The Institute of Health and Social Care Management (IHSCM) are thrilled to have published their first People Plan for the Social Care workforce on December 6th following a 3-month consultation period, with members of the IHSCM and care providers / leaders / and managers across the UK ensuring that it is by the sector instead of just for the sector.
A comprehensive People Plan for social care has been long awaited and the Institute of Health & Social Care Management (IHSCM) and the IHSCM Social Care Innovators People Plan Sub-Committee has proactively addressed the deficiency here. Jon Wilks, CEO of the IHSCM, said “it was our members who acted as the catalyst for this report. We asked them how they would approach a workforce plan and they replied with the kind of inspiration and insight that we have come to expect.”
The biggest concerns the sector has is the ability to recruit and retain their workforce. The People Plan by the IHSCM aims to provide a foundation on which true reform of the sector can be built.
The People Plan focuses on 5 key areas; public image, recruitment, retention and staff wellbeing, training and pay and conditions. Each of the 5 key areas in turn takes a look at what the current situation is and what good and outstanding practice is already happening, before making a total of 59 recommendations to central and local governments as well as recommendations for social care providers.
Unsurprisingly, the current situation of social care is one that appears dire. The consultation found that Lack of support or Infrastructure, the perception of social care, employee burnout, unclear career pathways and pay and employee benefits were among some of the most common themes currently occurring and hindering the social care sector. It was noted that Brexit and the recent mandate of the COVID vaccination as a condition of deployment in social care homes have also directly impacted the sector with burn out and exhaustion becoming a huge concern for managers. A recent survey by the IHSCM found nearly three quarters of managers (71%) have considered leaving their role as a registered manager and 40% were close to burn out. One recommendation made in the plan is to include all forms of social care work on the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) to ensure the sector can grow to meet the care needs of the most vulnerable in society.
To further help improve the current situation, especially around recruiting and retaining staff, the IHSCM’s People Plan makes recommendations such as, create a professional care register, increase pay and benefits, and reduce reliance on zero-hour contracts. The plan recommends that pay and benefits for social care professionals mirrors that of NHS workers. Other recommendations made within the People Plan focus on speeding up recruitment times by reducing the turn around on DBSs (Safety checks), turning the care certificate into a recognised, transferable qualification and ensuring all training is transferable and non-repetitive. There is a strong focus throughout the People Plan and its recommendations that to achieve reform of the sector, there is going to be a reliance on coproduction, working together to achieve the right outcomes.
The plan also recommends that other areas of social care be improved, be it representation and support for equality diversity and inclusion or acknowledging the need to approach social care in a green, more sustainable way.
Many of the recommendations made in the People plan hinge on the need for the government and leaders in the sector to work together, such as working together on recruitment campaigns, promoting social care through the #GreenHeartForSocialCare initiative, engaging with schools and colleges, and creating more social care focused media. Adam Purnell, Director of Social Care for the IHSCM, said he hopes “that this People Plan can act as an olive branch between the sector and the government, a proposition to work together to address the recommendations made in this People Plan to build a better and brighter future for social care and its workforce.”.
Those that have written the plan acknowledge that it isn’t going to be an overnight fix, which is why the recommendations have been given suggested time frame implementations from short term (12 months), medium term (1-3 years) and long term (3 years or longer).
Now that the IHSCM’s “People Plan” and the Government’s “People at the Heart of Care” white paper have been published, the IHSCM hopes that work can begin on making some, if not all, of the recommendations a reality, an endeavour they are committing to by beginning work within their social care innovators People Plan Subcommittee and through engagement with the wider sector and hopefully with the Government and DHSC.
Access to the People Plan can be made through this link: https://ihm.org.uk/2021/12/06/a-people-plan-for-social-care/
For interviews, comments or to find out more, please contact
Adam Purnell, Director of Social Care, Institute of Health and Social Care Management
Jon Wilks, CEO, Institute of Health and Social Care Management
The Institute of Health and Social Care Management is the leading independent membership organisation for managers and leaders planning, delivering, and supporting health and care in the UK and across the world.