Tender Loving Care Agency

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Tender Loving Care Agency's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Tender Loving Care Agency is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles
Gladys Perks, Founder and
Tender Loving Care is believed to be
the longest-running domiciliary care
agency in Wales
Gladys Perks founded Tender Loving Care Agency in
1992. Since then, they have provided care and support
to over 10,000 people in their own homes, throughout
the Welsh counties of Powys and Ceredigion. Gladys tells
TheParliamentary Review
about the qualities that have allowed
her agency to thrive. She also outlines her concerns and hopes
for the sector, including the need for the government to
professionalise domiciliary care to help promote recruitment.
Over a quarter of a century ago, there were very few domiciliary care agencies
operating in Wales. Since then, many have been established with varied success.
While working as a residential social worker in an older person’s care home, I
identified the opportunity to provide a badly needed care and support service. This
would enable people to remain in their own homes rather than go into residential
care. Following this, I established the first domiciliary care agency in Ceredigion
Our commitment to person-centred support
This core principal, now commonly referred as “person-centred support”,
remains just as true today as it did in 1992. Our carers help people to maintain
their independence for as long as possible while caring for them with dignity
Many of our clients are older people with complex health and social care needs.
This may include those with physical disabilities or those for whom palliative care
»Founder and Director:
»Established in 1992
»Based in Llanidloes
»Services: Domiciliary care
»No. of employees: 100
»No. of users: Have delivered
services to over 10,000 people
»Believed to be the longest
established domiciliary care
agency in Wales
Tender Loving Care
Highlighting best practice
is a priority. Our carers provide help to
vulnerable people with washing and
dressing, preparing meals and drinks,
taking and recording medication, as
well as overnight and specialist support
where necessary.
In October 2017, we hosted the first
regional domiciliary care conference
in mid Wales. The recurring theme
of the day was that all were
experiencing massive difficulties
in recruiting carers. When I first
established the company, I found
that the recruitment of staff was
never a problem. More recently, it
has become as difficult as it has ever
been. Domiciliary carers are amongst
the poorest paid of all health and
social care workers, yet the work they
do isvital.
Commissioners within local authorities
and the NHS, facing cutbacks
themselves, have struggled to
make annual cost of living increases
to staff. Over 95 per cent of our
care packages are funded by local
authorities. The result is that agencies
which provide hands-on services
take massive financial hits, which
can make sustainability difficult. This
directly impacts our ability to provide
strong, effective and flexible services
to meet vulnerable user’s increasingly
A pressing need for recruits
The pressure on domiciliary carers is
exacerbated by the introduction of
new “smart” commissioning processes,
which are currently being introduced
by public sector commissioners.
The main motivation for this seems
to be the belief that by increasing
market competition by attracting
more providers, costs will be reduced
I see this as a red flag. This policy
threatens to exacerbate the existing
difficulties surrounding recruitment
within the sector. Recent public sector
pay increases have not included any
further funding to improve the pay
and conditions of staff within the
independent sector. This problem
is especially serious because there
is already only a very small pool of
people willing to work in domiciliary
care services.
However intrinsically rewarding the
work is for carers, the conditions of
service and the inferior status given
to carers compared to nurses or
social workers, means that domiciliary
care work is hardly ever a career of
choice but one far more of personal
circumstance and necessity.
A possible solution would be asking
the government to professionalise the
service by creating a level playing field
between health and social care sector
To address the difficulties in recruiting
carers, the aim must be to make
domiciliary care work an attractive
career prospect for all. It needs a
short, medium and longer-term
Gladys talking at the
first domiciliary care
conference in mid Wales
organised by TLC
When I first
established the
company, I
found that the
recruitment of
staff was never
a problem.
More recently,
it has become
as difficult as it
has ever been
strategy to be quickly instigated by the
government and we are very willing to
be part of this dialogue.
A high-profile recruitment drive will
also need to be attractive to mature
people, keen to earn while doing
something worthwhile.
It is essential that services come
together to find solutions as without
collective thinking, effective planning
cannot take place.
Providing strategic direction
I believe that if this is undertaken,
the public will benefit in terms of the
increased quality of our provision and
by negating the need for far more
expensive and traditional services.
For example, NHS bed-blocking can
be eased considerably by creating
preferred provider status to agencies
located within the same catchment
area of a hospital.
Establishing formal platforms between
the NHS and social care providers,
which must include those in the
independent sector, for predicting,
planning and meeting individual needs
would also be highly beneficial.
If this was instigated, the current
requirement for expensive residential
care places would decrease as
domiciliary care would enable people
with a range of conditions to be
cared for and supported within their
Increased legislation, concerning
regulation and inspection in Wales,
has been based upon improving
outcomes for users and I have very
much welcomed these initiatives.
Inevitably, however, this places
additional pressure upon service-
providers to meet these regulatory
This is made more difficult by constant
reductions to financial resources
and as people’s needs become more
complex, we require more carers and
greater flexibility in our provision.
My journey as the founder and director
of a rural domiciliary care agency has
not been easy but I have stuck at it
through thick and thin.
The recruitment issues within the
sector must be addressed to ensure
that domiciliary carers are able to
continue to provide their vital services.
It is very likely that many of us will
need the support of domiciliary
care agencies later in life and so it is
essential that they are provided with
the resources and staff to function
It is essential
that services
come together
to find solutions
as without
planning cannot
take place
There is the need
for greater flexibility
and funding in the
domiciliary care sector

This article was sponsored by Tender Loving Care Agency. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister