The monthly round-up from the Anthony Collins Solicitors charities team.
EU migrants fill an estimated 6% of jobs in the social care sector in England, and the majority of them will be concerned about what a British withdrawal from the EU will mean for them in both the short and the long term. It is important that leadership teams offer quick and firm reassurance to minimise disruption to the delivery of the services you provide. Let staff know you are closely monitoring developments and will be responsive to change where needed. It is reassuring that it is anticipated that the status of the millions of EU workers already living in the UK will not change and any block on freedom of movement is unlikely for at least two years (if at all). Providers should ensure good communication with staff that confirms that there will be no immediate impact on employment and that the contribution of every care worker matters, is valued, and that you are committed to maintaining a diverse and cohesive workforce.
Government policy change
During the campaign, Chancellor George Osborne said that if the UK voted to leave there would be a further reduction in public spending in order to plug a £30 billion “black hole”. Publicly funded social care can’t survive further cuts when the gap between what councils are currently paying and what providers say good quality care costs, is already significant. Providers should use this time, and the anticipated review of the Budget, as an opportunity to voice the ongoing funding crisis in the sector, and argue for an improved financial settlement for social care that doesn’t require waiting for the next Comprehensive Spending Review. The Communities and Local Government Committee is already examining whether the funding available for adult social care is sufficient for local authorities to fulfil their statutory obligations to assess and meet the needs of people requiring care and support. Providers should engage with their umbrella bodies to help them prepare the most compelling and complete picture of the evidence as possible (the deadline for submissions is 19 August).
Change of sentiment
Most concerning for the social care sector is the vision of other EU nationals packing their bags and heading home or to other EU countries. As already highlighted, the immediate priority for all providers should be reassuring your staff that they are all valued, wanted, and that you are committed to maintaining a diverse workforce. Unfortunately, with the value of the British pound reading its lowest in 31 years, low-paid care work could become even more unattractive for EU nationals. It remains the case that the social care sector needs to do more to position itself as a positive career choice. Providers will need to focus on selling the opportunities that a career in social care offers, including the paths for progression and job satisfaction. Should the Government suggest a points system, or similar measures, providers will need to campaign to ensure that social care is included in any list of shortage occupations that may develop.
There are wider implications of Brexit on social care than just funding and workforce issues. With the predicted immediate financial aftermath, the construction industry is likely to be the most affected. This could impact on the number of care homes being built and therefore the number of residential places available to support people. This is likely to put further pressure on home-care services, although could also provide further opportunities to grow privately-funded care. The impact on the financial markets will also affect the funding of defined benefit pension schemes, and is likely to result in higher employer contributions as schemes look to plug the gap. Providers with these schemes will need to think carefully about the potential impact on their financial model.
In this ebriefing, we identify what we see as the key messages arising from recent prosecutions in the care and housing sectors.
A recent High Court case on costs could prove essential reading for clients who have cases in the magistrates' courts.
The employment and pensions team offer practical advice on whistleblowing.
Partners, David Alcock and Sarah Patrice, have been involved in reviewing the new Code of Governance for community-led housing, published on 21 May 2021 by the Confederation for Coop Housing.
Following the eviction ban being lifted on 31 May 2021 and further to our previous ebriefing, the new notice of seeking possession forms are now available on the Government website as Word versions.
The European Court of Justice's standpoint on the Wiener Wohnen landowning developer case, and how the level of influence over the work did not amount to a decisive influence.
The Law Commission's Technical Issues in Charity Law report revealed that many charities struggle with a range of technical issue in the law.
The Law Commission recommended four key changes to the law in respect of mergers and the incorporation of charities which we have detailed in this ebriefing.
Over the last few weeks, we have published individual ebriefings on some of the key changes to be implemented following the Government’s response to the Law Commission’s report.
To receive invitations to our events, as well as information and articles on legal issues and sector developments that are of interest to you, please sign up to Newsroom.