at Scottish Government followed by a meeting with them both and the Cabinet Secretary, Ms Jeane Freeman.

The meetings were both constructive and I thought it useful to summarise some of the issues raised.

Admissions to care homes

I explained the concerns of providers that we needed to be reassured that anyone entering into a care home was Covid negative. I was honest in saying that the previous relationships between the acute and care home sector had sometimes not been as good as it might have been. I also reflected that some families are giving kickback to providers for ‘allowing in new people’ into the care homes.

Following a positive discussion with the Clinical Lead who has developed the Guidance, one Graham Ellis, new and updated guidance will be issued shortly. This will make it clear that the seven-day self-isolation period will need to be in place as a clinical test. This might be 6 days in acute and 1 in a care home; 4 in acute and 3 in care home or all 7 days in the care home etc. There will be a robust clinical discharge assessment detailed noting which. Either way it should be clear after seven days that the person is Covid negative.

The refreshed Guidance will also contain information on Shared Information protocols and practice.

I must stress in the strongest terms that we must remain open to new admissions – to fail to do so will bring the whole system grinding to a halt.

We are exploring with some technology companies ways in which it might be possible to take vital observations and monitoring signs more remotely to free up staff.

Workforce

Undoubtedly THE major issue in communications and in our webinar has been workforce. This included the pressure envisaged as a result of staff who may develop Covid-19, staff who are self-isolating and part of families who are self-isolating and staff who may be away from the workforce because they belong to an at risk group especially those with underlying conditions and who have received the flu vaccine in the past. It is not an exaggeration to say that many providers fear they would lose a substantial part of their workforce especially with the latter classification.

So, given the First Minister and Cabinet Secretary’s emphasis on the importance of testing the health of ‘essential workers’ as a priority – I have been assured by the Cabinet Secretary that she sees social care staff as such an ‘essential workforce’. She observed that not all health employees are in essential roles and it may be the case with social care workers. We have been tasked to identify the roles which we consider to be ‘essential.’ I will shortly put up a question to that end on the discussion board and would be grateful if you could complete the survey there.

Practically this will mean at some point when capacity is assured and after there is an announcement from Government that our staff WILL be included in such screening. I indicated that the public messaging on this needed to be sharpened and much louder.

I am going to be liaising with the SG official who is co-ordinating this and the modelling to ensure we are clear of timeframe, locations, etc. This will enable workers who have self-isolated for seven or 14 days to quickly return to the workforce. You will be aware that at the moment this will only show they are NOT Covid positive but that the PM announced significant advances in the development of a ‘green lighting’ test which will show that a person HAS HAD the coronavirus. We are not there yet.

We will continue to explore with SG the possibility of consideration being given to those with non-respiratory conditions, e.g. diabetes, who may have been screened and had the flu vaccination and whether they might be able to return to the workforce sooner.

All in all, workforce shortage is the number one concern – I stressed this to the Cabinet Secretary. You will be aware of the decision to close schools. The Cabinet Secretary made it clear that children of social care staff would be included in the categories of children who would be looked after in schools by education staff. The practicalities of this are being worked out with the Deputy First Minister.

Some providers have suggested to me a shared care home/creche models. Please, please do not consider this – as it enhances risk considerably.

Supply chain

I am confident that the proposals outlined with the proposed triage and telephone/email helpline will address this issue. More information should come out on this this evening or first thing tomorrow (19th )

Some of you will be aware of the work being undertaken by Deeside Distillery to use alcohol to develop alcohol gel. This has really taken off across the country. The stumbling block has been HMRC tax – the Cabinet Secretary has agreed to unblock this and link the project with other Cabinet colleagues. This will dramatically enable this work to scale up.

Resources for CAHHS – sustainability issues

 COSLA is developing guidance based on the LGA Guidance in England. This has been a very slow process and I pressed upon the Cabinet Secretary the critical issues of sustainability facing providers in homecare and housing support. This includes but is not limited to the need to be flexible with contracts and contract monitoring including an end to the use of electronic call monitoring as a payment mechanism; the move from hourly purchase to block contracts; clear rules in relation to supplementing the pay of workers who self-isolate and are paid the SSP; the end or halting of tender and framework exercises; addressing the issue of call offs, missed visits, SLW uplifts from HSCP 20-21 etc. We will continue to urge COSLA to expedite these issues not least at the National Contingency Meeting tomorrow afternoon.

On wider sustainability issues facing the sector, I suggested the extension of business rates relief to the sector and she agreed to take this up with the Finance Secretary. She also agreed that she would make it clear together with Cabinet colleagues that community care providers should be able to access the small business relief schemes which Scottish Enterprise have established. She promised that after this was exhausted she would listen to instances where there was criticality over sustainability and address this proactively. She did caveat her words with saying that the sector needed to address the issue of zero hours contracts as a quid pro quo upon which I highlighted was a comment that needed to be directed to COSLA given it was their members that commission services which necessitate such contracts!!

NCHC

We had a frank discussion on the status of negotiations on the NCHC and I believe that her discussions with COSLA will lead to a positive outcome which at least will enable us to move forward into 2020-2021 with a contract as the basis of further mediation and conciliation.

Palliation and Just in Case Boxes and development of Covid ACP

 A small team led by the Palliative Care Lead at the CMO and including myself put forward an SBAR proposing the use of Just in Case Boxes and developed guidelines. This has been positively received and is being worked on with immediate effect. More information on these issues will be communicated as a matter of urgency.

Technology

We have had approaches from various tech companies to support response and communication into care homes – Scottish Government have agreed to allocate an individual to support Scottish Care and a private organisation in co-ordinating this work which would enable donations of tech into individual homes and to individuals in receipt of care both in care homes and the community. This is being linked to other work in SG.

Wellbeing and activity

Luminate Scotland and Scottish Care presented a proposal to enable activities to be communicated directly into care homes and older individuals living in self-isolation in the community. This was well received and will enhance well-being and emotional/psychological health. More detail will follow over the next few days.

 

Dr Donald Macaskill, CEO

18 March 2020

Update on Personal Protective Equipment – 16 March

Update on PPE access

Please see the below note from the Scottish Government regarding supplies for the social care sector’s response to COVID-19.

We hope to be able to share further details very soon.

 

To:       NHS Board Chief Executives

            Local Authority Chief Executives

            Chief Officers Integration Authorities 

            COSLA                 

Dear colleagues,

A number of you have been in touch about access to appropriate equipment to ensure your staff can safely and effectively deliver support to people in their homes and in residential care during the response to COVID-19. A particular priority that has been raised is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – as emphasised in the Health Protection Scotland guidance issued on Friday for social or community care and residential settings – and hand sanitiser/handwash. Many of you have said you are experiencing shortages, or issues with normal procurement routes.

I realise the situation is urgent in most – if not all – cases, and I appreciate those of you who have gotten in touch to alert us to local developments to date.

We are working at pace with NHS National Services for Scotland (NHS NSS) to establish a triage centre for action needed around supplies for social care. We expect this to be live within the next 48 hours. This will provide a phone number for Local Authorities/Integration Joint Boards/social care providers to call if they are experiencing shortages of supplies that cannot be resolved through local procurement arrangements. In critical cases, the triage centre will trigger distribution of supplies from stock. More widely, the triage centre will support providers to work with suppliers to identify and remove blockages, etc.

I am currently clarifying that the arrangements will also extend to self-employed personal assistants and unpaid carers who experience supply issues. Your help with communicating the message to these people when the time comes will be much appreciated. 

It goes without saying that we expect services to ration supplies to critical frontline staff only, for tasks where it is absolutely necessary. You may wish to consider centralising stock with only senior managers having access, as an approach that is already being taken in some local authority areas. I also expect Scotland Excel to support NHS NSS with the logistics around procurement/distribution arrangements.

I recognise that there will be some critical cases where help with supplies is needed more quickly than the 48 hours until the triage is live. In these cases, I urge you to get in touch with your local Health Board to access supplies. I have liaised directly with the Chief Executive of NHS NSS, and he has assured me that these requests will be taken on a par with supplies for the Board’s NHS services and assessed on a risk basis.

These are unprecedented times, and the need for collaborative working has never been greater. I am encouraged by the recognition that the safety and effectiveness of our social care services is absolutely paramount in our response to the virus, and therefore the urgency of mobilising supplies. Notwithstanding that, we must be mindful that the NHS NSS stock is not bottomless, and that requests must be urgent and genuine across the system – whether from NHS services or social care. I trust that you will communicate this message to your colleagues so that together we can ensure supplies go to those who need them most, first.

We will be in touch as soon as the triage arrangements have been established with details of how to get in touch with the centre and the approach they will take to prioritisation.