Call for IJB carer reps to get expenses

Report finds most Integration Joint Boards expect carers representatives to subsidise role from own pocket

Wednesday 22nd May 2019

Carer representatives on the boards of the public bodies setting the direction of health and social care in Scotland should be paid expenses so they don’t have to subsidise their duties from their own pockets.

That’s one of the recommendations included in a new report from a group of carer representatives who sit on Integration Joint Boards (IJBs) across the country.

The Carer Collaborative of IJB Carer Representatives says it’s a ‘basic point of principle and good practice that people should not be financially worse off for undertaking voluntary public duties’.

The group is calling for IJBs to set out formal expenses polices that meet the costs of carers preparing for and attending meetings, including replacement care and loss of earnings.

Legislation and Scottish Government regulations require IJBs and other healthcare bodies to involve carers and their representatives at senior leadership level.

Despite this, approaches to engagement are said to be ‘inconsistent’.

‘Most IJBs continue to require Carer Reps to subsidise their public duties, with expenses not being provided and expenses policies not being in place,’ the report finds.

Where expenses are paid, the Collaborative says these should cover all the costs incurred and argue policies need to be developed and clearly communicated. One representative said:

“The problem is that people do not like to ask for such things. If there were schemes, arrangements or forms in place that were routinely made available, so that people do not feel that they are asking for something that they are not entitled to, then this would help.”

Meanwhile, as more and more IJBs spread decision-making to community-based locality planning groups, the Collaborative says representatives must continue to be involved.

In some areas these meetings have not included carers or service users, which the group says is ‘against the letter and spirit of health and social care integration’.

Relatedly, the report calls for meetings to be made more accessible by holding pre-meeting briefings and Q&As to guide representatives through lengthy agenda papers, which can run to hundreds of pages.