• A number of recent reports have drawn attention to the quality of home care for older and disabled people and to threats to their human rights and dignity.
• All the reports are based on surveys of local authorities, service users and/or care workers and/or Freedom of Information requests to local authorities. The reports make links between the quality of care and the pay and conditions of home care workers.
• Of particular concern are the lack of awareness among some local authorities and councillors of their responsibilities in relation to human rights legislation; the ceilings which some authorities are putting on the rates they will pay service providers which are putting downward pressure on pay; the fact that in some cases rates do not appear to be sufficient to enable the payment of the national minimum wage; and the fact that some care workers are not paid for the time they take to travel between visits.
• Attention is also drawn to the question whether visits of 15 minutes or less are ever adequate to provide appropriate care – an issue which has been raised by Ministers.
• The reports make a number of recommendations to local authorities and Government that could help address these issues.
• This briefing will be of interest to local authorities with social services responsibilities.
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