UNISON Newport City branch is calling on Newport City Cabinet members to rethink cost saving proposals being made around the social care services as a matter of urgency. Newport City Cabinet is scheduled to meet 21 December to commence the consultation process on the budget. The cost saving proposals being considered include an option to outsource the Council’s Extra Care Service to a private contractor.
There are four Extra Care Service schemes running across the city. The schemes provide accommodation for older and vulnerable people with care available on site. The schemes enable people to live independently and comfortably.
After years of salami slicing care services, UNISON is arguing that these plans would mean virtually the entire homecare provision in Newport has been outsourced and would detrimentally impact not only the terms and conditions of the workforce, but also the quality of the service being provided. UNISON is calling on Newport Cabinet members to remove this proposal from the consultation process at the meeting.
Stephanie Davies, Newport City branch secretary, said:
“Social care services have reached crisis point. Our current circumstances mean we are dealing with both the demographic challenge of an aging population and continued financial pressures. Outsourcing, however, is not the answer.
“The council must be aware that outsourcing ultimately leads to the workforce subsidising the service through poor terms and conditions and low pay. We have seen this time and time again elsewhere, with the end result being to the detriment of the quality of the services provided.
“Beyond this though, whilst the council may believe they would be making savings through outsourcing, they must be aware that they cannot outsource their statutory responsibilities and they must consider the risks involved in such a transfer.
“If the services face challenges or fail in the future, it will be the council that has to pick up the cost.
“With this in mind, it just does not make sense to push this service outside of direct council control and we are calling on Cabinet members to remove this proposal from the consultation.”
UNISON has also launched a petition against the proposal to outsource Extra Care Scheme services. You can add your name to the petition via this link: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/keep-extra-care-with-newport-city-council