Brownridge,Barbara,councillor,Labour,Chadderton,North Published: Tuesday, 21st January 2014

Oldham Council is to consider adopting a radical new ethical model for home care that will be ‘win-win’ for elderly and vulnerable people, care providers and employees alike.

The proposals – going to Cabinet on January 27 – are designed to improve the choice and quality of home care in the borough.

Oldham Council is seeking to take a lead in setting ethical standards to do this – in a way that focusses on residents’ needs, guarantees good care, promotes quality providers and ensures their staff are fairly paid and encouraged to improve their skills.

The new model will differ from what is normally offered by local authorities – residents will choose their care from a list of companies rated ‘good’ or ‘excellent’; care staff will be guaranteed the living wage and service providers will be given greater flexibility to agree care arangements with the older person or their family.

Councillor Barbara Brownridge, Cabinet Member for Social Care and Public Health, said: “We know that home care is an area of great concern to local residents and families.

“Nationally there have been a lot of negative stories in this area and we have set out to produce proposals here that we believe will raise the bar on home care and become a model that others could follow.  

“We believe it is our duty to set an ethical standard here that is shaped by our Co-operative Council approach: one where all parties – elderly and vulnerable people, care providers and their employees – all benefit.”

Under the proposals companies applying to provide home care will now be considered against an ‘ethical standard’.

Residents would be actively involved in shaping and taking responsibility for their services and retain total control and choice over who delivers their care.

Service users would see the main benefits. Only companies that have ‘good or ‘excellent’ ratings, employ qualified carers and have the highest customer satisfaction rating would be selected for the borough’s home care.

Oldham Council would insist that all companies monitor their care and report back regularly. This would allow it to build a quality profile of each provider.

The proposals would also help the carers themselves – with employers being required to pay their staff the ‘Oldham Living Wage’, paying them for their travel time and match workers with service users living nearby – enhancing a sense of community and rapport between carer and service user*.

Care providers would also gain – not only from a fixed hourly fee of £12.60 per hour that was agreed between the companies and the council – but from increased flexibility in the service user’s needs.

Councillor Brownridge added: “It’s essential that when choosing home care providers we make sure we consider what they can bring to our borough on the whole, and these proposals mean the quality of home care in Oldham improves without a significant increase in spending.

“Our purchasing power is significant – so we can say to companies that they must really benefit our communities and neighbourhoods to work with us.

“This fits with Oldham’s co-operative agenda – we are at the forefront of redefining how essential council services are delivered in the face of financial challenges and increased demand.

“Most importantly, these proposals mean that residents will retain a more independent, dignified life for longer. This standard will raise the bar for care providers - I look forward to seeing how they step up to the challenge we’re setting them of providing excellent care and benefiting our entire borough.”

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