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Case Study: Reducing Costs & Improving Care

Irene is a Professional Deputy who has been appointed to look after Jim – an adult with complex care needs who requires round-the-clock care. Jim’s care package was being provided by Care4u Ltd. It was expensive and did not meet his needs.

The employment law issues

  • Care4u were charging £20 per hour per carer, in contrast to the actual wage of £10-11 per hour
  • Carers were not always trained or supervised by the agency’s senior staff to an adequate standard
  • Although Care4u had drawn-up care plans and rotas, many carers regularly failed to attend. The family were frequently seeking bank staff, many of whom lacked the necessary skills for Jim’s needs and had little real interest in his wellbeing
  • The agency attempted to pass on the costs of maternity suspension pay for one carer to the Estate

This placed a great deal of additional strain on the family, and Irene was concerned that Jim’s interests were not being met. Having lost confidence in the agency, Irene sought legal advice.

The legal solution

Irene contacted our employment lawyers from our offices in Croydon. We advised Care4u that they were in breach of contract by passing on the maternity suspension costs and by failing to deliver the appropriate care as set out in Jim’s care plan.

We also threatened them with contractual remedies and advised that we would need to report them to the CQC if they did not resolve this situation.

Implementing employment changes

Care4u did not pass on the costs of the maternity suspension, and began to deliver the rota more effectively.

We then advised Irene on the contractual and employment law implications of various longer-term options. Irene, in conjunction with the family, decided that the cheapest and safest option was to employ carers directly, even though this would mean that the Estate would have to comply with TUPE.  Working in close collaboration with Jim’s case manager:

  • We obtained the necessary information about Care4u’s employees
  • We completed due diligence on that information so that the Estate knew what terms and liabilities it would be taking on. This included eliminating concerns of potential claims by carers for breaches of the National Minimum Wage
  • We persuaded Care4u to offer warranties and indemnities which would protect Jim’s Estate in case any of the information was inaccurate or incomplete
  • We agreed with Care4u which carers would transfer over as a regular feature of the care package and who would remain with Care4u. This was a complex task since each carer’s working pattern was unique and varied over time. We agreed that one carer who did not qualify for protection under TUPE would nevertheless be offered employment on the same terms
  • We ensured that Care4u went through a proper TUPE process before the change-over – starting with electing employee representatives, information and then consultation. We helped Care4u avoid a situation where an employee on maternity leave was inadvertently excluded. Furthermore, we persuaded Care4u to allow Irene to attend the consultation meetings. This ensured that the process was completed properly, that the carers felt listened to, and that any concerns voiced on their behalf were brought to Irene’s attention immediately. It also made it easier for Irene to seek the carers’ agreement about certain changes to shifts and rotas that needed to be made
  • We helped the Estate to issue contracts of employment to staff following the Transfer

Benefits to the Estate

Jim’s Estate avoided the cost of an expensive maternity suspension and he and his family saw a radical improvement in the standard of his care.

Martin Searle Solicitors advised on cancelling the Agency Agreement to bring his care in-house, meaning that Estate directly employed his carers. For Jim, this meant drawing on a smaller pool of familiar and skilled carers.

Irene and Jim’s Case Manager were now able to take greater control of the care package. In addition, money that was previously spent on agency fees has been saved.

If you are a Professional Deputy or Attorney and require advice and assistance on any employment law matter, we can help. Contact us today on 01273 609911, or email
info@ms-solicitors.co.uk to find out more.

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