Community Care Officers: Highly valued – or simply highly exploited?
These are people who carry out the same tasks as social workers, in Adult Social Care. Without their input the service delivery in the Borough would collapse. They are mostly very experienced, highly thought of and respected within their teams and by their team managers. When they work with a member of the public they stay with that person to work through the issues (health, housing, care, working with family members and more) no matter how complex. The only difference is they would not investigate Adult Protection matters and they do not have a social work qualification. Their pay grade implies that where their work ends the social worker takes over and yet this is far from the practice and far from what is specified in their Role Profiles.
At a meeting with councillors on 7 October 2008, the unions were given to believe there would be movement in a further negotiation around acknowledging there needed to be an overlap in the grades. Regrettably at the negotiation there has been no movement. There is no acknowledgment there needs to be an overlap in grades. Our Community Care Officers have already indicated they are prepared to take industrial action if their pay is not increased in recognition of the complexity of the work they do.
They are far from being alone within Adult Social Services, as people who do complex work which is not recognised in pay. This is very demoralising for our members and all staff across Barnet Council in general.
This is all happening in context of the revolutionary changes to ALL of our jobs that is inherent in the Future Shape project.