The two main organisations tasked with driving up standards in social care in England, Skills for Care and the National Skills Academy for Social Care (NSA), plan to enter into merger discussions.
Skills for Care has worked closely with the NSA since its launch in 2009 to support social care employers to develop the skills of their employees, including through leadership and management training.
The NSA received a share of £30m in start-up funding from the Skills Funding Agency in 2009 and £3m from the Department of Health for 2010-11, and was originally expected to become self-sufficient – relying on employer membership fees – by the end of 2012.
A merger would see the two organisations have a single membership offer, which would be open to all social care employers, including service users and carers who act as micro employers.
Care services minister Paul Burstow welcomed the announcement. Speaking a day after the launch of the social care White Paper, he said: “It is good to see the two organisations coming together with the common aim of improving social care.
“The Department [of Health] is looking forward to working closely with them on the shared agenda of building a workforce that is capable, confident and well-led, a workforce that will deliver the high quality care and support that people in our communities deserve.”
Jo Cleary, chair of the NSA, said: “This is our opportunity to demonstrate leadership to the sector at a time when the return on investment in workforce development must be improved.”
Her counterpart at Skills for Care, David Croisdale-Appleby, added: “Skills development is about enhancing the quality of care and support as well as raising the profile and ambition of the adult social care workforce. It is our shared belief that such ambitions can best be achieved through the integrated working that merging our two organisations can bring.”