Social care workforce review revealed

Details of the government review of the social care workforce called Options for Excellence was announced by the Department of Health on Friday.

A number of working groups will look at how to increase the number of social workers and social care workers and how to improve their training.

Career opportunities will also be explored in a bid to drive up standards and brand new roles in social care may be created as a result.

Care services minister Liam Byrne announced the review was to ensure the plans in the adult white paper could become a reality.

“We need a strong and professional workforce to help us deliver social care that keeps people at the centre of their care and ensures dignity for life,” said Byrne.

“This review board will help us focus on new roles, improving career opportunities and most importantly drive up the quality of service,” he added. “It will also focus on leadership, which is a vital part of delivering a world class social care workforce.”

The review board was first mooted back in July with the DH and Department for Education and Skills recognising the need for a strong committed workforce to deliver the ambitions outlined in Every Child Matters for children and Independence, Wellbeing and Choice for adults.

The review will:-

· Contribute to the DH’s White Paper on care outside hospitals and the Children’s Workforce Strategy

·  Produce proposals in spring 2006 to tackle short-term problems and workforce reforms ahead of the comprehensive spending review

· Complete work in autumn 2006 to form the model for the future of the social care workforce.

Members of the review board include Ian Johnston, director of the British Association of Social Workers, Commission for Social Care Inspection chief executive David Behan and Lynne Berry, the General Social Care Council’s chief executive.

Other members include chief executive of Counsel and Care Stephen Burke, Jo Cleary representing the Association of Directors of Social Services and Martin Green from the English Community Care Association.

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