Aberdeenshire UNISON

March 2015
Home Care Campaign

Branch urges home care members to tell it like it is at council meetings

Helping handsThe branch is urging all our Home Care members to get along to the council's meetings, which have been set up in response to serious concerns from UNISON members and others that the new Buddy phone is not fit for purpose and could put vulnerable clients at risk.

These meetings will take place around Aberdeenshire in March and April. Click here for dates.

UNISON will be in attendance at all these meetings. The Branch has already raised a number of our members' concerns with Home Care management and has issued a survey to all our members asking for their views on a range of terms and conditions matters including the Buddy.

If you have a survey that you have not yet completed, please do so and send it back to the branch in the freepost envelope you were sent out with the survey, as we need this as evidence to take to our employer.

Betty Lyon
Betty Lyon

Betty Lyon, UNISON Area Organiser said, "Please come along to these meetings as this is your opportunity to let your employer know how this buddy system is affecting you and your clients, as well as the many other concerns which you have shared with UNISON.

She added, "Don't worry about speaking to your trade union about the issues you have with the “Buddy” or your other concerns. As a UNISON Member, you have a protected legal right to speak to your trade union and you are under no obligation to speak to your employer first before speaking to a trade union representative."

Click here for further information on your rights as a trade union member

Meeting Dates

  • Tuesday 24 March Dawson Court, Turriff
  • Friday 27 March Burnett Arms Hotel, Banchory
  • Thursday 2 April Huntly Town Hall
  • Tuesday 7 April Ellon, Kirk Centre, Uper Room
  • Wednesday 8 April Inverurie Town Hall (main hall)
  • Thursday 9 April Portlethen Family Centre
  • Wednesday 15 April Peterhead Rescue Hall
  • Thursday 16 April Aboyne Victory Hall
  • Friday 17 April Fraserburgh Old Parish Church Centre (Conference Room)
  • Tuesday 21 April Laurencekirk Hall
  • Wednesday 22 April Macduff Town Hall

Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair said, "The Branch has already raised all our members' concerns with management in an informal meeting. As a result, further training on the Buddy was set up for Home Care staff.

"However our members tell us that this wasn't as good as they had hoped, and there was only limited opportunity to get their questions answered.

"Management has confirmed that all home carers should be able to get a print-out of hours worked. We are encouraging members to ask their CTCs for this and to let us know if they can't get a copy.

"We are also pushing for home carers to be paid for their full shifts rather than for their visits to clients. This would resolve many of our members' concerns."

Please feel free to contact UNISON if you require further information on 01224 620624 or email Betty Lyon


Feb 2015
Home Care Campaign

UNISON seeks talks with management amidst fears that “Buddy” could leave service users at risk

Time to CareThe branch is to meet with home care management to discuss the concerns of members in South and Central Aberdeenshire about the new “Buddy” phones, which the council has issued to home carers.

The council is also planning a series of meetings with home care staff across Aberdeenshire, which UNISON will attend, and we are urging all our members to get along to these meetings, to pass on their concerns direct to senior management.

At a packed meeting of both members and non-members in Inverurie on 12th Feb 2015, staff told how these phones are not properly programmed, break down regularly and of their worries that these could put both service users and carers at risk.

Kate Ramsde
Kate Ramsden

Kate Ramsden, Branch Chair, who organised the meeting following requests from home care members said, “The issues raised at that meeting have now been sent to management. We have also sent a copy of the report to all home care members across Aberdeenshire and we are urging them to get in touch to let us know of their experience of the “Buddy” and whether it chimes with the concerns expressed by the carers who attended on 12th.”

Kate added, “Staff told us they have had no training to use these phones other that being given a one page instruction sheet. They tell us that the information which is inputted to the phone is not always right. Wrong addresses have been given, and carers have been sent to the same service users as colleagues. Our members worry about the potential for vulnerable service users to be missed out on altogether.

“Just as concerning are reports that the information about service users’ care plans, medication etc is not always accurate and it is only because our carers know their clients that this is picked up. These are very vulnerable older and disabled people and they need to have confidence in their home care service.”

Inez Teece
Inez Teece

Inez Teece, Branch Secretary added, “Staff are also very worried that their pay is being calculated by using the phone when it clearly doesn’t work properly.  Already they often find it difficult to work out their pay and none of them had received a spread-sheet of their hours worked, despite being promised this by management.

“Also, it seems that supervisors are still using carers’ personal phones to contact them and carers have to call hospitals and health centres on their personal phones, often at premium rates. This only highlights the fact that the phones don’t work.

“The Branch has arranged a meeting with management to discuss these and other matters.”