What happens when you privatise care home inspections

The body responsible for ensuring care homes are run to an adequate standard is so short of qualified consultants to help with inspections that it has had to ask the charities it replaced with a private company to help out.

Remploy, the former government agency that has turned into a for profit firm, won a £7m contract to replace the charities in London, the North and South of England, starting a week ago. However, hundreds of “Experts by Experience” have refused to reapply for their jobs after Remploy offered half their previous £17-per-hour pay.

As a result, the Care Quality Commission has had to ask the charities to keep providing the consultants for another two weeks, despite choosing Remploy to take over the inspections programme.

The CQC offered to provide a “buffer” payment to existing experts so they would be paid £15 per hour for the next six months, after which their salary could drop to just £8.40 per hour (£9.25 in London) – which is what Remploy is paying new recruits.

… Every month more than 500 experts, with personal experience of care services, are sent on CQC inspections across adult social care, primary care and hospitals. They play a vital role in the inspection process. However, hundreds of experts have quit their roles – angered by a combination of the pay offer and the fact that a private firm, majority owned by US outsourcing giant Maximus, is profiting from the deal. …”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/care-quality-commission-begs-for-help-from-charities-it-has-just-replaced-a6859326.html

One thought on “What happens when you privatise care home inspections

  1. They want to pay “experts” only £8.40 per hour? The Living Wage for relatively unskilled workers is more than that.

    It sounds very much like the government drove an unacceptably hard bargain, leaving the private contractors insufficient funds to pay for expert staff. Just how stupid is that?

    1. In my professional career I have worked on both sides of the outsourcing environment, and in my experience outsourcing leads only to higher costs or to poorer service – because the primary costs are for staff, costs which will not change if you want to keep the same quality of staff, on top of which you need to pay for extra staff to manage the outsourcing contract and (say) a 15% profit margin on top. I would also add that the way such contracts are often managed is that they take the total they are being paid, take out the profit margin, and then do what they can with the amount of money that remains. That is EXACTLY what seems to be happening here – in which case this was entirely predictable, and suggests massive naivety on the part of the government.

    2. It is normal for TUPE arrangements to apply to such outsourcing deals. Assuming that these experts are real employees rather than freelance consultants, then their employment contracts would continue at the same salary, with protection of employment. If either their old employers or new employers wanted to dispense with their services, this would need to be done as a formal redundancy arrangement which is subject to several safeguards including formal consultation and a moratorium on employing anyone else to do the same job for a minimum of 6 months. So I can only assume that these experts were on some sort of contract for services rather than a contract for employment.

    3. £17 per hour for a 40 hour week amounts to a salary of c. £35k per year. £8.40 amounts to £17k per year. Neither of these is sufficient to pay for real experts. And these assume that they get paid holiday pay – if they are freelance consultants then these figures would be £32k and £15.5k. A £15.5k-£17k salary will not, in my experience, get anyone with any form of specialised skills. So either they don’t really need “experts by experience” and anyone off the street willing to work for £8.40 per hour can do the job perfectly well, or this is a COMPLETE AND UTTER MESS!!!!!

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