Lancashire County Council has terminated its contract with a local home care provider after learning that its staff had not been paid this month.
A war of words had broken out between the care provider and the council, with each blaming the other for failure to pay salaries.
Local newspaper the Lancaster Guardian obtained a letter sent by directors at Heritage Homecare Ltd, that apologised to staff for non-payment of wages in which they blamed the council for ending its contract.
Lancashire County Council hit back saying it was the responsibility of contracted suppliers to manage cashflow effectively. It terminated its contract with Heritage Homecare on March 2, and is transferring people using home care services to other providers.
One former member of staff speaking to the Lancaster Guardian, who did not wish to be named, said: “I left at the end of last month after the company received a poor CQC report. They carried on as usual but they’ve now put everyone a month in arrears. I was expecting my last wage, and was told that it would be paid. Then I noticed their website had gone down, and an email has gone out to let people know they won’t be paid this month. I’m worried that staff not getting paid will have a negative effect on the people who require care.”
The letter to staff, signed by the company’s directors Angela Hughes and Kay Randle, read: “Since June 2014 Lancashire County Council changed their invoicing system which although the Finance Team have worked tirelessly with LCC to overcome and rectify any issues in a timely manner.
“LCC have chosen to focus their attention on Heritage Homecare over the last few months thus causing immense difficulties with cash flow.”
County Coun Tony Martin, cabinet member for adult and community services, said: “The issues facing staff who are not being paid by Heritage are a matter the owners and management need to address directly with their own employees.”