POOR conditions for care workers are set to be improved after Trafford council pledged to ‘drive-up’ the quality care and working conditions within the sector.

The move comes after council boss Joanne Harding, the portfolio holder for adult social care, called for the authority to back Unison’s care charter.

During Thursday’s council meeting, Cllr Harding spoke about how her gran was treated after being diagnosed with a form of dementia more than a decade ago.   

“My gran, Annie, was little, spirited and formidable,” she said.

“She was also strong, steady, kind, caring ­— and generally made of tough stuff.

“That was until she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.”

“We fought hard to let her stay at home, the place she loved, and where she felt safe.”

“However, there were times when staff just didn’t turn up to care for her,” said Cllr Harding.

“Other times she wasn’t fed, didn’t have enough to drink, or her medication was missed.

“No real relationship or trust was ever built up, the truth is, the carers just didn’t have time to care.

“And, unfortunately, when my gran eventually moved into a care home, the situation did not improve.”

The charter sets out a series of protections for care workers including payment of the real living wage, currently £8.75 per hour, no use of zero-hours contracts, occupational sick pay, regular free training, and a clear and accountable process for staff to raise any concerns.

It also includes a commitment that home care staff should be paid for travel time, expenses, and have opportunities to meet together to avoid isolation.

However, the fragile state of many council social care budgets ­— coupled with growing demand for services, increasing NHS pressure, and spiralling staff costs ­— are all contributing factors to why the sector is struggling to cope.

“There has been a failure by all political parties to truly find a long term sustainable solution on how to fund social care,” she added.

“However, we cannot fudge this issue any longer, so it’s has been left up to us, in local government, to take action and do what we can to address the disparity.”

Dave Prentis,  Unison’s general secretary, said the authority should be ‘congratulated’ for signing the care charter.

“It’s leading the way in highlighting the importance of care work,” he said.