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Implementing the Scottish Living Wage in Adult Social Care: An evaluation of the experiences of social care partners, and usefulness of Joint Guidance

The purpose of this report is to review the experience of implementing the Scottish living wage in adult social care and make recommendations for future implementation. The research was commissioned by the Coalition of Care and Support Providers Scotland (CCPS) in response to the Scottish Government’s policy, announced in February 2016, that front line workers employed in publicly funded social care services should be paid the living wage. This commitment has led to sums of public money being transferred to external providers through re-negotiation of contract prices, fees (including fees agreed under the National Care Home Contract) and hourly rates paid for service delivery.

To undertake this evaluation, a qualitative study of voluntary and private sector providers, lead body (employers and COSLA) and trade union representatives, as well as civil servants was undertaken between February and May 2018. Section 1 of the report begins with an overview of relevant studies in the area, beginning with a short summary of the effects of introducing minimum/living wages on employers, jobs, services and wages. The specific context of the Scottish social care sector is then outlined to highlight the environment in which the living wage is being introduced. Section 2 provides an outline of the method for the study. Section 3 presents findings, which outline the experiences of the various parties (providers, local authority and representatives from Integrated Joint Boards) from introducing the Scottish Living Wage. This section includes analysis of levels of consultation and information sharing, impact on the security of providers, implications for employment conditions, views on the value and reform of the joint guidance and perspectives on the barriers and enablers to implementation. Section 4 begins with a reflection on the differences and similarities in regard to prior studies that have explored the introduction of the living wage, and raises a number of key areas of potential reforms to improve implementation. Section 5 offers conclusions to the study, recommendations and future areas of research. 

Published 2019-01-17