Home Campaigns “Brilliant” response to council charter as most care home staff and residents in Southwark now benefit

“Brilliant” response to council charter as most care home staff and residents in Southwark now benefit

by Kirsty Kirsty
  • In 2022, Southwark Council launched a charter to protect care home staff and residents
  • Now, six care homes in Southwark are signed up to the charter, the first of its kind in the UK
  • The homes account for around 75% of employees and 86% of residents in all local care homes

Southwark Council is proud to celebrate the joint efforts with care homes in the borough to drive up standards for both staff and residents.

Six care homes have signed up to the council’s residential care charter. This means better working terms and conditions for around 500 care home staff (75% of all those working in Southwark). They care for over 400 residents across the six homes (roughly 86% of all those living in care homes in Southwark).

San Koromah, Home Manager at Tower Bridge Care Home, said: “Caring for residents and being able to make a difference to their lives every day is so important to us here at Tower Bridge Care Home. It is great to see our work and team recognised by Southwark Council and HC-One via the council’s residential care charter which really helps to support and promote the positive impact of those working in care.”

Aiah Christopher Missah, Care Worker at Waterside Care Home, said: “My six months experience working at Waterside Care Home has been incredible, especially thanks to the training and development opportunities that have been offered to me. I have been really impressed by the high standards of care and support.I am looking forward to working with Agincare for many years to come.”

By driving up standards for care home staff, residents can expect better quality of care.

Leroy Howell, Waterside Care Home resident, said: “My stay at Waterside Care Home has helped me immensely in my recovery, at all times I have been fully confident in the team members that have looked after me.I really appreciated the package of care that has been put together for me, from the physiotherapy sessions to the care workers that accompanied me to hospital appointments.Everyone at Waterside is very professional and thorough in their duties which has me feel very safe.”

The charter is the product of close working between the council and trade union UNISON. It lays out what council expects for safe and high quality care. This goes above and beyond the standards set by the Care Quality Commission. It’s the first of its kind in that it applies for all care home staff of providers who have signed up, regardless of whether they work directly for the council or not.

Cllr Evelyn Akoto, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “We have been delighted by the brilliant response to our residential care charter so far. The council cannot drive up standards of care alone. So we are very proud of the amazing progress made so far thanks to everyone working together. From the teams at all the six care homes signed up to the charter and their providers, to council officers, local partners, and UNISON. The people who look after our older loved ones do invaluable work on behalf of us all. It is only right that they are better paid and better supported to provide the high quality care that residents deserve. ”

UNISON London regional secretary Jo Galloway said: “Southwark Council is setting a great example in adopting this residential care charter and committing to improving the working conditions of those in social care. This will encourage dedicated staff to stay in their jobs, benefitting local residents, who will experience a better quality of care. We hope to see other councils across London following suit. However, councils can’t do it all by themselves, and greater investment in social care is required from central government. A National Care Service would mean the quality of care is of the same high standard, no matter where in the country it was being provided.”

The council is making good progress towards their commitment of having 100% of care homes compliant with the charter by 2026. Out of 16 care homes in Southwark, the six that have signed up are:

  • Bluegrove, Greenhive, Rosecourt and Waterside, which are all run by Agincare
  • Camberwell Lodge which is run by Country Court
  • Tower Bridge which is run by HC-One

Raina Summerson, Chief Executive at Agincare, said: “We are proud to be an early adopter of Southwark Council’s Residential Care Charter as part of the transfer of care teams at the four care homes we operate in the borough. The charter outlies the high standards of person-centred care that our care home residents can expect from our trained professional teams. In return, Agincare will continuously support and develop its team members to work towards their goals and aspirations for a long and successful career.We continue to work closely with Southwark Council for a shared common goal that will improve the lives of care home residents and the people that support them.”

Jake Rollin, Director of Commissioned Care and Commercial Support at HC-One, said: “The social care workforce play such a vital role in supporting residents and their families. We applaud Southwark Council’s Residential Care Charter as a meaningful and successful initiative that helps to give the care workforce the recognition they deserve, and ultimately positively contribute to the experience of care home residents in Southwark.”

Lauren Gordon, Home Manager at Camberwell Lodge Care & Nursing Home of Country Court Care Homes, said: “We are delighted and proud to be one of the first care and nursing homes in the borough to sign up. Our staff teams are at the heart of our care homes and Country Court are always keen to demonstrate how much we value everyone who works in our home. The team at Camberwell Lodge is over 120 staff strong and includes carers, nurses, the wellbeing team, chefs, maintenance, front of house and housekeeping. They will all benefit from our promise to uphold the ethical care requirements of the charter including paying the London Living Wage, paid handovers, permanent contracts, and free training. Our commitment to the charter further reinforces our pledge to put the safety and wellbeing of residents first.”

Improvements under the charter include:

  • all care home staff being paid at least the London living wage
  • all staff receiving occupational sick pay instead of statutory sick pay
  • all staff being paid extra for unsocial hours (e.g. nights, weekends, bank holidays)
  • zero hour contracts not being used in place of permanent contracts unless requested by staff 
  • training must be free and carried out in work time
  • families and friends will be involved, at least annually, in the care planning of the residents.
  • residents and their families can expect to have meetings with their care home providers at least four times a year to discuss any issues they want to raise.

Southwark Council hosted an event at Tooley Street on 1 March to celebrate the success of the charter to date. This was attended by UNISON, the care home providers, care home staff, and residents.

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