Glasgow to end sleepovers in response to living wage announcement

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Glasgow City Council is planning a "wholesale" redesign of overnight social provision in order to reduce costs 

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24th October 2017 by Susan Smith 0 Comments

Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership is planning to cut sleepovers as part of a “wholesale move to alternative care support arrangements” in a bid to reduce costs.

Just a few days after the Scottish Government announced that social care staff providing sleep-overs would be paid the living wage, a spokesman for Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership said it is redesigning its night shift services, because of the “sustainability issue.”

“Clearly there are issues about the living wage and sustainability,” he said. “So, to some degree it’s a financial issue.”

Third sector social care providers say the move to get rid of sleepovers could limit the rights of people who require overnight support to live independently in their own home.

They also say individual staff who are expecting a pay rise will instead experience a cut to their hours and pay and ocial care charities will struggle to find new people to work in a sector already beset with recruitment problems.

The Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership (GCHSCP) paper on sleepover rates, seen by TFN, revealed the plan.

It states: “GCHSCP is in the early stages of developing a transformation change programme related to future provision of overnight supports…

“This will involve a wholesale move to alternative care support arrangements being put in place by 2019, with which to support individuals to continue to live independently using a risk enabling approach. These will include increases in waking night staff and technology enable care usage.”

Glasgow currently supports around 750 people across the city with sleepovers. These are delivered by a range of different providers, many of which are charities.

Generally, a sleepover shift is between 11pm and 7am and involves a worker staying in the home of someone in case they need care overnight. It is not uncommon for a care worker to begin a shift at 2pm and work to 11pm before going to bed and then working the next morning again until 2pm.

Currently, they get paid their normal shift rate for the waking hours and an allowance for the overnight shift.

Recent changes to the law mean staff are legally entitled to the national minimum wage for sleepovers (£7.50 per hour), which the Scottish Government announced last week will be topped up to the Real Living Wage (£8.45 per hour).

Hayleigh Furlong, a personal assistant for Enable Scotland, said: “I work in supported living, and do shifts where I can be with a person for 24 hours. During that time, I work an eight hour overnight sleepover shift where I stay in a person’s home through the night to support them whenever they need me.”

On hearing that she would get a pay rise for her sleepovers, she said: “It’s a great feeling, not only because I will earn more money – which will certainly help pay the bills – but because it’s the right thing to do.”

However, a move to a waking night shift and technology enabled care usage in Glasgow is likely to see an end to the 24 hour shifts like the one Hayleigh (who doesn't work in Glasgow) currently does. Instead it could see workers covering several people or perhaps a whole district of people in one night.

Pete Richmond, chief executive of Partners for Inclusion, said the move to get rid of sleepovers would lead to a range of problems.

“Those currently doing sleepovers would have a strong objection as losing sleepover would see a significant drop in income," he said. "Added to this waking nights are often impersonal and in my experience the effect of a worker being awake during the night has an effect of the service user being wake through the night – not good for anyone.”

"It is also likely to lead to a reduction in people living in their own accommodation and an increase in special build housing support facilities, which although located in communities are still special facilities which develop institutional practices and segregate people from the community around them."

Annie Gunner Logan, director of the Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland (CCPS), said she believes Glasgow’s announcement is the first of many.

“It is now apparent that the extent of this redesign encompasses the complete eradication of sleepovers in our sector,” she said in a blog published on the CCPS website and on TFN.

“Given that the majority of support workers are already full-time, the introduction of waking nights in particular will require potentially hundreds of new recruits, at a time when even existing vacancies are impossible to fill.

“And whilst it may come as a surprise to the occupants of St Andrews House… the truth is that providers have been working hard to review their sleepover provision for several years now, particularly with respect to the introduction of tech solutions.

“Most feel that they have to a large extent already achieved what is achievable in this regard, certainly to the degree to which they consider to be safe, provide protection and maintain a suitable level of quality.”

CCPS is urging the Scottish Government to ensure there is funding in place to ensure sleepovers can continue when they are required. Read Gunner Logan's full blog on the issue. 

The spokesman for Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership added: “A proposal has been developed to create a £6.5m transitional fund that ensures the living wage is paid to those providing sleepover support up until and including the financial year 2018/19.

“In the intervening period we plan to work with social care providers to develop a range of support options that will ensure people who require overnight care will be supported appropriately in future.

“These proposals will be put before the council’s Contracts and Property Committee next month.”