The Social Care Institute for Excellence, Skills for Care and the General Social Care Council have set out their stall for a future role after the government initiated a review of all three organisations.
The Department of Health has asked consultants to examine whether its combined £95m funding for the three bodies is well-spent in developing the adult care sector and workforce, and whether they are fit to embrace the personalisation era.
The review, which will take three months and report this year, could recommend structural changes and moves to reduce overlap between the three organisations.
All three bodies welcomed the review and asserted a case for a future role.
Scie chief executive Julie Jones said: “During a time of significant change, the sector will require a reliable and responsive source of knowledge about what works and what does not. That is precisely our role.”
Skills for Care/GSCC response
Skills for Care chief executive Andrea Rowe said: “We are putting together a detailed response for the review team that will show how we have met the targets set by the DH, [and] that our governance and funding arrangements are robust.”
GSCC chief executive Mike Wardle said “effective workforce regulation” was needed to ensure adult care staff could deliver on personalisation, and this would become important as more groups were registered.
In its response last week to a DH consultation on the future of the adult social care workforce, the GSCC said extending registration beyond social workers and social work students in England was the “single most pressing” workforce issue.
It emphasised the role of registration in promoting self-directed support and safeguarding.
But progress on extending registration has stalled since February 2007 when care services minister Ivan Lewis promised the GSCC would start registering domiciliary staff by early 2008.
In its response to the consultation, due to inform a adult social care workforce development strategy this autumn, the GSCC said it expected to start registering domiciliary care staff in 2009. The DH gave no timetable for implementation, but said: “It’s just a matter of ironing out the details.”
Scie and Skills for Care came under fire in last year’s DH-commissioned report on the status of social care, by Commission for Social Care Inspection chair Denise Platt. Platt, whom the DH has asked to feed into the current review, said Scie’s function of disseminating best practice had “not yet been effectively delivered for adult social care”.
Scie defends role
But Jones said she thought Scie had responded well to the “challenge” posed by the Platt report.
Scie, the GSCC and Skills for Care (formerly Topss England) were set up in 2001 under the Care Standards Act 2000. After CSCI merges into the new Care Quality Commission next year, they will be England’s only social care-specific national agencies.
Association of Directors of Adult Social Services vice-president Jenny Owen welcomed the review but warned the DH against cutting its overall spend on the three organisations.
In 2008-9, the DH is due to provide £56m in funding for the GSCC, £33m for Skills for Care and £6m for Scie.