Council training budgets ‘slashed by 15%’

    Councils have cut training budgets for social care workers by 15% in a year, a report has suggested.

    Results from a survey of workforce development professionals indicated that councils in England allocated £84m for training in 2010-11, compared with an estimated £99m in 2009-10.

    The figures, which include money taken from core local authority funding, were published by Learn to Care, a network of workforce development professionals in social care.

    Some members were “deeply concerned about the possibility of funding being so dramatically reduced”, the report said.

    The findings showed just 32% of Learn to Care members in adults’ services expected to receive all the dedicated workforce development grants for social care in 2010-11, compared with 56% in children’s departments.

    Meanwhile, only half the members in adult care and 72% in children’s services reported receiving all these grants in 2009-10. This was down on 2009 when the respective figures were 65% and 85%.

    The report speculated whether local authorities would continue to invest in workforce development in the context of the 28% budget cuts from 2010-11 to 2014-15, announced in the government’s comprehensive spending review.

    The authors, Professor Keith Brown and Dr Steve Keen from Bournemouth University, added that many training managers relied on short-term funding streams from the Children’s Workforce Development Council, which is losing its government funding from 2012, and Skills for Care.

    “Without this type of targeted funding, the [Social Work Reform Board’s] agenda could be seriously compromised,” they said.

    Learn to Care’s annual social care workforce development funding survey was based on responses from 47 adult workforce development professionals and 25 in children’s services.

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