Adass and Skills for Care start adult workforce drive

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and Skills for Care have launched a project to improve workforce planning by adult social care departments, in line with the personalisation agenda.

Adass and Skills for Care will produce guidelines for councils on producing integrated local area workforce strategies (InLAWS), afterpilots in 12 to 15 authorities from April to October this year.

The project is designed to ensure workforce planning takes account of the whole social care market, including the independent sector, and is based on strategic assessments of local people’s health and well-being needs, which councils are required to carry out with primary care trusts.

Growth in personal assistants

It is particularly focusing on how councils can tackle the workforce implications of the personalisation agenda. This includes the growth in the number of personal assistants employed by service users and the need for new skills to ensure residential and domiciliary care is more person-centred.

Adass and Skills for Care are surveying adult care directors on their approach to workforce planning in order to identify good practice and also benchmark councils against each other.

According to 2005 best practice guidance,  adult directors should ensure workforce plans are embedded within commissioning strategies and that they cover the whole social care workforce, not just council staff.

Few examples

However, Vic Citarella, director of social care consultancy CPEA, who is leading on delivering the InLAWS project, said: “Our sense is that we won’t find many examples of integrated workforce planning. When you look at the commissioning strategies you will find plans to change services and some detail about how money will be spent but you won’t find any thinking about how the workforce will change.”

Citarella added that comprehensive information on the make-up of the workforce was crucial. This is being tackled through the National Minimum Data Set for Social Care which is gathering workforce information from all adult care employers in a single database.

He said the survey was asking directors whether they had contributed to the data set, warning that the completion rate among private and voluntary sector bodies was “far higher” than among local authorities.

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