This is a letter to the Swindon Advertiser printed yesterday
THE council’s decision to dump their Home Care workers and call in private companies is being done in the name of “value for money”. In reality it is simply a means of providing a service on the cheap. The workers who are facing the sack are dedicated people, many of whom have worked for the council for long years. The council is thus throwing away real value, people who are properly trained, who know what they are doing and care about the service they provide. The loyalty and commitment of these workers means nothing to a council driven by the ‘small state’ ideology which wants to transform everything into a commodity.
In its place the council will call on private providers from an industry largely based on low wages; an industry which has been casualised, its staff not trained properly, with too few people dashing around, with too much work to do.
It’s my understanding that it is common for private providers not to programme in travelling time between clients. This can only mean that the staff either spend less time than they should with their clients or end up arriving late. Staff themselves do not receive sick pay, encouraging them to work when they are ill and may infect their clients with a virus or whatever.
In taking this path the council will be responsible for a worse service, and the worsening of the quality of life of those who depend upon this service. In the end it may not save much because a worsening of the service may mean that it fails to ensure that people who need support can live independent lives in their own homes.