SB Care can’t afford to pay mandatory staff training costs

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Local Democracy Reporting Service

SB Cares, a company owned and controlled by Scottish Borders Council, has previously been told by the Scottish Government’s care watchdog to make improvements to staff training.

SB Cares has recruited 70 staff members over the last six months, who will require mandatory induction training but a report by SB Cares’ operations director Lynne Crombie indicates that the care company does not have the resources to carry out all staff training in 2019/20.

The report states: “There are still ongoing discussions regarding the training budget which has historically been held by social work.

“The full budget required to meet all the mandatory training requirements is currently being identified. However, it is anticipated that the current available budget will not cover all the mandatory training costs for 2019/2020.”

Training for SB Cares staff comes out of Scottish Borders Council’s overall staff training budget, which is £527,000 for 2019/20, and spokesperson for the council said: “All mandatory training is prioritised and funded within the council’s training budget and this includes mandatory training required by SB Cares.”

Philip Barr, managing director of SB Cares, said: ““We can, if necessary, move money from non-statutory training to meet any shortfall. Rest assured our mandatory training needs will be met.”

“SB Cares is prioritising and updating the mandatory training plan and wider training matrix, including identifying all costs associated with training.

“Training will be sourced to keep costs within budget wherever possible and any additional budget requirements will be accurately identified.”

In July 2018, it was revealed that SB Cares was ordered to make improvements to staff training at Deanfield Care Home in Hawick back in May 2017.

However, a year later, care home inspectors once again had to demand that staff training be improved, despite initially asking for this to be completed within six weeks.

In April 2018, inspectors at SB Cares’ home care west service found that requirements to improve that were handed down two years ago had still not been carried out.

Just weeks later, inspectors visiting SB Cares’ home care east service found a similar pattern, with a requirement to improve the personal plans of service users, dating back to March 2016, remaining unfulfilled.

Despite these failings, the report from Lynne Crombie paints a more optimistic view of the service going forward.

Ms Crombie’s report continues: “There continues to be an upward trend in Care Inspectorate grades across the services.

“There has been an increase in grades for all four services inspected since the last meeting.

“This is a very pleasing reflection on the efforts being put in by managers and staff alike to increase the quality of the service we are providing to our clients across all services.

“We have achieved the first grading of 6 excellent) in an SB Cares care home at St Ronan’s.

“This is not a grade that is given out without a lot of scrutiny by a panel within the Care Inspectorate and therefore the grade 6 of excellent is a significant achievement for the staff and management at St Ronan’s.

“The care home was also the only care home to be nominated, from over 2000 nominations, in four categories at the national care home awards.”