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Optalis first LATC to sign UNISON's Ethical Care Charter

On March 11, Optalis’ chairman Bob Pitts signed UNISON’s Ethical Care Charter on behalf of the company. The move means that Optalis is the first local authority trading company (LATC) providing adult social care services to formally sign up to the initiative.

The Ethical Care Charter was developed by UNISON in 2012 after a nationwide survey of homecare staff revealed that there’s a committed but poorly paid and treated UK workforce that does its best to maintain good levels of quality care in a system that is in crisis.

The over-riding objective behind the Charter is to establish a minimum baseline for the safety, quality and dignity of care by ensuring employment conditions are fair and which a) do not routinely short change clients and b) ensure the recruitment and retention of a more stable workforce through more sustainable pay, conditions and training levels.

Optalis has a workforce of around 350 employees and delivers a range of care and support services across Berkshire. We provide a range of homecare services including personal care, domestic care, re-ablement and companionship to the elderly and those with dementia.

Senior management at Optalis, in discussion with its partner and owner Wokingham Borough Council, agreed to add its company to the list of organisations signing up to the Ethical Care Charter.

Managing Director at Optalis, Andrew Pickup, said: “I am delighted that Optalis are taking this very bold step to assure ourselves and others that we expect only the highest standards in how we deliver quality care and support. We are a growing organisation and we can only achieve growth by attracting high calibre staff – the Ethical Care Charter goes right to the heart of our collective core values.

“I know this is absolutely the right thing to do, and I can only hope other organisations set a similar benchmark and see this as key to their long term success.”

Heather Wakefield, Head of Local Government at UNISON, said: “UNISON welcomes this very positive step by Optalis. Making this commitment to decent employment conditions for care workers is all about improving the quality of life for the people they care for. A living wage and more secure employment makes it possible for dedicated care workers to stay in the job and focus on giving the best possible care.”

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