The economic value of adult social care

June 5, 2018

A new report from Skills for Care on the economic value of adult social care has highlighted that employers in the sector contribute £38.5bn to the English economy.

The Economic Value of the Adult Social Care Sector – England report was commissioned by Skills for Care and Development who wanted to find out the extent of the economic impact of a growing sector offering services in more than 40,000 sites across England creating 1.5 million job roles.

The first step in determining the sector's economic contribution was identifying the Gross Value Added (GVA) directly generated by employers including wages paid to workers filling the many different job roles in adult social care. This comes to £20.3bn.

In addition to measuring the direct impact, two further measures were used to estimate the total GVA generated by the sector. The first of these was the indirect approach. This estimates the GVA created by the sector in its supply chain by purchasing services from other sectors of the economy. These might include cleaning services or food suppliers. This was estimated as £8.9bn.

Next was the induced impact of the sector that results from those who are employed directly in the sector and those employed indirectly spending their wages in other sectors of the economy. This was estimated to be £9.3bn.

These three measures of GVA – the direct, indirect and induced – were then combined to give a total spend of £38.5bn across England.

As well as estimating the GVA created by the sector, the report also examines the numbers of job roles adult social care supports. This totals 1.5 million, or 962,000 full-time equivalents.

The Board of Skills for Care and Development brings together Skills for Care (in England); the Scottish Social Services Council, the Northern Ireland Social Care Council and Social Care Wales to create a robust economic profile for adult social care in the UK. The Board agreed there was a clear need for a robust report into the economic contribution of the sector across the UK and commissioned ICF to write an independent report.

Commenting on the England report, Skills for Care's Chief Executive, Sharon Allen said, 'With a growing workforce that is bigger than the NHS, we are not surprised at how much our sector contributes to the English economy. This report’s real strength is that it provides evidence about what we have always believed anecdotally about the significant economic contribution made by a sector that provides 6% of total employment in England.

'The findings in this report underline the importance of social care not only as a provider of services to our fellow citizens when they most need it, but our vital role as a provider of jobs in local economies across the country where much of the money is spent.'

Vic Rayner, Executive Director of the National Care Forum added, 'I hope that this report will provide a solid evidence base for both the Green Paper and the social care workforce strategy. These key policy documents are going to be instrumental in shaping the future of social care provision in England. It is clear from this report that social care is already a significant contributor and the opportunities in the future to explore how changes in models of delivery and use of technology can enhance productivity within the sector can only serve to accelerate that contribution.'

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