Green Badge: a simple step to help social care staff now
Parking issues are causing unnecessary stress and cost for care workers and personal assistants who support people in their own homes. Engage Britain’s team of experts – including people who draw on, and work in care – say Britain should adopt a ‘green badge’ parking pass to solve the problem. With the policy attracting interest from MPs, we look at how it would work
What is the Green Badge?
The Green Badge would provide care workers who visit people’s homes with a Government-recognised pass for parking. Working in a similar way to the Blue Badge does for disabled people, care workers would be exempt from residential parking restrictions. This would allow them to park close to people’s homes, without worry or cost.
Green Badge Debate: On Thursday 16 March, MPs debated the Green Badge in Westminster Hall, marking a big moment for Engage Britain.
What is the problem?
Care workers and personal assistants often have to park far from their clients’ homes to avoid fines, towing or even verbal assault.
As many care workers are not paid for travelling time, or for parking costs, this can reduce their earnings. It can also add huge stress for many care workers, who often have to make up the time themselves.
The Green Badge would be a first step in addressing chronic issues for care workers visiting homes. It is part of a wider package to address many long-term and difficult problems with social care staffing. These were developed in a ground-breaking process by people with front-line experience of social care. That included people who draw on, work in, provide and commission social care and support services.
How would the Green Badge work?
While some local authorities are already providing parking passes for care workers, the Green Badge would be a national scheme. This would allow it to be adopted as universally as the Blue Badge is now. But it would only be given to care workers and personal assistants who visit people’s homes.
Why is it so important?
Camille Oung of the Nuffield Trust was a member of the group of people who developed the polices. She said: “In the last year more than one-in-three domiciliary care workers left their roles (PDF), with many opting to work in sectors that offer better working conditions and pay.
“The lack of support with the increasing costs associated with driving therefore risks leaving more people at home without having their caring needs fully met.”
While the Green Badge won’t solve this problem, it can be an important first step in helping to tackle challenges the workforce faces.
The team who developed the Green Badge said it could help to show how much society values social care workers. And, along with a range of other policies they have developed, it would improve conditions for a vital profession.