"Firstly, let me congratulate Skills for Care for the endless support it gives to provider agencies in the field. The last 18 months have been a busy time in the social care industry with the onus on providers, but Skills for Care has been there every step of the way, with just the right support tool, or advice, or signposting that we need to turn things around quickly. And you have managed to stay ahead of the game too, lobbying etc on the sector's behalf. I think most providers would agree, we could not have done it without you - our staff here laugh when I need to check something, 'I'll check the bible site' I say. So a big thank you to all the staff there, monumentous effort all round, and keep up the excellent work."
Lesley Mana, Sure Care Ilford
"This is a challenging time for social work education with so many changes to the regulatory framework under discussion. Skills for Care has played an important and helpful role on a national and regional basis in getting people together to discuss and respond to opportunities for consultation. In particular, Skills for Care has provided a structure within which partnership working between HEIs and social work and social care employers can be developed. Their information bulletins have been really useful in keeping us up to date with policy developments and have provided useful contacts for further information. Staff have a really good understanding of key issues emerging from the Social Work Reform Board and the impact that they may have on social work education, and have facilitated fruitful and timely discussions with potential partners and commissioners to take these issues forward. So, we in the Eastern Region have been involved in consultations nationally about the content of the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment, in developing a framework for Continuing Professional Development, and in planning for the introduction of the Practice Education Framework. Without the unifying structure of Skills for Care, our efforts would have been much more fragmented and less well informed."
Ann McDonald, Professor of Social Work, University of East Anglia
"Through working with Skills for Care initially as a service user within the East Midlands and then a consultant with the national team, I have developed skills that have enabled me to apply for jobs which I would not have been able to. I feel Skills for Care staff gave me the opportunity to learn new skills but also supported me with the areas of work that I was not confident with."
Reshma Patel, Direct Employer and Service User Consultant
About the NMDS-SC:
"We completed our NMDS-SC for the first time earlier this year after attending a South Yorkshire Local Area Network event. The NMDS-SC is really easy to navigate and use, it prompts where information is missing or if we have made a mistake and where it is. Our Apprentice updates it on a regular basis along with the usual HR record keeping and finds it a good tool for ensuring our hard copy records are maintained.
We initially populated the database enabling us to access Workforce Development Funding in accordance with our commitment to training and development with Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council. Since we have started using the new Dashboard reporting system we can really see the business benefits of having real time data. We can benchmark ourselves against the sector and it has helped us in understanding our staff retention performance. This has supported us in developing some new retention initiatives that we are going to put into place in the New Year (supported by our WDF funding). Monitoring the Dashboards will then assist us in evaluating if our investment is having an impact on our retention levels."
Andrew Peace, Business Director, Caremark (Barnsley)
About the Principles of Workforce Redesign:
"We decided to use 'The Principles of Workforce Redesign' as a practical tool to inform the development of a workforce strategy. The guide has been and continues to be used by the staff team and board members. Using the seven principles allowed us to retain a clear methodology during a difficult process whereby circumstances changed rapidly. The principles have offered a clear structure to keep us focussed and rooted and supported us to develop our workforce strategy. For us it is a vital planning tool."
Jonathan Waddington-Jones, Chief Executive, Access Dorset and DOTS Disability C.I.C.
"This was a valuable learning experience for the team managers who often do not have the time or opportunity to stop and look objectively at their management role and strategies. The managers found the guidance and tools within the POW-R guide particularly useful in helping them to think through how to approach the changes over the past six months. The experience was also enhanced by the use of an external facilitator who was able to challenge any pre-existing assumptions and ways of working within the LA. We feel this partnership arrangement with an external facilitator has worked well, as it has enabled a very busy Local Authority like ours to participate in a Skills for Care project that we wouldn't otherwise have had the capacity to do. We are happy to consider similar partnership arrangements in the future."
Tracie Thomas, Area Operations Manager, West Sussex County Council Adults Services and Penny Jeffcoat, Director, Learning for Change
About a Care Ambassador session:
"Many thanks for the fantastic session you organised and ran. The students really engaged with it and it has produced many thought provoking discussions during the afternoon. It really was one of the best workshops we've ever had as I think the practical elements allowed all students to develop their understanding."
Jennie Tilley, Programme Man
About an Ambition to Reality (social work) event:
"Extremely relevant / useful to future practice and the implications this will have upon social work practice and also practice educators."
Debbie Reynolds, Social Care Direct
About an information day on the Common Core Principles for supporting people with dementia:
"I found this day very informative and enjoyable. Both speakers were pleasant and approachable. As I am just starting my Home Care business, this was a great, informative day. I will ensure I will include an understanding of the Common Core Principles to all my carers."
Veronica O'Connor, All Generations Home Care
About the working for personalised care event:
"Thank you very much for the way in which the Skills for Care Personal Care Event was run from an access point of view. I was particularly impressed by the manner in which I was made to feel comfortable and "looked after" while at the event. From the moment I arrived to the minute I left, any concern I had was anticipated and dealt with seamlessly. It meant I could concentrate fully on the matters at hand. It made a pleasant change not to have to bother about those annoying access issues that come with being a wheelchair user."
Ossie Stuart, Delegate