The Social Work Reform Board may struggle to continue delivering its programme of change in the face of cuts to workforce development teams throughout England, a report by Learn to Care has warned.
It is estimated that 800 workforce development posts have already been cut, three-quarters of which are likely to be professional rather than administrative, according to Learn to Care’s Local government social care workforce planning and development: a survey of trends and funding 2011 report.
Considering the implications of these cuts, the report’s authors asked: “If this ‘asset stripping’ continues, will the reform board’s agenda be able to be delivered, and what will the impact be on the PVI sector and vulnerable citizens?”
The research also identified an apparent year-on-year reduction in core workforce development funding since 2008-9, leading Learn to Care to note that workforce development is often seen as an “easy target” for cuts.
In addition to workforce development cuts and funding, Learn to Care asked its members what they thought about the reform board’s framework for continuing professional development. Around half were unsure the framework would improve the quality and consistency of learning in social care.
“There are concerns about a lack of detail and resources and calls for the reform board to facilitate more coherent, effective and consistent workforce development planning with clear national standards and structures,” the authors added.
This was Learn to Care’s eighth annual survey on how its members are using the workforce development grant allocated by the Department for Education.
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