Fair Working Practices In Highland Commissioning
NHS Highland and the Highland Council agreed a ground-breaking lead agency model of integration in April 2012 whereby the former assumed responsibility for the delivery of all adult health & social care services. An identified task was to address the issue of the care at home service which was failing in large respect. Committed to a partnership approach with independent sector providers, a joint working group feeding into the overarching joint strategic commissioning group, itself representative of all sectors, was established within a year. Providers in Highland had for a number of years cooperated on areas of shared concern under the coordination of Scottish Care.
Initial agreement on the areas to be addressed produced a number of statements which were ratified at the highest levels. These included a commitment to raising the employment standards in the sector, particularly ensuring that all care at home workers are paid the living wage. This was enacted in April 2014. A year later a tariff approach was adopted confirming the new living wage as well as a range of commitments on skills & training levels. These agreements were largely proposed by the sector themselves and written into commissioning plans.
At the heart of strategic commissioning in Highland is the Quality Approach which recognises that fair working practices are more likely to lead to higher standards of care delivery and consistency of service for those who need social care.
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