Skills for Care looks to take over control of council training budgets

Social care training body Skills for Care has demanded it take control of more than £100m currently allocated to local authorities for training so it can divert the money to the independent sector.

The agency’s chair Donald Hoodless told its annual conference this week that it was “not fair, accessible or equitable” that English councils spent a disproportionately small percentage of funding dedicated to workforce development on the independent sector.

Hoodless said that all the money the government wanted to spend on independent sector training in adults’ and children’s services should be allocated through Skills for Care.

The government estimates that 75 per cent of the social care workforce is employed by the voluntary and private sectors. However, a survey last year found 34 per cent of training funds, worth £147.5m in 2006-7, was due to be spent on the sectors.

Were funding to be distributed in proportion, as Skills for Care suggests, the training body would assume control of a budget worth £110m.

Funds given to councils for social care training are not ring-fenced and Hoodless said he believed that the government would have expected more to have gone to the independent sector.

He added: “We are not blaming local authorities which have their own workforce to train and services to provide, and are hard-strapped for cash – but there is no doubt at all that the current system is not working.”

Nick Johnson, chief executive of sector professional body the Social Care Association welcomed the call but said there would need to be an honest debate about how the money was distributed to the 28,000, often small-scale, social care employers.

Survey findings
A survey last November by Learn to Care, which represents care trainers, found councils were planning to spend an average of £338,000 on training in the voluntary and private sectors in 2006-7. Total funding from the National Training Strategy Grant and the Human Resources Development Strategy Grant was £147.5m, or almost £1m per authority.

From Learn to care

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  Simeon Brody

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