Letter to our MPs

Dear Rob, Emma and Pat

I write to you as a homecare provider in Wolverhampton. I operate Home Instead, based in Tettenhall. Our service allows older people to remain in the comfort of their own home, as independently as possible, for as long as possible. We provide personal care, home help and companionship services to over 70 older people in your constituencies with a team of 50 CAREGivers.

We are proud to be part of a national homecare brand Home Instead UK, which employs 8,000 CAREGivers providing 4 million hours of homecare across the country each year. We are passionate about providing excellent care and put our clients at the heart of everything we do. Our homecare visits last a minimum of one hour and are designed to provide quality relationship-led homecare to older people in their own homes.

Our clients pay for our homecare and companionship service privately, or use the Personalisation Agenda to take a direct payment from the local authority, which they spend with us and top up with a small private contribution. At Home Instead, we do not believe quality care can be delivered in less than one hour, therefore we do not tender for, or take on, local authority block contracts which specify 15-minute calls.

Our Chief Executive Trevor Brocklebank has recently backed an open letter from the UKHCA which has been sent to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which highlights the issues the wider homecare sector faces as a result of the new National Living Wage. The open letter welcomes the introduction of the National Living Wage but lobbies for urgent funding of additional costs for its provision in social care to head off a catastrophic failure of home based care services. The letter has been signed by over 20 chief executives and managing directors from homecare providers across the country.

The signatory list includes homecare providers who supply state funded social care for whom the Living Wage announcement will impact business models greatly. It also includes signatories such as Home Instead, who are less affected as a private provider that already pays CAREGivers in your constituencies the new National Living Wage rate.

Regardless of the difference in home care models, Home Instead endorses the new National Living Wage and is supporting the UKHCA’s open letter, which protects the right for older people and vulnerable people to have dignified home care, commissioned at a real cost, provided by workers who are properly recognised and remunerated with the National Living Wage, which will make careers in care an attractive proposition instead of a make do position.

Uniting the voice of the homecare sector, the UKHCA’s open letter highlights the following points, which we endorse on a local level here in Wolverhampton and wish to bring to your attention as our local MPs.

• Unless the additional costs are fully-funded, there is a serious risk of catastrophic failure to support people who receive state-funded care at home.

• These risks and the consequences of failing to take action now to address them, are highlighted in the letter from the United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA) to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, a copy of which is enclosed.

• We strongly endorse this letter, and we call on you to urge the Chancellor, on behalf of your constituents, to implement the steps proposed in UKHCA’s letter for funding the additional costs of implementing the National Living Wage in social care.

• Local authorities in England commission the majority of homecare services. UKHCA estimate that to address existing under-funding of homecare and implement the National Living Wage will require an increase of at least £753 million from councils and the NHS in the first year alone.

• UKHCA research published in March 2015 revealed councils paid an average of £13.66 per hour for older people’s care compared to an estimated required rate of £16.70 to meet at least the new National Living Wage rate.

It is clear that unless Government and local commissioners of services, address the existing under-funding, and meet the additional costs of introducing the National Living Wage for state-funded homecare, there is a serious risk of catastrophic failure of these services, which are essential in supporting people to live at home in your constituency, and across the country.

For this reason, it is vital that you and Parliamentary colleagues raise the issue with the Chancellor now and urge him to implement the steps proposed by UKHCA in their attached letter.