‘Isolated’ care managers to gain support programme to boost status

Registered managers to receive funded support to network with each other, develop their practice and boost their confidence through National Skills Academy initiative.

Registered managers in social care are to receive a programme of support to help reduce their isolation, build confidence and improve their practice. The initiative, due to be launched shortly, is being led by the National Skills Academy for Social Care, which was tasked by the Department of Health to develop the programme.

The DH’s 2012 White Paper, Caring for our future, emphasised the role of registered managers in ensuring high-quality care but also the need to provide more support for them to combat the isolation they sometimes felt. This was echoed in a survey of about 1200 managers by the skills academy, published last year, which found a quarter felt isolated in their role and half felt they were not recognised sufficiently within the sector.

Support for managers ‘long overdue’

“This programme is long overdue,” said skills academy acting chief executive Debbie Sorkin. “The role of the registered manager has become steadily more demanding and responsible, but the support they need hasn’t always been there. We want to remedy the situation and show the difference that good registered managers can make to the lives of people using services.” 

The skills academy said the programme was designed to better equip managers to meet the challenges they faced, reduce their isolation, build leadership confidence and champion the role they placed in delivering high-quality social care. It will include four elements:

  • Funded support to help managers network with each other locally and regionally through events and regular meetings to share good practice;
  • Gathering and disseminating information, including via an online national network and the skills academy’s new virtual learning environment;
  • Engaging with employers, making the business case for supporting registered managers;
  • Promoting the idea of registration and/or accreditation of registered managers, an idea also being proposed by workforce regulator the Health and Care Professions Council.

Struggle to put values into practice

Respondents to the skills academy’s survey, Everyday Excellence, said that while they came into the sector imbued with social care values, the pressures with which they were increasingly faced, coupled with their isolation, made it increasingly difficult for them to put their values into practice.

They also identified a need for training and development in areas including people management, leadership, business skills and communication skills, and particular forms of support, including a national network, access to information, a membership body or community of practice to which they could belong, and some form of professional recognition or accreditation.

The academy has worked with a number of other national social care bodies to develop the programme, including the English Community Care Association, the United Kingdom Homecare Association, Skills for Care and the Social Care Institute for Excellence. It has also worked with individual registered managers.

‘Huge opportunity’

One of them, Jim Elder-Ennis, now project manager at the Minster Care Group, said he saw the programme as  “a huge opportunity to harness the unique and diverse experience of registered managers into a powerful force for excellent development in the industry”.

Access to the support programme is free to members of the skills academy’s existing registered managers’ network. Membership of the network costs £35 per year and also includes membership of the skills academy.

For more information on the programme email Terry Myers. The skills academy said it wanted to hear from registered managers, service users and carers, and employers around the country about how they’d like the programme to develop.

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