Latest Public Sector News


Review calls for improved carer working conditions

Exploitative working conditions for care workers in the UK means that there is a risk that they will only be able to deliver a rushed, poor quality service, a new Labour-commissioned report has revealed. 

The Kingsmill Review, conducted by Baroness Kingsmill, said the pressure that 15-minute care slots place on carers means they are unable to give the required interaction that care recipients need. 

The work is physically and emotionally demanding and often undertaken in unsocial hours, and there is evidence of widespread exploitation of workers. Between 160,000 and 220,000 care workers are unlawfully paid less than the national minimum wage; an estimated 307,000 care workers, or a fifth of the adult social care workforce, are on zero hours contracts, meaning they do not have stable hours each week or a stable income; and a fifth of health and social care apprentices receive no training at all. Nearly a third of carers receive no regular ongoing training. 

Baroness Kingsmill said: “Care for elderly and disabled people is a major issue for the mid-21st century. We are likely to live longer and a large number of is will require care in our final years. 

“Improving conditions for care workers and care recipients is a journey: we need to act now, but we need long term change and to truly value care as essential to the well-being of some of the most vulnerable people in society.” 

One of the central recommendations of the review is that a new Care Charter should be developed by the Care Quality Commission to raise standards, end time-limited visits, and introduce an inspection regime for the commissioning of care. The report would also ensure councils and service providers are transparent in their price setting. 

Labour leader Ed Miliband said: “Nine months ago, I asked Denise Kingsmill to lead an independent review to better understand and tackle exploitation in the care sector. Her report today shows that the army of care workers, who carry out some of the most important work anyone can do looking after parents, grandparents and the most vulnerable in our society, are often exploited with real consequences for those they care for.” 

Before the Kingsmill Review was published, Labour councils such as Southwark and Islington had already introduced a Care Charter, which committed them to tackling exploitative working practices and ending the use of 15-minute slots, with no additional funding from central government. 

Heather Wakefield, Unison’s head of local government, added: “Many of the issues tackled by the Kingsmill Review were not even being discussed a few years ago. We’ve worked hard over the past 18 months to get councils to adopt the Unison Charter voluntarily, and if councils like Islington, Southwark, Wirral, Reading, Renfrewshire and Lancashire can make this commitment, we believe that other councils should too.” 

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News


Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >


Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >