The government has failed to ensure that investment in workforce development provides value for money, care services minister Ivan Lewis has said.
Lewis told MPs and professionals that the Department of Health spent “an awful lot of money” on training the adult social care workforce in England. (This year’s budget is £132m.)
But in a discussion about the forthcoming workforce development strategy for adult social care, he hinted at the need for a new system measuring the success of training programmes. “How do we measure more effectively that we’re getting value for those resources?” he said.
Lewis told the all-party parliamentary group on social care that the strategy would include guidance on how frontline staff should put the personalisation agenda into practice.
In April this year local authorities across England began rolling out the Putting People First initiative, giving service users the freedom to choose the care services necessary to meet their needs.
“It’s important that the workforce is part of the future,” he said. “But the first thing we need to debate is what systems need to be in place, such as advice and advocacy, and early intervention, to help give service users maximum control and choice around personal budgets.”
The parliamentary group handed a list of recommendations to the minister regarding the forthcoming strategy, due to be published this summer.
Joan Humble, the MP for Blackpool North and Fleetwood who chairs the group, said the focus was on “status, training, and involvement”.
One specific recommendation is making the NVQ framework more flexible to respond to “the wider range of providers and new job-roles emerging under personalisation”.
Lewis said other priorities included improving the “downbeat” image and lifting the status of the social care profession, recruiting more older people taking early retirement as well as young people, and celebrating innovative practice through a possible new award scheme.
Department of Health