Skills for Care

Recruiting new workers can be challenging at any time, but during the winter this challenge can be even greater. We’re sharing examples of how providers and local authorities across the country have tackled workforce capacity issues in their area.

Each case study includes what they did, who they worked with and what was achieved, to help you establish your own measures. You’ll also find examples of some local recruitment initiatives that the sector has developed over the past months.


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It’s essential that recruitment practices are fair, effective and robust and focus on the need to safeguard people who need care and support.




Staff banks - provider case studies

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Disability Sheffield, a disabled people’s user-led organisation, on how they developed a personal assistant register in response to COVID-19

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, Surry Choices reployed staff to meet demands.

County Durham Care Academy was launched by Durham County Council in September 2019 to support local adult social care providers with recruiting new staff and developing existing staff.

Due to COVID-19, the original recruitment model was adapted to enable a fast-track and/or remote approach. There have been several social media campaigns targeting potential staff launched through the Care Academy’s Facebook page @CareAcademyDurham.  Local care provider staff, including successful candidates, have been involved in developing a range of materials to support the recruitment campaigns including: 

  • A day in the life of a domiciliary care worker
  • A series of social media snippets
  • A digital TV advertisement
  • A range of press features and case studies 

Applicants apply through an online form; the approved applications generate an online reference request and the fast track enhanced DBS process commences. As the pre-employment checks begin, applicants undertake remote training through the Council’s eLearning system, which was developed in line with Skills for Care’s essential training during COVID-19 and with the involvement of their local Skills for Care representative. Once pre-employment checks and training have been completed the candidate information (excluding personal data) goes live on the Care Academy’s recruitment portal on which local care providers are registered. Providers upload their vacancy information and select candidates whom they would like to apply.  Candidates who are successful in interview are supported to access a COVID-19 vaccination and also offered free COVID-19 secure moving and handling training. 

By the end of March 2021, 340 people had expressed an interest in adult social care work. We are currently actively working with 106 applicants and 64 candidates have successfully secured employment.

If you’re interested in finding out more about this initiative email Sarah Douglas, Project Manager – Supporting the Provider Market, Durham County Council.

One Walsall, the community and voluntary service for Walsall Council, has been named as leading the recruitment of volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

They've restructured their website to include information for  those looking to register as volunteers (for example, online application forms detailing skills and roles preferred, etc.) and for charitable organisations offering COVID-19 specific support.

Working in partnership with the police has enabled One Walsall to securely and quickly process background checks for volunteers who didn't have a current (within three years) DBS check.

This allowed the production of ID badges for volunteers, which reassured members of the public and enabled safeguarding for any public-facing roles (including over-phone befriending). It also offered reassurance to health and care staff as many of the volunteers were deployed to support services with non-care frontline tasks, such as delivery drivers. The success of the One Walsall ID badges led to many organisations requesting such IDs.

Find out more

This information was correct as of September 2020.

Optalis provides adult social care on behalf of two councils, Wokingham and The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, and they launched a campaign to grow their bank staff pool in a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recruitment processes were reviewed and streamlined to ensure they were responsive and ready for the pressures of the pandemic.

Advertising: Optalis maximised their use of social media to reach a wide audience, as well as advertising free on both local authorities’ websites, generating over 190 applicants in total.

Pre-Screening: Optalis used staff from across their workforce to pre-screen all applicants by phone to assess their suitability. Application forms were submitted, and interviews scheduled within a week of the pre-screening.

Recruitment checks and training: Applicants attend a face-to-face interview and were informed if they were successful or not on the day. Successful applicants completed pre-employment checks day such as DBS and Health Check applications on the same day which went through the fast track process.

Once pre-employment checks were completed, applicants logged on and completed eLearning supplemented by a workbook. New starters attended two classroom based training sessions for ‘medication’ and ‘moving and assisting’ with our learning and development facilitators.  

At this point, the new starters went live into service, completing shadow shifts and competencies in service. On average, this took around two and a half weeks.

Both bank and permanent staff have been virtually recruited via this process with applicants coming from a variety of sources including retired nurses, experienced carers, as well to those new to social care.

If you’re interested in finding out more about this initiative contact Amber Wickens, HR and Recruitment Advisor, Optalis.

Fremantle Trust launched a new support assistant role on 19 March 2020. The new role was created very quickly in response to the predicted impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on staffing levels in their services and an opportunity for people who had either lost jobs or faced significant uncertainty as a result of the crisis.

This flexible and diverse role ensured that support was in place in the event of staff absences, working alongside our existing teams and carers. Fremantle Trust successfully recruited 45 support assistants with a wide range of experience and skills, including furloughed staff from retail and hospitality, travel/tourism, the arts and self-employed individuals - many of whom hadn’t considered a role in adult social care previously.

All the successful applicants have a passion for working with people. Their successes have come from their people focus, empathy for those they are working with, communication skills and ability to manage difficult situations. Those previously employed in theatre have added vibrancy to activities within the services.

Fremantle Trust have found the new support assistants to be a fantastic addition to their teams, providing invaluable support during the challenging time of the COVID-19 pandemic and into the future.

If you’re interested in finding out more about this new please email Alex Jones, HR Business Partner, Fremantle Trust.


Coastal Homecare (Hove) Limited is a small domiciliary care agency that registered its interest to recruit volunteers with the National Care Force. A few weeks into the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers were matched and were offered either befriending roles for socially isolated people or administration tasks that could be carried out while observing covid-safe working practices.

Three terrific and committed volunteers have been welcomed to the team and have helped with tasks that are appropriate to delegate. As these people have returned to their work or study, Coastal Homes is in a position to welcome new individuals who have the time and skills to volunteer with them.

General Recruitment

Coastal Homecare is a small, family run business providing Domiciliary Home Care since 2012. Coast Homecare offers great rates of pay with some guaranteed hour contracts, use of company cars (if applicable), uniform and on-going training.

During the pandemic Coastal Homecare has encouraged and welcomed candidates to consider working in care. They have attracted applicants from hospitality, health & beauty and travel, including folk who previously worked out of Gatwick airport. Coastal Homecare wants to equip people with the skills and confidence to effectively support people to live independently in their own home.


To find out more email Neil Kentish, Area Manager, Coastal Homecare (Hove) Limited.



Staff banks - local authority

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This case study looks at how Cheshire East Council utilised volunteers to support those in need. 

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To help meet staffing needs, Lancashire County Council (LCC) set up an internal staffing agency – Lancashire Temporary Staffing Agency (LTSA).

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In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC) launched a campaign to recruit a team of relief care staff to its Adult Social Care and Public Health Department.

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Portsmouth City Council developed a volunteer recruitment and support programme to provide rapid support to the frontline.


Gateshead Council and Health Trust

Through the NE&NC Integrated Health and Care System, it was identified that Health Education England had a number of medical students who had come forward to potentially be a volunteer in health settings who may also be interested in social care roles.

In partnership with HEE and ADASS colleagues, a ‘clinical associate’ role was developed during the first stage of the pandemic. It effectively sought to consolidate all of the clinical requirements for social care workers in care settings into a single post, thereby freeing social care workers up to do more hands-on care. The clinical associate provided a bridge between the social care team and the GP practice, undertaking virtual ward rounds and consultations with the practice.

Medical students were placed in Gateshead, Newcastle and Sunderland local authorities in their council-managed care settings (intermediate care centres).

This temporary role worked very well during spring and early summer 2020, but once things started to stabilise in care services, the role was stood down.

To learn more about this initiative email Steph Downey, Service Director Adult Social Care, Gateshead Council.


Redeploying local authority staff

These case studies explore the redeployment of staff in existing care related roles, as well as staff from other local authority departments or functions.

Key things to consider are how will you identify opportunities, train or onboard staff, make the experience positive and manage any gaps as a result of redeployment? 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Leeds City Council’s adult and health’s organisational development (OD) team worked with the council’s internal provider services to deploy staff to fill identified gaps in frontline adult social care services.

The process included the following stages:

  • managers identified where they had capacity to release staff who could be relocated and the OD team worked across services to support transitioning staff
  • staff members completed a skills questionnaire to enable matching with vacant roles
  • relevant basic training, including health and safety, was provided
  • individuals were given the opportunity to consider which roles they were interested in and then completed essential online training and were DBS checked
  • the OD team reviewed working hours and pay grades to ensure best and agreeable matches, considering the location of individuals’ to avoid the need to use public transport in their redeployed roles
  • tasks to be undertaken were discussed, e.g. whether providing personal care to vulnerable people was amenable.

Nine staff members were redeployed to deliver essential personal protective equipment to frontline workers, twice a week, using vans from internal fleet services.

The programme was successful in meeting its objectives and drawing together efficient and effective cross-directorate working to ensure seamless frontline service delivery under challenging conditions.

This information was correct as of September 2020.

Surrey Choices is a local authority trading company owned by Surrey County Council who offer several disability services. During the pandemic they were still able to offer their Shared Lives Service, Respite service (at a reduced capacity) and Supported Employment Service but their day services across the county couldn’t continue to operate as usual. Alongside the support offered to people in their own homes, additional staff capacity was offered to other care providers who were experiencing staff shortages due to COVID-19.

To do this they had to look beyond their organisational boundaries. Sharing our workforce would normally call for contractual and formal arrangements, but recognising this was neither practical or responsive in the current situation, a short-term agreement was drawn up to support the best overall outcomes for vulnerable people in Surrey. Their staff are already well trained and DBS checked and were able to adapt their learning disability day service experience in a number of settings including learning disability supported living services and residential homes, but also support in older peoples' services, including both local authority and private providers, at no cost to the provider.

This initiative not only benefited the providers and their clients, but also our own staff were able to feel they contributed to the wider issues in the community.

I was so proud to be needed in elderly care services, our skills are transferable - I jumped at the chance to be redeployed. It was so heart-warming to be able to support people with dementia who really needed help - you get time to chat or hold their hands. My own self-esteem has been boosted considerably by being able to help

Activity Facilitator
Surrey Choices

If you’re interested in finding out more about this initiative email Chistina Earl, Head of Innovation and Business Development, Surrey Choices.


Intensive support

These are small teams working intensively with providers. They might undertake tasks that reduce the burden on providers capacity, deploy directly to deliver care or support providers to put contingency measures in place.

Key things to consider are how will you identify ‘at risk’ providers and manage access to this support?

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Isle of Wight Council created an Ethics Taskforce multi-disciplinary team to help organisations apply the fast changing guidance.

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As a direct response to the pandemic Blackpool Council put in place an Emergency Workforce Team to help meet staffing needs.

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This case study focuses on upskilling staff to prepare for demands in workforce capacity.


Recruitment Support

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Following discussions with local care providers about the impact of COVID-19 on staffing levels, Kent County Council worked quickly to establish a successful recruitment campaign, Care for Kent.
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To help address the recruitment and retention challenges within social care, Essex County Council is running a digital and social media recruitment campaign as part of its wider workforce strategy.
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North Yorkshire County Council started the Make Care Matter to give a much-needed boost to social care recruitment in North Yorkshire
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Oakland Care developed a holistic approach to colleague retention and support.
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Exemplar Health Care teams took innovative and pioneering steps to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
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Taking the approach of ‘stronger together,’ team members from across the organisation worked to provide much-needed support to the front line when the pandemic hit.
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To respond to the challenging workforce landscape, a rapid recruitment team was created to ensure effective care delivery could continue from high quality team members.

During 2020-21 Devon County Council led four Proud to Care Devon recruitment campaigns on behalf of Devon’s Sustainability and Transformation Partnership, which has now been approved to be Devon’s Integrated Care System from 1 April 2021.

1. Immediate COVID-19 Recruitment Campaign across Devon STP

The lead message for the campaign was “Devon Needs You: You are the solution”. Social media messages included “Join Devon’s NHS and social care workforce” and a short film clip from a newly appointed Healthcare Assistant. The campaign benefitted from Health Education England funding via the Devon STP and covered the whole of geographical Devon.

Originally it was envisaged that a large number of temporary healthcare assistants would be needed to work flexibly to increase capacity, to support hospital discharge and to support registered staff in carrying out their roles. However, as COVID-19 rates were some of the lowest in the country in Spring-Summer 2020, there was a change of emphasis during the campaign to attract permanent staff to healthcare assistant and care worker roles.

2. Winter Pressures Campaign

A further Winter Pressures campaign ran from 29 Oct 2020 – 25 Jan 2021 to attract new people to important health and care vacancies in Devon, including support roles.

This campaign was funded by Health Education England and the 3 local authorities in Devon, proportionate to population size. Social media messages included “Working in health and care is both rewarding and challenging” and “Join Devon's Health and Care workforce”. The campaign collateral included five short films about current health and care workers including Jas and Steve.

3. Find Your Calling Campaign

The #FindYourCalling campaign was released on 22 March to attract people at risk of redundancy or seeking a career change to care worker and healthcare assistant roles, with a particular emphasis on roles in domiciliary care and care homes. This campaign was funded by the 3 local authorities in Devon and used some of the Department of Health and Social Care’s Workforce Capacity Fund for adult social care.

Campaign advertising is primarily online, plus on-demand TV (ITV and Sky) and active engagement with partners and local media. Social media messages include “Find your calling”, local media content includes a Devon Live article, and campaign collateral includes 15” films and a 60" film.

4. Campaign to attract young people to registered careers in health and social care

This campaign was an awareness campaign to attract young people aged 16-25 years to careers and education leading to a wide range of registered roles in health and social care, including nursing across all settings, allied health professions, social work and registered manager roles in social care.

It was timed in August 2020 to coincide with A level and GCSE results, as well as recognising that many graduates from all disciplines may be re-considering their careers, as a result of the pandemic.

Other activities

A central Proud to Care Devon application matching service was trialled for the first time in 2020-21, resulting in 300 placements of front-line staff with health and social care providers across Devon.

In addition, numerous job applications were made for the approx. 500 jobs with over 100 organisations on the Proud to Care jobs board.

Devon County Council set up a Rapid Care Training Academy to deliver Essential Training to those new to social care, which included E-learning and 1-day’s face-to-face training, with social distancing, at further education colleges across Devon. 

Find out more or email

 As a result of increasing workforce pressures identified by external providers across adult social care, the development of an external workforce team and the Inspired to Care project was agreed upon in 2017, supporting the sector in Leicestershire with recruitment, retention and development. The strategic aims of the team are to:

• improve the image of the sector

• support the sector with resilience and growth 

• develop and retain the current workforce

• attract a high-quality workforce

Inspired to Care’s covid response supports the external market by attracting people into social care and relieving providers of the pressures of recruiting staff. A county-wide recruitment marketing campaign – “Keep Leicestershire Safe & Well at Home” – continues to support the recruitment of care and support professionals during the pandemic.

Inspired to Care is also working with community groups, partner organisations and educational establishments to optimise the reach of the campaign. Over 4000 applications, CVs and enquiries have been received to date. This offer will continue throughout 2021.

The Inspired to Care website also has lots of information about the rewards of working in adult social care, the types of roles available and details of the campaign. 

Other workstreams agreed for the next financial year include:

• CV and candidate lead supplementation to the external market

• Social Media content to promote social care as a career of choice including interviews with the workforce and celebrating good news stories

• Updating and refreshing the Inspired to Care website with new case studies and keeping resources and information up to date

• Annual Care Professional of the Year Awards

• Work Experience & Taster Sessions

• Skills for Care Ambassador and Inspired to Care Ambassador partnerships

• 1:1 Support consultations with the external market to drive best practise and overcome barriers

• Monthly conferences on recruitment, retention and development best practise with expert guest speakers

• Media engagement and press releases celebrate the good news for the sector and successful projects

• Workforce planning for hard to recruit locations

• Managing a centralised PSL for providers in urgent need of agency staff

• Work with Education Establishments and Prince’s Trust attracting and educating the future workforce on careers in social care

• Creation of a Local Social Care Careers advert

• Development of Leicestershire’s social care leaders

• Coordination of the Skills for Care workforce development fund and increasing completion of the ASC-WDS

• Social Care Career Pathways

• Support the external market with workforce health & wellbeing

• Championing the BAME workforce

• County-wide sector-based work academies 

• Values-based recruitment workshops

• Creating an inclusive recruitment toolkit

• Planned project on engaging with the frontline workforce

• Nursing Associates 

• Ad-hoc projects from People boards and ADASS  

To find out more contact Olivea Allegrini-Jones, Adult Social Care External Workforce Lead, Inspired to Care.

A campaign was launched on 25 March to recruit to key worker roles within the Greater Manchester (GM) local authorities. The campaign has generated:

  • over 18,000 advert views
  • over 30,000 content page views
  • over 900 application forms submitted

The campaign has been promoted on the social media channels, reaching up to 30,000 users. 

If you’re interested in finding out more about this initiative and how it could support your recruitment email Catherine Pearson, GM Projects and Contracts Manager - People Services, Oldham Council.

Multiple approaches to recruitment have been adopted by Perthyn, a large not-for-profit provider of care and support services for people with a learning disability, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with interested individuals directly contacting the office to enquire about vacancies, recruitment websites, such as Indeed, have been used as a quick way of recruitment. Perthyn has also used its own website, Facebook and other online platforms, leading to great success in Northamptonshire. In addition, Perthyn is promoting and utilising its recommend a friend service. 

Telephone or video interviews have been used with candidates, and Perthyn has found this saves time and effort, and in its experience, has had fewer no-shows than previous office-based interviews. Inductions are also conducted online, and eLearning is offered whilst recruitment checks are completed.

A mixture of candidates have been successful in their applications, including people with no previous social care experience, those who have experience working in the sector and some who have recently been furloughed.

To find out more contact David Rees, Recruitment Manager, Perthyn.

The North West local authorities’ recruitment campaign ran in partnership with the Greater Jobs platform. The campaign centred around a unique social media marketing campaign. All universities and colleges were also contacted about the campaign. It was a single platform to signpost applicants to job vacancies in the adult social care sector in the whole of the North West.

Through the campaign local authorities (LAs) were able to match demand with supply, with many of the LAs providing the training for the new recruits.  

The campaign generated:

  • over 9,000 advert views
  • over 4,000 content page views
  • over 500 applications.

If you’re interested in finding out more about this initiative and how it could support your recruitment contact Matthew Emerson 

HFHC have contributed forward planning and a dynamic structure to their recruitment success during the pandemic resulting in the highest number of new starters ever for HFHC in a two-month period.

A campaign was launched to target those that had no experience in care but had the right values to join HFHC. Videos featuring the homes, the individuals and staff were created by the marketing team for social media to encourage those without experience to consider the career change. These offered an insight into role and were brought up by candidates in interviews as the reason for them applying to HFHC over other services.

HFHC have reported, 'We're already seeing success stories with candidates that are from a range of backgrounds, thriving in their role and ready to progress within the organisation’. 

To learn more about this initiative contact Susanna Lovelock.

Staff from Leeds City Council’s adults and health’s organisational development (OD) team devised an innovative plan to recruit final-year social work students with the relevant and desirable values and skills to become ‘wellbeing workers’ and support existing frontline work.

The recruitment process of social work students included the following:

  • posts for the ‘wellbeing workers’ were advertised via universities
  • the HR processes and procedures were reviewed and appropriately shortened to best enable an efficient recruitment process
  • relevant university DBS paperwork and security processes were reviewed and found to comply with necessary Leeds City Council guidance
  • recruitment interviews were adapted to ensure minimal contact, including
    • following social distance guidelines
    • screening against risk categories.

Ten applications were received and six final-year social work students were appointed as ‘wellbeing workers’ in May 2020.

The OD team is presently extending these temporary contracts and is offering new recruits the opportunity to apply for social work roles within Leeds City Council, following their graduation.

This information was correct as of September 2020.


Heart of England Mencap support adults with learning disabilities in South Warwickshire and Worcestershire. They find recruitment for support workers very challenging, especially in Stratford upon Avon. During COVID-19 they thought this was going to be even more challenging, but by using a short, snappy advert and advertising through Indeed, they’ve recruited eight new support workers for their Supported Living Stratford Service, attracting staff from other sectors such as hospitality, teaching and the prison service, compared to two new recruits during the same period last year.

Here’s an example of their job advert:

Extraordinary Times call for Extraordinary People!
Heart of England Mencap urgently need Support Workers in Stratford upon Avon to support local people with learning disabilities.

Full Training, Flexible Hours and Competitive Pay
Join an amazing team and make a real difference in this unprecedented time. | Apply now to the HR Team!

This information was correct as of September 2020.

Oxfordshire Association of Care Providers (OACP) recruitment initiative funded by Oxfordshire County Council focuses on supporting people from differing employment backgrounds to join the care sector. 

A new job brokerage service for care providers recruiting in Oxfordshire has been launched. To source candidates, the service was promoted through social media advertising, press releases and local business networks, with support from Oxfordshire LEP. Interested candidates signed up via OACP’s jobs portal, then OACP team members screened the candidates on behalf of providers who have placed vacancies with the service. Candidates get referred to appropriate vacancies or signposted to other opportunities, for example becoming a personal assistant (PA). Candidates are then followed up one month later to track conversion rate of referrals.

In the first two months of the service, the team screened 120 candidates, matching 55 jobseekers to ‘live’ vacancies. Tracking data showed that 25% of candidates matched, started in the role they had been referred to, and a further 22% of candidates placed themselves into an alternative role in social care. Further matching support is offered to those candidates still seeking work in the care sector.

This initiative has now come to an end.

To learn more about this initiative contact Rose Rolle-Rowan - Corporate Services.

Proud to Care Cornwall, an initiative facilitated by Cornwall County Council and working in partnership with a range of social care providers and health colleagues, launched its campaign ‘Cornwall Need You. Be Proud to Care’ in response to COVID-19 to recruit a temporary workforce to support the sector during the pandemic.

Existing recruitment resources were adapted as part of the campaign, which was launched on 27 March 2020 with a range of activity, such as press releases and wider communications (films and photographs) and adverts on local radio, social media and bus stops. The campaign also included links to the national DHSC recruitment campaign, Every Day Makes a Difference. The Proud to Care Cornwall portal was used for applicants.

The campaign generated over 650 expressions of interest and 61 applications, all of which were screened and taken forward or signposted to other opportunities. 95 people were deployed across the system, and an additional 108 people confirmed their interest in longer-term roles in social care and recruiting into permanent roles in the next phase of work.

The recruitment into the temporary workforce was supported by a fast track induction developed with Cornwall Adult Health and Social Care Learning Partnership and local training providers and delivered via live webinars. 

 This information was correct as of September 2020.

Town and Country Care Offices in Boston used their position on a main dual carriageway to advertise for new support staff. The huge eye-catching advertising banner was modelled on the pink of the staff uniforms.

In the first five weeks they recruited eight new support staff into the organisation who are mainly people on furlough or have been made redundant due to the impact of the pandemic.

 This information was correct as of September 2020.

‘Proud to Care’ is Gloucestershire County Council’s recruitment and retention strategy for adult social care. The strategy is led by a multi-agency steering group including Gloucestershire Care Providers Association, providers, commissioners, DWP and the National Careers Service.

The fast track recruitment initiative focused on attracting new people into adult social care from other sectors (hospitality, retail and leisure) as well as attracting students and furloughed workers for temporary work. Candidates were attracted through a marketing campaign including radio, print, digital and social media advertising. Shortlisted candidates underwent virtual values-based interviews. Successful candidates are then matched with suitable employers based on preferences and values.

The initiative has three different packages so providers can choose what will best allow them to deploy new recruits within their organisation expediently. Elements of the different packages include; COVID-19 Fast Track DBS, recruitment checks and Skills for Care’s ‘Rapid Care Worker Induction’.

Since applications for the initiative started on 1 April, they have received over 60 applications. 25 of these candidates have been handed over to their new employers to deploy supporting adult social care providers in Gloucestershire to focus on delivering care to the individuals they support.

To find out more about this initiative email Rachael Hughes, Project Lead or Hannah Gorf, Outcome Manager.

When the COVID-19 pandemic started, Exemplar Health Care created a new associate carer role, designed for those who work in other sectors or students, who might be looking for extra work during lockdown. The intention of the temporary role is to meet growing demand for the social care sector and those recruited will have the opportunity to move into permanent employment if they enjoy the role and there are vacancies available.

The recruitment drive since the pandemic has seen double the number of applications and offers of employment compared to the same period in 2019; the majority of these have been in the new temporary role. Two Facebook advertising campaigns occurred in addition to usual recruitment advertising. The recruitment process was fully implemented online and virtual inductions took place three times per week. Exemplar Health Care also introduced new eLearning modules to support new recruits and they were designated a ‘buddy’ to help them embed their skills and knowledge into practice, once they started working in homes.

In order to retain existing staff, a rewards and benefits package was introduced. Weekly updates were sent to all staff, signposting them to support available.

 This information was correct as of September 2020.

A three-strand recruitment campaign has been launched in 14 local authorities in the West Midlands to ensure social care providers have the capacity to meet to support those accessing care and support.

This activity has ranged from authorities redeploying internal employees into adult social care, recruiting professional social workers and utilising the support of students.

#ComeBackToCare - encourages professionals who have left the sector to return, either from working in another area or from retirement.

 #StepUpNow – encourages final year students living in the West Midlands and studying social care.

#TimeToCare – Supports the independent care providers within the region.

The campaign generated over 100 applicants within the first two weeks, with the #ComeBacktoCare campaign being recognised by the LGA as an example of best practice in the sector.

If you’re interested in finding out more about this campaign, please contact: Pete JacksonManny Sandhu or Paul Masterman

Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Crosby training and Community Integrated Care formed a partnership to recruit candidates and provide learning via digital methods. The opportunity was communicated to all people registered with DWP in the Southport area, using DWP candidates journal messages.

Candidates were screened for previous experience, DBS and equipment needs by DWP. Crosby training screened candidates for their motivation and values; providing information and advice.

Zoom sessions were used to deliver learning to the candidates which covered safeguarding, mental health, basic food hygiene (without exam) and interview preparation. They used a mixture of taught content and completion of self-directed workbooks. The candidates were also provided with one-to-one action planning sessions which included getting them ready for interviews. Crosby training provided the necessary equipment to candidates who didn’t have their own, so they could complete the learning and interview.

Interviews were carried out via Zoom by the employer and they also provided a session about the work they do and the people they support.

The initiative has helped to reach a larger number of people by promoting directly via DWP journal messages to customers. Referrals have come from customers who have previously worked in a variety of sectors, including call centre staff, retail staff, ex-army, and warehousing. All eight vacancies were filled.

If you’re interested in finding out more about this initiative email Jayne Ward, Employer Relationship Manager, DWP.

A project was launched to fast track people into employment across social care services, in a safe and timely way, to support services affected by workforce shortages as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an ongoing joint initiative led by Health Education England (HEE) South East – Kent, Surrey and Sussex, and Skills for Care.

As part of the project, links were made with the Prince’s Trust pre-employment programme to bring 10,000 young people (16-30 years old) into employment over the next three and a half years. Because of COVID-19, the programme has been adapted to an online approach, with career support, fast-track recruitment and relevant training and mentoring support being offered to the young people during the recruitment process and for a period of time once into employment.

This is an ongoing project and will continually be reviewed as it progresses. It's anticipated that the learning from this initiative will help inform the longer-term recruitment of people in social care employment locally, embedding and sustaining the successful elements of the project. 

To find out more about this project, please contact

BelleVie, a new start-up provider of care and support, currently operating in the Thames Valley area, recruited a self-managing team to support two young autistic people at home. The self-managing team recruited included one person with personal assistant (PA) experience and the rest from outside the sector – an ex police officer, a hospital administrator, a student in her final year and a mum returning to work.

BelleVie recruited the team who shared the same organisational values – showing compassion to provide the highest standards of person-centred support and the responsibility to make a success of self-management.

The recruitment process started prior to the COVID-19 pandemic - planning commenced in February 2019, the budget was approved in January 2020, with interviews taking place in early March and the team recruited just prior to lockdown. Not being deterred by the pandemic, a five-day induction on Zoom occurred and the team quickly excelled and established itself in its support role for Sam and Lucy.


I just want to let the team know how much they are appreciated. They’re working so hard to make my life as easy as possible, and everyone is going out of their way to be extra thoughtful – I really do feel incredibly supported and I trust completely that everything (and more) will be done. The kids are so happy and really love them all and they’re a joy to have in the house. Thank you!” (Tricia, foster Mum of Sam and Lucy). Mary Curran, Central Wellbeing Leader, BelleVie.

 This information was correct as of September 2020.

Leicester City focused on two areas: recruitment of volunteers (to support the existing workforce) and supporting new or returning people to find employment in the social care workforce through the Leicester City Council Employment Hub.

The joint initiative advertised for volunteers for their residential, domiciliary and supported living services. DBS checks were funded by the local authority and training was provided via Skills for Care endorsed providers as part of the essential training package defined by Skills for Care. Volunteers were given further information about the different settings; PPE; safeguarding and infection prevention control guidance. The City Council monitored, maintained and oversaw the work and hours of the volunteers. Two volunteers recruited in this period made the decision to work in the adult social care sector and have applied for positions. [Updated 2021 – This year providers have not needed the Volunteers so this has stepped down, however they continue to utilise the employment Hub.]

The Employment Hub and the Contracts Team within the City Council have supported providers to access the DHSC Call to Care Campaign. The Employment Hub oversees applicants, and manages the process, the contracts team uses their intelligence and relationships with the market to target providers with identified workforce needs, this has led to 3 Providers calling people for Interviews

The employment hub also continues to run recruitment campaigns to target job vacancies. CVs were shared with care providers from the employment hub and through the Inspired to Care campaign.

To learn more about this initiative contact Ann Forde, Quality Assurance and Compliance Manager.


Regional deployment hubs

Hubs might provide a single point of contact for providers or coordination support with a combination of:

  • capacity support requests
  • training / onboarding support
  • recruitment initiatives.

Key things to consider are how will you align the different parts of your support offer to make accessing support as easy as possible for providers? 

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Leeds City Council’s We Care Academy has been extremely successful in supporting high-quality candidates into fulfilling careers in social care.
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Cheshire West and Chester Council set up the Redundancy Response scheme in March 2020 to meet the surge in demand for support from those businesses and individuals facing issues related to redundancy or downsizing.
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Community Recruitment and Casual Worker ‘Pools’.
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Halton Borough Council launched a 12-month initiative focusing on transforming and enhancing older persons care within Halton, titled the Local Workforce Action Board: Nursing Care Project.

 A volunteer coordination centre was launched by Hertfordshire Care Providers Association to recruit volunteer help to care providers who need additional support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Non-care frontline tasks that volunteers can support with include befriending services, collecting prescriptions and shopping, housekeeping or gardening duties and supporting activities teams in care homes.

The phone lines and telephone interviewing are operated by commissioners and supported by NHS colleagues and has proved to be a great resource for providers and personal assistants (PAs) to use. The local voluntary sector has worked together to set up a network to gather volunteers to help with non-regulated care; this has been possible because of additional funding and office support by the council.

A mutual aid scheme has also been set up for providers to log unused hours that could be used for re-deployment.

Care staff working with Hertfordshire County Council residents will continue to get paid if they are affected by COVID-19 symptoms, including PAs.

For more information contact Ted Maddex, Commissioning Manager, Hertfordshire County Council.