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county hallA RESPONSE to a Freedom of Information Act request made to Pembrokeshire County Council has revealed that the Council is paying domiciliary care agencies an average gross hourly rate of £14.60.

The figure would equate to a full time wage of over £26,500 for the provision of that service.

From September 2013 to November 2013, the Council entered into 94 separate arrangements to provide domiciliary care, using one agency on 25 occasions to deliver care requirements to people in need in Pembrokeshire.

The County Council spent £8.9m on private provision for domiciliary care in the year 2012/13 and £1.9m on in-house provision.

Those working in-house at the lowest pay grades have been subject to cuts in pay and hours.

UNISON members within PCC home care are currently fighting cuts in hours some of up to 30% due to be implemented on the 1st January 2014.UNISON Area Organiser Hugh McDyer said:

“Pembrokeshire County Council appears to be the only Welsh local authority taking such a step in ensuring all Home care services are put in the hands of private contractors, who will only provide the service if they can make a profit for their shareholders.”

The Full Council was due to debate domiciliary care provision at its meeting on December 12, 2013. The recommendation made by the IPPG Cabinet at County Hall was that all care services – including the Council’s in-house provision – be put out to tender. The matter was not, however, debated at the Full Council and was moved to remit the question for consideration at a future date. UNISON is still fighting the cuts in hours through a formal dispute procedure with PCC and industrial action could be likely if this is not resolved with a negotiated settlement.