Career Clinic: How personalisation could affect me as a domiciliary care worker

Question: I am employed as a domiciliary care worker and have recently gained my NVQ level 3. Will I need to retrain because of the personalisation of services?


Answer: First, all of the skills, knowledge and values you have gained through studying for your NVQ3 will be absolutely key to delivering choice and control into the hands of service users and their carers under the personalisation policy, writes Andrea Rowe (pictured).


The concept of personalisation is not yet fully unpicked in terms of its implications for skill development and service provision but it does involve a paradigm shift in the relationships between carers, care-workers and people who use services. However, many of the skills and all of the values you have picked up during your training will be transferable into this new relationship.

This is not to underestimate the difference that service users having control over the services they receive will make to your role. It will probably involve you in being an enabler, advocate, broker of other services and financial adviser. You will need to respond flexibly and imaginatively to situations that arise. Again your NVQ training will have given you a firm base to work flexibly from.

One of the challenges of truly personalised services is the management of risk between the worker and the person using the service. Most workers are understandably anxious not to put themselves at risk of censure or even prosecution through taking the wrong action. This has to be balanced against the service users’ desire to take the risks other people take all the time. Training in the form of role play and case studies can be helpful in making you more confident about handling risk in practice. You can learn how to make risk assessments and control the impact of risk taking. Your employer should be able to arrange this training for you.

Supervision is also an important vehicle for you to use to explore the implications of personalisation in your current work situation. Use the opportunity to reflect on decisions you are making and look at different ways of giving control to your service users.

Skills for Care and Skills for Health have produced a useful guide to practice of personalised care called the Common Core Principles of Self Care, which can be accessed by clicking here.

In the longer term, personalisation of services is likely to impact on the skill needs of employers as much as the skills of workers. Caring skills that you have learned during your vocational training will be relevant throughout this change as long as you view it positively as an opportunity to improve your own practice.

Andrea Rowe (right) is chief executive of Skills for Care. She is answering your questions in a personal capacity


I am a residential social worker, looking to supplement my income with additional work. Would it be possible to find ad hoc work, based around my other commitments, or would I have to agree to regular hours? We will answer this question in the 30 October issue of Community Care. Send your advice to Derren Hayes by 23 October 2008.

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