Social care staff are being taken for granted once again, says UNISON

UNISON has today (Friday) lambasted a move by the Scottish Government to cover registration fees for new carers only – a move which excludes existing carers who have put their lives on the line throughout the pandemic.

UNISON, the union for social care workers, branded the move ‘deeply unfair’ and urged the Scottish Government to re-think its plans.

If the proposals go ahead as planned, the Scottish Government will pick up registration costs for new social care workers from next week.

Currently all social care staff must pay for Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) check and registration with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) themselves. The Scottish Government – in a bid to tackle the staffing crisis in social care has said that they will pick up the tab for new entrants but not the costs levied on existing staff.

UNISON has been campaigning for PVG and SSSC registration costs to be met by the Scottish Government for many years. Social care workers are some of the hardest working and lowest paid workers in Scotland. They provide a crucial role not only caring for some of our most vulnerable people but also protecting the NHS from being overrun.

UNISON head of social care, John Mooney, said: “A basic PVG check costs £59 and SSSC registration can cost up to £80. This is expensive for some of the lowest paid workers in Scotland. UNISON has argued for years that it is unfair that social care workers are expected to pay these fees.

“It’s good that the Scottish Government are now admitting that registration fees are a barrier to social care workers joining the sector. However, in only paying these fees for new staff they are being deeply unfair to the hard-working social care workforce, who have literally put their lives at risk throughout this pandemic. Many already feel taken for granted and this move risks reinforcing that.

“This looks more like a second rate broadband provider offering an incentive to new customers than a government serious about tackling the crisis in social care. If it’s right to pay these fees for someone joining the workforce next week – and it is – then it’s only fair to pay them for someone who has already shown their commitment.

“UNISON has been campaigning for years for government to fund the entry fees social care workers have to pay to be able to carry out their jobs. And we will continue to do so until these fees are paid for all staff ”

Notes to editor
The Scottish Government announced today (Friday) that Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) checks and Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) registration will now be funded to help encourage more staff into the profession and address winter staffing pressures.

UNISON is the trade union for social care workers. We are the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in social care, education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Basic PVG checks cost £59. SSSC registration costs between £25 and £80 depending on the role.

UNISON contacts
John Mooney, head of social care, 07976 701823
Danny Phillips, communications officer, 07944 6641