It is anticipated that as lockdown restrictions ease, and particularly with children and young adults returning to education, cases of meningitis will start to rise.
We are helping many providers try and argue that their staff are working unmeasured time and therefore that their arrangements on paying a flat fee for the shift are compliant with Minimum Wage legislation. However, there are difficulties in structuring their arrangements in the best way to rely on that argument and no guarantee that a Court or Tribunal will accept that the shift is not time work.
Hot on the heels of those cases came the realisation that some providers haven’t properly been implementing the complex regulations governing the calculation of holiday pay, by failing to account for shift premiums in holiday pay calculations and even more concerning a line of cases suggesting that overtime payments may also need to be included in the calculation of holiday pay.
At the same time as wrestling with these potentially significant liabilities Commissioners are knocking at your door and asking you to deliver the same service at significantly reduced costs and staff are telling you they can’t go another year without a pay rise. This could be enough to send some providers over the edge and it is clear there will be some hard decisions to make.
Here are some thoughts as to what you could be doing:
- Ensure you have a clear handle on your operational costs for all of the services you operate. If there are services where you aren’t currently generating sufficient revenue look to exit the contract or partner with/merge with another provider to achieve greater economies of scale;
- Review your delivery model and consider how far technology can replace the need for waking nights or sleep in shifts whilst still enabling you to deliver high quality care;
- Keep a close eye on what other providers are doing to take advantage of providers leaving particular areas or seeking opportunities to collaborate;
- Where you have staff on TUPE terms that are more expensive than your standard terms consider making changes to terms in light of the cost pressures on you;
- Review your approach to sleep ins and where you decide that you need to continue to provide sleep in cover, if possible structure your arrangements to try and argue that the work is unmeasured work;
- Negotiate with Commissioners when they seek to impose reductions in price. Check the contractual terms and resist the reduction if the Commissioner doesn’t have the contractual power to make the change.
- Highlight the actual cost of delivering care in light of the latest employment tribunal decisions and their legal obligation to consider the actual cost of care;
- Look again at your procurement practices and identify ways where you can secure better terms and service from your suppliers;
- Reduce agency costs through growing your own staffing bank that can be accessed and managed centrally.
There is not going to be a one size fits all solution to meet the challenges ahead. Providers are going to need to review their costs across their organisation and it will be those providers that are flexible and are able to strategically plan and implement a wide program of change in practices across their organisations that will thrive.
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As we continue to emerge from lockdown measures and deal with local measures and the short and long term economic impact of Covid-19, local authorities will need to re-assess how services will be delivered for years to come.
The Government first announced plans for a shared ownership right to buy in October 2019. At the time the sector raised concerns about the impact the plans would have on housing associations ability to borrow. An election and a pandemic later the Government announced, during the CIH Housing Festival last week, the return of the right to shared ownership as part of its Affordable Homes Programme (AHP).
Two final pieces of the possession jigsaw have been published on 15 September 2020. Mr Justice Knowles’ working group on possession proceedings has issued its guidance on the “overall arrangements” for possession proceedings.
One change proposed by the Building Safety Bill is the introduction of a duty holder regime, which will see statutory responsibility for the safety of higher risk buildings placed on key individuals
Throughout this pandemic, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been publishing various “Statements on Coronavirus” (Statements) which provide guidance on consumer rights during this time.
A recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the UK means new measures are being put in place in an effort to reduce the risk of a second wave. Whilst the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt, it is important to remain focused on the sector’s road to recovery.
Sometimes half an hour at a conference gives you the reality that has been staring you in the face all along. That was my experience watching “Change is on the Horizon”
Following our recent e-briefing on Possession Notices, Helen Tucker and Emilie Pownall from our housing litigation team discuss the impact of the changes on social landlords.
Not only has the possession stay been extended until 20 September, the notice periods to be given to tenants has been extended in certain circumstances with some important exceptions.
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