The Care Workers’ Charity (CWC) welcomes Skills for Care’s recent report on the adult social care sector in England, supporting calls for higher pay, alternatives to zero-hour contracts, more full-time contracts, and improved training and qualifications. We also commend Skills for Care’s initiative to lead the development of a new workforce strategy that brings together diverse stakeholders to address shared challenges and find collaborative solutions.
The report’s findings align with insights from our 6th annual Professional Care Workers’ Week and our ongoing engagement with frontline workers through our Workforce Advocacy Programme. Care workers have consistently emphasised the importance of fair compensation that recognises and values the level of skills and experiences people bring and reflects the responsibility of the role. They discuss the need for working conditions that allow people to feel they are doing the best job for those they support: adequate travel time, fixed rota systems, supportive management, flexible working, and sick pay.
The report reveals that domiciliary care services still employ a high proportion of workers (42%) on zero-hour contracts, especially among care workers (50%). While zero-hour contracts can work for some people, it is essential care workers are offered an alternative and choice. Domiciliary care workers face unique challenges, including managing multiple daily visits, limited time for personal care, and the emotional strain of rushed visits. Care workers tell us they want time to build genuine connections with those they support and how important this is for people without family and other support networks.
We echo the report’s call for continuous training and professional development, recognising their crucial role in meeting the evolving demands of the care profession. Care workers consistently express their strong desire for these opportunities and the need for flexible, progressive pathways with management tracks and alternatives for people wanting to stay on the frontline.
Despite the undeniable challenges of their profession, care workers continue to share their passion for their work and their dedication to positively impacting the lives of those they support. The Care Workers’ Charity remains committed to advocating for this critical group of frontline workers and the policy changes needed. We look forward to contributing to the Skills for Care Workforce Strategy and, as always, advocating strongly for the voice of care workers within this.