The General Social Care Council is calling on the government to widen registration across the whole of England’s social care workforce over the next 10 years.
Rosie Varley, the GSCC’s chair, said the recent adult social care workforce strategy missed an opportunity to transform standards by only extending registration to domiciliary care staff and managers. Opening the register to residential staff in adult and children’s services should be the next priority, she said.
A GSCC spokesperson added: “It is government policy to register the whole of the social care workforce. The GSCC believes this is the right approach and would like to see this happen within the next ten years.”
At present, only social workers, who make up 5% of the workforce in England, must register and comply with the training and conduct standards set out in the code of practice for social care workers.
Voluntary registration for England’s 500,000 domiciliary care workers will be launched next year in partnership with the GSCC, as announced in the adult workforce strategy. This will become compulsory later, bringing the proportion of England’s 1.5m-strong workforce covered by registration to 38%.
The strategy adds the DH will consider registering additional groups of workers, including residential staff and personal assistants.
Moves are already under way to professionalise the workforce in other parts of the UK. In Wales, residential childcare workers and managers have been required to register with the Care Council for Wales for more than a year, while in Scotland, ministers recently set out a timetable to introduce compulsory registration for 46% of staff by 2015.
Over the next six years, the following will be required to register with the Scottish Social Services Council: residential childcare workers; adult day care service managers; managers, supervisors, practitioners and support workers in adult care homes; and managers, practitioners and support workers in children’s day care.
Varley said the vetting and training requirements of registration would ensure domiciliary workers were “skilled, competent and trustworthy”.
But she added: “Those living in residential homes deserve the same quality of care and peace of mind as any other person who receives social care.”