Byrne: ‘I expect pay rates to rise’

“There are a lot of people who go to work for reasons other than pay,” says care services minister Liam Byrne, when asked whether status can be increased for care workers without raising their wages.

Having learned from the experience of teaching assistants, he believes people are motivated by different things but what they have in common is the “reward and recognition which comes with professionalism”.

He says some of the costs that social care employers face, stemming from high staff turnover and vacancy rates, can be recouped through professionalising the workforce.

“We would expect rates of pay to go up as the costs of a lack of professionalism are driven out of the system,” he explains.

He says commissioning and procurement of care services is not always being done in the right way and could benefit from being carried out locally and regionally.

The Department of Health will be working on a commissioning framework for health and well-being over the next two to three months but Byrne says it is “still too early to say” whether benchmarks for service costs, which would affect pay, will form part of it.

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