Skip to main content

Care Workforce Pathway: the role of lived experience

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Care and support, Viewpoint, Workforce

Social care colleagues will have better training, clearer career paths and improved job prospects following the announcement of government plans to develop the domestic care workforce.

The Department of Health and Social Care has unveiled a package of measures that will reaffirm care work as a career, helping to recruit and retain talent by providing new, accredited qualifications, digital training and funded apprenticeships.

Think Local Act Personal's Tim Parkin explains how his organisation helped gather views from care colleagues and those receiving or delivering unpaid care to inform the Pathway's shape.

Woman with telescope charting a course ahead
"TLAP was pleased to be asked by colleagues in the Department of Health and Social Care, working on the new Care Workforce Pathway, to find out from people with lived experience what they thought about the sorts of values they would hope to see in the people that support them." [Image created by]

Making the Pathway personal

I often hear talk about the importance of people having the right (or wrong) values and it's the same for organisations. The latter most frequently voiced through the media where an organisation is pinpointed as not living up to their publicly stated values, with the charge that what they say they stand for is not what their customers actually experience.

This gives us a clue as to why we should be bothered about values in social care. They are often seen as straightforward and non-contentious, for example, who would disagree with the statement ‘I am treated with respect and dignity’ from Think Local Act Personal (TLAP)’s Making it Real? No one, I suspect. But here’s the rub.

At their heart, values are based on beliefs about what we think is right or wrong. They act as a sort of compass, guiding the choices we make in life and influencing our behaviours: ‘the talk we walk’.

For people who draw on care, support from people who have the right skills, knowledge and training is important, but if they don’t hold the right values you are unlikely to experience good person-centred care and support. Values translate into behaviour, and that’s what people experience in their care and support, day to day.

That’s why TLAP was pleased to be asked by colleagues in the Department of Health and Social Care working on the new Care Workforce Pathway to find out from people with lived experience what they thought about the sorts of values they would hope to see in the people that support them.

People collaborating and generating ideas
"In early August 2023, we held three online workshops with a diverse group of people (including unpaid carers) who brought a range of different experiences, insights and ideas." [Image created by]

Real world views

A few organisations also ran their own sessions with the people they support. Most of the values people talked about felt distinctly achievable, for example the most highly rated were respect, reliability and honesty.

All the rich conversations we held were condensed into a series of straightforward value statements, which we are pleased have been incorporated into the Pathway. There is some nuance of course. For example, people wanted care staff to value safety, but didn’t want to be wrapped in cotton wool, so there are areas where a balance needs to be struck.

Much depends on workers being able to work with and alongside the people they support in the context of an ongoing relationship. This highlights the true nature of the skill and empathy that doing a good job requires, working with and alongside people. We look forward to continuing to support work to translate the values into practice as a central underpinning of good person-centred care and support.

Sharing and comments

Share this page

1 comment

  1. Comment by Michael Cornelius posted on

    Without the money to increase wages this is just bunk! Qualifications are not an answer to the care sector issues and to believe so shows an complete absence of understanding of the work undertaken. My wife and I run a small care team to support our severely disabled son 24/7 Words life 'pathway' is not something the aver care worker will be interested in, neither is money to become qualifies, what is needed is pay rates that are not Minimum Wage as directed by central government.