Skills for Care commissions, supports and delivers research to help achieve our vision and mission.
Skills for Care is a commissioner, a provider and an influencer of research into the adult social care workforce. We have a focus on applied, practical research and evaluation.
We benefit from strong partnerships and relationships with a broad range of stakeholders in the sector.
We're a partner of the IMPACT Centre – the UK Centre for Evidence Implementation in Adult Social Care; and we support the Centre for Care. We're members of the Social Research Association and the Charity Evaluation Working Group.
Our research principles are:
- horizon scanning
- rigour and impact
- equality, diversity and inclusion.
Benefits of recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce
We commissioned ICF to undertake a literature review of the benefits of recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce. The review found evidence to suggest a positive link between diversity and business performance, reduced costs and improved quality of care. Critical success factors include Leadership Team buy-in and putting policies in place.
Read a summary of the review and a list of tools and resources available to support employers.
What works in retaining staff in adult social care
Our State of the adult social care sector and workforce in England 2022 report shows that pay, travel to work distances, training and qualifications, and contract type are all factors that affect an employee's propensity to remain in an adult social care job.
Our study into new starters in adult social care found the best ways to retain new starters are to:
- avoid zero-hours contracts
- focus support on young starters
- use values-based recruitment and retention practices
- train new starters and aim to equip them with a social care qualification, to support their retention in adult social care, beginning with the Care Certificate
- recruit locally, pay well and support staff wellbeing
- provide high-quality induction and buddy schemes, clearer career pathways and ongoing training opportunities.
Read the New starters’ experience – phase 1 research report
The second phase of the research will involve case studies of employers who have successfully retained new starters, for others to learn from.
In February 2021 we published an evidence review that showed that high turnover rates in adult social care are driven by a poor understanding of social care, lack of development and progression opportunities, job insecurity, low pay and poor terms and conditions.
Solutions to these challenges include values-based recruitment and retention, workforce planning, workforce development, career pathways, alternative delivery models and changing perceptions of social care.
Find out more information on these topic areas (informed by our research):
The economic value of adult social care
Skills for Care was the first organisation to commission research into the economic value of adult social care in England and regularly update it. Our most recent study, by KDNA, includes for the first time wider societal benefits in the calculation of GVA. It shows that the adult social care sector is worth over £50.3bn to the England economy and argues for a move towards outcomes-based commissioning to improve value and outcomes for people who receive care and support.
This evidence review looks in depth at the workforce issues and opportunities faced by the adult social care sector. The review encompassed 190 academic, policy and other research and intelligence sources, and involved 13 stakeholder consultations.
This report will not only inform our three-year strategy for Skills for Care but we hope will also inform the broader debate across the sector. The challenges and opportunities identified are not new:
- overcoming recruitment and retention problems
- workforce development; and
- supporting workforce equality, diversity, inclusion and wellbeing.
Download the evidence review and sector consultation