Government call’s for evidence on a new care workforce pathway

Care Minister Helen Whately

In a bid to improve the quality and effectiveness of adult social care in England, the government has launched a call for evidence to develop a new care workforce pathway. The pathway aims to set out the necessary skills, knowledge, and behaviors required for individuals working in adult social care to deliver high-quality, personalised, and compassionate care and support.

Over the next few months, the government plans to collaborate with professionals in the field and individuals receiving care to co-develop the pathway. They are seeking public input on what the pathway should entail, how it should be structured, and how best to support care workers and social care employers in implementing it. This collaborative effort is expected to enable care workers to acquire the skills, knowledge, and behaviors necessary to become experts in their field or advance into new roles.

The government is inviting feedback from individuals, as well as organisations, who can respond to the call for evidence on behalf of themselves, someone else, or their organisation. The feedback period will run for eight weeks, closing on 31st May 2023 at 11.45 pm.

Helen Whately MP, Minister for Social Care, emphasised the importance of the adult social care workforce, which comprises approximately 1.6 million dedicated individuals. These care workers provide essential support to people of all ages with diverse needs, including mental health conditions, physical disabilities, learning disabilities, autism, and dementia. The sector also contributes significantly to the economy, with adult social care estimated to have added at least £51.5 billion to the economy in England during the financial year 2021 to 2022.

Despite the vital role played by care workers, the sector faces challenges in recruiting and retaining staff with the necessary skills, behaviors, and experience. The absence of a universal career structure and clearly defined pathways within adult social care hinders the recognition and development of workers’ skills and expertise. By introducing the care workforce pathway, the government aims to address these issues and establish a recognised benchmark for all adult social care roles.

The pathway will be developed in stages, starting with staff in direct care roles. The government plans to release the first part of the pathway in autumn 2023, with subsequent phases focusing on other roles within the sector. The goal is to create a clear career structure and progression routes for individuals in adult social care, facilitating the consolidation and development of their skills and knowledge.

To support the implementation of the pathway, the government has also allocated £250 million of investment in workforce skills, training, and career development. This investment, combined with the collaborative development of the pathway, aims to enhance the overall quality of care provided and improve the working conditions and job satisfaction of care workers.

The government encourages individuals and organisations involved in adult social care to participate in the call for evidence, as their valuable input will shape the future of the care workforce pathway. Minister Helen Whately MP emphasised that this initiative will help recognise and validate the professionalism of care workers, and she expressed her gratitude for the contributions that will be made to ensure the pathway reflects the needs and aspirations of the sector.

As the pathway continues to develop, the government aims to align it with professional frameworks for social workers, nurses, and other registered roles, fostering a more integrated health and care system and providing opportunities for an agile workforce capable of working across multiple sectors.

The call for evidence marks a significant step towards creating a standardised and recognised career pathway in adult social care. By prioritising the development of care workers’ skills and knowledge, the government aims to enhance the quality of care and support provided to individuals in need while simultaneously improving job satisfaction and retention rates within the sector.

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