The Writing is on the Wall

Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive, Care England

Care England, the largest and most diverse representative body for independent providers of adult social care in England, has today expressed concern over the findings within Skills for Care’s The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England report.

Professor Martin Green, Chief Executive of Care England, says:
“This report illustrates the impossible challenge currently facing independent care sector providers. A growing number of people are living with increasingly complex conditions but are being supported through an insufficient government funding pot. A lack of government action has had a significant consequence on providers’ ability to recruit and retain staff, with staff being lost faster than they can be replaced. The writing is on the wall and immediate help is urgently required to secure the future sustainability of the sector. We are awaiting the operationalisation of the £500m which was due to be generated by the Health and Social Care Levy for the workforce over the next 3 years. However, if this is to happen, it would be only the first, of what needs to be many steps in bolstering our workforce, as it would equate to just 5.7p per hour for each sector employee. A stable social care workforce is the bedrock of an effective care system and also plays a crucial role in supporting the functioning of the NHS.”

Skills for Care has today published The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England report, an annual analysis of the adult social care workforce in England and the characteristics of the people working within it.

Some of the key findings include:
•    There are 165,000 vacant posts – an increase of 52% since October 2021 and the highest rate on record.
•    The number of posts with a person working in them has dropped by 50,000 – the first drop in the number of social care workers ever.
•    Average vacancy rates across the sector are at nearly 11% which is twice the national average.
•    Care workers with five years’ experience are paid 7p per hour more than a care worker with less than one year’s experience.
•    The average care worker pay is £1 per hour less than healthcare assistants in the NHS that are new to their roles.

Martin Green continues:
“A root and branch reform of the workforce is required which imposes a new reality. This is necessary not only to address the immediate pressures but also the long-term, systematic issues. With the Government reporting a 38-year low in unemployment and the adult social care sector seeing an all-time high in vacancy levels, up 52% to 165,000 in the last 12 months with an attrition rate of 29%, change is needed now. There is a desperate and immediate need for significant increases in funding to keep pace with the cost of living crisis, to help retain staff and to help inject both domestic and overseas recruits into the sector ahead of catastrophic failure caused by government underfunding. More widely, the sector needs to be reframed to make care a valued and properly rewarded career. The sector requires a ten-year workforce plan, akin to that of the NHS, where career progression, pay and rewards are identified. We need to develop some clear skills and competency frameworks, and a set of portable qualifications so that people can easily move between providers, and this must be done with a matter of urgency.”


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