BRADFORD Council has worked with adult social care providers to deliver a one-off £445 pay bonus to frontline care workers who have been vital to the district’s pandemic response.

Care providers across the Bradford district have been able to claim the one-off bonus worth £445 per staff member thanks to Bradford Council directly ‘passporting’ every penny of funding it has received from the national Workforce Recruitment and Retention Funds (WRRFs) for direct-to-staff incentives.

Providers have been able to claim the £445 per staff member for use for retention bonuses, pay premiums such as for overtime or working over the holiday period, welcome payments or other similar financial incentives to support staff and recognise the important work they do.

When claiming the WRRF funding, providers have been required to confirm that they will use the monies only for the intended purpose and that the funding will be passed on direct to staff.

Council Leader, Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, said concerns are growing nationally around recruitment and retention in the adult care sector at a time when care workers have been at the front line of the pandemic response.

She said that one-off payments for frontline staff are very welcome but has urged government to do more to fund better pay and conditions for these public service heroes sustainably into the long term.

The Bradford district has a 9,000-strong care workforce who support people in a variety of settings including in their own homes and in care facilities.

The sector plays a vital role working in partnership with the NHS to keep people safe and well, reduce pressures in hospitals and improve quality of life for those who need care.

However, the sector needs to meet rising demands for care and rising costs, when councils have had to contend with billions of pounds worth of central funding cuts. Bradford Council’s net budget is now around half what it was in 2010 in real terms.

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, said: “Care workers have worked heroically through the pandemic often in extremely difficult circumstances. It is public service at its very best. We have used every penny of this funding to boost the pay of frontline care workers. But we recognise much more needs to be done as there are huge pressures in the care workforce and we don’t want to lose these skilled, caring workers to seasonal or other work. So we call on the Government to fund better pay for frontline care workers who look after the most vulnerable and support the NHS.”

Cllr Sarah Ferriby, Executive Member for Healthy People & Places, said: “Care workers do skilled, challenging and vital work. Despite the funding cuts to councils we are doing everything we can on pay but unfortunately there is clearly a national issue around pay and retention of social care workers, as well as the huge shortfall in funding from government. A report by Skills for Care has found that adult social care in England needs £6.1bn of additional funding to overhaul a ‘low value’ system and realise its full potential – yet the Chancellor’s spending review failed to provide the additional funding that’s needed. We are therefore calling on government to invest properly and truly value the adult social care workforce and the great work they do now and into the future.”