Kent’s grant goes to private sector

Kent social services has taken the unusual step of giving all its
£450,000 allocation of the national training strategy grant to
the private and independent sectors.

Frank Nichol, head of professional development at Kent social
services, told the conference that, after much discussion, the
council decided it would hand over all its share of the £25m
grant to local trade associations and employment groups. These
included the Kent Care Homes Association and Kent Domiciliary Care

The grant is intended to fund improvements in social care training
to meet government training targets. It stipulated that at least 50
per cent of a local authority’s individual allocation had to be
spent on independent and private providers in the first year. In
the second and third years of the scheme, the money will have to be
distributed in proportions that reflect the percentage of the
workforce in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Nichol said that, after two to three months of trying to make
decisions about which groups should receive a share of the money,
“we came to the conclusion there was no fair way of doing this and
trying to reach the 3,000 small businesses in the sector locally”.

Instead, responsibility for deciding who gets what will fall on to
the larger associations that will receive Kent’s grant.

“We are a three-star department and we could have used the money
any way we wanted, but we did it this way so that we couldn’t be
accused of holding on to the money,” Nichol said.

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