New report: NHS staff shortages put long-term vision for primary and community care at risk : The Health Foundation

A critical moment: NHS staffing, trends, retention and attrition

Our third annual NHS workforce report, published today, highlights that staff numbers are failing to keep pace with demand. There is ongoing deterioration in critical areas such as general practice, community care, nursing and mental health.


Source: New report: NHS staff shortages put long-term vision for primary and community care at risk : The Health Foundation

Councils set up ‘Amazon-style’ e-markets to meet Care Act duties

Original post from Community Care


Social worker copied and pasted reports Photo: REX/GARO/PHANIE
Social worker copied and pasted reports Photo: REX/GARO/PHANIE

Local authorities have set up online e-markets to meet key duties under the Care Act but their potential to deliver choice to care users could be undermined by risk aversion from frontline staff and management, according to a report.

Research by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) think-tank found that around a quarter of councils now allow self-funding adult social care users and personal budget holders to search for and purchase care services via ‘Amazon-style’ e-markets. Many had set up the sites to meet their responsibility to provide universal information and guidance under the Care Act 2014, the IPPR said.

Benefits of e-markets

The IPPR identified three main benefits to the e-market systems: they improved access to the market for new and small providers, provided more opportunities for user-commissioning by allowing people to describe the service they want and providers to respond with a tailored service and price, and helped integrate networks of formal and informal care.

However, the report also identified a number of issues with implementation of the platforms. Too many local authorities viewed them as cost-saving tools rather than a chance to transform care. A culture of risk aversion among local authorities and frontline staff often stifled new providers from entering the markets and led to professionals and brokers directing people to services they had always used.

Culture change

“Action is required in a number of areas if the genuine choice that e-marketplaces promise is to be delivered. First, those who help users to select products and services need to become confident in helping those users find the services that are right for them, rather than simply directing those users to the services that the broker or social worker has always used,” the report said.

“Many of the most innovative providers are non-traditional, and substantial offline work and cultural change among staff may be required to ensure a diverse supply rather than a replication of the existing market. Carers, paid brokers, frontline social workers and charities with advisory functions all assist users in making choices, and they are key to this process.”

The culture of excessive caution must be tackled by ensuring that risk is shared appropriately and frontline staff are given the attention and permission they need to focus on outcomes rather than being “cowed by concerns about compliance and liability”, the report said.

The report pointed to Worcestershire county council as a good example of a local authority supporting its social workers to utilise the new system. The council held networking events for social workers to meet local care providers and discuss the e-marketplace.

Wider potential of technology

The e-marketplace model is just one example of how local authorities are looking to use technology to meet their Care Act duties. The most recent Care Act stocktake by the Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (Adass) found that 147 of 152 local authorities planned to introduce an element of online self-service for care ranging from e-marketplaces to web-based assessments.

Richard Pantlin, the Adass technology and informatics lead, said directors were keen to promote online options for individuals and carers who were “happy and capable to use it”.

“Hard-pressed people in their 40′s, 50′s and 60′s who are the main informal carers for their elderly parents will find such resources particularly helpful. Many more are likely to be contacting councils as a result of the cap on care costs being introduced from next April,” he said.

“During this year, Adass is organising workshops in each of the regions to encourage more co-operation across councils and to share best practice for engaging citizens online for the Care Act. Many councils have already implemented good Information & Advice portals that direct users according to their needs.

“Some, such as Oxfordshire, have enabled carers to complete their own assessments online. Others are planning online financial self-assessment. There are also an increasing number of apps independently available to people in need of support and their carers to assist them.”

Adass is holding a ‘Care apps showcase’ on 19 October in Leeds.

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College sets out expectations of social workers in delivering Care Act reforms

Original post from Community Care


Government-commissioned curriculum guide and capability statements provide guidance for practitioners and managers on implementing act

Photo: Gary Brigden
Photo: Gary Brigden

The College of Social Workers (TCSW) has today set out expectations for practitioners in delivering on the Care Act 2014 reforms in two government-commissioned resources.

Its curriculum guide on the act outlines the knowledge and skills that social workers need to develop to effectively implement the act in areas including assessment and eligibility, safeguarding and risk, integration and transitions. It is designed to support practitioners in their professional development and employers and educators to provide effective training and learning.

Alongside this, TCSW has produced a set of capability statements, setting out expectations of social workers of different levels of experience or seniority for delivering on the Care Act. These are based on the nine domains of the College’s professional capabilities framework.

What social workers should know

Among the knowledge and skills expected of social workers set out in the curriculum guide are:

  • Embracing and advocating the impact of early intervention in reducing levels of need, in line with the act’s duty on local authorities to prevent needs for care and support.
  • Taking an asset-based approach to assessment, looking at informal and community networks, promoting the expertise of adults and carers and promoting an inclusive approach to assessment to include self-funders.
  • Understanding changes to carers’ entitlements and balancing carers’ needs with the needs of the cared-for person.
  • Developing knowledge of new funding arrangements, deferred payments and providing subsequent appropriate support to self-funders.
  • Making safeguarding personal by starting with the outcomes that an adult wants to achieve, and fully involving them and those important to them in safeguarding.


The capability statements for social workers (those in the early years of their career) include to:-

  • Take responsibility for being up to date on the Care Act and Mental Capacity Act, including relevant case law.
  • Be able to assess mental capacity in increasingly complex situations and in diverse settings.
  • Work effectively in partnership with other involved agencies, recognising when multidisciplinary assessments or joint working are needed.

In a piece for Community Care to accompany the launch of the resources, the chair of TCSW’s adults’ faculty, Gerry Nosowska, said: “The Care Act enshrines a standard of care and support that I believe social workers can wholeheartedly support. We can lead, model and deliver the kind of practice that makes the Care Act meaningful. We also need the time, resource and understanding to fulfil its promise. This is ultimately down to the kind of society people want to live in, and the kind of support we want for ourselves and our families. If we want the Care Act to work, as a society we need to invest in social care.”

The curriculum guide was developed for the College by Manchester Metropolitan University and Research in Practice for Adults, while the statements were drawn up following workshops with practitioners, managers and workforce leads. …… ‘

Care Act 2014 post from Community Care

The Care Act 2014 modernises and consolidates the law on adult care in England into one statute and has been described as the biggest change to the law in 60 years. Key changes include the introduction of national eligibility criteria, a right to independent advocacy and, from 2016, a cap on care costs faced by self-funders. This page contains the latest news on the act and its implementation. Community Care Inform Adults subscribers can also benefit from practice advice on the legislation on our dedicated resource page for the act.

College sets out expectations of social workers in delivering Care Act reforms

Government-commissioned curriculum guide and capability statements provide guidance for practitioners and managers on implementing act

‘The Care Act enshrines social work values – but we need support to fulfil its promise’

Social workers’ skills are critical to implementing the Care Act’s vision of promoting wellbeing but they need time, support and resources to make this happen, says Gerry Nosowska

How to learn the Care Act 2014 while juggling your caseload

Learning with colleagues and with service users are among Matt Bee’s suggestions for boning up on the Care Act while staying on top of your workload

How social workers and OTs are putting the Care Act into practice in prisons

Warrington council sets out how it has responded to the challenge of assessing and meeting the needs of prisoners, as required by the Care Act

More than half of councils unsure if care providers pay staff the national minimum wage

82 local authorities don’t know if care staff are paid the legal rate, finds Local Government Association’s final stocktake on Care Act readiness

‘Visual impairment workers face crisis despite Care Act 2014′s emphasis on their role’

By Simon Labbett, chair, Rehabilitation Workers Professional Network

In December 2013, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (Adass) re-issued its Position statement on visual impairment rehabilitation in the context of personalisation. At the time one wonders how much…

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Why we’re hiring 100 more social workers to deliver the Care Act’

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Care Act drives 6% rise in social work posts

Workforce plans obtained from 90 local authorities suggest most councils plan to boost social work numbers this year

Parallel worlds of domestic abuse and safeguarding need to be brought together

Care Act should improve social workers’ approach to tackling domestic abuse between older couples, says former LGA safeguarding lead

Councils mount legal challenge against Care Act funding allocations

West Berkshire and Wokingham, which both have critical eligibility thresholds, say Department of Health has not given them enough money to implement act

Councils ready for Care Act but raise concerns about costs on eve of implementation

99% of councils confident about implementing Care Act on 1 April but one fifth concerned that they lack funds to do so, finds final stocktake of readiness

No need to reassess people against Care Act eligibility threshold until their next review, says government

Government sets out plans to make transition to Care Act in England, with old legislation continuing to apply in Wales

‘Social workers’ caseloads should be managed to provide more time for assessments under Care Act’

Practitioners need to understand more about the person and their community to implement the strengths-based approach to assessment envisaged by legislation, says guide

Early self-funder assessments vital to avoid ‘unmanageable’ Care Act burden, says DH

Councils given advice on implementation of funding reforms being introduced under Care Act from April 2016

Social workers hit by real terms pay cut, official figures show

Data also shows that adult social workers jobs fell 5% last year

and More  2 8 …………..’


Why it’s time to see social care as an economic generator, not a financial drain

Original post from The Guardian

An extract

‘………..I want to begin with Graham, a friend of mine, and his wife Maureen. Married for just over 50 years, Maureen was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and attendant dementia in 2010. Graham is blind, and Maureen was admitted to a care home in 2013 because they could no longer manage together at home.

Graham says it’s a welcoming environment and the care workers are lovely people, but if Graham isn’t there (he visits her every day) she will spend all her time in bed. There isn’t an appropriate room for her to sit in and if she sits in a chair in her own room, there has to be a member of staff to supervise her – and there is never one to spare. Maureen can no longer express her own feelings, but Graham says she seems to enjoy sitting down. Staying in bed raises respiratory issues which seem to distress her. She simply weeps, he says.

Ever since the Sutherland Commission on long term care reported in 1999, and its initial recommendation for free social care was rejected, the response of the three main traditional political parties has consistently been that we could not afford to put social care on the same footing as the NHS and make it a universal service free at the point of delivery funded by general taxation. This, the argument goes, would just be too expensive.

The question is this: why do we think of looking after people as a financial burden? What underpins this way of thinking, that it is a matter of money out rather than money in? Why is it thought that helping to support children facing difficulties, disabled people and older members of our community is a negative rather than a positive?……………….’

Social care funding must be protected like the NHS in the next Budget

Original post from Local Government Association

An extract

‘…….Social care funding must be protected in the same way that it is for the NHS in the next Budget or another crisis such as the one seen this winter will be unavoidable, local government leaders are warning today.

The Local Government Association (LGA) is calling on the Chancellor to use next month’s Budget to protect public services in England with adequate funding to ensure councils can provide services locally. In particular, the Chancellor is being urged to protect social care funding to enable councils to support the NHS and prepare for reforms starting as soon as this April.

Without adequate funding, elderly and disabled people could be left without the social care services which help them to remain independent, and stay out of hospital and in their own homes for longer. Instead, thousands could see their elderly relatives, neighbours and friends risk being left without the care they need to live independently as well as simple every day support such as washing, dressing and meals on wheels.   ………………..’