This morning I was wondering how cabinet member
Chris Taylor, currently
representing Colyer’s ward but soon to try his luck alongside
in Blackfen, was going to tighten the screws on care services when the agencies he
employs are already keeping them afloat only by breaking the law on staff payment.
(Confirmed by HMRC).
Taylor is on record as being proud of the fact that Bexley
pays less for care work than any other nearby borough. A reader from Welling has offered a clue.
He has received a letter from his care provider, Avante, which explains what extra pressure Chris Taylor insists on imposing on care agencies, care workers and their clients alike.
Taylor has arranged that people in need of care can only have it if they rent a land line telephone. Whilst I accept that most people will have one, some who are trapped in a wheelchair or bed might prefer to use a mobile. Whatever the home situation it should not be dictated by Chris Taylor more concerned with plugging Bexley’s £40 million black hole than catering for the needs of the sick and infirm. They might be on a tight budget and only able to afford a Pay as You Go phone and use it as little as possible. Generally PAYGs cannot call ‘free’ numbers without charge. Taylor may get away with his penny pinching in many cases but he should not assume it is a universal solution or don a little black moustache, much as it might suit him
The automatic clocking in system is not secure anyway. What’s to stop a friendly client, sympathetic to the care worker, logging a call for him or her 15 minutes after they leave?
Neither Bexley council nor its contractors have asked their clients if they approve of Taylor’s plan. What does the care worker do if a member of the household is using the phone when he/she arrives or departs? Why should that person be inconvenienced? Avante clients are already expected to complete a timesheet. It could be optically read, can it not be trusted?
What happens if the client has calling number barred? Will their care worker remember to switch it off every time, and if they don’t will Avante not pay them?
Bexley council’s ‘efficiency savings’ at the expense of the vulnerable and disadvantaged really ought to be stopped. Avante’s letter may be read in full by clicking on the first image or here.