Posted on: February 28, 2020
By Neil Taylor
The well-publicised points based immigration system is due to take effect from 1st January 2021, despite the protestations of the care sector over recent years. It will have a significant and adverse impact on our capacity to provide care and support to the most vulnerable in our communities.
Never mind the sharp blow aimed at the self-esteem of the loyal and enthusiastic staff by being classed as unskilled, the care sector has been dependent for many years on the dedication of EU citizens, who represent a large percentage of the care workforce in the Jewish community. These are highly skilled staff who are able to respond to the person with autism having a mental health episode or able to support a member with a learning disability to travel to their first day of work, or have the ability to recognise and enable a person with learning disabilities realise their full potential to contribute to their community.
At Langdon, we are somewhat protected from the potential immediate implications of these changes to the rules, as we only have a small percentage of EU citizens working in the organisation. However, we are not immune to the threat as staff turnover in Langdon, albeit lower than the sector average, it remains a significant challenge – not least because the higher rate we can afford to pay staff does not acknowledge the skills and values that our staff bring to work every day to support young people and adults with learning disabilities and autistic spectrum disorders to thrive and live fulfilled lives.
What this means is that retaining our quality staff will become ever more a priority, whether this is to seek to pay the London Living Wage (Real Living Wage outside London), which would mean an increase in our staff costs of 10%, to invest even more substantially in our workforce development, or to offer a highly competitive staff benefits package. All of which requires significant investment at a time when we are receiving minimum increases in funding. Local Authorities will expect our community to make up the difference and our community will expect the state to cover the full cost of care and support – so who will rise to the challenge first in supporting our members – potentially for the rest of their lives?
Our attitude to social care, and in particular how we respect vulnerable people, is a measure of the society we aspire to be. In spite of how government considers our care workforce to be unskilled, you only have to ask our members or their families and they will vigorously argue that the staff that support them are the most skilled, dedicated and values driven people, upon whom they rely every day!
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