The General Social Care Council has urged the government to press ahead with plans to extend registration to all social care staff in England, calling it the “single most pressing issue” in workforce development.
In its response to a Department of Health consultation on the future of the adult social care workforce, published in June, the GSCC said that extending registration was critical if the government’s personalisation agenda was to succeed.
It added that universal registration, along with strengthened post-registration training and learning, would underpin the government’s targets on self-assessment, person-centred planning and self-directed support. It also highlighted the importance of registration in tackling abuse and neglect by social care staff.
However, though then care services minister Liam Byrne promised to roll registration out to domiciliary and residential care staff in July 2005, progress has stalled. Last February, Byrne’s successor, Ivan Lewis, said registration would be extended to an estimated 200,000 domiciliary care staff in late 2007 or early 2008, while in February of this year he said he hoped it would happen in “late summer”.
The delays have sparked criticism from social care leaders, some of whom have called for the extension of registration to domiciliary staff to be scrapped.
However, in its response to the consultation, which comes ahead of a full workforce strategy, due this autumn, the GSCC said it expected to start registering home care staff in 2009. A spokesperson for the workforce regulator told Community Care it was expecting an imminent announcement from the DH.
The DH was unable to give a timetable for extension. A spokesperson said: “For domiciliary care workers, it’s absolutely set, it’s just a matter of ironing out the details.”
In its response, the GSCC also said it would shortly begin its promised consultation on whether personal assistants, hired directly by service users, should be registered.
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