Support for Care at Home Workers Required

Care at Home allows elderly and vulnerable people to remain in their own homes with their familiar objects, pets and family around them. They are able to stay within their own communities and continue to be supported by social links which is such an important part in anyone’s wellbeing. But those who provide the care will soon be required to be registered and to take qualifications as a legal part of their employment.

Care at home also means hospital places can be used for those that require hospital care. It costs less money to care for a person in their own home. Most importantly it is better for a person’s health when  they are cared for in their own home allowing them more independence in how they are cared for.

Since the 31st of January 2014 all Managers in Care at Home services have had to be registered with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) with an annual fee of £30 (set to rise to £80 in September 2017). Supervisors require to be registered by 30th June 2017 with an annual fee of £20 (set to rise to £35 in September 2017). And workers – those with direct contact with users of the service – will also require to be registered at a date not yet set but probably in late September/October 2017. Their fees have not yet been set.

The Care at Home service is the last to be included in the registration process which is a legal requirement. As part of being registered employees must also undertake qualifications and additional training.  It is to the advantage of all concerned: the worker, the service and those who use the service that staff are well trained and apply high standards to their work. The cost of courses and registration is, however, of concern to many who are care at home workers.

Taking qualifications, especially for those who have never undertaken them for a long time or indeed ever, can be concerning. Help and advice needs to be available to those who are having to undertake courses including advice on applying for student loans.

Across Scotland care at home services are provided by a mixture of local authority provision, privately and through voluntary organisations. This is also the case in Orkney. The Scottish Government has announced a funding package  of over £1million to help 79 charities which provide care at home and housing support services. The money is being allocated from the Voluntary Sector Development Fund. It is thought this will help up to 700 care at home workers to get the qualifications they require for registration.

 Minister for Childcare and Early Years in the Scottish Government, Mark McDonald said:

“This valuable investment will support employers in ensuring that we have a skilled workforce delivering high quality care to the most vulnerable people in our society.”   

“The Voluntary Sector Development Fund has been supporting charities since 2003 to make sure that we have a competent, skilled and valued social services workforce in Scotland.”

 “Our commitment for a skilled and valued workforce is part of our strong commitment to deliver high quality and effective social services.”

The fund is intended to aid voluntary organisations, particularly small-medium sized organisations, to ensure that staff meet the registration requirements set by the Scottish Social Services Council. The funding can be used directly to fund or support new training and development needs associated with meeting the requirements for registration with the SSSC.

High standards must be set and expected from those who provide the care at home service. In Orkney we have some of the most dedicated care workers many working long hours and often in what can be stressful conditions. It is essential that support for care at home workers is provided whether they are employed through the OIC, privately or by voluntary organisations. And this support must both be financial and personal. We cannot afford to lose the skills and experience of these valuable workers if they are frightened off from the job they do because they are nervous about taking formal qualifications or cannot afford to do so.

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

For more information Scottish Social Services Council

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