IPPR think-tank recommend mandatory training for care workforce

policy digest

28 / 02 / 2017

Care in a post-brexit climate: how to raise standards and meet workforce challenges
IPPR, February 2017

In this report the IPPR examine issues currently faced by the social care workforce and make three recommendations that they believe will help improve the quality of care provided.

The IPPR highlight that the demand for care will only grow, as the over-65 population rises by around 33 percent by 2030.  Migrant workers have helped to fill the recruitment gap that currently exists, but with the government committed to reducing migration to below 100,000 this may not be sustainable. There are also serious concerns about the quality of care provided, as there are currently no mandatory minimum standards of training for the care workforce. 

The IPPR focus on three concerns when looking at the care sector: 

  • high levels of user dissatisfaction
  • rising numbers of abuse alerts 
  • the large number of providers requiring an action plan for improvement.

They make the following recommendations:

1) Effective minimum standards for training
The IPPR believe that care staff should be given more, mandatory training, and that the care certificate that was brought in in 2015 should be a legal requirement and enforced by the CQC.
They acknowledge that mandatory training is costly and that the social care system is already in a context of severe financial challenges, however they state that the quality of care needs to be increased. They suggest the NHS would benefit from the increase in training of care staff, as critical cases and hospital admissions could be avoided.

2) Oversight and monitoring of quality standards
The IPPR note that some care staff are paid below the minimum wage and they recommend that “the role of CQC is broadened to tackle the exploitation of low paid workers in the sector.”
They also feel that the CQC should have new powers to require that “employers proactively demonstrate that they have trained their employees under the care certificate curriculum, through high-quality training.” They suggest that the cost of these added duties should be funded through CQC fees paid by providers.

3) A new industrial strategy for the care sector
The IPPR highlight the role that technology and innovation can play in the improvement and development of care work. They feel that there should be more work done to integrate training between NHS and non-NHS carers, that more could be done to support the technological innovation in care and that all local authorities should move towards responsible procurement. Technology could play a greater role in social care through “pump priming of technological innovation” and the IPPR suggest three ways of doing this:

  • match funding for new technological applications that will improve the delivery of social care 
  • a small fund, up to £5 million, delivering seed funding of £20–50,000 for individual projects
  • a requirement for open standards so that new tech systems are compatible with each other, rather than recreating the NHS IT barriers.

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