A Chance for Change

Care England, the largest and most diverse representative body for independent providers of adult social care in England, has today responded to the Skills for Care report ‘The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England’ and called for immediate and long term action to address the current pressures.

Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says:
“Government must urgently heed the warnings in this report. International recruitment is currently propping up the sector. We must use this report to inform a renewed drive to recruit and retain domestically. A new approach is needed, and it has been for quite some time.

Skills for Care has today published its annual report ‘The state of the adult social care sector and workforce’ in England which is available here.

The new data illustrates that 390,000 people left their roles last year. More concerningly, one-third left the sector entirely.  The turnover rate was recorded at 28.3%, with 47.5% of those in their first year leaving their role.

The workforce represents a ‘leaky bucket that we urgently need to repair,’ according to Skills for Care.

Pay remains the principal driver of recruitment and retention difficulties. Skills for Care has found being paid more than the minimum wage is one of the five variables that improve retention rates. Those with five years of experience only earn 6p more than someone in their first year on average. The adult social care sector’s ability to adjust wages is extremely limited by the current underfunding which characterises the sector; care provider fees are fixed with Local Authorities and reviewed annually.

The case for improving pay for care staff is a fundamental pillar of Care England’s Care for Our Future, published on 19 September, which provides a roadmap for delivering sustainable adult social care and posits a sector-wide pay rise for care staff in England is long overdue, the costs of which should be met by Government.

The report shares that adult social care adds £55.7 billion per annum to the economy in England – making the sector one of the key drivers in the national economy.

Professor Martin Green OBE comments:
“Investing in this sector not only has a profound impact on those in receipt of care and the dedicated workforce, but also on the taxpayer and wider economy. To ensure the stability and resilience of the care sector, government investment is not just advisable, it’s imperative. Investing in social care is an investment in our future.”

Skills for Care highlights their initiative to develop a long-term workforce strategy. Skills for Care says its plan will identify the needs of the social care workforce over the next 15 years and set out a plan for ensuring the sector has enough of the right people with the right skills.

Professor Martin Green OBE comments:
“Care England welcomes the drive to establish a long-term workforce strategy, something that is long overdue. Despite this government’s efforts to shift the dial, there is a sector-wide acknowledgement that more must be done. We require a strategy which recognises social care as a vital, fulfilling, and skilled profession. Now is our time to secure a stable and prosperous future for the sector that will help, once and for all, alleviate the workforce pressures and contribute to the long-term stability of both the care sector and the NHS.”