Cllr Jillian Creasy, Leader of the Green Group of councillors on Sheffield City Council explained, “There is evidence that if care providers pay their workers less than the living wage or employ them on zero hours contracts the level of care suffers. Poor conditions lead to a high turnover of carers and experienced workers leaving, which is not good for service users. In the long term this costs more due to frequent crises, not to speak of the rights of people with learning disabilities and their families to have a reliable service.”
Sheffield City Council is about to take the contract for Learning Disability services away from the NHS trust which currently provides it. Workers and service users brought a petition of over 5000 signatures to Full Council asking for the decision to be reversed. The Labour administration did not give way on their decision to contract out the service but referred it to the Scrutiny Committee. The Green Councillors proposed an amendment calling on Scrutiny to take into account UNISON’s Ethical Care Charter and reaffirming the council’s commitment to pay the living wage and not to make use of zero hours contracts.
Cllr Creasy said, “It is very ironic that Labour, which says it wants to reverse privatisation of the NHS, is putting a local service provided by an NHS trust into private hands. But at least they should guarantee the same standards of service and employment conditions in the new service.”
1. Agenda for Full Council with details of the Learning Disability Service petition can be found on the SCC website http://sheffielddemocracy.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=154&MId=5629
2. UNISON’s Ethical Care Charter is a survey and guidance for council’s commissioning care services http://sheffielddemocracy.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=154&MId=5629
3. The Green Party amendment added the following clauses to the Labour motion:
(a) Directs that Scrutiny takes into account Unison’s Ethical Care Charter, and
(b) Reaffirms the Council’s commitment to paying the living wage and not making use of zero hours contracts in accordance with the Fairness Commission
4. For further information contact Cllr Jillian Creasy at firstname.lastname@example.org .