Skills for Care

Skills for Care response to Health and Social Care Select Committee’s report on Workforce: recruitment, training, and retention in Health and Social Care

25 Jul 2022

Skills for Care CEO Oonagh Smyth said:

This report which we gave oral and written evidence to lays bare the ongoing recruitment and retention challenges facing adult social care. Our written evidence to the Committee highlighted our annual estimate for vacancies for 2020/21, which utilising our latest analysis techniques now stands at 110,000 vacant posts on average across the sector. However, as figures in our new report revealed last week, the picture has deteriorated further still as between 2020/21 and 2021/22 the number of vacant posts actually increased by 55,000 – or 52% - 165,000. Furthermore, for the first time on record, our data found that filled posts (roles with a person working in them) in social care are down, by 50,000.

We agree pay, career development, terms and conditions and the sense of feeling valued as skilled professionals are key to tackling the recruitment and retention challenges faced by the sector.

There’s been a number of publications recently highlighting the challenges still faced by black, Asian and minority ethnic care workers, including the Messenger review and the Equality and Human Rights Commission. We are pleased that the Committee has recommended that the Government must fund Skills for Care to pilot the Social Care Workplace Racial Equality Standard in the independent sector within 12 months, and we look forward to working with partners to take this forward.

We signed a joint statement with other sector leaders calling for action on pay in social care and welcome the Committee’s recommendation that NHS England must undertake a review of pay in their social care jobs. In this review NHS health and social care roles must be compared based on the skills, competencies, and levels of responsibility shown in various roles in each sector to ensure that social care roles are being paid fairly.

Despite the challenges outlined in the Committee’s report we know working in adult social care offers fulfilling and rewarding work for 1.5 million people, and we will continue to work with partners to promote the availability of different roles as an opportunity to create fulfilling, lifelong care careers. But as the report highlights the extent of the challenges we need to redouble our efforts to expand opportunities through a national workforce strategy as our sector grows to meet demand from people who draw on services.

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