Skills for Care

Joint learning and development: how ICSs can support with developing your staff

30 May 2023

5 min read

Skills for Care

  • Integration
  • Learning and development

We hear from people working as part of their local Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) about how they’re supporting care providers in their area with learning and development

Herefordshire and Worcestershire ICS

Herefordshire and Worcestershire ICS is building an ICS Academy to support the health and social care workforce. This offers a targeted programme of education, learning and development, and is strongly focused on maximising and bolstering skills that exist across the two counties within health and social care.

The makeup of the academy includes seven workforce development and education ‘faculties’. These are medical; pharmacy; healthcare science; nursing and midwifery; allied health professionals; social care, and voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE).

Each faculty is responsible for mapping the supply, education and any skills needs or gaps of their current workforce group, and planning activities to address these gaps.

While some issues may be specific to one ‘’faculty’ there will also be gaps and challenges that are consistent across the sector and in these cases faculties will work together to create cross-sector solutions.

One initiative which is already underway is the establishment of new sector-wide trainee supervision and education programmes.

This was a result of members from different faculties identifying the same challenges when training new starters – such as time and staffing levels for supporting trainee nurses being a challenge for both medical sector managers and care home managers.

The cross-faculty approach in the ICS Academy means that social care providers are part of a wider system of support and development, rather than being left to establish multiple individual ways of doing things.

The Herefordshire and Worcestershire ICS also has a key focus on developing existing staff to support learning, career progression and retention of staff.

A framework has been introduced to guide targeted development and career progression for staff, and all health and social care organisations have been encouraged to be led by the framework.

In turn, they will receive access to a range of talent and leadership tools, training, and other development offers.

The ICS also works to more easily share free NHS training and learning resources with social care staff, for example recording events and sessions, and building a variety of resources and connections to support learning and development.


Sussex ICS

With almost £250,000 invested to date into the sector to help with Continued Professional Development (CPD) and provision of education and skills training, Sussex ICS has shown a real commitment to engaging and supporting adult social care.

A big part of this work has been planning to understand gaps, barriers and needs across the sector and aligning resources to meet these.

Sussex ICS has funded several initiatives to support adult social care providers to develop their in-house skills and development programmes for staff. This has given providers the support and infrastructure to shape their own offer for colleagues.

Using additional funding, an initial training needs analysis (TNA) was undertaken by Skills for Care locally to understand how providers currently approach learning and development, and to identify any gaps or challenges providers face in this regard.

The results of that analysis demonstrated a need for greater resource to support learning and development leads within social care services. In particular, smaller providers who typically have less support infrastructure or dedicated resource in their organisation.

After identifying this need, the ICS went further to meet it; funding a dedicated Learning and Development Lead across the system to support learning and development and education programmes in individual care services, along with a clinical skills project.

Registered managers are crucial leaders in the development of the wider workforce. Sussex ICS has funded almost £200,000 in an initiative which supports them in this role.

Following the launch of their Registered Managers Wellbeing programme (SCARRF), Sussex People Group Leads and Skills for Care recognised the need to provide greater support for registered managers to access support for their ongoing leadership development. They have therefore commissioned a leadership CPD project which will provide signposting, peer support and coaching for registered managers across Sussex.

As part of the work to support providers to develop their approach to learning and development, a community of practice is gradually being established. This will support providers to communicate opportunities, encourage chances to support one another and share expertise. For example, learning and development leads are networking to share their approach to learning and the resources that support this.


Find out more about what local ICSs are doing with our case studies. 

Discover more about integration and ICSs with our #UnderstandingIntegration spotlight.

We bid a fond farewell to our Head of Area (Midlands) Renny Wodynska

Maximising the potential of the care at home workforce – Sussex Health & Care Partnership