Care worker with elderly person

Southwark Council launches new charter to protect care home staff

Southwark Council has agreed a Residential Care Charter that will improve the working terms and conditions for all residential care providers in the borough.

The council said the charter will drive up standards for care workers, leading to better working conditions and better quality of care for the most vulnerable residents within the community.

Southwark’s Residential Care Charter lays out the council’s expectations regarding safe and high-quality care, which go beyond the current standards set by the Care Quality Commission.

New ethical care requirements set out how care home staff in Southwark should be valued and supported in their work, including:

  • All care home staff will be paid at least the London Living Wage (£11.05 per hour).
  • They will be paid for the time it takes to carry out a proper handover between shifts, ensuring safety and continuity of care for residents.
  • Zero-hour contracts will not be used in place of permanent contracts unless requested by staff.
  • Training must be free and carried out in work time.

Trade union Unison has endorsed the charter and wants to work closely with Southwark Council to promote its benefits nationally to other local authorities.

In 2013, Southwark was one of the first councils to sign up to Unison’s Ethical Care Charter, which introduced a range of improvements for homecare workers’ pay and conditions.

These commitments, along with feedback from residents, families and providers have helped inform the council’s new targets for local care homes.

Commenting, Southwark Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Councillor Evelyn Akoto said:

“We want safe, high-quality and ethical care for all. Our new charter protects vulnerable residents living in care homes and the remarkable people who have worked tirelessly to keep them safe throughout the pandemic.

“While providing care is often a vocation, this does not mean staff should not be properly rewarded for the important work they do on behalf of us all.

“I believe that having a better paid, better skilled and well-motivated workforce in our care homes will help ensure residents receive the high-quality care they deserve.

“In Southwark, we have a proud history of being a frontrunner when it comes to driving up standards of care. Our Residential Care Charter is the first of its kind anywhere in the country and one I hope to see many more organisations follow.”

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