Action Needed on Loss of Freedom of Movement and Social Care

PA Pool Freedom of MovementPlease see below details of a new survey on social care and loss of freedom of movement. It’s really important that as many PA Users complete the survey as possible as the lack of European PAs (Personal Care Assistants) is already having a major impact on the care industry. On Friday, Katy participated in a meeting with the Migration Advisory Committee to highlight the problems and impact and hopefully instigate change!

Here’s a link to the survey: www.gov.uk/government/consultations/review-of-the-impact-of-the-ending-of-freedom-of-movement-on-the-adult-social-care-sector

At long last after many months of delays the promised consultation on social care and loss of freedom of movement has been commissioned. The findings will not be published until the end of next April 2022, however, 11 months later than promised by the government. In the meantime everyone we have spoken to and every Facebook group we follow is swamped with disabled people having major problems recruiting and retaining social care staff. Care agencies are also facing unprecedented shortages of staff.

The consultation runs until 29 October. If you need a BSL, easy read  or other alternate format please email mac@homeoffice.gov.uk.

While it seems good that this consultation has at long last been launched it appears once again to ignore those of us who are individual employers of PAs and social care staff nor does the section for organisations to respond easily allow DDPOs to reply. We have now discussed this with the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) secretariat and they have said that disabled people including those who are individual employers should complete the section for individuals. The questions asked can be previewed at Annexe C which is below the link to the actual online form to fill in.

MAC say that the views of disabled people are extremely important to help them understand your experiences. This includes all disabled people and not just those of you who are social care users.

It is important to note that when we met with MAC they said there was a real risk that the voices of those who employ PAs and social care workers directly would get lost in the overall discussion on social care therefore please respond to this consultation.

Your future and the future of other disabled people who need support for independent living is in your hands.

Specifically since we met with them earlier this year they have added option 5 (“A person who receives care and support”) in question A2, to include those who employ care workers. This is followed up with questions around the type of care received (A3), and how they recruited for this type of care (A4 – including domestic or migrant workers, and if they did this directly or through an intermediary).

They say that the responses to these will provide them with context when analysing the responses given to the broad, free text, questions later in the questionnaire. In addition, at the end of this questionnaire, we have included a series of demographic questions covering personal characteristics. This includes long-term health issues (C13-C15), and an open text question about how their individual personal situations impacts their experience of social care (C5).

Also all three question sets have the option to upload additional evidence respondents feel is important to the commission at the end of the questionnaire (e.g. C4 in “Individuals responding in a personal capacity”). As with previous commissions, this is a valuable information source, and insight from it is regularly used in the final report.

The MAC has specifically been asked to investigate the impact on:

  • the adult social care workforce (such as skills shortages) covering the range of caring roles in adult social care including care workers, registered nurses and managerial roles
  • visa options for social care workers
  • long-term consequences for workforce recruitment, training and employee terms and conditions
  • any other relevant matters the independent chair deems appropriate which are relevant to the above objectives

There are a number of points it is important for people to make as well as replying to any questions with individual information. Please think about staff you have employed in the past. Or those you may want to employ in the future, as well as those you employ now and if applicable say somewhere that you have employed non-UK residents in the past.

  • Emphasise that you are an individual employer of social care staff and as such this is a unique employment situation which means that you could not use a sponsored visa route and need a specific non-sponsored route available to you, (as things stand it would be no help to individual employers if social care was declared a shortage occupation, no skilled worker route is available either and individuals also cannot use the Health and Social Care or Temporary worker routes.)
  • Proof that you are an individual employer should simply be a copy of your care plan or bank statement showing payments for your social care.
  • Evidence you have personally had, or know about, that shows recruiting and retaining staff has become much more difficult in the past few months.
  • The lack of skilled staff and how this may have affected you including any negative experiences you may have had since January. How this lack of staff could affect you in the future.
  • Why good quality staff are essential and why disabled people must have access to as wide a pool of potential employees as possible.
  • Any particular problems like living in a rural area
  • If you mention low pay please also add that government must provide additional funding for social care and independent living. (Since 2010 over £8 billion has been slashed from social care budgets which is equivalent to a lot of support for independent living.)

As always many thanks for your on-going support. Feel free to share with others.