Care services minister Phil Hope (right) has pledged to “win back public confidence” in social care by extending compulsory registration to England’s 500,000 home care workers.
The General Social Care Council will begin registering staff early next year on a voluntary basis before the scheme becomes mandatory.
Training and standards
All GSCC registrants must abide by the code of practice and meet conditions on training and professional standards or risk being struck off, in line with current regulations for social workers.
The plans were set out in the Department of Health’s adult social care workforce strategy, launched by the minister at the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services’ spring seminar.
Speaking to adult services chiefs yesterday, Hope said: “We’ve got a real job of work to do to win back the public confidence in safeguarding standards.”
The announcement comes two weeks after a BBC Panorama documentary involving undercover reporters highlighted poor practice in domiciliary care in cities including York and London.
Referring to the programme, the minister admitted: “We know there are some workers that threaten the regulation of the whole sector.”
Need for good publicity
Assuring public safety and raising standards of care through regulation is one of six priorities in the strategy, which says registration could be extended to other parts of the workforce. Hope said this could include residential staff.
The minister called on Adass members to support efforts to promote social care through positive media coverage – a key objective of Community Care’s Stand Up Now for Social Work campaign.
He said: “We should present the admirable face of social care, the one that you [as directors] recognise and see every day. It’s a face the public need to see a lot more of.”
Hope confirmed that the forthcoming green paper on the long-term future of England’s care and support system would be launched in June.
He said the opportunity for reform would prove to be a “watershed” in “laying the foundations for a different kind of caring, positive, and more equal-minded society”.
Why England needs a new care and support system