New homecare contract arrangements aiming to deliver higher wages, greater resident choice and quality care have been announced by Merton Council today. It comes after the council was awarded London Living Wage-accredited status in February.
Four primary providers have been awarded contracts for the geographical zones along with six supplementary providers. Awards have also been made for specialist mental health, learning disability and children’s providers of home care. The providers will deliver an anticipated £50 million of home care in Merton over the next five years.
For the first time, the tender for homecare services required that bidders pay staff the London Living Wage of £11.95 as a minimum, and it is hoped this will raise the wages of other local care workers as well as other employers compete for staff.
The new contracts also appoint two providers to each geographic area within the borough, offering greater customer choice as they can say which service they’d prefer.
Around 8,400 hours of care are delivered to more than 600 residents across the borough each week, aiming to ensure people can live as independently as possible, for as long as possible, as engaged and active citizens in their own homes. Typical caring duties include help with washing and dressing, eating and other personal or household care.
“Providing high-quality and dignified homecare forms the very essence of our social care services,” said Councillor Peter McCabe, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care. “The best place for people to be is at home and we want to support our most vulnerable residents to be able to stay at home for as long as possible.
“We also wanted to properly recognise the invaluable work that carers do, by requiring all bidders to pay the London Living Wage. We are seeing more demand and greater complexity of needs for existing service users, and increasing numbers of people coming into the system. These new providers have been selected to adapt to those changing needs, and provide the highest quality care for those who need it.”
The Council’s original decision to re-procure homecare services across the borough can be found here: Committee report (merton.gov.uk).