Workforce strategy to form part of social care reform proposals, Care Minister confirms

Helen Whately

A workforce strategy will form part of the government’s social care reform proposals, which will be published later this year, the Minister of Care has told MPs.

Speaking in Parliament last week, Helen Whately said she is “determined” that the reforms will look at how best the government can support the workforce.

“One of the things that I want to achieve for our social care workforce, for whom I am truly ambitious, is that rather than doing something one-off for the pandemic, we should come up with a workforce strategy that will improve the opportunities for those working in social care to develop their careers, with a real career progression in working in that sector,” she said.

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“That will be part of our social care reform proposals.”

Responding to a separate written question from Virendra Sharma, Labour MP for Ealing and Southall, about what will be included in the proposals, the Minister said the government’s objectives for reform are to “enable affordable, high quality adult social care system that meets people’s needs, whilst supporting health and care to join up services around people”.

Whately added: “We are working closely with local and national partners to ensure our approach to reform is informed by diverse perspectives, including of those with lived experience of the care sector. There are complex questions to address and it is important that we give these issues our full consideration in the light of current circumstances.”

The care sector has repeatedly called for a detailed strategy or ‘people plan’ that will support the social care workforce.

Speakers at a recent online conference organised by the Future Social Care Coalition said the plan should be implemented as soon as possible after the pandemic to ensure staff working in care homes and in the community – and the people they look after – are no longer “neglected and ignored by government”.

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Sarah Clarke

The author Sarah Clarke