A London company has been sued by a group of its workers over low pay. The company concerned is dependent on local authorities for its commissioned care.

LCA’s position on living wage/ NMW and domiciliary care is that meeting the legal requirements, and going beyond that minimum towards something more aspirational about how care workers should be valued and rewarded, is a commissioner issue as much as a provider issue. Where providers are operating with a private clientele that is a matter for customers and the provider but where the work is publicly commissioned (by local authorities or CCGs) there needs to be a strategic approach to commissioning which should have standards which can be monitored.

We also need to have a robust costing model in place which has the confidence of commissioners and providers and which can set out the costs for efficient providers and set out what a reasonable rate of return should be for investment and for the return on risk. If this method is in the light of day and is evidence-based we don’t need to have these cases and can see a much-needed workforce valued, especially when we see the level of needs domiciliary care workers are now expected to deal with routinely while councils try to eek out the best they can from cash-strapped budgets.

Procurement models should not operate without paying due regard to published information on actual costs and seek to manipulate a monopsony market by commissioner muscle. Let’s bring some ethics and some science into the process.