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Social Care Set to Influence Election Year – Community Integrated Care launch ‘Who Cares Wins – Unfair to Care 2024’

Social Care Set To Influence Election Year

  • Once in a generation cause for hope for progressive reform of social care and investment in fair pay for care workers, as exclusive YouGov polling reveals that Members of Parliament and the public share significant concerns and want change.
  • A major new report reveals care workers are paid £7,617 less than their direct NHS equivalents, with a significant pay gap compared to simpler roles in the public and commercial sectors. This is at the heart of a shocking 28.3% workforce turnover – with 152,000 vacancies presently.
  • 6 million strong ‘social care vote’ set to have a defining voice in 100 marginal constituencies.
  • Providing parity of pay between social care workers and NHS equivalents is proven to be a sustainable investment that creates a ‘Social Care Triple Care Win’: improving economic growth, more cost-effective and sustainable care and NHS services, and transforming the lives of people who work in and draw on social care.
  • Full report can be found here.


A ground-breaking new report – to be launched in Parliament today (Wednesday 13th March) – has revealed a once-in-a-generation opportunity to end the enduring workforce crisis in social care, with exclusive public and MP polling finding consensus that the social care pay gap and workforce shortages must be addressed. Highlighting the importance of a 2.6m strong ‘social care vote’, it indicates that the challenges of social care may influence the course of the 2024 election.

The social care sector has, for decades, faced extensive workforce challenges – driven by significant funding pressures that result in low pay for a highly complex, skilled, and accountable job role. The social care sector has 152,000 vacancies and experienced the turmoil of a 28.3% workforce turnover rate in 2023. These challenges create a cascade of negative impacts across society – reducing the quality of life of people who draw on and work in care, impacting capacity and stability in the NHS and social care systems, and constraining economic productivity.

A new report by the national social care charity Community Integrated Care – ‘Who Cares Wins: Unfair To Care 2024’ has – for the first time – revealed the size of the social care pay gap, its personal, social and societal impacts, and the true feelings of MPs and the public in exclusive polling of adults in England and a representative sample of parliamentarians.

Unfair To Care uses exclusive measurement by Korn Ferry – international leaders in job evaluation – to reveal that the average social care worker would take home £7,617 more per year if they delivered a role with comparable responsibilities in the NHS. With the present rate of pay estimated at just £10.93 for a position that has been found to be highly skilled and accountable, social care careers are significantly uncompetitive compared to those in its partner sector, the NHS, and in easier commercial roles. With the social care sector unable to address these issues due to long-standing funding pressures, it creates an inevitable workforce crisis that permeates society.

Public and Political Desire For Change

Social care is a complex sector that employs 1.6 million people in England alone. For several decades, its enduring workforce, funding, and systemic challenges have not been addressed because of a perceived lack of political and societal support.

As the challenges of social care have become increasingly pervasive and apparent, Community Integrated Care commissioned YouGov to conduct exclusive polling to assess the views of political officials and the public.

Shockingly, the report finds that 77% of MPs believe that the current rate of average pay for social care workers is unfair. More than 9 in 10 polled MPs (92%) say social care pressures are important to their constituents, with 8 in 10 MPs (80%) saying that the next government should act to improve pay, terms, and conditions for care workers. This cross-party recognition of the challenges of social care pay and the impact of workforce issues in their communities creates fresh hope for a political solution to this long-standing crisis.

The report further finds significant support for the social care sector amongst the public. In polling of adults in England, 87% of participants expressed that the shortage of care workers is an essential issue for society, with 95% saying that social care workers deliver an important role for society.

With more than half of the population – 53% of people – stating that they will have a more favourable view of political parties that address the issues of low pay (just only 2% would have a less favourable view), the report argues that we are arriving at a moment where the public and politicians are increasingly aligned in the importance of addressing the challenges faced by care.

Electorally Significant, Economically Sustainable

Unfair To Care 2024 finds that there is a 2.6 million strong ‘social care vote’ of people who work in and draw on social care in England – an average of 5,000 people per constituency – that can have a defining impact on almost 100 marginal constituencies.

Exploring in detail how the issues of social care pay and workforce shortages fundamentally impact the quality of life of people who draw on social care and their loved ones – with a lack of stability meaning that many people cannot access the stable, relationship-focussed care that they need, and that of carers too, with many facing deep personal challenges as they fight to make ends meet, it is clear that this will be a primary consideration for many. 

Importantly, it draws on significant research that addressing the social care pay gap should be seen as a societal investment rather than a net spend. It demonstrates that improving pay is significantly offset by the savings it will deliver in several areas – including reducing the costs of care sector recruitment by £2.3 billion and saving £1.7 billion by supporting more timely discharges from NHS hospitals, amongst several areas of economic impact.

Teresa Exelby, Chief People and Corporate Services Officer at Community Integrated Care, says: “At present, many social care providers are struggling to survive, so providing parity of pay is impossible without government support. However, our evidence shows that this is one of the most socially, economically, and morally positive investments that the government can make. Investing in fair pay for social care workers will deliver the Social Care Triple Win – improving the lives of people who provide and draw on social care, providing more cost-effective and sustainable care and health services, and supporting economic growth and productivity.

I am privileged to work with thousands of people who live their dream of enabling others to live theirs. But against the joy is real despair too – people working tirelessly to still need the support of foodbanks, friends, or family, finding that they are one ordinary life shock away from personal disaster. Access to stable care and support should be respected as a fundamental human right. Things must change, and the public is behind us. Excitingly, we can see that politicians from across the House are too.”

Phil Hope, former Minister of State for Social Care and Chair of the Launch event, says:

“This report’s polling reveals strong respect amongst the public for social care workers, a recognition of the importance of fair pay, and a desire for political action on the issue. In parallel, there is strong Parliamentary consensus – driven by a recognition by MPs in all parties of the concerns of their constituents – that the next Government should act to improve terms and conditions. 

“For too long, the challenges faced by people who work in social care have been left unresolved because of a supposed lack of political or public will. Unfair to Care highlights that there is both public and political impetus for change. There is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to now get this right. Parity of pay for care workers with their NHS equivalents is long overdue. The journey should start with an immediate rise.”

Vic Rayner, CEO of NCF said in her foreword to the report: “This year’s Unfair to Care report seems more compelling than ever as we enter a period of potential political change. It shows sadly that very little has shifted for care workers in terms of overall pay, recognition and being properly valued and the knock-on impact this has for those drawing on, or trying to access, care and support. The report’s analysis firmly demonstrates what we in the social care sector have long known – that care workers are simply not being properly remunerated for their skilled work and that this is down to a failure by the state to both value and invest in social care.  

However, the report holds a clear set of perspectives gleaned for the first time from both MPs and the public. The polling focussed on MPs held up in stark contrast the lack of direct political action to address the issue of pay within the sector, in direct contrast to the consistent strength of feeling MPs expressed – with 77% of those who took part acknowledging that the current rate of care worker pay is unfair and 80% believing the next government must act to improve it. The views of the MPs on the unfair situation facing care workers were echoed by the public whose support for fair pay for care workers must not be ignored. Politicians and policymakers should heed this polling extremely seriously as a failure to engage with the ‘social care vote’ could determine victory or defeat in 100 key marginal seats with majorities of less than 10%. The public demands change, and the action needed is clear.   

When the next election comes, we need politicians and the public to come together with one voice and speak up for care.” 

‘The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England’, Skills for Care, October 2023

NHS Agenda for Change Pay Scale for 2023/24 – Band 3 roles

Figures used are average rates for Support Worker roles in England (outside London) and are taken from the National Care Forum’s national pay benchmarking exercise of the not-for-profit sector, October 2023

Between 4th and 26th January 2024, YouGov completed online interviews with a representative sample of 107 MPs weighted by party, gender, electoral cohort, and geography, to give a sample that is representative of the House of Commons. This was augmented with additional interviews with 19 MSPs between 4th and 22nd January 2024.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 1,798 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 9th – 10th January 2024.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all adults in England (aged 18+).

Polling Data – you can read the full results on pages 57 – 64 of the report here.

 

Headline public polling stats:-

  • More than half of the population (53%) will have a more favourable view of political parties that address the issues of low pay within social care. Just 2% of people will have a less favourable view.
  • 95% of people say care workers are important to society, on par with 98% who say the same about the NHS.
  • 87% believe that the shortage of care workers is an essential issue for society.
  • 70% believe social care workers should be paid the same as their NHS equivalents.

Headline MP stats:-

  • 9 in 10 (92%) say social care pressures are important to their constituents.
  • 77% of MPs recognise that the current rate of pay for social care workers is unfair.
  • 8 in 10 MPs (80%) say that the next government should act to improve pay, terms, and conditions for care workers.
  • 75% say that there should be no difference in pay between NHS and social care workers doing work of equivalent skill and responsibility.

 

About Community Integrated Care


Community Integrated Care is one of the UK’s largest health and social care charities. We work in the community, delivering life-enhancing support to over 3000 people with a diverse range of care needs, including: learning disabilities, mental health concerns, age-related needs, and dementia. Across 450+ services, we employ over 6000 caring and committed colleagues in England and Scotland.

Founded in 1988 as pioneers of Care in the Community, we’re proud to have been recognised for our impact and innovation as the Charity Times ‘Charity of the Year’, and at sector honours such as the Skills for Care Accolades, National Care Awards and Great British Care Awards. www.communityintegratedcare.co.uk

Please note: When referring to the charity, we kindly ask that you please use our full name – Community Integrated Care – not CIC. Thank you!  

Contact Information

For more information please contact: Alexandra Johnston, Communications & Marketing Manager / 07753 310 452 / alexandra.johnston@c-i-c.co.uk   

 

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