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NEWS SOCIAL CARE WORKERS £130M


OUT OF POCKET Social care workers are losing out on £130 million a year due to pay rates that are in breach of the National Minimum Wage, according to analysis by the independent think-tank the Resolution Foundation.


The analysis estimates that around 160,000 care workers (out of 1.4 million) are being paid less than the minimum wage when all working time is considered. The average loss for those not receiving the minimum wage is around £815 per year.


Dubbed ‘wage theft’, the think-tank believes this pay gap is primarily down to the failure of employers to pay staff at a level that adequately covers all of their working time. This includes time spent travelling between clients for domiciliary care workers, many of whom will have to make a number of journeys between clients each day. It’s also due to unpaid training time and ‘on call’ time.


According to the researchers, the social care workforce displays many of the characteristics normally associated with low pay: almost two


in five staff work part-time, more than four in five are women, and a growing number of its workforce are migrants. There is also a high prevalence of zero-hours contracts, and weak collective bargaining power for better pay and conditions.


Laura Gardiner, Senior Research and Policy Analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “Diminishing public funding and ever tighter commissioning practices are placing great pressure on care providers, but there is simply no excuse for breaking the law and HMRC urgently needs to get tougher on employers who do so. It’s welcome that the government has started to draw attention to this issue and beefed up enforcement powers but far more needs to be done given the scale of abuse.”


She added: “As well as helping to attract and retain staff and boosting the incomes of low-paid workers, better pay would ultimately lead to improvements in care quality. If we want to see dignity for those receiving care then we need to start investing in the workers who provide it.”


DEMENTIA CARE ASSESSMENT HOPES TO RAISE


STANDARDS UK care home providers will be able to gain insight into the competency of carers working with dementia sufferers thanks to a new assessment launched by people risk specialists Cognisco, in conjunction with care operator, Belong.


The Dementia*Care assessment uses situational judgement questions based on real life scenarios to test carers’ knowledge, competence and confidence in their roles.


The modules cover residents’ health and experience, understanding of dementia, and care strategies, including how to deliver person centred care.


Providers gain insight into the competence levels of their entire workforce, enabling them to better plan their recruitment strategies and training, reducing training costs and improving individual performance quickly.


CHARITY FUNDS NEW WAVE OF ALZHEIMER’S RESEARCH


A gene that increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 10 times will be the subject of a new research hub at the University of Sussex funded by Alzheimer’s Society.


The £700,000 partnership between the charity and the university will enable eight PhD students to unpick the role of the gene APOE4 in the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, looking at how different forms of the gene affect the brain throughout life.


The award comes as part of almost £5 million in new funding led by Alzheimer’s Society to create the next generation of dementia researchers to develop new


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treatments and improve care for the condition.


The funding will create a network of Doctoral Training Centres at universities across the UK to enable the best scientists to tackle some of the most pressing issues in dementia.


The Doctoral Training Centres will be split between biomedical and care research, recruiting 53 PhD students from a variety of academic and clinical backgrounds to bring fresh perspective to dementia research. The new centres are part of the £100 million Alzheimer’s Society plans to spend on research into the condition over the next decade.


www.tomorrowscare.co.uk


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