Pay benchmarks for workforce urged.

A leading think-tank has called for a Wanless-type review of
spending on adult social care to address workforce development as
demand rises but resources decline.

The report, from the Institute for Public Policy Research, rules
out Agenda for Change-type reforms in social care but says a
long-term review might establish pay benchmarks for staff in the

This would particularly help the voluntary sector by ensuring that
“competing for contracts does not mean cut-price wages,” it

In the meantime, local authorities should take more immediate
action by devising local pay bands and comparing skills with those
in related sectors, such as education and housing, the institute

The tripling of the NHS budget between 1997 and 2010 is contrasted
with the falling growth in personalised social services to 1.3 per
cent a year. A review would highlight how cuts to social care might
affect the ability of the NHS to become a more preventive service,
the report says.

It adds that new regulatory bodies, such as the Commission for
Social Care Inspection, should be given time to mature.

A system of registration based on qualifications would not suit
some social care staff and personal assistants with direct
payments, says the report. It suggests that employers and
commissioners might pass on staff details and CRB checks to the

Association of Directors of Social Services president Tony Hunter
said: “We welcome the emphasis this report places on the need for
sound recruitment and retention policies.

“The association has long argued that a Wanless-style review of
social care funding is becoming increasingly necessary, as changing
organisations pose new financial challenges.”

lWho Cares? Building the Social Care Workforce, from

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