Skills for Care

On 12 October Skills for Care announced plans to develop a new and comprehensive workforce strategy for adult social care.

A workforce strategy should assess and analyse factors impacting on the sector, understand requirements and concerns, and provide a framework for meeting those challenges.

We believe a strategy for adult social care will only work if it’s created by the many organisations and people that have a stake in the future of social care - so we’ll be working with a wide range of partners.

The strategy will identify the adult social care workforce needs over the next 15 years and set out a plan for ensuring the sector has enough of the right people with the right skills. It will help employers and commissioners with workforce planning, support the Government’s reform agenda and complement the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan.


Why a workforce strategy?  

A need for concerted and joined-up action 

There are things that we can do to address the challenges in adult social care, but we need concerted and joined-up action between national and local government, Integrated Care Systems, employers and people drawing on care and support to attract and keep the right people with the right skills.  


The scale and impact of adult social care

Adult social care supports people in all our communities every day. It's a fundamental part of our community infrastructure. It adds £55.7 billion per annum to the economy in England, up 8.5% from 2021-22, and is more than the accommodation and food service activities industry. Adult social care is a key economic driver in local communities. Having a strategy for such a significant workforce is essential.


Keeping the people we have

Part of this strategy is about keeping those people who've chosen to work in adult social care. We can see from the data it's a ‘leaky bucket’ we need to repair - significant numbers leave the sector each year. A workforce strategy will also make sure that we're equipping people with the skills they need, and opportunities to develop and grow in their careers. Ensuring the sector can provide a stable, high quality and responsive workforce to support people.


Developing a multi-lever strategy

A collective responsibility

To deliver a multi-lever strategy that will achieve maximum impact, the development and delivery must be a collective responsibility with strong collaboration and partnership throughout. The steering group is central to this.

Oonagh Smyth, Skills for Care CEO and Sir David Pearson have convened a steering group which they will co-chair, the first meeting was held on 30 October. 

The steering group is committed to developing the strategy with those with lived experience, ensuring they are inclusive of the full spectrum of people’s needs and preferences. It will also draw on Think Local Act Personal's (TLAP) Making It Real principles and the Social Care Future vision. 

The steering group represents the interests of families, social care staff, provider organisations, commissioners, suppliers (in its broadest sense) and innovators.

Steering group members: 

  • President of Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS)
  • DHSC Chief Social Care Nurse
  • DHSC Chief Social Worker
  • Interim Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care and Integrated Care, Care Quality Commission (CQC)
  • Group Non-executive Director and Chairs the Workforce, Training and Education Committee, NHS England (NHSE)
  • Chief Executive of NHS Employers and Deputy Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation 
  • Senior Policy Manager for Adult Learning, Association of Colleges 
  • Director of Policy, Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP)
  • Care Provider Alliance 
  • CEO, British Association of Social Workers (BASW)
  • CEO, Social Work England
  • CEO, Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT)
  • Deputy Chief Nurse, Royal College of Nursing (RCN)
  • CEO, Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
  • Assistant Director of Nursing Programmes, Queen's Nursing Institute (QNI)
  • Co-chair, Care Association Alliance and care provider
  • CEO, Care Workers’ Charity
  • Co-convener, Social Care Future 
  • Chair, Think Local Act Personal (TLAP)
  • CEO, North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB)

  • Chief People Officer for two ICBs in the East Midlands

  • Director Adult Social Care Improvement, Partners in Care and Health

  • Director of Workforce, Integrated Care System (ICS) for Devon

  • CEO, West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership (ICB)
  • Senior National Officer for Social Care, UNISON (representing unions)


What’s the timeline? 

The phasing of the strategy will be as follows: 

  • October to November 2023 – research and planning 
  • November 2023 to May 2024 – development 
  • June to July 2024 – finalising strategy for launch in summer 
  • Post launch – ongoing communication and implementation.  


Get involved

To find out more about getting involved with the development of the workforce strategy for adult social care submit your details using the form below.



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