How the Skills for Care and NCF Digital Leadership Programme is developing social care managers

Skills for Care shares how a new digital leadership programme can help to develop managers’ digital confidence to support the future of care delivery.

The Digital Leadership Programme is a national development between Skills for Care and The National Care Forum (NCF) for both new and experienced managers of adult social care services.

It was first piloted in early 2020 as face-to-face programme and was developed collaboratively with registered mangers and other sector stakeholders. It was a pioneer at the time in developing support for managers on their digital journey, as digital care solutions became more prominent, and leaders looked for support to develop their skills in this area.

Following the pilot Skills for Care has worked with NCF to further develop and update the programme, which officially launched earlier this year as a virtual programme delivered over four modules across a six-week period.

The refreshed programme is an important asset in supporting leaders to feel confident in their own digital skills and their ability to support and develop the digital skills of their team. As we move into 2024 the need for everyone working across social care to be skilled and confident in using digital technology becomes increasingly vital to support person-centred and effective care.

Currently 60% of adult social care services have adopted digital social care records.

The Government has stated a target of 2025 for all health and social care settings to have the right infrastructure and connectivity to work digitally and for established digital, data and technology talent pipelines, and improved digital literacy among leaders and the workforce.

The Digital Leadership Programme supports managers to gain the underpinning skills and knowledge of digital leadership that can be practically applied when implementing technology in a care service.

The four key areas covered in the programme are digital basics; leadership and transformational change; co-production, and using data to create change.

Within these modules the key issues covered include a look at what organisational culture is needed for digital change; how technology can better support people who draw on care and enhance person-centred care; how to overcome barriers to being more digital, and how to use digital data ethically and securely.

It also supports participants to think about digital specifically in relation to their role and what digital tools they can use in their organisation.

Crucially the programme covers how to be a digital leader – including supporting others to develop their digital skills, building a positive digital learning environment, and how to create and encourage the role of digital champions in their organisation.

The programme has a real focus on being interactive and encouraging group discussions around the key topics.

At the end of the programme the participants present to each other about what they’ve learned from the programme and how they’ve put this into practice in their organisation. This is a real opportunity for leaders to learn from each other and develop new practices in their teams.

Individuals can sign-up to join the programme with a group of participants from across other organisations, or establishments – including providers, local authorities or integrated care systems – can commission the programme exclusively for their team.

Employers can use the Workforce Development Fund (WDF) to claim £500 per participant once they have completed the programme and have received their certificate, subject to meeting the eligibility criteria for the WDF.

Participants who’ve undertaken the course so far have provided positive feedback.

Beverly Futtit, Digital Transformation Lead, National Care Forum who has been facilitating the course said:  

“Managers have such a complex role, and it can be daunting to have digital responsibilities layered on top. However, it is incredible to see the enthusiasm, passion, and commitment to implementing change demonstrated by managers attending this course. Module by module their confidence is growing, and it is so reassuring to see them exploring quality of care as they embrace their roles as digital leaders.”


Find out more about the programme: https://www.skillsforcare.org.uk/Support-for-leaders-and-managers/Managing-a-service/Digital-technology-and-social-care/Digital-leadership-programme.aspx

Skills for Care is also currently running a campaign to support social care managers to improve their digital confidence. Find out more: www.skillsforcare.org.uk/digitalconfidence


Upcoming programme dates:

Workshop 1 – The digital basics

Tuesday 9 January 2024, 10:00 – 15:00

Workshop 2 – Systems knowledge and governance

Tuesday 23 January 2024, 10:00 – 13:00

Workshop 3 – Being a digital leader

Tuesday 30 January 2024, 10:00 – 13:00

Workshop 4 – Critical thinking and action planning

Tuesday 13 February 2024, between 10:00 – 15:00


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