Calls by unions for a minimum rate of £6.50 an hour for public
sector workers, including home care staff, have been rejected by
the Local Government Pay Commission.
In a report released this week, the commission says that despite
the problems with attracting staff into some jobs at the bottom of
the pay scale in certain parts of the country, “these were not
pervasive enough to justify a general uprating of the minimum rate
The Local Government Pay Commission acknowledges that pay is a
“significant” factor in recruiting and retaining social workers.
But it says that negative media coverage has contributed to a poor
image, which is another important factor in recruitment
It also highlights problems created by the closer working of social
care and health professionals, saying that the deal laid out in the
NHS’s workforce strategy Agenda for Change has led to “discontent”
among local government workers.
The lack of money available in social care compared with the NHS is
“undermining the relative attractiveness of employment in local
government,” it explains.
The failure by representative bodies to develop career pathways is
also criticised within the report, which adds that the national
campaign to recruit social workers is welcome but has not addressed
the more profound issue of a career ladder within the
It recommends councils introduce or extend their own graduate
development schemes to attract greater numbers of young
professionals into local authorities.
Proposals for performance-related pay were rejected because of the
problems inherent in measuring productivity in certain types of
work such as social care work.
Instead the report suggests giving pay rises on the basis of
progression in terms of skills, qualifications and
Unions and employers, who have agreed that longer-term pay deals
would be preferable to annual wage negotiations, will welcome the
sympathy for this idea in the report, which says it would provide
“some stability and predictability” for workers.
The commission was set up last year to look into pay and related
issues following national strikes by public sector workers who
received a 3 per cent pay rise instead of the 6 per cent they had
– Report of the Local Government Pay Commission is
available from www.lgpay.org.uk