A boom in the number of personal assistants swelled the size of the adult social care workforce by 7% in a single year, figures have revealed today.
The number of PAs working in England increased by 35% – or 92,000 posts – between 2009 and 2010, according to Skills for Care’s report. PAs now account for one-fifth of jobs in the adult social care market.
The number of people receiving direct payments, which are often used to pay for personal assistants, also rose by 35%.
However, 3,000 local authority social care jobs were shed in the same period.
Caroline Bernard, policy manager at the National Skills Academy for Social Care, said: “With the drive towards personalisation and more individuals developing their own care packages, we are not surprised to see a growth in the number of personal assistants in social care.”
She added that people who hold personal budgets will need to be adequately supported as commissioners of their own services.
However, Martin Green, chief executive of the English Community Care Association, said: “The growth in personal assistants is a good thing but my concern is it’s the growth of a market that, unlike registered providers, is not regulated or quality assured.”
The number of jobs in the adult care sector rose from 1.7 million to 1.77 million last year.
The study projected that between 400,000 and 1.3 million additional adult social care staff would be needed by 2025.
Sheila Scott, chief executive of the National Care Association, said: “I think the big issue for the government and providers is how we can make social care more attractive to young people and make it a profession that people respond to in these kinds of numbers.”
She suggested this would require higher government investment.
Jon Sutcliffe, principal strategic adviser for Local Government Employers, added: “If you get into personal budgets in a big way then that is going to need a big growth in the number of people providing care. You cannot do that without significant investment.”
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