Mencap: Councils should no longer hold training purse strings

Charities including Mencap, Leonard Cheshire Disability and Sense today called for social care training funding to no longer be channelled through local authorities, to ensure non-statutory providers get their fair share.

In a report on funding for voluntary care providers, the Social Care Employers Consortium, which represents 41 charities, said that with most services no longer being provided by councils there was “no logical reason” why government funding should be given to authorities to distribute.

A report this year from Skills for Care found councils underspent the main former social care training grants, the £50m human resources development strategy grant and the £108m national training strategy grant, by £9.7m and £26m respectively in 2006-7. Last year, the adult workforce development body said it should assume control of all government social care training funds intended for voluntary and private providers amid evidence they were not receiving a fair share.

Purse strings

Mencap chief executive Jo Williams said: “What we really need is an independent organisation holding the purse strings against which each sector – whether it’s local authority or third sector or private provision – can make an application and make the case for investment in training. That would level things out considerably.”

Though the two grants were not ring-fenced they were designed to be spent on social care training. This year, however, they and many other funding streams were rolled into an area-based grant, worth over £4bn, which councils can use as they please to meet local and national priorities. This has sparked warnings from adult care directors that councils may divert funds from social care into other services.

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