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The impact of Brexit on social care:
workforce, recruitment and retention

What impact will the decision to leave the European Union have on the sector’s ability to recruit and retain staff? CMM is holding a roundtable with NHG and some of the sector’s leading names to discuss this issue.

Since the decision to leave the European Union was made in June 2016, the sector has been very vocal about the impact that the uncertainty around the rights of EU citizens and their families in the UK could have on the social care workforce. CMM’s roundtable with NHG will try to address the issues and look for actionable solutions to avoid exacerbating existing recruitment and retention problems.

Brexit and the workforce

According to Skills for Care’s 2016 The State of the Adult Social Care Sector and Workforce in England report, around 7% of the adult social care workforce are EU nationals. This equates to 90,000 people. This figure had been increasing from 2012/13. However, following the EU Referendum in June 2016, the proportion of jobs filled by an EU national has not changed. With the NMDS-SC showing that vacancy rates in adult social care currently sit at 5.9%, this could almost double if the sector loses its EU workforce.

Concerns over the future of EU nationals will have a varied impact across England. Skills for Care reports that London has the highest numbers of non-British workers (13% EU) and the North East has the lowest.

Since the Brexit talks have begun, the Government has made some announcements about the future of EU nationals currently living in the UK. Based on reciprocal treatment for UK citizens living in EU member states, the UK has said that:

  • While the UK remains a member of the EU, EU citizens resident here will continue to enjoy the rights they have under EU Treaties.
  • After leaving the EU, the Government will create new rights in UK law for qualifying EU citizens resident here before exiting the EU.
  • Qualifying EU citizens will have to apply for residence status.
  • Qualifying individuals will be granted settled status in UK law.

However, with ongoing Brexit talks and no parties being completely sure of the type of Brexit that will happen, ‘Hard Brexit’, ‘Soft Brexit’ or ‘No Brexit’, the uncertainty is having an effect on the recruitment and retention of staff.

Roundtable Panel

To discuss the issues and try to find solutions for providers to implement during and post-Brexit, CMM and NHG’s roundtable will feature key thinkers and decision-makers in the sector.

Chaired by CMM Editor, Emma Morriss, the panel includes:

  • Professor Martin Green, Chief Executive of Care England.
  • Vic Rayner, Executive Director of the National Care Forum.
  • Rhidian Hughes, Chief Executive of VODG (Voluntary Organisations Disability Group).
  • Neil Eastwood, Founder of Sticky People and Author of Saving Social Care.
  • Sharon Allen, Chief Executive of Skills for Care and National Skills Academy for Social Care, also representing CommonAge, the Commonwealth Association for the Ageing.
  • Graeme Lee, Chief Executive of Springfield Healthcare.
  • John Andrews, Chief Executive, NHG Group.
  • Gaius Owen, Global Projects Sales Director, NHG.

The panel will discuss the current workforce issues facing employers due to Brexit and bring to the table new and existing ideas for the sector to take forward.

Following the event, CMM will produce a feature covering the main points discussed and NHG will be putting together a White Paper of actions that providers can take to address their recruitment and retention issues during and following Brexit.

NHG is the leading healthcare supply provider to care homes and the social care industry. www.nh-group.co.uk

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