Fair Work in Scotland’s Social Care Sector 2019


This report makes five recommendations designed to impact on the drivers of work and employment practices in the social care sector, and to ensure that any burden of flexibility in service provision is not borne disproportionately by workers.

1. Scottish Government should support the establishment of a sector-level body responsible for ensuring that social care workers have effective voice in the design, development and delivery of social care services.

2. Key stakeholders should develop and agree appropriate minimum contract standards for the provision of publicly-funded social care services, consistent with the Fair Work Framework and the Scottish Government’s Fair Work First initiative. This should provide not only for terms such as pay and hours/income stability, but also for appropriate supervision, training and development.

3. There is a need for a radical overhaul of commissioning practices in social care to ensure that fair work drives high quality service delivery through the adoption of both minimum contract standards (2 above) and through engagement at a sector level between purchasers, providers and deliverers of social care services (1 above). Such an overhaul should end current commissioning practices of non-committal hourly rate-based competitive tenders and framework agreements.

4. Key stakeholders in the social care sector - funders, purchasers, providers (employers) and those with regulatory duties (e.g. Care Commission and HSE) - should apply the Fair Work Framework and commit to improving pay, conditions and opportunities for progression for directly employed care workers and for Personal Assistants. Stakeholder Fair Work action plans should be developed to underpin this commitment.

5. The Scottish Government should support delivery of the preceding recommendations, and incorporate them into their Fair Work Action Plan and Gender Pay Action plan. A central location within Scottish Government’s Health and Social Care Directorate is required to coordinate policy for the social care workforce, integrated with workforce strategies for the health workforce, and to support delivery of these recommendations through its own FW action plan.