A summary of the forum's purpose.
- The Social Care Fair Work Forum (‘the forum’) is a tripartite social partnership group committed to embedding Fair Work and improving terms and conditions for those working within the social care sector.
- The forum exists to allow representatives of trade unions, employers, stakeholders and the Welsh Government to work together to influence national priorities and policy regarding fair work in the social care sector in Wales.
- The group will aim to marry ambition with pragmatism to achieve practical and implementable change.
- A founding principle for the forum is the recognition that delivering better Fair Work outcomes will improve the lives of workers, enhance the quality of care provision, and strengthen the long-term resilience of the sector by assisting it to recruit, develop and retain committed, skilled and well-motivated workers. Care services are a core part of Wales’ foundational economy which makes our communities stronger and more resilient.
- The Covid-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight upon the critical role that key workers, including those in social care play in our society. This has led to a renewed public interest in ensuring the pay, security and working conditions of those workers better reflects the value society places on their work. The Forum will build on the increased public interest in the social care sector and will help to sustain positive public opinions towards the importance of valuing its workforce.
- The forum will work to the definition of Fair Work and the 6 characteristics as set out in the Fair Work Commission’s 2019 report, Fair Work Wales:
- fair reward
- employee voice and collective representation
- security and flexibility
- opportunity for access, growth and progression
- safe, healthy and inclusive working environment
- legal rights respected and given substantive effect.
The promotion of equality and inclusion is integral to all 6 characteristics.
- The forum will be action orientated and solutions focussed.
- The forum will discharge the following responsibilities:
- Identify specific Fair Work issues within the social care sector which may need urgent attention.
- Identify specific Fair Work issues within the social care sector which may need attention in the medium to longer term in order to secure a more sustainable sector.
- Use its collective experience and intelligence to identify ways in which Fair Work can be implemented in a social care context, including in regard to pay, working conditions, employee voice and training.
- Provide a leadership role in identifying and sharing best practice on Fair Work across the social care sector.
- Agree a work plan which is outcomes focussed and is capable of delivering practical actions within its first year.
- In discharging the above responsibilities, the forum will be cognisant of wider work, including other networks already established to consider commissioning services and paying for care. These will include but will not be limited to the National Commissioning Board, Paying for Care, Agenda for Change and National Joint Council.
- The forum will not duplicate or cut-across existing activity, but will link to it, particularly given the interrelationship between commissioning, paying for care and the potential for and affordability of improved working conditions
- The forum will discharge the above remit in the context of focussing on paid social care workers in the public, private and third sectors.
- It will focus primarily on social care workers in the independent sector in the first instance but its considerations will also extend into the public sector.
- The forum will take care not to impinge upon existing collective bargaining agreements.
- As a tripartite forum, membership will comprise of:
- Welsh Government
- social partners representing trade unions and
- social partners representing employers as set out below (invitees):
Social Care Wales
Care Forum Wales
National Provider Forum
Independent Chair: Professor Rachel Ashworth, Cardiff University
- Forum members may have a dual role as part of their operational practice, for example, the WLGA and ADSS represent local authorities as employers but local authorities also commission social care services.
- Forum members will undertake comprehensive engagement with the part of the sector which they represent. They are expected to:
- Set out their role as an organisation within the social care sector and their connection to other organisations operating in the sector
- Regularly communicate updates of the forum’s work to their members and the wider part of the sector they represent
- Actively engage with their networks in taking forward the Forum’s work programme, and
- Bring any intelligence to the Forum to inform its decision making.
- Forum members will be expected to commit their time, not only to attend meetings, but to work together to take forward the forum’s work programme outside of meetings.
- In circumstances where an individual cannot attend a particular meeting – it is acceptable for them to offer a pre-nominated appropriate substitute to attend on their behalf.
- In addition to the above, non-members will be co-opted to provide expertise to the forum for a meeting or series of meetings as appropriate and determined by the forum. This could include, but is not limited to Health Education and Improvement Wales, Care Inspectorate Wales, Equality and Human Rights Commission and potentially engagement with citizens.
- The membership will be reviewed annually by the Forum to ensure it is relevant and appropriate.
- An independent chair will be selected and appointed by the forum. If the chair is unable to attend a meeting, as an interim arrangement the forum may choose to agree that a member will chair. In the event that this is not possible (for example due to short notice) the Welsh Government may act as interim chair.
Meetings and working methods
- The forum will meet monthly initially to establish itself and its work programme, the frequency of meetings will then revert to every other month as norm. Meeting frequency will remain fluid as the Forum may need to reflect immediate pressures.
- A meeting quorum will require the attendance of at least one representative from Welsh Government, employers and the Trade Unions.
- Meetings can be held virtually. Where ‘in person’ meetings are held, all travelling and accommodation expenses relating to the forum meetings are to be met by the member organisations.
- In setting and delivering its work programme, the forum will act in a way which is consistent with and reflects the principles within the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act (2015).
- Welsh Government officials will provide the forum with a secretariat that will organise meetings, circulate papers and provide a record of discussions and actions. Papers will be circulated 7 days in advance of any meeting.
- Any member may table agenda items for discussion at the forum’s meetings.
- The forum will review its progress every 6 months to ensure its work programme is still relevant and deliverable and that it is engaging with relevant groups.
- The forum will aim to reach decisions by consensus rather than through voting. Any conflicts of interest will need to be declared at the start of each meeting.
- To facilitate openness, discussion at the Forum must be treated in confidence and should not be disclosed without the forum’s consent. Documentation, including meeting notes may be subject to access to information requests made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Where such requests are received, the Welsh Government's standard Freedom of Information procedures will be followed.
- The forum will, from time to time, provide feedback on its activities to the shadow Social Partnership Council and other groups as appropriate.
- The forum is convened by Welsh Ministers and may seek to make recommendations to them. In addition, individual forum members are accountable to their own organisations and each will have in place their own governance arrangements in relation to a range of matters including decision making and information flow.
- These terms of reference are effective immediately following their agreement by the forum. They may be amended, varied or modified at any time by the agreement of the forum.