New report reviews social care leadership

June 9, 2022

A new independent report has been published this week exploring leadership across health and social care in England.

In October 2021 the Government announced a review into leadership across health and social care, led by former Vice Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Gordon Messenger and supported by Dame Linda Pollard, Chair of Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust.

As outlined in the terms of reference, the review focused on the best ways to strengthen leadership and management across health and with its key interfaces with adult social care in England. Following extensive stakeholder engagement, the review has now completed with the following 7 recommendations:

  • Targeted interventions on collaborative leadership and organisational values.
  • Positive equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) action.
  • Consistent management standards delivered through accredited training.
  • A simplified, standard appraisal system for the NHS.
  • A new career and talent management function for managers.
  • Effective recruitment and development of non-executive directors (NEDs).
  • Encouraging top talent into challenged parts of the system.

All seven recommendations have been accepted by the Government and publication of the report will be followed by a plan committing to implementing the recommendations.

Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, said, ‘The publication of the review presents a window of opportunity for greater collaboration between adult social care and the NHS. We hope that this report will signal a new era of cross sector partnership through leadership and a greater parity of recognition, with equal esteem between health and social care sectors. The recommendations must be delivered across both health and social care. The disparity in Government treatment between the NHS and the care sector including funding and workforce training, development and leadership must be redressed to accomplish this.’

Martin Green continues, ‘The report’s recommendations have been issued just as Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) are to be put on a statutory footing. With the transition to ICSs, the need for improved collaboration between NHS and the social care sector has never been greater. This report offers an opportunity for ASC and NHS colleagues to collaborate through training and sharing of experience, it must be stressed that the announcement fails to outline how the recommendations will be implemented across the social care sector. We recognise the difficulties in determining how to deliver workforce and management frameworks to almost 20,000 organisations in England and reiterate that an accompanying long-term plan is required to ensure that the recommendations can be implemented successfully. Care England is eager to learn the details and timeframe of the recommendations’ implementation and would be happy to assist as a partner in its delivery to ensure this process is managed effectively.’

However, despite Care England welcoming the report, The National Care Forum said there is nothing of substance in the report.

Professor Vic Rayner OBE, CEO of NCF said, ‘There is nothing of substance in this report for social care leaders across the country, grappling right now with all of the same challenges around workforce and pressure that those in the NHS experience. Instead, the review focuses on secondary healthcare problems and solutions – it is not the leadership review of health and social care it purports to be. While Sir Gordon Messenger is right in his assertion that there is support for greater parity of investment in social care leadership, it is a completely wasted opportunity that this report does not highlight how and where that should happen.

Adding, ‘With just over three weeks to go until the new Integrated Care Systems are put on a statutory footing, it does little to inspire confidence. The report struggles to identify how to translate a single message about collaborative leadership into action across an entire system that stands or falls on collaboration. In a world that stresses the indisputable value of integration, it can no longer be acceptable to say that the absence of ‘identifiable levers’ to create change means that vast swathes of primary health and all of social care are out of reach in relation to national solutions, or indeed a reflective commentary on their current or future requirements.’

Visit the UK Government website to read the report in full.

In other news, adult social care providers in England are being urged to check their data protection policies by 30 June 2022.

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