Labour Mayor John Biggs will today formally sign the ‘Ethical Care Charter’, marking a significant milestone and achieving a key part of his election manifesto. The Ethical Care Charter, established by UNISON, is a commitment to improve working conditions for our home care workers, who carry out vital work in often difficult circumstances.
The Charter seeks to establish minimum standards for safety, quality and dignity of care by both ensuring customers are not ‘short-changed’ and by ensuring recruitment and retention of a stable workforce by offering fair pay, conditions and training.
To meet this commitment the Mayor’s first budget, agreed in February 2016, included an investment of £1million this year and £1.4million the following year. The requirements of the charter will be implemented through new home care contracts later this year, included as mandatory standards that external providers have to deliver.
Mayor John Biggs and Dave Prentis (General Secretary of UNISON) will sign the Ethical Care Charter at Tower Hamlets Town Hall this afternoon. Carers and service users will be present at the signing and give short speeches.
Mayor John Biggs said: “I’m very pleased to be signing the Ethical Care Charter and formally committing the Council to improving the working conditions of our home care workers. The Charter will ensure our care workers are paid properly and treated professionally, helping to provide better quality care for our elderly and vulnerable people.
“The commitments that form the Ethical Care Charter are in three stages and we are making strong progress in many of these areas. We are investing in this crucial frontline service and ensuring that the Council’s priority is our care workers and the people who depend on them.”
Councillor Amy Whitelock Gibbs, Cabinet Member for Health & Adult Services, said:
"We've heard from many local home care workers about their concerns and the Charter directly deals with those issues, like being paid for travel time and avoiding zero hours contracts. Our current external providers already meet one or more of the Charter requirements but this investment and the new contracts will ensure the Charter is implemented in full from April 2017, in turn improving quality of care for residents.
"The Charter is a very positive step for the borough and I’m really proud that we are implementing it."
Kerie Anne, UNISON’s Assistant Branch Secretary for Social Care, said: “We welcome the Mayor’s signing of the Charter and his commitment to ensuring that home care workers are properly paid and respected for the work they do in caring for the borough’s vulnerable residents.
“Research undertaken by UNISON has highlighted how Home care workers are dedicated to providing quality care, despite an escalating crisis in the national homecare system and poor conditions. The council's adoption of the charter will foster much improved employment conditions and training, which in turn will assist in the provision of good quality care for residents. UNISON looks forward to working with the council on its implementation.”