Lincolnshire care home group bucks the trend amid workforce crisis

As a think-tank warns of an “absolute crisis” in social care, an organisation that supports adults in Lincolnshire is showing how it is bucking the national trend.

Founders of Home From Home Care - Paul, Ann and Hugo de Savary with Laura de Savary who inspired its creation.
Founders of Home From Home Care - Paul, Ann and Hugo de Savary with Laura de Savary who inspired its creation.

The annual Skills for Care report on the workforce shows a series of ways in which the sector is failing to attract and retain carers during a nationwide worker shortage.

However, comparable figures from Lincolnshire-based Home From Home Care, which runs adult care homes in the county including at Dorrington and Ruskington, demonstrate how far the organisation stands out as an example to others in the sector with its focus on long-term sustainability.

Nationally, there are 165,000 vacancies in the adult social care sector, the equivalent to 1 in 9 posts being unfilled, but Home From Home Care, which employs 500 people is just 14 full time positions away from being fully staffed.

Described by social care think-tank The King’s Fund as “evidence of the absolute crisis social care faces when trying to recruit staff”, the Skills for Care report shows that low wages, real-terms pay cuts and poor career progression are contributing to a record number of vacancies and unfilled posts. This is at a time when demand for care is continuing to rise.

Home From Home Care, which runs 11 care homes in Greater Lincolnshire for adults with learning disabilities, autism and complex physical and mental health, bucks each of these national trends. The organisation says it offers higher wages, real-terms pay growth and real opportunities for pay and career progression to support its highly skilled workforce.

The report highlights that:

The median annual salary for care staff in the independent sector in England is just £19,760 or £9.50 per hour. This compares to £25,373 or £12.20 per hour at Home From Home Care.

There is an hourly pay gap of just 7p between new care workers and those with five years’ experience in the independent sector. On average, those who have worked for five years at Home From Home Care earn £5.88 per hour more than those in starting roles.

Despite a 5.4% increase in wages in cash terms, there was a 1.5% real-terms drop in pay in the independent sector when accounting for inflation from March 2021-22. Meanwhile, all colleagues at Home From Home care saw a minimum real-terms pay rise of 3.7%, with all wages increasing by at least 10.5% says the company.

There was a 52% rise in vacancies within the adult social care sector, with 165,000 vacancies in 2021-22 and 50,000 fewer posts filled, yet Home From Home Care is just 14 full time positions away from being fully staffed.

Co-founder and Managing Director of Home From Home Care, Paul de Savary said: “There’s a massive ongoing recruitment crisis across the sector nationally, but we’re bucking the trend because we anticipated this 14 months ago as a huge threat to our company and the vulnerable individuals our specialist services support.

“It is tougher than ever to attract and retain the best people but because we really look after our colleagues in terms of their finances, their wellbeing and their career progression, we stand out against others, even in competing sectors, for staff. As a result, we’re in a much better position when it comes to recruitment and retention, but we’re certainly not out of the woods yet.

“Every day, recruitment and retention is our major focus and we’re always looking at how we can be a better employer to our amazing team so we can get through this national crisis while continuing to deliver outstanding care to the individuals we support.”

As well as increasing pay for all of its workforce by at least 10.5% in the last year, and on top of a generous package of bonuses, Home From Home Care also offers its team members flexible working and flexible payment schemes as well as free mental health and occupational health support. Across the organisation, colleagues can progress toward more than 90 different job roles and specialisms, made possible by its ground-breaking technology.

Recent staff surveys also show the impact this has had on team morale with 82% saying they would recommend Home From Home Care as an employer to their friends. The company has also been rated Platinum by independent employment appraiser Investors in People and it has been accredited by the Living Wage Foundation.

Paul adds: “Over the years, people thought we were crazy to invest so heavily in our unique New Model of data-informed care. Now, thankfully, as a family company without the pressures of outside shareholders, we are again being decisive by investing massively in our staff teams at levels that would be otherwise impossible. If we hadn’t done this, we would have seen our staff vacancies soar in-line with the sector, meaning the quality of our services would have suffered.”

Meanwhile, 9 of its 11 care homes are rated Outstanding by the CQC, with all others rated Good. The organisation has also won a series of awards including Best Care Home Group in the 2020 National Care Awards and Tech for Good in the Lincolnshire Technology and Innovation Awards 2021.

To find out more about Home from Home Care, including current vacancies and ways to join the team, please visit www.homefromhomecare.com.