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Earlier this year, the Scottish Government promised that all social care workers would get at least the Living Wage, currently at £8.25 per hour.
Social care providers have been badly squeezed over the last few years with frozen budgets and unrealistic tenders from councils. Staff wages have been the main victim and in many areas retail workers are paid more than care workers.
Now with only a few weeks to go till the deadline, Scottish Care and CCPS are reporting that many councils have not put funding plans in place yet
Some councils have made reasonable efforts to resolve the matter. Aberdeen City, which has long had a problem recruiting social care worker due to the high wages on offer elsewhere has offered a rise of 6.4% on all contracts.
Many social care providers already pay more than the living wage and the question of how to support those who have always valued their staff has challenged local authorities.
Falkirk has raised the price for all hourly contracts to £16.50 which they think will allow providers to pay the Living Wage. For those who were higher than this, there is only a 50p an hour increase.
Glasgow demonstrates the difference between Care Homes and Care At Home services. Care Homes are covered by a National Contract so Glasgow is increasing its offer for this by 6.5%. Its offer to Care at Home providers is only 3.1%.
North Lanarkshire has not stated what it is going to do but it has increased wages of ”in house” staff to £12.17 per hour at a cost of £5.4 million because of “equal pay” legislation. It’s a shame such rules only applies to council staff.
Part of what drives the reluctance to meet the full cost of the Living Wage, is that any savings can be used by councils for other purposes. East Lothian is planning to put its “saving” of twice the cost of the Living Wage into more Care At Home Hours.
In another development, Glasgow is giving some providers an opportunity to be more flexible in their “Proof of Concept” scheme. They will no longer count hours of support so providers can spend more on wages as long as services users still get good outcomes. Of course, there is still a sting in the tail, with the council expecting this scheme to deliver 5% budget savings!
After 10 years our Coordinator, Ian Hood, is leaving.
Starting soon as Coordinator is Donna Nicholson.
Donna was formerly a journalist in the papers and on radio. Over the last 10 years, she ran a big campaigning organisation and has a lot of further experience in the 3rd sector. You’ll be hearing a lot from Donna and the rest of LDAS over the next few months.
The Department of Work and Pensions has published statistics on the take up of the new benefit.
Most of the figures relate to new claims rather than reassessments so the claims are mainly for people under the age of 25.
The national figures go into a lot of detail about particular conditions. So we now know that throughout the UK, there have been successful claims from 2,858 people with Down’s Syndrome and 354 people with Fragile X syndrome
For people with autism, there were 17,257 people with autism and a further 9.764 with Asperger’s Syndrome.
The figures for Scotland did not go into so much detail and only gave the global category for people. There were 2,444 awards for people with learning disabilities and 2,234 for people with autism.
The percentage of people in both categories are 10% lower than the national figures. So we will be keeping an eye on this over the next couple of years to make sure that assessors in Scotland are applying the same standards as the rest of the UK.
Hiba Al Sharfa has become the Gaza Strip’s first teacher with Down’s Syndrome, after a lifelong effort to achieve the dream.
Al Sharfa teaches at Right to Live, an NGO based in the Gaza Strip that supports and cares for children with Down’s Syndrome. It works to help educate and support children with the learning disabilities with the aim of helping them integrate into mainstream society.
Other members of staff say Al Sharfa is close to her students and able to better meet their needs because she understands their experiences having lived through similar struggles herself. More than 400 children are educated at the Right to Live Centre, who participate in classes including dance, crafts, and life skills.
Nabil Aljaneed, director of rehabilitation at the Centre, said there is still a great deal of work to do in supporting people with Down’s Syndrome in Gaza. “We do numerous workshops and awareness programs for the local community, because honestly until now the local society is very poor when it comes to accepting the kids and young people who have this disorder,” he said.
The Learning Disability Alliance Scotland launched its latest project on Tuesday 13th September. Mairi Benson and Alexander Warren started work developing new ways to help people with learning disabilities connect with the projects that support them.
People with learning disabilities want to be more involved in having a say over what happens in their lives, how the organisations that support them work and the policies that affect them. Many people with learning disabilities now enjoy more independent support settings and have less overall support due to cutbacks. They use their support on aspects of their life such as skill acquisition or leisure and leaves little for taking part in formal consultations.
In a world of individual services and dispersed choices, attending service user meetings means using precious support time that could be used in other ways rather than travelling and spending hours in a meeting. Many younger people with support needs also tell us that they don't like the "old fashioned" type meetings.
Our idea is to test a model of going out to where people already spend their time with easy to use tablet computers loaded with simple and clear surveys that people with learning disabilities with different capacities to understand, can take part in.
We think that the use of communication technology along with better use of publicly available apps can help more people become involved in making choices in a setting of their own choosing with a smaller time commitment on their behalf. We will also test a further range of communication strategies including quizzes, games and activities.
We think people are more likely to contribute 15 minutes of their time if those doing the survey go to them and supports them to answer. This will help organisations make better decisions and ones that fit the needs of people themselves. People will benefit from more confidence with IT, gain more confidence in their decision making and become involved in other ways of speaking up. And this will help people with learning disabilities enjoy better services and make sure that those who make decisions about that affect their lives do so with the widest possible information