On 31st May 2023 the National Care Forum, the leading membership organisation for not-for-profit social care providers in England, submitted evidence to the Department of Health and Social Care’s call for evidence on the Care Workforce Pathway.
The proposed care workforce pathway seeks to “address the challenges faced by the adult social care workforce in terms of recruitment, retention, and training”. In particular, it aims to explore ways to improve career progression, enhance workforce development, and ensure high-quality care for individuals receiving adult social care services. In the preparation of our submission to the consultation, the NCF held numerous sessions where we discussed the proposed pathway with a diverse range of provider from across our membership –in particular a webinar was held to consult members on specific elements of the pathway. This consultation response reflects the views that providers shared during such sessions.
‘NCF’s submission to the call for evidence recognises that the proposed pathway is a clear step in the right direction in terms of the professionalisation of the social care workforce and is a welcome move towards formalising what a ‘career’ in social care might look like. However, despite the positive direction of travel, there are clear issues with the workforce pathway and unanswered questions that need to be resolved:
- The care workforce pathway needs to be developed with conscious regard to how it can support an integrated health and care workforce; at present, the proposed pathway fails to set out how it intends to do so.
- Without funding to support the pathway, it is not going to be successful. Care and support employers need absolute guarantees that Local Authority and NHS commissioners will be funded to and required to recognise the pay requirements and differentials of the care workforce pathway in the prices they pay to providers for care and support.
- Any expectation that providers could and should bear the financial responsibility for the pathway’s implementation would be misguided. There is a lack of detail in the consultation documents as to whether the Government has made any funding available to support providers in its delivery and implementation
- At present, the pathway proposes a rather linear progression structure and narrowly focus on a number of roles. The pathway needs to allow for flatter structures where staff can, not only move up to more senior roles in a hierarchical sense, but across to roles that interest them, and employers can support them to do so.
For the full submission, please click here