Workforce development innovation fund (WDIF)

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People’s care and support needs change and the adult social care workforce in England has to adapt to meet the challenges that these changes can present.

The Workforce Development Innovation Fund (WDIF) is a special funding stream within the Workforce Development Fund (WDF). It aims to fund projects that are innovative in their approach to influencing workforce development in the longer term. It has a similar focus to WDF - on supporting ongoing professional development of staff through vocational qualifications by increasing skills and competence.

Applications for WDIF 2015-16 have now closed. Applicants will be notified as to whether their bid has been successful by the end of July 2015.

For the purposes of this fund we are using the model of an ‘innovation spectrum’ (Spring Consortium, for the Department of Education, 2014). This frames innovation as a dynamic process, moving from an initial idea to scalability and sustainability. ‘New’ ideas are only one part of innovation: piloting, scaling and improving are as important. Projects may be at any point in the innovation spectrum.

Skills for Care is keen to fund projects that address and fulfill any of the following:

  • Projects that test approaches to skills development which support prevention and early intervention with a focus on the integration of services (health, housing, social care and other). Projects should make use of and build upon the ‘Principles of workforce integration’
  • Projects that model approaches to developing a workforce with the skills necessary to provide improved person-centred care and support through multi-disciplinary working
  • Projects that demonstrate an innovative approach to implementing Skills for Care’s workforce development guidance for employers seeking to minimise the use of restrictive practices in health and social care, particularly in relation to supporting older people with dementia
  • Projects which identify what learning and development is required to ensure that those carrying out care needs assessments take an asset* (rather than a deficit) approach, thereby focussing on the skills and abilities of the person who needs support. Projects should align with the Care Act 2014 requirement that local authorities consider the person’s own strengths and capabilities, and support available from their wider support network or within the community when making assessment of care and support needs
  • Projects which enable care workers and people with care and support needs to use technology together, and which identify the workforce developments necessary to bring about, and embed these changes
  • Projects which develop innovative models of support to enable individual employers to robustly assess their personal assistants (PAs) against the Care Certificate. These will also demonstrate how the approach and Care Certificate Standards can be used to support local PA induction or quality assurance processes.
  • Projects which model approaches to supporting changes to culture and practice required by the Care Act, including:
    • embedding new ways of providing personalised support
    • supporting best practice to enable the development of outcome focused care and support plans
    • asset or strengths based assessment*
    •  supporting transition
    • effective safeguarding
    • meeting carer’s needs.
  • Projects which explore the benefits and efficiencies achieved by improving collaboration when delivering learning and development, including the delivery of the Care Certificate. Projects should focus on collaboration between employers and within supply chains in the social care and health sector
  • Proposals which test a response to other significant and demonstrable policy drivers within the adult social care sector.

*Asset or strengths based assessment is, an approach to assessment that moves away from a more traditional public services’ focus on problems and deficiencies, where commissioners and providers set out to fill gaps and solve problems, to one that starts with people’s assets, strengths and skills. For further information click here.

All projects funded via WDIF must demonstrate that consideration has been given to the scalability, transferability and sustainability of the project.

All projects funded via WDIF must also:

  • deliver demonstrable business benefits and service quality improvements
  • deliver tangible resources or products which are developed and tested as part of the project and provided to Skills for Care when the project ends
  • result in an evaluation report which describes the project approach and lessons learned from delivery.

Health and Social Care QCF qualifications and the National Minimum Data Set for Social Care (NMDS-SC)

Where outcomes include Health and Social Care QCF qualifications, it will be necessary to complete the National Minimum Data Set for Social Care (NMDS-SC) as per the requirements set out in appendix 1. Any organisation that has learners completing health and social care qualifications or units must meet the NMDS-SC requirements set out in appendix 1. If you are making an application and intend to deliver learning to third party organisations, meeting these requirements is applicable to those third party organisations who will be accessing the learning. It is therefore imperative that you ensure you fully understand this requirement and factor this into your planning of the project from the outset.

Appendix 1 - Requirements for completing the NMDS-SC

A key part of the innovation fund is the sharing of good practice and learning from the projects via Learn from others.

In addition to addressing and fulfilling the priorities and requirements, projects must also submit project outcomes which we will use to share good practice and other learning with adult social care employers. The evaluation enables successful applicants to celebrate project achievement, whilst highlighting how best to address some of the challenges encountered.

Case studies and resources from previous WDIF projects can be found at Learn from others

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