Manager imageYou’ll manage a team of care workers and/ or a care service to ensure your organisation and everyone in it provides high quality care and support.

There are lots of different management levels in social care including:

  • first line managers such as service managers or residential unit managers
  • middle managers such as assistant director or department head
  • senior managers such as service director or chief executive.

Managers can work in any social care setting including care homes, supported living flats, in the community, or local authorities.

Depending on your organisation and your level, your role might include:

  • overseeing the day to day running of a care service
  • leading and managing staff so they can perform their roles safely and to the best of their ability
  • managing budgets and contracts
  • making strategic decisions about the future and growth of your care service
  • leading on specific projects or clinical areas, for example setting up a new care service.


Everyone working in social care needs English, number, digital and employability skills including team work and problem solving skills. 

There are also some specific skills needed to work in this role. These include

  • strong leadership skills and the ability to motivate others
  • the ability to think strategically to develop your organisation
  • good project management and organisational skills.

You’ll usually need experience working in a social care or health role for these jobs. You could progress from a senior care worker or other social care roles such as a rehabilitation worker.

The core qualification for social care managers is the Level 5 Diploma in Leadership and Management for Adult Care. You can only do this qualification when you’re working in a management role.

Skills for Care recommends to ideally complete it before becoming the care manager, in roles such as deputy manager or team leader. It's important that by the time you are responsible for the overall management of the services you have the experience and qualifications to do so.

If you’re currently working in social care and interested in becoming a social care manager, speak to your employer about opportunities to progress.

You could also work through the Manager Induction Standards that outline what social care managers need to know in their role.

Read our 'Developing new managers and deputies guide' to find out more.

If you’re interested in working as a social care manager, there’s lots of advice about finding a role on the Starting your career page. You could look online or in your local newspaper to find vacancies. 

Experience is important but you could progress by applying for a higher apprenticeship which means you’ll gain management experience, gain a qualification and earn a wage. This is a great route into a care manager role; you could speak to your employer about opportunities or find vacancies on the Thinking about doing an apprenticeship page.

If you’re currently working in social care, speak to your employer about opportunities to progress into management roles.

If you’re a graduate, you could apply for the health and social care Graduate Management programme.

Care managers would usually have experience of working in health or social care already but it is sometimes possible to transfer from a different sector.

If you have not done so already, we would recommend new care managers undertake the 'Lead to succeed' learning programme, Manager Induction Standards and Level 5 Diploma in Leadership and Management for Adult Care. Allow up to 18-months for the completion of all three processes.


Case studies

  • Aiste Trimakaite
    Aiste works as an assistant manager in a residential care home for people with mental ill-health.
  • Adam Skerritt
    Adam works as an operational lead and is responsible for running care services for young people.
  • Andrea Wiggins
    Andrea works as a new projects director and sets up new special services for people with learning disabilities and/ or autism.
  • Deb O'Shea
    Deb works as an intervenor service manager and supports people with sight and hearing impairments.
  • Chris McGowan
    Chris is the owner of care agency CareBIG, who support people to live in their own homes.

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