As we learned
at the last General Purposes Committee meeting, Bexley pays its care
agencies poorly compared to other nearby boroughs and Cabinet member Chris Taylor has been heard
telling family carers that as the services are contracted
to private companies the responsibility for quality of care is no longer his. It is a naive view but one
supported by his Deputy Director of Care Services, Tom Brown.
Chris Taylor gets nearly £23,000 a year for doing his very occasional voluntary council work on top of his day job pay. I have discovered in recent weeks that he is paying some care workers, via agencies, well under £4 an hour and they are working seventy or more hours a week in order to get their pay above pocket money level. If you think that is bad then you ain’t heard nothing yet.
These young people are only paid after clocking in and clocking out at clients’ addresses. The time spent travelling between jobs is not paid, neither is the cost involved reimbursed. They have to use a car between jobs and get nothing in return. They must buy it, insure it, tax it and pay for fuel out of their own pockets and the time spent on Bexley’s roads goes entirely unpaid.
Councillor Chris Taylor may think it is not his concern but I consider it to be not only unjust but probably illegal, but web searches for confirmation failed me. So I asked my MP if she knew the answer. By return I received a reference to Hansard and this is some of what it said…
The response included this…
That last comment is spot on. The sick and disabled are seriously inconvenienced, to put it at its mildest, because care workers simply cannot afford to fully meet their clients expectations. A fuller explanation is provided here.