This afternoon Maureen and I bumped into a woman who used to be one of the carers from the Agency. We hadn’t seen her for a while and she said: ‘you won’t be seeing me again, as I have just handed my notice in’. Sue was one of the better carers, and we would happily have had her as one of our regulars, but that never happened. Until I became very firm with the Agency a couple of weeks ago, they sent a succession of carers on Wednesday’s: almost a fresh face every week.
Sue told us the reasons for her resignation were not: the poor hourly rate; the lack of travelling expenses; or the fact that she was on a zero hour contract. Her reason for giving in her notice was that she was often asked to work for a couple of hours in the morning and go home before resuming her work a few hours later. She was also fed up with continually being phoned up and offered a £10 bonus to work a few hours on her day off. She was even told if she didn’t bail them out there was a danger the Agency would be placed in ‘Special Measures’.
Yesterday I happened to be down by the headquarters of our Agency. Large banners were outside their offices trying to recruit new staff. The terms and conditons on offer included: regular contracts, training, and travelling expenses. I just wonder how on earth any organisation can get away with such misrepresentation? I also wonder how Local Authorities are able to place lucrative contracts with such dubious organisations? I think the only solution is to take such vital services back into the Public Sector. Care in the community is fine but it should be under the auspices of Local Authorities.