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Nurturing social care leaders to improve the quality of social care

19 July 2016

NCF Blog by Karen Carter 

Karen Carter, Programme Head-Leadership and Management at Skills for Care highlights why nurturing leaders and managers at all levels has never been more important.

Nurturing leaders and managers at all levels across the social care sector has never been as important as it is right now. With increasing numbers of people needing care and support nationwide, it is imperative that we develop a strong talent pipeline of leaders and managers who are able to meet this challenge head-on.  

Why is this important? Quite simply, because leadership and management matters if we are to ensure the provision of high quality, person-centred care for all those in need of it. With just short of 50% of registered managers reaching retirement age in the next 10 to 15 years, the need to nurture the next generation of leaders and managers has never been more urgent. Read the NCF Personnel survey for further information on this. 

We know that the provision of high quality care and a strong workforce of qualified, skilled and confident leaders and managers go hand-in-hand. This requires explicit recognition of the pivotal role of registered managers, not only in providing high quality care day-in day-out, but in caring for their staff in equal measure in order to achieve this. 

The mark of an effective leader is their ability to develop the leadership capacity of all their staff in an inclusive way, with a constant eye on succession planning. As leaders and managers in social care, we need to make ourselves accountable to the measure of our worth in terms of the legacy of leadership we leave behind when we move on. 

In a nutshell - we need to look at this challenge and ask ourselves: "How many potential managers have we grown from the ground up within our organisations that are skilled, capable and, most importantly, motivated to step-up into social care leadership roles in the future?" 

Skills for Care offer dedicated support that includes development programmes, tools and resources for leaders and managers at all levels, from career-entry graduates through to senior leadership roles. We also offer tailored programmes for new directors and commissioners of care, as well as development support for leaders and managers in social work and community leadership roles. 

We are currently in the process of co-designing targeted support directly informed by those in registered manager roles. The top three priorities identified by managers involved in the co-design process to date include: recruiting and retaining staff; establishing a positive workplace culture; and networking with other registered managers in order to share thinking and practice.   

Skills for Care currently supports 120 networks for registered managers up and down the country. Feedback from network members has been very positive, 52% of registered managers surveyed are more likely to continue in their role than before they joined a network.

Registered managers can also join the National Skills Academy (NSA) for Social Care. Membership includes discounts on HR support and Skills for Care resources, a handbook and monthly e-bulletin and the opportunity to become a mentor or a mentee.     

The importance of supporting the ongoing development of registered managers cannot be underestimated, with the number and strength of networks helping to grow leaders and managers nationwide, and increased uptake by organisations in purchasing NSA membership for all of their registered managers demonstrating their commitment to growing leaders in their business. 

If we are to rise to the succession challenge in social care, nurturing the next generation of leaders and managers, we need to embrace this as a collective endeavour. This brings with it a shared accountability at individual, organisational and system levels for developing the knowledge, skills and capabilities of all those working in the sector, irrespective of their roles, so that people who need care and support can be confident they are accessing high quality care provided by a well-led workforce. 

Find out more about the Skills for Care development offer for social care leaders and managers and details of specific support for registered managers. 

Karen Carter
Programme Head – Leadership and Management
Skills for Care

The NCF Managers Conference 2016 will take place on 7-8 November at The Chesford Grange Hotel, Warwickshire. This conference is aimed at front line managers in social care. Enabling attendees to share best practice, voice concerns and learn first-hand about changes in regulation and quality ratings.

If you would like to contribute a guest blog for NCF, please email: April Ross, Membership Coordinator
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