In a similar fashion to taxi App Uber, OUTT makes life easier for home care and other social care employers to bring in temporary staff – by cutting out the ‘agency’ middle man.
Staff shortages during Covid-19 highlighted the need for such technology which allows registered staff on the job platform to be hired instantly, literally at the press of a button.
Employers post a job and can choose from a list of care assistants and support workers, based on locality, experience etc. The list covers those working within care homes, for care at home agencies, with the homeless and both physical and mental disabilities. When registering, employees are interviewed online and all background checks carried out. This includes police checks, disclosure certificates, passports and photographs. Staff will also be given ID badges to wear when working.
The developers behind the OUTT App are social care recruitment professionals and received a £50 million government funding towards its development. So far, a host of major employers in the social care sector have already expressed enthusiasm prior to its launch next week.
A spokesman for OUTT said: “The benefits for employers are obvious in that it is much more transparent than using an agency. They can check for themselves details about potential employees, rather than just take an agency’s word for it. They can do this immediately and in their own time.
“And there are plenty of pluses for staff too. They don’t pay agency fees, they can choose whether or not to take a job, and employers must pay them a minimum wage of £10 an hour.
“Ongoing, it allows both the employer and temporary member of staff to build up a working relationship which may easily result in a permanent position after a few months.”
Staff can work for more than one employer registered on the App, but the technology only allows them to do so if there is a minimum gap between shifts. This ensures they don’t become over-tired and remain working within government guidelines.
The App differs from Uber in the sense that staff are not self-employed: the team behind the App is responsible for PAYE and other tax issues.
Apps with similar direct hiring functions already exist in the Nursing and Hospitality sectors but this is the first time such an initiative has been introduced into the social care sector.
The spokesman added: “Having worked in the sector for more than a decade now I’m only too well aware of all the ‘thanks – but little reward’ that care assistants and support workers receive.
“After what the world witnessed during the coronavirus lockdown I’m sure everyone will agree that it is high time this changed. I hope this App will start to help do that by giving employees more control over where, and with whom, they work.”
Find out more about the App and OUTT platform at www.outt.co.uk