Oct 18

A diverse month

Posted: 30 October 2018

Sharon Allen - blogAnyone who knows me knows I have an absolute commitment to equality, so it follows that I want to see an adult social care workforce that is truly representative of our diverse nation where we offer services that meet all the varied needs of our fellow citizens.

Creating a diverse workforce is something that is not just the right thing to do, but it makes good business sense for organisations that offer social care services, and for those who access them too. A diverse workforce brings with it the richness of experiences, skills and knowledge that can only enhance services in the long-term.

This month, through our website and social media channels, we have been thinking about how we can develop a truly diverse workforce and have discussed what more we need to do to make that aspiration a reality. It’s key that we champion diversity in all forms so everyone gets the same respect, dignity and opportunities they deserve.

It must be said; one of the things our sector needs to get better at is sharing what works, so I was delighted to see organisations being so open to share their best practice that can help embed diversity in other care organisations. This is a crucial part of coming together and understanding what works (and what doesn’t) so that providers are all on the same page when it comes to delivering quality care. 

I’m proud we have been running the ‘Confident with difference’ events, focusing on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people’s experiences of social care and how to support a culturally diverse client group.

I’m grateful to Opening Doors’ London director, Alice Wallace, for talking to us about their work supporting older LGBT people, and given there are at least 1.2 million older LGBT people, it’s likely that this community will be accessing your services. It’s really encouraging they are now one of our endorsed training providers so they can share their great practice far and wide across the sector.

Our Vice Chair, Neil Taylor, offered some really interesting perspectives, in the Guardian, about how we can overcome recruitment and retention diversity challenges based on his own experiences as a senior leader in our sector. Neil is a wonderful contributor with a wealth of knowledge and experience, so I’m pleased to see his continued support.  

It was great to hear from Maria Hamood who recently completed our ‘Moving Up’ programme designed to help BAME leaders like Maria to progress in their careers. Diverse leaders are necessary to our sector to ensure we’re representing our diverse communities and their needs. 

The one thing all our contributors have in common is they can look past unhelpful and outdated labels, and are thinking hard about how we all have a role to play in creating services where people with different cultural needs can be sure of being treated with dignity and respect. This is so important, and I hope this is a message that resonates with many of you.

I was horrified to hear from Alice from Opening Doors that some care workers decide they need to pray for the cleansing of the homosexual soul of the person they are supposed to be caring for, and I think it shows that we still have some way to go in making sure diversity is more than just a buzzword – it’s a requirement.

This month is just one part of our contribution to the diversity debate, but let me be very clear: we won’t rest until there is an adult social care workforce where diversity is embedded at every level of every organisation. Skills for Care is committed to ensuring everyone is given fair opportunity to develop and lead, and those accessing care and support are treated fairly with the right care, every time.

You can catch up on our #embracediversity campaign here.