I am sure the older I get, the quicker time flies by! We are only a few days away from the big day now; I seriously cannot believe we are nearing the end of the year! And so here is the last edition of Real People in 2018.

So much has happened this year – the biggest focus (headache) remains to be Brexit for the whole of the UK and Mrs May specifically of course. With a divided approach and so many different opinions on what a ‘good Brexit’ looks like, I really think a ‘no deal’ is as likely as a ‘deal’ at the minute. Add to that the childlike shenanigans of this week in the House, whatever Jeremy said, ‘woman’ or ‘people’, they are all acting in a disgraceful manner, if you ask me. The clock is ticking though, and come the New Year something has got to happen.

The biggest concern for us regarding Brexit has been immigration and ensuring that the social care sector and health have enough staff to function post Brexit. As you may be aware, we are part of the Cavendish Coalition, working to do so. You may have heard; the proposal is to look to attract a ‘skilled’ workforce in jobs that pay a minimum £30K per annum. So potentially overnight, we will be essentially closing the door on a staffing pipeline that provides such vital care and support in our sector. The fight goes on regarding this and we will continue to lobby until 29th March itself to ensure that we have enough people to support the sector and all that rely on it.

The other main focus for providers and organisations like us has been on the sleep in crisis. Obviously, the Court of Appeal decision on 13th July helped alleviate some of that worry however the matter is not closed. We are still waiting to hear if the case can be appealed again, this time in the Supreme Court. Regardless of that, the Government still haven’t really offered any guidance as to what providers should do/pay now for sleep in shifts – there are no rules. It’s a postcode lottery; Local Authorities can (and some have) reduce rates, meaning providers have to consider how that is going to work for staff going forward. With no suggested rate, the danger is further disarray.

This is all a bit ‘bah-humbug’, sorry about that. So, I’ll get a little more in to the Christmas spirit. We shouldn’t lose focus of why we are so passionate about the sector. It’s simply because it’s a people business and we all want the best for people who need support – whether they are our relatives or friends, ‘customers’ or the staff that support them. I say this a lot but and it’s true – our sector is the most person-centric around, it’s the most intrinsically rewarding and it makes such an impact on the quality of life of others. How magical is that?! I doubt you get that buzz anywhere else!

So, well done to everyone who works so hard and contributes to this amazing sector, it wouldn’t happen without you! And the support you give to us here at ARC England for the betterment of the sector, the engagement in our work and your valuable collaboration is extremely meaningful – thank you for all of that.

The ARC England team and I wish you a peaceful and joyful Christmas and a very Happy New Year. We will be back with Real People in the New Year outlining our work focus and ways for members to be involved, until then Merry Christmas.

Festive wishes,

Lisa Lenton
ARC England Director

20 December 2018