Over the past few months we have submitted evidence to a number of wide-ranging inquiries and consultations relevant to care:
- In May 2023, our care workforce change research group submitted evidence to the DHSC consultation on its proposals for a new workforce pathway in adult social care. The pathway is part of a package of reforms aimed at tackling the recruitment and retention crisis by professionalising the workforce.
Our response (click to download PDF 271KB) considers the potential strengths and weaknesses of this approach. On the one hand, the proposal implicitly acknowledges the value and skills required by care work and is a welcome effort to create opportunities for career progression and development. On the other hand, the fundamental issues underlying the workforce crisis including low pay and underfunding of local government, cannot be ignored – without addressing these, implementation is likely to be hindered.
- The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) consulted on its draft roadmap, ‘Care data matters: a roadmap for better data for adult social care’ in July 2023. It sets out Government plans for improving how adult social care data is collected, shared, and analysed.
Our response (click to download PDF 217KB) highlighted the potentially transformative impact of these ambitious plans, while also emphasising the level of investment needed to do so in a diverse and fragmented sector which is under significant pressure. In particular, further work is needed to build public trust in the collection and sharing of health and social care data, ensuring that this is done in an ethical way which does not further exacerbate inequalities.
- The Welsh Government Rebalancing care and support programme consultation in August 2023.
This consultation by the Welsh government sought views on ambitious aims for social care reform consisting of a wide range of measures. Our submission (click to download PDF 187KB) focussed on the proposals for the implementation of a Code of Practice for commissioning care and support and the introduction of a Pay and Progression Framework for social care.
Our response noted that the ambition for a less complex system may be misplaced due to the inherent complexities in social care which enable choice and control. We welcomed the Pay and Progression Framework, but highlighted a risk of exacerbating inequalities in the sector if the Framework is voluntary and not mandated. A summary of the submitted responses has been developed.
- In September 2023, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) issued a call for evidence on the interaction between the UK immigration system and the social care sector, in order to inform the scope and focus of its inspection in this area.
Our team recommended explicitly broadening the scope to include a focus on the extent to which the current system creates conditions which increase the likelihood of labour exploitation of care workers from overseas. In particular, the role of unscrupulous agencies, and the vulnerability of live-in migrant care workers, should be investigated.
- Also in September, the Scottish Parliament’s Health, Social Care & Sport Committee held a scrutiny session. The Centre suggested a question about the urgency of improving care workers’ pay and conditions, which was put to the Cabinet Secretary, Michael Matheson.
- Another September submission was to the Older People’s Housing Taskforce (Department of Health and Social Care).
The Older People’s Housing Taskforce has been set up to understand the market in England for older people’s housing and to make recommendations for shaping it in the future – particularly for those on lower and middle incomes. The taskforce will provide recommendations to ministers in 2024.
We submitted a joint response (click to download PDF 196KB) with The UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE) in which we highlighted the vital role social care policy plays in enabling people to ‘age in place’. Older people’s decisions hinge as much on the availability of care and support as on the quality of their homes. That said, housing quality is poor and the government needs to plan and resource a series of long-term, nationally funded, and locally delivered interventions to improve it.
- In October 2023 the Centre, along with local community organisation Stand As One, submitted to the joint inquiry led by the APPG on Migration and the APPG on Poverty into the Effects of UK Immigration, Asylum and Refugee Policy on Poverty
We submitted two responses, one based on academic research and practitioner expertise, and the other based on the lived experience of people who had come to the UK as refugees, via the UK government’s ‘Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme’. We held a discussion event to hear more about people’s experiences and they told us that despite initial support from the UK government they are now struggling to afford a basic standard of living, which has heavy impacts on their health. They described unsuitable housing, struggling to pay bills, racial discrimination and poor transport infrastructure. All of these are limiting their opportunities for good health and well-being, including in education, employment and leisure.
- In November the Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, published his annual report: Health in an ageing society.
Evidence from our recent ESRC-funded work, the Sustainable Care programme was used in the report particularly our work on ageing in place, the experiences of older migrants and the role of technology in care and support.
About the author
Becky joined the Centre for Care in June 2022 as a Research Associate, working closely with Professor Sue Yeandle. Her role is to ensure that our research makes a difference to care policy, using our evidence to respond to parliamentary inquiries and government consultations across the four nations of the UK. This will include working closely with the team to gather evidence on critical and emerging issues in care, as well as synthesising the grey and academic literature and engaging with our partners in the care sector.
We are pleased to welcome Dr Tanja Ahlin from the University of Amsterdam to present an online seminar on Tuesday 27th February 2024.Read More about Seminar: Transnational Care Collectives: Digital technologies for elder care in Indian nurse families
We are pleased to welcome Dr Sayendri Panchadhyayi to present an online seminar on Tuesday 6th February 2024.Read More about Seminar: ‘Intimate Transactions in Carework: Precarity, Purpose and Pleasure’
Kate Hamblin speaks with care sector employers about how values-based recruitment can lead to better retention and positive, person-centred care.Read More about Podcast- Values-based recruitment in Adult Social Care, part one
Applications now closed. The Centre for Care Summer School is a week-long residential programme in Sheffield in September 2024, for students whose PhD studies align with the themes and research of the Centre for Care.Read More about Centre for Care Summer School: Applications now closed