Minister ponders NHS-style cash for skills reform

    The social care workforce could be offered financial incentives
    to retrain and multi-skill if the government decides to push ahead
    with NHS-style reforms to the sector, writes Derren
    Hayes
    .

    Community care minister Stephen Ladyman told attendees at a
    closed two day social care workforce conference last week that the
    government was trying to develop an ‘Agenda for Change’
    for the whole sector.

    Agenda for Change is the pay initiative due to be rolled out
    nationally in October for all directly employed NHS workers (except
    doctors, dentists and senior managers) that rewards them on average
    12.5 per cent on top of basic pay over a three year period for
    taking on new responsibilities. It has enabled nurses to develop
    clinical skills and do work previously only done by doctors.

    Other issues discussed at the conference, which was attended by
    employers, service providers and officials from the Departments of
    Health, Education and Skills and Work and Pensions, included pay
    and conditions, the status of the sector and training and
    qualifications.

    One delegate said: “There was talk around developing a
    remuneration spine such as in the NHS, but there was recognition
    that this would be difficult when 70 per cent of the employers are
    from the private sector. The government is looking at trying to
    develop a compact that everyone would sign up to.”

    Ian Johnston, director of the British Association of Social
    Work, said social workers would be prepared to take on more
    training for better rewards, but questioned how it would be paid
    for.

    Proposals from the conference will feed into the new vision for
    adult social care and a revised health and social care pay and
    workforce strategy to be published later this year.

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