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This blog post was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Bringing consistency and quality to recruitment in adult social care

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We all recognise that adult social care is a vital service for many older and disabled people. Dr Glen Mason, Director of Social Care Leadership and Performance, Department of Health, explains why a caring, skilled and valued adult social care workforce has a key role to play in delivering quality care and support to the most vulnerable people in society.

Unfortunately, we are also only too aware of the consequences when care is poor. It is over a year since the Government published its response to the Francis report on Mid Staffs. Much progress has been made since then, but we should never forget the lessons that came out of this report.

The Government is therefore committed to bringing greater consistency and quality to recruitment, training, supervision and management of care workers in adult social care, enabling them to place compassionate care at the heart of their work.

We are acutely aware of the role that sensitivity and compassion of care workers plays in service users’ experience and need to ensure the care workforce is properly prepared to provide the quality of care those in need deserve.

As Camilla Cavendish said:

The best organisations in health and social care recruit people for their values and commitment to caring: they invest in rigorous training and development and ensure that this translates into everyday practice; they build teams which value all members of staff; led by empowered first line managers.

Over recent months we have made real progress in placing dignity and respect at the centre of our workforce policies. One of the important initiatives has been to develop the Values Based Recruitment Toolkit with Skills for Care, National Skills Academy and MacIntyre.

The toolkit will run for a pilot period of 12 months, followed by evaluation and report in summer 2014.

As a result of the pilot, I am keen to understand more about the ‘difference’ a values based approach can make within the care sector. Understanding the appetite among employers for this approach will be central to future success.  Early indications suggest interest among employers has been encouraging, with large support for the pilot.

Interim evaluation shows evidence of demand and positive feedback, with some employers who reviewed their recruitment practices, expressing interest in what will follow after the pilot. There is also evidence the toolkit is also being used for wider applications including induction, supervision, appraisal and management training, suggesting an impact on existing staff, and those new to the sector.

Finally I am also very interested in the toolkit’s impact on the many small and medium sized employers that do not have access to HR resources. We hope that the toolkit will provide support to smaller employers to recruit the right people with appropriate social care values.

This piece first appeared in Care Management Matters, April 2014

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  1. Comment by Gillian Dalley posted on

    It's sad that Glen Mason writes in the above terms as if it is only in the last few months that the social care community - particularly senior figures in government, and its advisers and officials, - has realised that the social care workforce needs to be valued and that the principles of dignity and respect need to be built into the processes of training and practice. For more than 20 years some of us have been advocating this approach and yet the efforts we made during that time have been disparaged or disregarded by those who have come after us. Failure to learn good lessons (i.e. about what works well) from predecessors means time and other resources are wasted as disregarded knowledge has to be re-learned or re-acquired. Each generation of politicians or professional leaders seems to want to ignore any good that has gone before in order to make their own mark on 'progress'. How many tool-kits have been developed in the past? How many pilots have demonstrated that value-based care can be delivered under the right conditions and with the right resourcing? As the saying goes, it's not rocket science. But messing up the structure of health and social care, cutting resources, demoralising the health and social care workforce - as has been happening in recent times - will only undermine the good that has gone before.

  2. Comment by gaeliccraic posted on

    there needs to be consistency and portability brought to personalised support packages for the elderly and Disabled and this should be top priority

  3. Comment by Clare Cotter posted on

    No one would disagree with the principles; changing culture and practice needs to be supported at the highest level to support it happening. We need to go further and wider; what external positive and sustainable support is there for small independent providers (care homes and domicillary care agencies) to create and maintain a positive quality improvement culture where this is needed. Staff in these sectors need to be and feel valued, care and compassion needs to be celebrated and when things go wrong we must not tar everybody with the same brush. We need to give the greatest respect to independent sector staff working under sometimes the poorest conditions, with our most vulnerable people, by giving them access to health and social care expertise in collaboration; not through perpetuating a them and us culture. We are on a collaborative journey locally to change the tide, but this needs to be supported nationally.

  4. Comment by George S I Andrew posted on

    Care work has for too long been the Cinderella of our social care system it is time that it is recognised as a serious occupation and understood within the community for its value. The initiative must be driven from top Government level but recognised by ALL sections of the community.

    • Replies to George S I Andrew>

      Comment by Pearl Baker posted on

      I agree with the last comment. The problems we have today is the never ending paperwork sent out in the name 'of better care, 'integrated care' the Care Act, Health and Social Care Act the MCA all good reading, with good intent, unfortunately there is absolutely nobody Moniting the implementation of any of it.

      The 'Monitor' issues a licence to organisations, but has no mechanism of how any of this can be monitored. Do you know who the Monitor is?

      The CQC only Inspect Registered organisations. do you know if you can complain to them regarding your concerns?

      The LA Care Quality Framework supposed to Inspect unregistered Providers? Did you know this. This report is not open to Public viewing! Did you know this?

      The DOH latest literature speaks of 'transparency' how can the public look at the above report if the LA say 'NO'?

      The MCA 2005 code of practise is not followed, but who really cares, and more to the point who is aware of this?

      The Clinical Commissioning Groups are probably the worse for not implementing much of the DOH policies, or indeed the Law, not really their fault they are mainly General Practitioners, pushed into Management at their patients expense. These GP are now working part time in their practices, while trying to understand the ever flowing reams of instructions from NHS England.

      It has become so complicated, and has done the reverse to what it was intended, and enormously costly, to what end!

      I am a carer, who has worked in Mental Health for years, and provide Independent Mental Health Advocacy and Advisory, my understanding is there has been a drop in Mental Health funding by 20 percent, yet we are forever being informed it is a 'priority' It's not working.

  5. Comment by Dan Midwinter posted on

    Great to see help and advice offered to people recruiting in health and social care. On the flipside, for advice on finding a job in this area, take a look here: