Simply put, the current funding system for workforce development in social care doesn’t work. While sizable grants are allocated to councils to support training across all sectors, only one-third of the money filters through to voluntary and independent sector providers. This is despite 75 per cent of the social care workforce residing there.
Any non-ring fenced money is fair game in local government and much of this money is spent on training their own staff or sustaining services.
While this is understandable considering the intense pressure on budgets, it is preventing progress. Hence the workforce development body Skills for Care’s call for more than £100m to be given to it rather than councils in England so that training can be supported through out the social care sector.
Allowing Skills for Care to control and distribute this funding makes sense and deserves our support. But the challenges are not just about money and how it’s dispersed. Employers across all sectors need to implement effective training strategies, backed up by personal development plans for staff and delimited career pathways. They – and Skills for Care – are going to have to reach out to staff who don’t necessarily want to become qualified and deliver training to those in removed locations. Only then will we see a marked improvement in care standards, and the growth of skills and competencies that might deliver the government’s bigger picture policies.