Councils have a “clear responsibility” to ensure care providers treat their staff fairly, the new president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Care has said.
David Pearson said there was an “increasingly clear responsibility” for councils to take into account the actual costs of care in setting fees, to help ensure providers treated staff well, including paying home care staff for travel time.
While this was the provider’s responsibility, Pearson, the director at Nottinghamshire council, said: “We need to ensure that we are making this possible; and that we have ways of knowing that providers are fulfilling those responsibilities. Again: ensuring transparency is crucial.”
Pearson’s comments, in a speech to Adass’s annual spring seminar, comes amid growing concern over compliance with the minimum wage and the use of zero-hour contracts in social care.
He said there was a “huge job” to do “to ensure that social care workers’ roles were valued and supported” and praised their “energy, commitment, care, determination and pride”.
A social worker by background, Pearson articulated a strong role for the profession in “whether it’s in integrated teams, leading safeguarding investigations, working alongside service users, or developing self-directed support”.
As Community Care reports councils cutting back on care packages to make a fourth consecutive year of savings to adults’ services budgets, Pearson said councils had to make “every pound stretch further” through innovation.
He said that sector-led improvement – the system under which councils self-assess their performance and help each other to improve – was having an increasing impact. However, he said there were still question marks about its level of take up, its impact and
“This coming year we need to continue with the sector-led improvement programme in each region, enhance our transparency and measure the impact,” said Pearson, who succeeds Leeds director Sandie Keene as Adass president.
Pearson is director of the adult social care, health and public protection department at Nottinghamshire, where he has worked for over 30 years. He started as as a child care social worker at the council in 1982 at Nottinghamshire County Council and held various roles before becoming director of social services in 2005.