Adult social care workforce strategy
Over 1.6 million people work in the adult social care sector. The Care Provider Alliance, along with other sector leaders, are calling for a long-term workforce strategy to support and develop the sector. Some of the key resources on developing the strategy are outlined below.
The Government has launched the first major national survey of all care workers in all care roles in adult social care in England.
The national survey of care workers, conducted by Skills for Care, Ipsos and the University of Kent on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care, is gathering information about working conditions, organisational characteristics, and workplace culture, to understand how work-related quality of life and wellbeing is affected.
The survey will take no more than 20 minutes to complete.
Share the survey with your colleagues and encourage them to respond. Use the communications resources to help spread the word.
Volunteer Responders and Social Care – 7 June 2023 – NHS England and DHSC
DHSC officially launched the expansion of the NHS Volunteer Responders programme into adult social care to form a joint NHS and Care Volunteer Responders programme. This means that adult social care providers are now able to refer people to the service, as well as local authorities.The Volunteer Responders programme has been set up to complement local provision and provide short-term support to those in need.
Currently, there are four roles available to support social care services – Check In and Chat, Check In and Chat Plus, Community Response and Pick Up and Deliver. For more information, please see: NHS and Care Volunteer Responders | Supporting Health & Social Care (nhscarevolunteerresponders.org)
Or to make a referral, use the referrer portal or call 0808 196 3382.
In addition to these roles, DHSC want to identify any further volunteer roles that can support the social care sector. Please complete this short survey by 1stSeptember to have your say on future roles it would be helpful to introduce: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/SocialCareVR
Care providers’ feedback will be invaluable in understanding how to best support social care providers and individuals through the introduction of new volunteer roles.
Good quality health and social care is dependent on skilled, well-led and valued staff. Health and care workers have a major impact on the lives of the people they support, and effectiveness of the overall system. Recruitment and retention continue to be major issues for the NHS, local authorities and social care providers – with some areas of the country seeing services close due to lack of safe staffing levels, whilst the need for care and support rises.
This CPA and NHS England Learning Summit report, recordings and case studies explore the emerging models for joint planning across health and social care at local level.
Nadra Ahmed, chair of the Care Provider Alliance, has responded to the NHS Workforce Plan saying:
“The Care Provider Alliance welcomes the publication of the NHS workforce plan. Social care providers share the same staffing shortages, funding challenges and cost of living pressures as our NHS colleagues. We are committed to tackling those challenges together and welcome the framework the plan provides to enable us to work within it while we work towards an equally necessary plan for social care.”
In the year ending March 2023, almost 100,000 skilled workers received visas to work in health and care jobs in the UK, making up more than half of all Skilled Worker Route work visas. This number of overseas hires is unprecedented in the UK’s post-war history and accelerates an existing trend of growing reliance on migrant workers to staff the NHS and the care sector.
In the year ending March 2023, 57,700 care and senior care workers received skilled work visas. The share of people in the residential care sector who worked for an employer that held a sponsor license increased from 10% to 39% from February 2022 to March 2023 – the first 13 months after care workers became eligible for skilled work visas.
In 2022, 99% of care workers sponsored for work visas in the UK were from non-EU countries. The top countries of citizenship for care workers using Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) in 2022 were India (33%), Zimbabwe (16%), Nigeria (15%) and the Philippines (11%). India was also the top country of nationality for newly recruited overseas doctors (20% of doctors) and nurses (46%).
The Care Provider Alliance (CPA) has published an open letter to senior leaders within integrated care systems.
The letter focuses on key findings of the Hewitt Review including the need for a greater proportion of Integrated Care Board resources to be focused on preventing people’s needs from escalating and therefore requiring more complex health and care services. The review highlighted that, in order to unlock the benefits of Integrated Care Systems, barriers that currently reduce social care providers’ ability to play an integral role in local system design and delivery must be removed. Social care and support partners offer far-reaching benefits to ICB system strategies including strengthening preventative services and supporting both the social care and health workforce.
The CPA – which is the national alliance of the 10 main social care provider trade associations – has offered their support to ICB and ICP Chairs and Senior colleagues. For example, ICBs may wish to gain a better understanding of the breadth and depth of social care and the essential strategic care providers should play within local systems.
The Care Provider Alliance joins 40 health charities, professional bodies, unions and the NHS Confederation to urge the prime minister to publish a funded workforce plan for healthcare in England. The organisations have warned the prime minster that his promises to improve the NHS will not be met unless the workforce crisis is addressed.
The workforce plan was originally earmarked for publication in Spring 2022 but has still not been published. Media speculation suggests that there is a disagreement between the Treasury and Department for Health and Social Care on the scale of the staffing needed for the NHS and other sectors.
The letter makes it clear that across all sectors, professions, specialities, condition pathways and services there are mass vacancies and insufficient numbers of staff to meet current and future needs. Download the joint letter to the PM
To establish a clearer overview of the national and regional picture of the mental health social care workforce, the Association of Mental Health Providers (The Association), the national voice of mental health charities providing services in England and Wales, has undertaken the first national mental health workforce analysis, which can be visualised via a freely available interactive map and dashboard.
The Mental Health Social Care Workforce and Census Data dashboard combines data from The Association's members, Skills for Care workforce data and Census 2022 data; this includes demographic data relating to gender, ethnicity, religion, age, health status, and hours of unpaid care provision.
By bringing these datasets together in one place, The Association hope to improve understanding of how local, regional and national labour markets interact and what these interactions mean for workforce planning locally and regionally, particularly when reviewing specialist positions.
As of 24 May 2023, key findings from the workforce analysis highlight:
- Overall, the mental health workforce has over 536,000 positions filled, of which over 16,000 are specialist positions.
- Over the last 5 years, the overall mental health workforce decreased by over 11,000 and the specialist workforce by almost 7,000.
- 27% of the overall and 9% of the specialist workforce is on zero-hour contracts, and 88% of the whole workforce have a permanent employment status.
- Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin ICB has one specialist mental health workforce role per 20K people within the population, while comparatively South East London ICB has one specialist mental health workforce role per 642 people within the population.
Good quality health and social care is dependent on skilled, well-led and valued staff. Health and care workers have a major impact on the lives of the people they support, and effectiveness of the overall system. Recruitment and retention continue to be major issues for the NHS, local authorities and social care providers – with some areas of the country seeing services close due to lack of safe staffing levels, whilst the need for care and support rises. Integrated Care Systems are increasingly recognising the importance of joint workforce planning.
This Learning Summit will explore the emerging models for joint planning across health and social care at local level, including lessons learned.
Community Integrated Care’s report that has found that many frontline social care workers are undervalued by as much as 39% – nearly £7,000 per year – in comparison to their peers in equivalent positions in other public funded sectors. With the social care sector losing more than 34% of its employees every year and having 112,000 vacancies presently, this research brings into stark focus the roots of an unprecedented workforce crisis.
The Care Provider Alliance joins other national social care organisations to call for social care reform with a focus on three key requests: Funding for short-term stabilisation; investment and reform proposals on the long-term future of social care; and investment in the short term to speed the shift towards a system of social care that is both sustainable and fit for the modern age.
CPA joins other senior leads in joint response to Queen’s Speech. “As senior members of organisations representing people who draw on, work in, commission, provide and regulate adult social care and support, we are united in our view that the Government’s proposals for the future of social care – promised again in the Queen’s Speech for later this year – must be brought forward urgently along with a clear timeline for action.”
In response to the government's announcement of a new £120 million fund for Local Authorities to bolster staffing, Kathy Roberts, Chair of the Care Provider Alliance says:
"I'm sure I speak for care providers everywhere when I say that we are delighted with today's announcement of additional funding to the sector to bolster staffing and that the operational constraint of staff movement has been overturned.
"...Care Provider Alliance is calling for a long-term Social Care People Plan. Our aim being to have parity with the NHS, in terms of recognition as a skilled workforce, and in terms of reward through comparable pay and conditions."