The Professionalisation of Social Care Workers

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Social Care has produced a report focusing on the workforce issues in social care, calling for professionalisation of care workers.

The inquiry, Elevation, Registration & Standardisation: The Professionalisation of Social Care Workers, heard open and confidential evidence over a six-month period, from people with expertise and experience within the Social Care sector; including Care Workers, Employers and Sector Organisations and Charities.

The report calls for an immediate and urgent national programme to be created for the professionalisation of care workers. The APPG on Social Care recommends the following vital reforms:

  • The establishment of a new, identifiable, national care body for England with NHS affiliation, implying equal status with NHS staff.
  • Clearly defined job titles consolidated by CDP badging attainment with a corresponding pay banding stratum similar to those used in NHS services.
  • Mandatory registration of all social care workers within 24-36 months, in line with the devolved nations – this timeframe should include the drafting and consideration of the legislation.
  • A defined qualification package, starting from a reformed, compulsory and accredited Care Certificate. This should lead to an engaging framework of training and various career development pathways, badging or digital credentials for the employee, and transferable qualifications, so that providers don't need retrain staff or repeat induction programmes. The skills and training will be transferable.
  • The consolidation of funding for workforce training in England into one single body.
  • As part of the immediate national programme, a collaborative exploration between existing sector stakeholders in England, Social Care Wales, the Scottish Social Services Council and the Northern Ireland Social Care Council, into the desirability and feasibility of new, equivalent NHS-signified sector bodies offering corresponding regulation, standards and fluid, equal qualifications and skills structures.

Gillian Keegan MP and Louise Haigh MP said in their introduction to this report, “It is widely acknowledged that Britain has a social care crisis. In recent months, this too often hidden issue has burst into the mainstream media and justifiably so. Few would argue that a major upheaval of the sector is required, as is a serious injection of funding. But there is another, far less discussed crisis within this sector; the workforce crisis, and comprehensive evidence presented to this All-Party Inquiry suggests that it is widespread, acute and urgent.

“High quality, sustainable social care is fundamental to a healthy and dignified society, yet care workers - the vital frontline foundation of the social care system - are too often overlooked in terms of investment, training, remuneration and value. This oversight is clearly impacting workers themselves and the vulnerable people who rely on their work.

“Nurses and healthcare assistants presently working in our NHS are rightly cherished by the public and courted by political actors, but the same cannot be said for their colleagues providing all levels of vital care, that is increasingly medicalised, complex healthcare. The fact that values led, dedicated carers are so undervalued and undermined must be systemically corrected.”