Councils invited to sign up to scheme to highlight racial inequalities in social care workforce

Last round of social care workforce race equality standard found minority ethnic staff were disproportionately subject to bullying and disciplinaries, but was only completed by 15% of councils

Diversity Equality Inclusion write on a sticky note isolated on Office Desk.
Credit: syahrir/Adobe Stock

English councils have been invited to sign up to a scheme to highlight, and thereby tackle, racial inequalities in their social care workforces.

Skills for Care has opened registration for the 2024-25 social care-workforce race equality standard (SC-WRES), under which councils collect data on nine metrics comparing outcomes for black, Asian and minority ethnic staff and white colleagues.

The last round of the SC-WRES found that black, Asian and minority ethnic social care staff face disproportionately high levels of workplace bullying, disciplinary action and fitness to practise referrals. It has also flagged up that they are less likely than white counterparts to be appointed to jobs from shortlists and less represented in senior management than in the wider workforce.

Differences with NHS equivalent scheme

However, while the SC-WRES is based on a similar scheme in the NHS, it is different in two critical respects:

  • The NHS workforce race equality standard is a requirement for NHS commissioners and providers. There is no such requirement in social care and just 23 of the 153 English councils (15%) took part in the last round of the SC-WRES.
  • The NHS standard is, in effect, government-funded, with NHS England directly resourcing the scheme. But while, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) funded the SC-WRES in 2021-22, it subsequently stopped doing so. As a result, Skills for Care decided to fund it from its own resources.

Councils have until 16 August 2024 to sign up to the 2024-25 SC-WRES but Skills for Care urged authorities to so by 30 June in order to benefit from ‘community of practice sessions’ running in July and August, which will include support on how to collect and submit your data.

Further such sessions will run through the 12-month SC-WRES cycle, enabling participant authorities to share experience and learning from implementing the scheme.

Prior to that, Skills for Care is running four virtual information sessions, on 22 and 23 May and 12 and 13 June, so councils can learn more about the scheme to inform their decision whether to sign up.

About the social care workforce race equality standard

Under the WRES, councils measure themselves against nine metrics designed to capture the experience of directly employed black, Asian and minority ethnic staff in their children’s and adults’ social care departments, when compared with white staff. These are:

  1. The percentage of minority ethnic staff within each pay band compared with white staff.
  2. The relative likelihood of minority ethnic staff being appointed from a shortlist in the previous 12 months.
  3. The relative likelihood of minority ethnic staff entering the formal disciplinary process.
  4. The relative likelihood of minority ethnic regulated professionals entering the fitness to practise process in the previous 12 months.
  5. The relative likelihood of minority ethnic staff accessing funded, non-mandatory CPD in the previous 12 months.
  6. The relative likelihood of minority ethnic staff experiencing harassment, bullying or abuse from people who use social care, relatives or the public in the previous 12 months.
  7. The relative likelihood of minority ethnic staff experiencing harassment, bulling or abuse from colleagues or managers in the previous 12 months.
  8. The relative likelihood of minority ethnic staff leaving the organisation in the previous 12 months.
  9. The percentage of minority ethnic staff in senior management roles compared with white staff.

, , ,

14 Responses to Councils invited to sign up to scheme to highlight racial inequalities in social care workforce

  1. John May 13, 2024 at 7:30 am #

    If Skills for Care are so committed to the SC-WRES why did they ditch their lead Operations Director? They are living in a fairytale if they expect to be taken seriously now.

  2. Pauline O'Reggio May 13, 2024 at 10:49 pm #

    Should this not be a mandatory requirement for all Council’s,why is it an invitation/choice? does this mean they do not have to sign up to the scheme?Are the above requirements not requirements Social workers,senior managers and managers must meet to continue with thier registration/pratice.?

    Make no doubts inequality and racism does exist whether that be in society or the work place .Where it should not take place is in the work place where we claime to be the voice of every child.Yet it is more and more apparent bullying, and racist behaviour goes unchallenged.

    The implications for black and minority children means they remain invisible,thier needs and cultural needs become less of a priority.It is clear to observe that there is less importance placed by those who can intervine and address what is taking place in plan sight.

    In 2024 inequality is batently obvious all the above nine metric measurements are clear to observe.

    Black and minority social workers skills,knowledge, respect and value to the work force are not taken seriously nor valued, all the above prove this.It will be interesting to see how many councils sign up to the scheme!!

    These are my experiences/observations.

  3. Joe May 14, 2024 at 9:51 pm #

    I agree with you.

  4. Stevie May 14, 2024 at 11:02 pm #

    What a waste of time and money! Opportunities are there, and too often given to less able SW’s to meet diversity quotas.

  5. Pauline O'Reggio May 15, 2024 at 10:38 am #

    Stevie if I am reading your comments correctly I would disagree with your statement.It is a waste of money because it is not taken seriously and is often a token jester with( No) genuine interest to support equal opportunities for black,Asian and minorities.

    Unless you are faced with racism, you have no understanding has a child and or employee, who may have the same skills and ability,however continues to be marginalised,with unjustified assumptions made based on the colour of one’s skin, or one’s country of birth.

    I can not denie there are some managers who genuinely practice in a none discriminatory way ,however there are those who do not.

    Stevie I would welcome your thoughts and insight if you would please identify where these opportunities are,where are the senior managers who are in poditions to influence and make changes to a system which has lost direction?.

    Yes there are a handful of black ,Asian and minority managers.However is thier support that of the majority and do they really have any power to speak freely and make positive changes which are inclusive for all.In my view they are placed in the most deprived areas of the city,I can express more of my thoughts but will not .Take from this what you believe.

  6. Marie Meehan May 15, 2024 at 1:21 pm #

    I personally think bullying is ripe within social work management. I am not completely disagreeing with what has been said however I have experienced bullying three times which has impacting my mental health and know of others as well not just people from ethnic minorities. I think everyone should be signing something to protect everyone against work place bullying

  7. Pauline O'Reggio May 15, 2024 at 1:51 pm #

    I totally agree with you Marie.The working environment of some establishment is very difficult to observe.I have witnessed social workers breaking down in tears and or attempting not to break down.

    This is not an uncommon sight and not an environment which will attact people,yet those who can stop this culture do nothing therefore loose competent,skillful social workers because the culture is one of blame,bullying, unworkable caseloads and stripping the profession of any credibility.

    Again!!! I ask if this is the culture, how can we claime to be the voice of vulnerable children who may be facing the same issue’s.

  8. Pauline O'Reggio May 15, 2024 at 2:20 pm #

    The job we has social workers attempt to do is already extremely difficult.I belivie it is obvious why social workers leave the profession.

    I fully understand and have observed bullying and unacceptable behaviour towards social workers,regardless of your skin colour and or place of birth.However what is obvious is that more black,Asian and minority social workers experience racism and fitness to pratice this can not be denied.

    In my view there is less tolerance towards a black worker.Is this because some managers do not identify with certain members of the workforce? Therefore imagine how a vulnerable child may feel.

    If you are an object of bullying,discriminatory behaviour,on all levels,blame and unfair assumptions made about you because you do not represent the majority, why would anyone see value in the profession.

    Can senior managers really make decisions and policy’s when they do not reflect some parts of the workforce
    (I will say it again )and the children we claime to be the voice of.

    • Suzie May 15, 2024 at 10:07 pm #

      Careful with your comments on here Pauline. SWE could come knocking at your door.

  9. Pauline O'Reggio May 16, 2024 at 1:02 pm #

    Suzie am I being warned about expressing my LIVED experiences and observations.

    Your warning is the very reason no one will be open and honest,it is the very reason nothing will ever change to improve the profession.

    It is the very reason vulnerable children will continue to be invisible.

    It is the very reason social workers who have the skills and ability leave the profession.

    • Suzie May 16, 2024 at 2:59 pm #

      I wholeheartedly I agree. My warning was from one caring colleague to another.

  10. Pauline O'Reggio May 16, 2024 at 4:30 pm #

    Thank you Suzie, I appreciate your warning, it is just that I feel very passionate about what social workers are having to experience regardless of who you are.It is unjustified!!! sorry there I go again.

    • Suzie May 17, 2024 at 8:03 am #

      Sadly this is the state of social work in 2024.

  11. Ruth May 17, 2024 at 1:19 pm #

    In addition to the above ethnic minority students are facing high level of discrimination. We need to recognise the value in diversity if the profession is to provide culturally focused practice. I have international students who work within a Chinese community and understand far more about the families parenting style than our white British social workers. That said they will fine it hard to secure a job.
    Definitely need more change all through social work.

Leave a Reply