Living wage plea to care provider

By Trevor Bevins - Local Democracy Reporter

2nd Jul 2024 | Local News

Nick Ireland
Nick Ireland

ORSET Council leader, Nick Ireland, is encouraging Care Dorset to pay all of its staff the real living wage.

His call came at the same time as the council-owned company announced it had lost £400,000 this year.

The amount has been set for 2024 at £12 per hour for those over 18, £13.15 an hour for those in London.

Cllr Ireland told a shareholders meeting of Care Dorset Holdings Ltd, wholly-owned by Dorset Council, but independently run, that he would like to see the business promise all its staff the real living wage as a minimum. Many already receive more than the figure.

The sector has traditionally had problems in recruiting and retaining staff with pay said to be one of the biggest issues, although there has been some financial help to support care sector wages locally from Dorset Council in recent years.

Managing Director of Care Dorset, Chris Best, told Cllr Ireland that there is an ambition to raise levels of pay, although there would be 'challenges' around doing that. He earlier told councillors that the business made a £400,000 loss it its first full trading year after taking over care services across Dorset from Tricuro.

Mr Best said the business was also looking at new ways of recruiting and had plans to start its own training academy as well as developing ways of reducing travelling time for staff, another area seen by some to be problematic.

Said Chickerell councillor, Gill Taylor: "It has always struck me that career progression is another obstacle although I accept that is a tough nut to crack because many staff wanting to progress would often look to the NHS, but staff are our most important commodity and we need to look after them."

Cllr Taylor is Dorset Council's Cabinet member for public health, environmental health, community safety and regulatory services.

     

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