Social Care leaders share workforce vision

July 20, 2021

Adult social care leaders have come together for the first time to offer a collective vision of what should be in a workforce strategy for the growing sector.

The leaders of Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), Care Provider Alliance (CPA), Care and Support Alliance (CSA), Local Government Association (LGA), Skills for Care, Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) and Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) represent people who draw down on care and support services, employers, workers, inspectors and commissioners.

They argue a strategy for the 1.5 million strong workforce must be driven by a shared vision. As Social Care Future put it ‘we all want to live in the place we call home with the people and things that we love, in communities where we look out for one another, doing the things that matter to us.’

To build and develop a workforce which makes this vision a reality the leaders say there are clear priorities, which must be included in a national workforce strategy/people plan for adult social care:

  1. Staff recognition, value and reward.
  2. Investment in training, qualification and support.
  3. Career pathways and development.
  4. Building and enhancing social justice, equality, diversity and inclusion in the workforce.
  5. Effective workforce planning across the whole social care workforce.
  6. Expansion of the workforce in roles which are designed in coproduction with people who draw on care and support, and in roles which enable prevention, support the growth of innovative models of support.

The leaders agree these priorities have to be a key part of the proposed reform agenda that will need to consider what part social care should play in our society in the coming years, and what role a workforce that is likely to be around 2 million strong by 2035 should play to meet current and future demand.

Kathy Roberts, Chair, Care Provider Alliance, said, ‘The Care Provider Alliance is continuing to work with policymakers in central and local government and the wider sector to tackle the structural and financial problems that our sector faces in terms of workforce planning. We believe that this sector-led plan, published today, articulates what we need now to ensure a consistent and fair approach to workforce planning across all care and support services.’

Skills for Care CEO Oonagh Smyth, said, ‘We believe that policies to reform adult social care will not be successful unless they address the needs of the workforce who have played such a critical role during the pandemic through a social care people plan and comprehensive workforce planning, underpinned by quality data and an understanding of our workforce now and in the future.’

Kathryn Smith, Chief Executive of the Social Care Institute for Excellence, said, ‘Our workforce has been pushed into the headlights by COVID-19. This strategy highlights several challenges, all of which we know existed before the pandemic. And there are opportunities here, for instance the chance for better innovation; and through the changes brought by Integrated Care Systems. So, it’s time to grasp the nettle and, as many of us said in our recent letter to Ministers, demand a new deal for the care workforce’.

Visit the Skills for Care website to read more about the vision for the workforce strategy.

Double vaccinated frontline NHS and social care staff in England, who have been told to self-isolate, will be permitted to attend work in exceptional circumstances and replaced by testing mitigations in exceptional circumstances under updated guidance.

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